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NEW: The FWC approved changing the minimum size limit for recreationally caught gray triggerfish in Atlantic state waters from 12 to 14 inches fork length at the April Commission meeting. The effective date for this change is to be determined. Learn more.
Gray Triggerfish: Balistes capriscus
||Gulf State Waters
||Atlantic State Waters
|Minimum Size Limit
||14” Fork Length
12” Fork Length
(will change to 14" later this year)
|Daily Bag Limit
2-fish bag limit
No bag limit
Closed Feb. 7-Dec. 31 in Gulf state and federal waters.
Gulf of Mexico: 14" FL; 2 fish bag limit within 20 reef fish aggregate. Closed Feb. 7-Dec. 31, 2015. Learn more about the federal closure
Atlantic: 12” FL; included in the 20 fish snapper grouper aggregate bag limit.
Habitat and Fishing Tips:
Triggerfish inhabit hard bottom ledges and artificial reefs in water depths that exceed 80 feet. Because they prefer the same type of habitat, they are almost always found in association with red snapper. Triggerfish feed primarily on benthic invertebrates including crabs, sea urchins, shrimp, sand dollars and mollusks. Recreational anglers commonly catch triggers on squid or cut bait but they are also harvested by spear fishing. Triggerfish are notorious bait stealers and often frustrate anglers targeting larger snapper and grouper. Because triggerfish have a hard, bony mouth, it is very important to use a small, very sharp hook. Light to medium bottom fishing equipment with 20 to 50 pound test line is sufficient for triggerfish which average 2 to 4 pounds.
12 lb 7 oz, caught near Pensacola July 15, 2001
Gulf Federal Waters Rules
Atlantic Federal Waters Rules
Image Credit:Diane Rome Peebles