The tog is a member of the wrasse family which, with 450 species in 60 known genera, is one of the largest families of fishes.

Catch Ease
Bay, Ocean

How to identify a Tautog

The first dorsal fin has 16-17 spines of almost equal length. The short second dorsal fin consists of 10 somewhat longer soft rays. The anal fin has 3 spines and 7-8 soft rays. There is a detached area of small scales behind and beneath the eye, but no scales can be found on the operculum. The lateral line is arched more or less following the contour of the back and has a scale count of 69-73. There are 9 gill rakers on the first branchial arch, 3 on the upper limb and 6 on the lower limb. A number of small teeth are present along the sides of the jaws and there are 2-3 large canine teeth in the tips. Young are generally brown or greenish brown with irregular dark mottling or blotching on the flanks. Larger specimens may be entirely black or charcoal gray, sometimes with greenish overtones, or they may be mottled with brown, black, or white. The belly and chin are white or gray and there may be spots on the chin. Females develop a white saddle down the middle of each side during spawning.

Where to catch Tautog

The tautog occurs in the western Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia, Canada to South Carolina, USA, with the greatest abundance between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the Delaware Bay. It is known to move in and out of bays or in shore and off shore according to the water temperature, but it does not make extensive migrations up and down the coast. It prefers shallow waters over rocky bottoms, shell beds, inshore wrecks, etc., which it often inhabits year round. The following list includes additional details on where to catch this fish:

how to catch Tautog

The diet of the tautog consists mainly of mollusks and crustaceans, the blue mussel being the most abundant food item. Fishing methods include bait fishing over rocky bottoms, shells beds, or inshore wrecks from an anchored boat, as well as bottom fishing from the shore in the late spring and fall months. Baits include crabs, clams, bloodworms, mussels, shrimp and sand fleas. It is not a fast or extremely active species, but it puts up a very stubborn fight. Its year round availability, together with its large size and stubborn disposition, make it a popular sport fish. The flesh is considered to be very good and is a delicate texture. The following are fishing methods used to catch this fish:

Tautog lures, tackle & bait

The following are lures, tackle or bait that can be used to catch this fish:

Recent Articles from the Blog

Purchase a Fishing License