Went Taugtog (tog) fishing the other day. A salt water, ocean fish, they are particularly difficult to catch. They like to eat crabs this time of year, and they have some (british looking) teeth.
General information on them is naturally available at wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tautog
Why are they difficult to catch? Tog live in caves and other similar structures. Ship wrecks, and artificial structures (railway cars) are popular places to find the fish. These places themselves are difficult to fish, as your rigs will commonly get stuck, and worn. It can be a test of patience to get the rigs unstuck, but is possible. Tog tend to ‘test’ a food they are interested in eating, resulting in an initial tug on the line. Trying to set the hook at this point, will cause you to miss the fish. Waiting for the second set of tugs means the tog has taken the bait, and its time for the real fun to begin.
Naturally, when the hook is set, the tog freak out and want to go back into the their home. They will start trying to swim down and back into a cave/structure as hard as possible. The only way to get the fish is to keep their head up (keep your pole pointed up), and start reeling them in. As Jason says, the first 5 feet are the most important. If your tog makes it back into their home/structure, life gets difficult. Its time to go back to doing your best to free the rig from the environment.
This is exactly what happened to me, the fish felt pretty decent in size, and it got the best of me. A few minutes worth of trying to ‘feel’ my way out of the structure, had me giving up. I could still feel the fish on the line, but it won the battle. I called for a mate, and he gave a few minutes of trying, with no success. He no longer felt the fish on the line (bummer), and we were at the point of breaking the line. The pull he gave on the line freed it with out breaking the rig, and the revelation that the fish was still on the line. WOOHOO!
PS: Tog taste great!