Rigging for tautog can make the difference between success and and empty cooler, and if you want to take home some big tautog for a fresh winter fish dinner, a snafu rig should be in your arsenal. Speaking of taking these fish home for dinner: we don’t blame you — tautog are awesome on the plate. 

tautog caught on snafu rig
The snafu rig is one you'll want to keep on hand, when trophy tautog are in your sights.
  • This simple rig has two hooks on leaders of equal length, which join at the weight. Tog like to grab a crab sideways, crush it, and suck out all the meat, so the idea here is that whichever side the fish grabs it’ll also get a hook. To best utilize the Snafu, put the hook in each side of the crab through the knuckle where a pincer claw joins the body, rotate it aft, and pop it back out through a lower leg joint.
  • Once you drop this rig down, do your best to leave it sitting still. Your instincts may tell you to jig it now and again, but tog sharpies agree that a bait sitting dead is far more likely to be eaten than one swinging around next to a weight bouncing on bottom. In fact, watch experienced toggers and you’ll notice that they use long rods they can swing up and down to maintain tension without accidentally lifting the lead off bottom as the boat rocks and rolls in the waves.
  • Before lowering away, use the weight to smack the crab’s back-shell. That gets the juices flowing a bit, so the tog can smell ‘em better.
  • This is a rig best used on large fish. When the tog are on the small side, you’ll often catch more via the Snafu if you crack the crab in half and let each side swing free from its own hook.