• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On December 7, 2018
  • Comments
  •  3

Blackfishing is firing on all cylinders, with both NY and NJ anglers loading coolers full of the bucktoothed brawlers.

That fishery will be solid through January, then the southern fellas in Delaware and Virginia get the bulk of the fishery during the heart of the winter in February and early March. Regardless of where you fish, a lot of anglers getting into the tog fishery may not understand how and why to tie certain basic rigs for success. As tautog are bottom feeders with their diets mainly consisting of crabs, sea worms, clams and mussels, rigs need to be designed to lay down on the sea floor.

Two top rigs that are used are the egg slider rig and the “Belmar” rig. The slider rig works well when current or tide is running fast and a bait needs to be weighted enough to lay directly on the bottom without spinning around and flailing above the sea floor. Start with the running line, slide on a 1 to 4-ounce egg sinker, then a 100-pound Spro Barrel swivel, and a short 18-inch section of 60-pound Triple Fish monofilament leader to which as size 4/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook is snelled.

The ol “Belmar Rig” is the standard among toggers and is easy to tie. Off your reel spooled with 50-pound braided Power Pro, Albright knot a 8-foot top shot section of 50-pound Triple Fish leader. Create a foot long double overhand loop knot on the end of the leader. On the bottom of the loop goes a 4 to 10-ounce bank sinker. Now pinch a loop into the double line roughly 5 inches up from the sinker and slide on a snelled size #2 to #6 virginia style hook, linking the snell loop and your pinched loop together. Once it is pulled tight, take the sinker, pass it behind the point of the loop to loop and tie an overhand knot behind it to lock the snell loop in.

That rig will have the crab bait sprawled out in an arc, resting an inch above the bottom and tapping the seafloor, in essence resembling a stickwalking crab along the bottom. Both bottom rigs are a great place to start when angling for tautog. Bait up with green crabs, whiteleggers or clam baits and hold on tight.


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