Reef fish gear requirements apply
Federal Waters Harvest Seasons:
Gulf of Mexico: Season opens January 1, 2013. Size limit: 14" fork length. Pending changes
for the 2013 Gulf season: 2 fish bag limit within the 20 reef fish aggregate and a proposed
closed season of June 1 – July 31.
Atlantic: Size limit: 12” fork length. Included in the 20 fish snapper grouper aggregate bag
Recent Management Updates:
The recreational harvest of gray triggerfish in Gulf of Mexico federal waters closed June 11,
2012. This date was set by NOAA Fisheries Service, who determined the 2012 recreational
quota for triggerfish would be caught by then. The federal season will reopen Jan. 1, 2013.
The recreational harvest of gray triggerfish in state waters remains open. Vessels that have
a valid federal for-hire license for Gulf of Mexico reef fish must adhere to this federal closure
even when fishing in state waters.
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
Image Credit: Diane Rome Peebles
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission • Farris Bryant Building
620 S. Meridian St. • Tallahassee, FL
32399-1600 • (850) 488-4676
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