How To Catch Tautog in Buzzards Bay


In this video, we headed out aboard the Gray Goose in early May with my good friend John Burns and a few of the Salty Cape staff members to put together a useful demonstration of how to catch tautog in Buzzards Bay. Fishing with Hogy Utility Bait Rigs, we were able to jig up quite a few of these guys.

When try to catch tautog, anchoring directly over the rock pile is critical. Figure out your drift and how much scope you’ll need to let out on your anchor so that you can drop your rigs directly on top of the rocks.

When targeting tautog, easily markable rock piles in 15 to 25 feet of water work best, particularly those that are near other rock piles so I can easily bounce between spots until I find them. Tautog are very lazy fish meaning they will not swim very far to eat. Therefore, you want your bait to be right in front of their nose. Rather than drifting, you’ll want to anchor directly over the structure you intend to fish. Moving tide is recommended but I have had a number of good outings at slack tide in low light. Because of their funny mouths and laziness, they can be tricky to hook. I recommend using a long musky rod with moderate action, which is good for quick hook sets – the longer span of the 8-foot rod will drive the hook faster but the softness of the moderate action will not whip the hook of the tautog’s mouth.

When it comes to gear, I like to use a longer 8’ moderate action musky rod for tautog. The extra length of the rod will drive more power quickly on a hook set which is helpful on tough tog mouth skin. The softer touch of a moderate power will cushion some of the shock at hook set, so the hook doesn’t get snatched out of the Tautog’s mouth.

If you’re interested in the Hogy Utility Rig (available in 1/0 and 3/0 sizes) for your next tautog trip, you can get them here.

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