Identification & Biology: This dark olive to dark gray recreational fish is distinguished by its thick, fleshy lips. Found in coastal areas around rock outcroppings, breakwaters, wrecks, and other sheltering habitat, the tautog is an extremely local fish, moving only to slightly deeper water for the winter. The male is highly territorial. The tautog feeds on mollusks, particularly mussels and crustaceans. It may grow to 3 feet long and 22 pounds.
Range & Habitat: Tautog occur from Nova Scotia to South Carolina and are most abundant from Cape Cod to Delaware. Although there has never been a significant commercial fishery for tautog, it is a desirable sport fish. It is usually caught by inshore charter boat fishermen in the spring and fall.
Market Description: Tautog is a delicious food fish; the flesh is off-white and firm-textured. The flavor is mild, but distinctive — often compared to red snapper.
Flavor Profile: Med flake, fatty flesh, earthy notes
Fishing Technique: hook & line, long line
Special Note: Popular inshore sport fish
Recommended Preparation: “Taug”, as it’s called for short, can be prepared many ways — baked, broiled, grilled, or micro waved. A quick, simple recipe is to marinate it for 15 minutes in a ginger teriyaki sauce and then broil it for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. It is also an ideal fish for blackening.