How to Tie a Three-Way Tautog Rig

The basic 3-way bottom rig is tailor-made for tautog. Photo by ## Tom Richardson##

Tautog (blackfish) usually aren’t difficult to fool once you nail down their location over a piece of structure (that’s the tricky part), so you don’t need a very complicated bottom rig. We already showed you how to tie a dropper-loop bottom rig for ‘tog (New England Boating’s How to Tie a Basic Tautog Rig), but here’s an even simpler setup that works almost as well. The drawbacks of the rig are that subtle bites are harder to detect and that setting the hook is slightly less effective given that the sinker is placed ahead of the bait.

Tying Instructions:

  1. Start by tying the main line to one eye of a 3-way swivel using an improved clinch knot, uni knot or Palomar knot.
  2. Take a 4/0 Octopus hook with and upturned eye and snell it to 3 feet of 40-pound-test mono or fluorocarbon leader. Note: a snelled hook is not necessary, but snelling results in a straighter pull on the hook shank and a cleaner hook-set.
  3. Tie the other end of the leader to a second eye of the 3-way swivel.
  4. Tie an 8- to 12-inch section of mono to the remaining eye of the 3-way swivel.
  5. Tie a small loop in the end of this mono section using a surgeon’s loop knot.
  6. Loop the end of a small rubber band through the loop you just tied in the short mono dropper.
  7. Attach a bank sinker by threading the end of the rubber band through the eye of the sinker, then pulling the loop over the end of the sinker and pulling it tight. This setup will allow the sinker to break free if it becomes snagged, thereby saving the rest of the rig.

Watch our instructional video:


To read more on how to catch tautog:

New England Boating’s How to Catch Fall-Run Tautog

Give us some feedback:

Have you tried the rig? If so, how did it work? Please give us your comments below!