Tautog have stout, rounded bodies that vary in color from brown to grayish or black with irregular bars or blotches on the sides

They have a blunt head, thick lips, and strong teeth.

Tautog Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season January 1 to May 15

July 1 to December 31
Size Limit 16 inch minimum (total length)
Daily Limit / Person 4
Delaware Range Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters Common
General Habitat and Food Preferences Tautog prefer nearshore coastal waters, near artificial reefs, wrecks, jetties, piers, and bridge pilings.

They feed on mussels, clams, crabs, amphipods (small shrimp-like creatures), shrimps, small lobsters, and barnacles.
Did You Know? Tautog have a blunt nose and thick rubbery lips. With their powerful jaws and incisor-like front teeth, Tautog can scrape mussels and barnacles from rocks.

They also have molar-like teeth at the back of their mouth to easily crush the shells of mussels, which is their prime-choice of prey.
Common Lures and Baits Tautog do not take to artificial lures well.

Green crabs, and pieces of peeler crabs are often used on bottom rigs.
Typical Sizes Caught Tautog are commonly caught in the range of 13 to 20 inches (2 to 6 pounds) by Delaware anglers.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Live Release Award
Adult: 25 inches minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 20 inches minimum

Sport Fishing Tournament Award
Adult: 7 pounds minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 5.5 pounds minimum
Delaware State Record 21 pounds 5 ounces
Brent Wiest