Step aboard a boat full of tautog sharpies, drop your rig to bottom, and start bouncing the weight up and down. Know what happens next? Everyone aboard will point at you and laugh. What gives? Unlike many species that appreciate a jigged bait, tog don’t like it one bit when that rig bounces around. When you have this species in your sights, remember the anti-bouncing routine:

  • Arm yourself with a long rod (seven foot is minimal and longer is better) so you can allow the tip to swing up and down a long way as the boat rises and falls with the waves.
  • After dropping to the bottom let out enough extra line that you can let the tip go up and down without lifting the sinker an inch, while still maintaining tension so you can feel the hit.
  • When the boat swings dramatically, rather than letting the weight drag let out a bit more line so it sits undisturbed.
  • If you absolutely have to move the rig due to boat swing or current, hold the tip as low and as far out as possible, then lift the weight and reel in some line until the weight pendulums as close to vertical as possible. Then, gently drop it back down.
tautof fishermen fishing
Tautog anglers aboard the Morning Star, out of Ocean City, MD, work those rods up and down carefully to prevent the bounce.

Okay, ready to get a bit ore advanced? Be sure to study up on different rigging options for tog and when and where to apply them, in Rigging for Tautog: Precision Matters