We collected crabs, an essential fa part of a tautog slam, and made our way to some rocky outcroppings that were sheltered enough that we could drift slowly enough to fish effectively without a drift sock or anchoring. We'd been out two days prior and had tried togging. Noah anchored and quickly lodged it too firmly to get it out. He had to cut the line. This and other experiences trying to anchor small sit-in kayaks have made me weary of it. I also just don't like the hassle. So I look for slow drifts. With a light north wind it didn't take long at all to find a slow drift over a pile of tautog. They were small but they were very willing. And at any size, these fish pull like crazy. I love them.
After about a half a dozen tog I set the hook into something behaving very differently. I had a suspicion what it would be, and that was soon validated. It was a big beautiful oyster toadfish. And yes, I did just use beautiful to describe this fish. Let you preconceptions go and look and the striped patterns of this fish's dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins, and the cryptic pattern of its body. Also look at the skin texture and general shape of the fish. This is a creature that has evolved perfectly to survive in the niche it does. Imagine it in ambush at the base of a boulder covered in vegetation and algae. To me, that's beautiful. A fish living in it's nice and just being perfectly matched to it. Fish are so damn cool.
Tautog are often called ugly too. And of course I beg to differ. How is the fish below ugly?
Soon a southeasterly breeze kicked up and made our little hotspot inhospitable before we could get a big fish. No matter, I had a plan B and it turned out to be dynamite.
For about an hour before sunset until just a little after, we were on the best number of tautog I'd ever encountered, with a much better average size. Neither of us succeeded in landing a big white chinner, but I did come away with an encounter that left my jig bent and my nerves fried.
All this got my really in the mood to fish for these awesome little monsters, so expect to see more, hopefully some on the fly, and hopefully a few really large ones.
Until next time.
Fish for the love of fish.
Fish for the love of places fish live.
Fish for you.
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