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Thread: "Blackfish, The other white meat."

  1. #1

    "Blackfish, The other white meat."

      1. October 11, 2006


    "Blackfish, The other white meat."
    Blackfish, also known by its Native American name Tautog, is found from Nova Scotia to South Carolina. They are most abundant from Cape Cod to the Chesapeake Bay.
    Blackfish live both in near shore coastal waters as well as offshore ocean waters. They prefer structured habitats and are frequently found near piers, breakwaters, artificial reefs and areas with rocky bottoms. They are distinguished by their large lips and teeth, which are used to catch and eat their favorite foods, shellfish and crabs.








    Blackfish have a strong affinity for their chosen home site, and adults only travel about one-third mile in search of food each day. This means you may have to move your boat several times before you start catching. Often times one boat can be reeling them in one after another while the boat anchored 15 feet away catches none. In the spring when water temperatures approach 50?F, blackfish migrate inshore to reproduce or spawn. They remain in waters near the shore throughout the summer. As the water temperature begins to drop again toward 50?F in the fall, blackfish move back to deeper ocean waters for the winter.

    Blackfish can grow up to 25 pounds, but smaller fish up to three pounds are more typical. The largest weighed in at Shaffer's in Mystic was 18 pounds, in 2004. Blackfish is primarily harvested by recreational anglers who have accounted for about 90% of the catch since 1980. Most commercial landings have been by fish traps and gill nets. Tautog are also caught commercially by hook-and-line gear and as bycatch in lobster pots. Recreationally the current legal length is 14" at 4 per person per day. For a complete list of regulations see our web site at www.shaffersmystic.com.


    Blackfish has a relatively firm white meat, which makes it well suited for a variety of different preparation methods including fish stews and chowders. In fact in many seaside towns blackfish is the traditional ingredient in fish chowder. "It's a mild tasting fish somewhat like sea bass," says Chef Tony Lasardo of Mystic. Blackfish can be used in almost any recipe that calls for lean white flesh fish with a mild taste like cod, sea bass, fluke or halibut. Baking, broiling or saut?ing are all good choices for this versatile fish.

    John Paradis of Mystic says "They are in the wrasse family which means they can swim backwards very well, tremendous bait steelers. You have to set the hook when you think they are going to bite." Cheryl at Shaffers Bait & Tackle of Mystic, sells green crabs, sandworms and clam chum for blackfishing. In addition to the bait there is also a variety of rigs which also require a sinker of as much as 6 ounces. Because you are fishing the rock piles, you tend to loose quite a bit of gear. These muscular little fish are not to be taken on light tackle as they are quick to run you back into the rocks. A conventional rod and reel is the best choice armed with either 40 pound monofilament or better yet, 50 pound Power Pro. A non-stretch high abrasive braided line. "Don't give em an inch!" Says Tommy Depasquale of the "Miss D" out of Mystic.


    Fishers Island Sound probably ranks in the top five on the East coast for the number of rocks and reefs. We have Ram Island Reef, Ellis reef, Latimer reef, East Clump, Middle Clump, North Hill, Seaflower Reef and Intrepid Rock. To the west off of Groton, New London and Waterford we have Horseshoe Reef, Franks Ledge, Vixen's Ledge, Sarah's Ledge and Bartletts Reef. Pick your pile and drop anchor for some of the best tasting fish we have.

    Catch em up!
    Capt. Allen Fee

    Shaffer's Bait and Tackle / Sea Dog Charters
    www.sea-dogcharters.com
    "Smile you S.O.B."

  2. #2
    74Formula233's Avatar
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    Great article Allen....keep 'em coming, we've been missing them!:cool:

  3. #3
    NBS Angling Addict Whatever's Avatar
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    That's a good read, thanks.
    Sportfishing Forums | Saltwater Fishing, Deep Sea Fishing, Big Game and Sport Fishing Reports; for the serious Sportfisherman.

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    Bob & Mag's Avatar
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    Good read. We were talking about whether it's worth it to use chum for togs.
    What would be best? Crushed crabs, clams, mussels, combination?
    Thanks for any input.

  5. #5
    74Formula233's Avatar
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    Though I haven't chummed for them in years, we used to use a minnow trap with crushed mussels in it. Just beat a bunch of them up with a rock or sinker and throw em in the pot with some rocks.....

    Only thing is it WILL tend to attract a bunch of "shit fish" too (scup, etc).

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