How to Catch a Triggerfish

Small yet stunning with a nasty sting, the Triggerfish is one of the most interesting fish you’ll find. They’re also one of the most annoying ones to try to catch. Finding the Triggerfish is quite difficult and even once you do, you still have to make sure you came prepared with the right setup. Their triggers by their dorsal fin are also a sharp contender that can leave even the most weathered angler in pain. Don’t let their difficulty dissuade you, catching the Triggerfish is a rewarding and tasty experience. 

Where to Find a Triggerfish

The trick of the Triggerfish is how common they are. One would think that because they’re found in oceans across the world, throughout many coastal regions, and some of the most famous reefs, they would be an easy catch. Their common presence does not equate to an easy angling process. Actually, one of the most difficult parts is finding this fish. The Triggerfish enjoys hiding in underwater flotsam and relaxing in reefs – both options have their drawbacks.

In the case of underwater flotsam, the catching process might be easier, but it’s much less reliable. The issue with the Triggerfish is you never know if they’re present until you’re right up next to them. Flotsam can be found throughout their habitats but is best used for offshore Triggerfish fishing as it’s a great way to find where a congregation of them have met up in deeper waters. You can even create your own underwater flotsam and use it as a net for any unsuspecting Triggerfish.

For reefs and wrecks which are more inshore, your fishing options are more reliable, but you have no guarantee that the fish is there. If they’re swimming around in a reef, you likely won’t be able to see them from the surface and will have to rely on luring tactics to draw them out. For these cases, deeper casting is recommended. It’s clear that, though the Triggerfish can be found in oceans throughout the world, there’s good reason why they’re more often than not caught on accident.

How to Catch a Triggerfish

There are many different fishing tactics that work well to help you catch a Triggerfish, but we have two that seem to work the best. This is a tricky fish to pin down and the method you use will depend on how close to shore you are. If you’re fishing in reefs and wrecks for the Triggerfish, you’ll want to use a more direct method of fishing whereas the offshore flotsam Triggerfish will be better lured out with surface tactics. 

When you’re fishing offshore and exploring different piles of flotsam, you’ll want to start off by getting as close as possible without startling the fish. Don’t pull on top of it but come up next to it. Toss out some bait on the surface near the Triggerfish – within 10 feet — and let it come to you. Don’t throw directly on top as this might scare the fish away. This will coax the Triggerfish out and allow you to bring it in with a net or a line.

Reef and wreck fishing calls for a deeper casting. With the offshore Triggerfish, you’ll be able to see them close to the surface. Inshore fish are less likely to be visible and so you’ll need to drop a heavy line down into the water, so it reaches the bottom. Use small bait and bring the line slowly back up to the boat. This will catch the attention of any Triggerfish present. With the right bait, you’ll have a couple interested fish on the way back up. Learn more about fishing for Triggerfish here.

Best Bait for Triggerfish

Triggerfish are carnivores and will almost always be enticed by another creature being used as bait. Some of their favorite foods are shrimp, crabs, urchins, worms, and squid. When you’re choosing your bait, it might be beneficial to research the most common creature in that region. The better you know the local fauna, the better you’ll be able to select the proper bait to lure in a Triggerfish. Find their favorite snack and use it as their bait.

Keep in mind that Triggerfish have relatively small mouths and won’t be able to take down a whole fish or squid. If you’re using live bait, it’s recommended that you chop it up to a more manageable size. A dime-sized squid tentacle is one of the best bait options for the Triggerfish as it’s in their diet and of a size that can easily grip onto. If the bait is too big, they might not go for it and even if they do, they won’t get their whole mouth around it making it less likely they’ll get caught on the hook.

Best Tackle Setup for Triggerfish

Remember to keep it small. As we mentioned with the bait, this is a rather small mouthed fish and your line should reflect that size. You won’t need a line that can support a live fish like many other setups, and, in fact, those larger lines can make it more difficult to catch a Triggerfish. Their mouths are so small and their teeth so big that they can fit much else in them. Just as with the bait, you’ll want to keep your hooks small. 

Number fours or number six sized hooks are best for the Triggerfish as they are enough to support the quick movement of the species and can still fit within their mouth. You won’t need a line that’s too strong either as this fish doesn’t pack much of a punch. A 15-pound line should do fine for your rig. You won’t need a leader either, so no need to stress about that extra knot. The length of your rod might vary based on whether you’re doing inshore or offshore fishing.

Though Triggerfish are rather common, they are still difficult to catch. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be better prepared to catch the allusive species and bring in a tasty dinner. 

Also, learn How to Catch a Peacock Bass.

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