Not counting strippers, Tau-tog are the first fish of the year inshore saltwater anglers target. They are also one of the last fish targeted at the end of the year. They put a pretty good fight and are tasty table fare.
Tautogs are also known as "tog", "black fish", and "chubs". Togs range live on the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to South Carolina. Tog spawn from may to August.
Most togs are found in less than 50 feet but may be deeper. Togs love cover. Wrecks, bridge pilings, rock piles, and reefs are all excellent places to search for tog. They are most active in the morning and evening. I really like the evening bite since I've that's when I've done the best.
Togs eat mussels, clams, crabs, and shrimp. I prefer to use blue crab as bait. Try using a heavy duty pair of scissors to cut your crab into quarters. Remove the shell before using the scissors to quarter the crab. I use a 2/0 true turn hook and I prefer the back-fin quarter for bait. Try to make sure that the hook is positioned so that it will not turn into the crab shell when you set the hook.
I use a basic one hook bottom rig. The hook hangs at the same level as my sinker. I like to start out with an 8 ounce sinker but I will go heaver if I can not hold the bottom. I make my rigs out of 40Lb. test leader material but many prefer to use 50Lb. leader material. Tip: Try to keep your line straight under the boat. You will get hung up a lot less this way.
A spinning rod set up is fine for toging but I prefer a bait caster set up. Also, the rod should have some back bone to it but not too heave because you need to hold the rod in your hand. When a tog hits your bait, get ready to set the hook as soon as it hit the second time. Once the tog is hooked, keep constant pressure on it but do not horse it. I've lost a few horsing them.
Hopefully these tips will help to put more Togs in the cooler. Remember, early morning and late evening are the best times for the Tog bite.