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Common Names: Blackfish, Oyster Eater, Taug
Creamy, Delicate, Complex, Earthy
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.