View Full Version : Tautog?

07-10-2003, 11:13 PM
Can anyone put me onto some leads for 'tog fishing on the North Shore? I have heard a few times that there are a few spots that have them, but have never been able to nail down a solid lead. Most people point to Buzzard's Bay and points south, but I'm sure I've heard they can be caught further North. Tried Narangansett with green crabs once, ended up going after blues after a couple hours of no luck.

Anyway, any ideas, experience appreciated RE: methods, tides, time of day.

TIA, and cheers.


07-11-2003, 08:11 AM
I do lots of spearfishing for them in the summer at rock piles and jetties off the northside cape beaches. Pretty much every substantial pile of rocks that is in ~12 ft of water at some tide will hold them. I've never fished for them, but I believe you are correct in using green crabs. Spearfishing for them is really fun, and also a great way to observe bass, which as noted in other forums, are not particularly scared of swimmers. 2 weeks ago we were off a northside beach and I watched a school of about 30 blues swim by with probably 10 HUGE keeper bass swimming directly under them. I've caught big bass below and outside of feeding blues, but it was kind of cool to see that classic relationship firsthand underwater. On a side note, spearfishing for bass, at least in mass, is illegal(and wouldn't be that much of a challenge, as they are almost like pets down there). Tautog is more tasty anyway, though I imagine their fighton a rod is pretty lame. On another note, I caught a seabass on a clouser @ one of my spearfishing spots. Perhaps this would work for tautog too, though I recommend the spear. Very fun, can't wait for the weekend!

07-11-2003, 02:36 PM
Neat! Thanks for the reply, AWS. I've always wanted to try spearfishing. Any sites you can recommend would be appreciated. PM works, if you like.


Mark Cahill
07-11-2003, 02:47 PM
I've got them is Plymouth.

I have heard of them turning up in lobster traps off Boston.

07-11-2003, 03:15 PM
i am very interested in watching the fish in their element and was wondering how you got into it? i assume scuba. is there any possible snorkle diving worth doing? i live in scituate and there are alot of rocks out there. i assume its advisable to stay away from the boats.

07-11-2003, 03:21 PM
Having done some bird-dogging (I just can't keep bringing hunting into the fold, can I?) online, found that there are some nifty places to go after 'tog on the NS. Halfway rocks sounds like a great one. Problem is, 4 miles east of East Point Nahant is a bit of a wade...

One of the shameless things I have done during the waterfowling season is to check out bird watching sources, both in print and online, such as the Audobon Society. A glorious flock of widgeon lounging in Great Bay this week? The hell you say!
So much in the same way, thanks to several scuba sites, I have learned that there a variety of spots on the north shore that have good numbers of tautog. The key seems to be deep water and rocks. Unfortunately for me, most do not lend themselves to my current fishing status (read as shorebound), even with my 11' 5" powerstick. Maybe a really, really heavy plug...

Thanks for the suggestions, all


07-11-2003, 03:35 PM

If you take a right facing the water from peggoty beach, there is notch a little ways down that holds a lot of flounder, by the time you get to the rock close to shore and one further out you will find a decent number of Tautog in the kelp. They are very good at evading you in the kelp. I used a hawaiian sling while snorkeling and it was pretty challenging. A lot of nice bass cruise through close to shore. Boats generally stay a ways off the kelp and keep a decent buffer from the rocks before that. Dive shop will have the spearfishing rules.

Not an easy place to fish from shore, especially fly fish!


Mark Cahill
07-11-2003, 03:38 PM
I've had luck snorkeling around Mary Ann's rocks in Plymouth (I used to live there, access isn't great, don't everyone head there looking for tog). If they are around, they will hang at the bottom of the rocks. (mind you I haven't done this for about 10 years)

I look for rocks in about 10-15' of water and that's where I tend to find them. I've had much better luck south of the cape, particulary places in RI.

Some of the most fun I've ever had...

Turn on private messaging and I'll give you a couple spots...

Skunk Buster
07-11-2003, 03:49 PM
AWS wrote:
"Tautog is more tasty anyway, though I imagine their fighton a rod is pretty lame."

You're right, they fight like an old boot. Good in chowder though.

Skunk Buster
07-11-2003, 03:59 PM
ooops, forgot to mention some stuff. Most folks around here give up on tog from shore as soon as the water starts to warm. About the time the first stripers start to show up the tog come in close to shore to breed and lay their eggs around rocks. There might still be some in the cape cod canal right now, but usually by the end of june they head for deeper water. You may have some luck up north near drop offs where the water is cooler. If you're using crabs and they are not real small you'll want to cut the crabs in half. The togs have protruding teeth that allow them to pick bait right off your hook.

07-11-2003, 08:03 PM
aws, check your pm box

07-13-2003, 04:28 PM
Tautog, some seemingly too large to fit through the entrance, occasionally show up in lobster traps in Gloucester -- I saw one that would have gone 10 pounds -- and I have caught a few smaller specimens by accident while fishing rocky structure in Ipswich Bay. The fish I caught, though in the one-foot range, gave a good account of themselves on an eight-weight.
(I kept one once for the table out of curiosity, and it was delicious.) There are several visiting anglers and at least a few locals who target these fish on Cape Ann -- I see them anchored up on the rockpiles, and they're not after stripers or flounder. These folks are generally closed-mouth about their success, so my guess is that the tautog fishery is alive and well in Gloucester.

07-14-2003, 08:11 AM
Shot a 5lb tautog over the weekend at some rocks off Dennis. Cape Cod Bay is great for spearfishing b/c the water can be practically caribbean style clarity. Did have to keep an eye out for boats though. Water was pretty cold and I'd have to get out after ~0.5 hr. Cajun tautog tacos are sweet!

Also was out on a friends boat a few miles off South Beach and was in the biggest school of Blues I've ever seen. One guy would pull them up w/ pink sluggos and then the other guy would cast to the trailers w/ a fly. Very fun. This school must have stretched for well over a mile. Some were very large and really fun on the flyrod. A few bass mixed in.