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Triggerfish Fishing Guide

The triggerfish was a not-so-popular fish years ago but it had gradually gained attention and popularity from the anglers because of its good fighting abilities and very tasty meat. Get to know this fish more by reading below!

Get to Know the Triggerfish

The triggerfish, also known as the gray triggerfish, is a deep-bodied fish that has a distinctive appearance from other fishes. Adult triggerfish are usually colored olive-gray and have blue spots and lines on their upper body and back dorsal fin. Adults can also change color—males can turn to a charcoal-gray color while females can possess contrasting patterns of black and white

Getting to know the triggerfish is incomplete if you never get to know the why behind its unique name. The triggerfish possesses a spine in its back dorsal fin that it uses to defend and anchor itself to tight crevices. A second spine in its dorsal fin acts as a trigger—when the second spine is deflected, the first larger spine is erected acting like a sword to defend against predators. It also has powerful jaws that can crush hard shells and can nibble baits from anglers.

Triggerfish can grow into a length of 28 inches; a weight of up to 13 pounds, and a lifespan of up to 16 years old.

When and Where to Catch Triggerfish?

Triggerfish can be caught at any time of the year, but they are probably most prevalent in the summer season. You can also take note of the spawning and migration season of triggerfish prey as they would most likely go to areas where there are many food options. Triggerfish primarily prey on invertebrates such as small crabs, shrimp, lobsters, sea urchins, mollusks, and sea dollars. They are also known to blow a stream of water to sandy areas to expose sea dollars—talk about strategy!

As to the where, triggerfish are bottom-dwelling and structure-oriented fish found inshore or at times offshore areas of Virginia. You can go to Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, Chesapeake Light Tower, and other areas with wrecks and reefs. You can also go to areas where triggerfish prey would most likely hang out with other similar sea creatures.

How to Catch Triggerfish?

The triggerfish is a small fish, but do not get fooled by the size of it— because it can fight back with aggressiveness. Attempting to catch a hard-to-catch fish does not mean it is impossible to do since methods for catching groupers, spadefish, and the likes are the same for the triggerfish. You can catch a triggerfish by the book methods such as rigging and trolling, but take note that the triggerfish may have a small mouth but its powerful jaws can swiftly nibble baits before an angler can even react. Use smaller-sized hooks instead and use baits such as crustaceans, mollusks, or the top bait—squid strips.

Since triggerfish are deep-dwelling fish, it is advisable to use a heavy hook to reach deep waters. Triggerfish can sometimes hover to the surface when there are a hefty amount of weeds, when this happens, switch to a lightweight hook.

Enjoy your Triggerfish

The triggerfish is a well-regulated fish dubbed a smart seafood choice by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), so set aside whatever guilt you have and savor the taste of the triggerfish you’re about to eat. The triggerfish is well-known for its very tasty flavor characterized by a sweet flesh similar to a crab’s flesh. Its meat texture is also firm and is of excellent quality. You can also enjoy the meat fresh, smoked, or dried.

Since the fish’s meat tastes more like crabs and is versatile you can definitely enjoy it with your own experimentation. Common cooking methods are grilling, frying, searing, sautéing, and many more. Eating triggerfish is also a healthy food option since it contains a good amount of protein and several minerals such as selenium.

Overall, enjoying your catch is a ritual. So make sure to experiment and see what’s the best method for you to enjoy the tasty triggerfish. Good luck!

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