Tautog fishing from shore has been on my bucket list of Cape Cod fishing ideas for quite a while now. I've had some success in the past tautog fishing from shore, but it has always been hit and miss. That's why this spring, I decided to devote more time and energy into tog fishing from shore.
Tautog fishing season on Cape Cod begins when tog arrive in late April, and there is an old saying that tautog show up when the dandelions bloom. So the other day when I noticed a bunch of yellow dandelions in my yard, I decided it was time to give tautog fishing from shore a try.
Tautog eat a wide array of different baits, but green crab is one of their favorites. This spring I've been setting a green crab trap baited with mackerel in a nearby estuary. I've been soaking the trap for 24-48 hours and have been catching 1-2 gallons of green crabs.
Green crabs are an invasive species which came from Europe during the 1800's in the ballast water of ships. Since then populations of green crabs on Cape Cod and along the East Coast of the US have skyrocketed, and many marshes and estuaries have them.
When tautog fishing from shore I have been using the same setup I would normally use when casting for striped bass from the beach. For a rod and reel I have been using my 9ft ODM surfcasting rod and Van Staal VR150 reel with 30 pound braid and a four foot long section of 40 pound mono leader.
Green crabs can be fished on a single hook, on a hi-lo rig, or by using a jig. I've been using a Palomar knot to tie the leader to 2oz and 3oz tiger Joe Baggs Togzilla Lay Perfect jigs.
As is true in most types of fishing, an important key to success is finding a good spot. I will talk more about what goes into a good shore fishing spot for tautog later in this report, but for now I will say that jetties have been most productive for me.
There are plenty of jetties on Cape which are publicly accessible. However, not all jetties are "fishermen friendly" and unless you have permission, you can't walk across people's property to access a spot.
Tautog are a hard-fighting fish and they put up an exciting battle! This past week whenever I hooked a big tautog, I had to apply a lot of pressure while quickly reel the fish to the surface, in order to prevent the tautog from burying me in the rocks.
Over the past week I've been lucky to catch over a dozen keeper tautog from shore with the largest in the low 20 inch range. During one trip I even experienced a "tautog blitz" with bites on every cast. I believe chumming probably helped produce the fast action.
In the rest of this members-only report we'll dive deeper into shore fishing for tautog. In particular I will highlight my first tautog shore fishing trip of the season.
During this trip I encountered the best tautog fishing of my life, and the fact that I was fishing from shore made it that much more satisfying.