Underwater Video: Fall Tautog Fishing with Jigs

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Yesterday I came across John Skinner’s most recent YouTube video and it’s a game-changer for tautog fishing, particularly in terms of predatory behavior and competition for food.

I think it’s fair to assume all anglers wonder what the bottom of the ocean is composed of. We examine nautical maps, depth charts, and satellite imagery to get some of those answers. More recently, side-scan, 360 imaging, and real-time imaging are providing insight to help determine the best locations and stretches of water to fish.

In my case, my curiosity led me to purchase a dive mask and snorkel because I wanted to know if what was in my head aligned with what I would see with my eyes. Each time I dived, I was shocked by the bottom structure or lack thereof. It was nothing like I envisioned in my head. One of the recurring problems was that I could never locate the fish I was trying to target. When you’re 6′ 1″, fish naturally swim away when they detect your presence, so I never was able to view stripers in their natural state.

Underwater Tautog Video
Black sea bass, porgies, and tautog compete for a crab and jig. (Photo Credit: John Skinner Fishing)

Skinner goes tautog fishing in his boat and uses an underwater drone to gain a better perspective at one of his spots. Right away you’ll notice the underwater drone doesn’t disturb the fish in their natural environment. When Skinner drops a jig down to the bottom, there’s a puff of sand, and the tog in the camera view get beat to the jig because they’re biologically slower. But after some time, more tautog begin to show, or what some people refer to as “building the bite.” Eventually, the larger tog swim to the jig and use their body to muscle out the porgies and sea bass. This behavior is how I imagine predatory stripers compete for prime structure in a rip, at a point, or at a reef.

What does this video mean for tog anglers? It confirms you shouldn’t leave a spot if you aren’t picking up tog in the first 5 to 10 minutes. If there are tog around, it will take some time for them to move into the area and muscle out the other bottom fish. The 10 minute and 55-second mark is a great example.

Taken from John Skinner Fishing on YouTube.

Video Description: “With my new Underwater Camera Drone I was able to use my smartphone to position the camera while watching live video of what was happening under the water! I first used the drone to learn new things about one of my favorite fishing spots, then positioned it to watch how fish were reacting to my lure! What I learned watching the underwater action will definitely help me catch more fish on future trips.”

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