The Tautog (Tautoga onitis), also known as Blackfish, belongs‍ to⁢ the family Labridae. It is a popular sport fish ‍known for⁢ its ‍fighting prowess and flavor.

Conservation ‍Status

The Tautog ⁤is currently categorized as ‘Least Concern’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Overfishing had previously posed a threat, but comprehensive management plans have been‌ successful in stabilizing their numbers.


Statistic Average Range
Length 20 inches 8-36 inches
Weight 3 lbs 1-25 ⁢lbs
Average Lifespan 35 years


Tautog are found in the ⁢Western Atlantic, from Nova Scotia to South Carolina. They don’t extensively migrate, ⁢however, during winter they seek deeper waters ⁣offshore.


These fish dwell in coastal and estuarine waters, often in rocky or reef ⁣environments. They tolerate a wide range of ‍temperatures, from 35°F to 75°F, ‌and depths‌ from the shallow inshore territory​ to 120 feet deep.

When ‌and Where to See

Tautog are most active in spring⁣ and fall. The best time of day ⁢to see them is usually in the morning⁤ or late afternoon.

Best Fishing Locations

Top Fishing Sites

  • Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts
  • Block Island, Rhode Island
  • Long Island Sound, New⁢ York
  • Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
  • Delaware Bay, Delaware
  • Sandy Hook, New Jersey
  • Peanut Island, Florida

Fishing Tips

Tautog like​ structure,‍ so look out for rocky bottoms or​ areas with plenty of cover.

How to Catch

Tautog respond⁢ well to bait such as crabs and mollusks, and they ⁣can be caught using bottom fishing techniques. Fall is ⁢the best season for fishing Tautog, especially in October and November.

Identification Guide

Tautog have a stocky, robust ‍body and are ‌usually dark green to black in ​color. They are distinguished‍ from similar species by a white​ chin and a large, conical ‍head.

Culinary Aspects

How to Cook

Tautog have a⁤ firm, white flesh that’s excellent for baking, broiling, or frying. ​

Nutritional Information

One serving of Tautog provides a high level of protein,‍ vitamin⁣ D, and ⁣omega-3 fatty acids with low ⁣levels of fat.

Additional Information

Tautog exhibit unique behavior, like their preference for returning to the same burrow or crevice each night. They also have ‌specialized teeth for crushing shelled prey.
Major threats to⁣ Tautog⁤ include habitat degradation⁤ and overfishing, but they have no major natural predators.
They don’t⁤ hold ​any ⁣particular cultural or historical⁢ significance but are renowned among anglers for their tenacity and delicious taste.

References and Further Reading