Everything You Need to Know About Blackfish (Tautog) Fishing

Tog Blackfish Salt Warrior

Blackfish Basic Techniques

If you would like to go fishing for blackfish, the number one thing you must remember is to have patience. These fish are very territorial. They often hide in structures at various depths in the water, all throughout the year.

In some states, especially Connecticut, during the fall there are many anglers getting out their gear. They are excited to go on blackfish fishing trips. Whether you know of this fish as a tautoga onitis, tautog, tog, or blackfish, you know they aren’t very pretty. However, those who know how to catch blackfish are able to get the thrill of a great fight on the end of their line.

Blackfish rank at the top of the most popular recreational fish in many areas. If you are looking to catch blackfish, learn more about everything you will need here today.

Just Keep Going

When it comes to trying to catch blackfish tautog, you will need to keep going to various depths of the water. With blackfish fishing, it is important to know that these fish move around and they hide. For instance, during early November, when going fishing for tautog, you should start shallow. However, towards the later end of the season, you should be looking in deeper water.

Some of the other things that you should know in regard to blackfish tautog fishing include:

  • If a drop is made and there aren’t any bites in a little while, you should move to another location.

  • Sometimes a blackfish jig will work. Other times, you might want to use a single-hook blackfish rig.

  • When it comes to tautog bait, green crabs and asian crabs are some of your best options readily available. Try hunting for these at low tide in rocks or near un-covered structures.

  • The bite of the blackfish is one of the most exciting experiences when going on a blackfish fishing trip.

These are some important pieces of information when going tautog fishing.

Remember, to think about where you are fishing for blackfish. If you aren’t getting bites in 20 minutes, you should go to your next spot. You can check out areas with smaller boulder fields and places where there have been wrecks. You should also check out other uncommon spots where you might not fish for other types of fish like pile-ons, jetties, docks and breakwalls.

There is nothing greater when fishing than the feeling of pulling a great big tog into your boat.

Best of of Everything with Tautog Fishing

four tog in boat - salt warrior

Before you learn more about the best of tautog fishing, it is important to check with the regulations in your area. Some areas have specific regulations regarding fishing for tog.

With that being said, there are some times that are better than others to go blackfish fishing. There are also certain tides that you will have better luck in, as well.

When it comes to tautog fishing tips, one of the things you need to know is when to go fishing. The best months to fish for tog are May to the middle of June. Then, you can go back (with just as much luck) from the end of September through the end of October.

During the spring and summer months, you might be able to find tautog in areas of water that are less than 10 feet deep. In these months, they often like to feed near the rocks by the shore. However, it is much more likely that you will catch a blackfish during the fall to early winter months.

Note: Blackfish begin arriving inshore during the end of April. That is the season for spawning.

Some of the other information that you should know regarding the best of tautog fishing include the following:

  • Best Time to Fish – It is best to go fishing for tautog during the daylight hours.

  • Best Tide for Blackfish Fishing – You should go fishing 3 hours before a high tide to 3 hours after the high tide.

  • Skill Levels for Tautog Fishing – There is no exact skill level needed for this type of fishing. Supervised beginners can go fishing for blackfish. However, any skill level up to experienced anglers can do so, as well.

Now that you know the best of tautog fishing, it might be helpful to learn where you should go blackfish fishing.

Great Locations for Tautog Fishing

Up above you read that tautog like to hide in areas where there are smaller boulder fields and wrecks. They also like to hide around breakwalls, pilings, jetties, reefs, and rocky slopes. Blackfish like staying close to structures which is why they are tougher to catch than many other types of fish.

If you are going to catch a blackfish, you will have to find the best structures where they might be hiding. Then, you will have to put your tautog bait right above that area. Keep in mind that if there are blackfish in that area and they are hungry, no matter which one of the blackfish rigs or jigs you are using, they are likely going to come for your bait.

If you are a beginner tog angler and want the best spot to fish in your area, you can ask the people who work at the local tackle shop in your area.

Proper Gear and Bait

Tog Baits - Salt WarriorIf you are going on a blackfish fishing trip, it is important to remember that this type of fish is a strong fighter. If you let them, they will take your tautog rig into the structure they are in and break the line on your rod. Due to this fact, making sure you have a stout medium-fast action, strong rod will be best for catching this type of fish.

One of the most popular blackfish rig setup options is to use a two-hook basic rig. Then, you will bait it using green crabs. You can get these types of crabs at almost any tackle and bait shop duirng the fall months.

When it comes to your blackfish rod and reel, for your line, you should probably use 30 to 50 pound braid along with a heavy fluorocarbon or monfilament leader. This will give you a better chance of pulling the blackfish out of the boulders, rocks, or other structure they are hiding it, all while keeping a tight-set drag.

Some other information that you should know regarding the type of blackfishing gear to use includes the following:

  • Style of Rod – You should get a spinning or conventional rod.

  • Rod Length – The length of your rod should be between 6 to 7 feet.

  • Blackfish Line Test – The line test should be between 30 to 50 pound braid.

  • Blackfish Leader Test – 40 Pound Leader (Flaurocarbon or Mono Leader Material)

  • Blackfish Jig Hook sizes: 3/0 to 5/0 for Jigs

  • Blackfish Bait Rig Hook Sizes: 4/0

  • Best Tog Bait Options – Some of the best bait options in addition to the green crabs, when fishing in the Northeast areas, are asian crabs and clams.

After you get all of the gear and bait that you need, you will also need to get tautog rigs and other tackle.

Best Tackle for Tog Fishing

When it comes to blackfish tackle, there are so many different options. Some of the best options available are the following:

If you use any of these tautog rigs or other tackle options, you will have a much better chance of catching blackfish.

How to Tie Blackfish Rigs

Now that you know what gear, rigs, and other tackle you need, it is also a good idea to know blackfish rigs how to tie before your fishing trip.

Before tying one of the best tautog rigs, there are some things to know and remember. Tautog fishing is fun and exciting. When there is current ripping through deeper water, you should have a lead sinker to help your magictail or other rig to get near the bottom. After you get that, you can use a jig or hook and attach it to a heavier line than you normally use. Usually, when fishing for blackfish in rockier areas, you will need a 50 to 80 pound leader. Do your best not to let the blackfish run to the bottom after you hook it. They can take you down with them.

With years of experience, Salt Warrior knows how to tie blackfish rigs. If you check out our store, you can find a range of rigs including Race Rock Tackle, blackfish bottom rig, and other rigs ready to go.


There is certainly a lot to learn about blackfish fishing. With all the information that you learned here today, you should be fairly set for a tautog fishing trip. Remember, if you need any bait, tackle, or other blackfish fishing supplies, check out the Salt Warrior store today.

Rod And Reel Suggestions

Rod Style: Conventional or Spinning
Length: 6 – 7ft.
Line Test: 30 – 50 lbs

PENN Fierce II 4000 Spinning 7' Rod and Reel Combo

PENN Fierce II 4000 Spinning Combo


Sign up for free below

Rapala X-Rap� Saltwater 10; 4 Luhr-Jensen Crippled Herring� 500; 4-1/4