Tautog, photo/BoatingLocal

Tautog, photo/BoatingLocal

Fall is tautog (blackfish) season throughout southern New England, and we’ve got your guide on how to catch these tough and tasty bottom-dwellers.

Read an article on How to Catch Fall Tautog, including where to find the fish, best bottom rigs, top baits and proven fishing techniques.

Watch this video on catching fall tautog in Buzzards Bay.

Check out this article to learn more on How to Anchor Over Structure

Recipe: Tasty Tautog Chowder

Fellow boater and fisherman Matt Nugent of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, fishes Buzzards Bay for just about anything that swims, and one of his favorite late-season targets is tautog, which occupy the many rockpiles and wrecks of Buzzards Bay from October to December. As Nugent knows, ‘tog make fine eating, and their firm, white meat is ideal for chowders. Here’s a great Nugent Family recipe for tautog chowder that’s guaranteed to take the chill off a fall day on the water. Enjoy!

Matt’s Famous Fish Chowder


  • 6-8 cups fish stock or water
  • 6 potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1-2 lbs. fish
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 4 strips bacon
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp. butter

To taste:

  • tarragon
  • black pepper
  • white pepper
  • dill
  • thyme


  • If you don’t have fish stock, parboil the ‘tog in 6-8 cups of water for 5 minutes and remove. Add potatoes to the stock and simmer for 30 minutes or until soft.
  • While the potatoes are simmering, add olive oil and butter to a large skillet. Heat the skillet, then add onions and bay leaves, stirring often. Do not burn the bay leaves. When the onions are transparent, remove some of them from the water and set aside. Cook remaining onions until brown, being careful not to burn them.
  • In the same skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and crumble.
  • Add onions, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, bacon and flaked fish to the potatoes and season to taste.
  • Cover and simmer for one hour.
  • Reduce heat and add light cream to taste. Be sure you are not at a boil, as this will curdle the cream.
  • Taste test and serve with warm French bread for dipping.


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