Triggerfish Fishing in Florida – Complete Guide for 2021

Studying Time: 6 minutes

The 2021 Triggerfish season is lastly upon us. Because the annual January-February closure involves an finish, 1000’s of anglers eagerly make plans for his or her subsequent Triggerfish fishing journey.

Set to open on March 1, this yr’s Florida Set off season may see document numbers of fishermen providing their casts. The explanation? The phrase has lastly gotten out about how enjoyable it’s to catch these little guys. Oh, and did we point out that they style even higher than Snapper? Right now, you’ll study all it’s essential find out about the place and methods to catch Triggerfish in Florida.

Earlier than we get into the technical stuff, let’s check out what Triggerfish are and what makes them so standard.

Triggerfish Habitat

When individuals say Triggerfish, they often imply Gray Triggerfish, at the least on this aspect of the Atlantic. Triggers largely inhabit the nearshore and offshore waters of the Mexican Gulf, the bigger a part of the East Coast, and the nice and cozy waters of the Caribbean reefs. Whereas all of those locales present good Triggerfish bites, Florida’s waters stand out as essentially the most constantly productive Set off fishery.

Triggers typically compete for a similar habitat as Purple Snapper and Gag Grouper. This is the reason it’s not unusual for the Triggers to gobble up your bait once you’re fishing for Gags. Grownup Triggerfish prefer to hold to the underside, the place they feast on crabs, sea urchins, shrimp, and sand {dollars}.

They generally rise as much as feed, too. Juvenile Triggers drift close to the floor feasting on sargassum till they’re mature sufficient to hunt. Talking of searching, Triggerfish could be actually ingenious in the way in which they seize their prey.

When searching sand {dollars}, Triggers typically assume a vertical place, from which they blow a stream of water. As soon as they expose the sand greenback from below the sand, Triggers swoop all the way down to seize their prey with their enamel.

They then flip the sand greenback round and drop it to fall the wrong way up, exposing its mushy underside. The Triggerfish slams into the sand greenback with full pressure and begins consuming. What a predator.

The 2 areas of the Sunshine State which can be changing into well-known for Triggerfish fishing are the Panhandle and St. Petersburg. Right here, you could find smaller Tiggerfish round inshore backside buildings, however since they are typically fairly small as it’s, so that you’d do properly to go a little bit additional out for the larger ones. The nearshore synthetic reefs are teeming with Triggers, however you could find numerous them offshore, as properly.

How do you acknowledge a Triggerfish?

Triggerfish have a couple of distinctive options which make them simply recognizable. Their physique is laterally compressed, with two dorsal fins, and a small mouth. Triggers acquired their title by the spines on their dorsal fins.

To guard themselves from predators, Triggerfish lock up their pointy first dorsal fin. As soon as the fin is firmly locked in an erect place, there is just one solution to decrease it, and that’s by pushing the second dorsal fin – the “set off.”

Triggerfish pores and skin is unbelievably robust – you’d have a tough time piercing it even with a sharpened knife. Their mouths are small, however their robust, bony jaws have chisel-like enamel, which simply plow by mussels, sea urchins, and sand {dollars}.

The utmost size a Triggerfish can attain is round 30 inches, however they’re way more widespread within the 14–17 inch vary. The most important Set off caught in Florida waters weighed 12 kilos, 7 ounces.

Triggerfish Fishing Rules

Gulf of Mexico

In recent times, Triggerfish fishing within the Gulf has turn out to be extra tightly regulated, nevertheless it’s nonetheless nowhere close to as strict as fishing for Purple Snapper.

Following the annual January-February closure, the 2020 Triggerfish season will formally open on March 1, and it’ll final till Could 31. The annual closure will comply with, permitting the Triggers to spawn.

Not like final yr, this yr’s Triggerfish season may have a reopening in August. The second a part of the season will final from August 1 to December 31.

Within the Gulf, the minimal dimension required shall be 15” fork size, with a bag restrict of 1 per individual. The identical goes each for state and federal waters, though there’s a 20 reef fish combination restrict when fishing additional than 9 miles out.


When you plan on fishing for Triggerfish within the Atlantic, you’ll be happy to know that the season is open year-round. The minimal dimension requirement is 12” fork size, with 10 per individual bag restrict.

Regardless of the stricter guidelines, most anglers contend that fishing for Triggerfish within the Gulf is disproportionately higher in comparison with the Atlantic. We’ll allow you to be the choose of that.

The best way to Catch Triggerfish

Triggerfish are exceptionally onerous fighters, particularly for his or her dimension. Their small mouths are deceptively robust, and so they can snag your baits in a rush – simply ask any Snapper fisherman.

You’ll need to change your strategy relying on the place the fish are, however one factor stays the identical – you’ll want small, sharp circle hooks. Triggers gained’t be capable of spit these hooks out as simply.

As for baits, Triggers will gladly go for any stay bait you throw at them. That mentioned, your best choice will most likely be squid, as a result of it sticks to your hook way more firmly that different bait. An inch-wide dice ought to do the trick. As most Triggerfish hold to the underside, you’ll additionally want a comparatively heavy sinker (round six to eight ounces).

Hold it Regular

One Triggerfish fishing tactic is to drop your baited hook all the way in which to the underside, after which to start out reeling instantly after. You gained’t must reel quick at this level, nevertheless it’s essential to maintain the reel going.

This may preserve pressure in your line, and will let you really feel even the smallest of bites. As quickly because the Set off bites, begin reeling as quick as you may with out jerking the rod. If the hook tip was within the Set off’s mouth, your reel motion ought to hook the fish.

Be sure that to not jerk the rod once you really feel the chew. You may need an urge to yank the rod to “set” the hook, however preserving a continuing clean reel will make all of the distinction. When you jerk the rod up, your sinker will probably knock the hook out of the Set off’s mouth. If it doesn’t knock it out on the way in which up, it most likely accomplish that because it comes down.

Double Whammy

One other solution to catch Triggerfish is to make use of a three-hook hen rig (a modified sabiki rig). What you need to do right here is reap the benefits of the fish instincts. Since Triggerfish prefer to compete for a similar bait as Snapper and Grouper, your three-hook setup will show to be too fairly to say no to.

Let your sinker hit the underside after which pull the rig up by a foot or so. As quickly because the Triggers see a Grouper shifting round your providing, they are going to cost up from the underside to steal it. Take into account that, not like Snapper or Grouper, a Triggerfish will nib at your bait first earlier than taking it in.

Good Searching, Good Consuming

Triggerfish could be tough to catch, however the battle is properly price it. These fish are a number of the tastiest you’ll ever strive. When you crack by the pores and skin, their meat may be very mushy and agency. This enables for all types of Set off delicacies.

To fillet a Triggerfish, don’t even hassle making an attempt to chop it open from the aspect. The one method you’ll get close to the tasty meat is if you happen to puncture it by the mushy space behind the gills, and work your method down. One other method is to chop from the anal vent.

Fishing for Triggerfish appears to lastly get the popularity it deserves. These little guys will placed on a present earlier than you get to reel them in, and they’ll make for a unbelievable dinner afterwards. Now that the 2019 Triggerfish season is right here, there’s nothing stopping you from going after your personal feast.

Have you ever ever caught a Triggerfish? Are you planning to catch one this yr? What’s tougher, to catch a Triggerfish, or to chop one open? Tell us within the feedback beneath.