NEW: Recreational gray triggerfish season is currently slated to be closed through Dec. 31, 2017, in Gulf state and federal waters. The FWC is considering a limited 2017 open season at an upcoming meeting. To comment, visit 

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Gray Triggerfish: Balistes capriscus 

Florida Regulations:    

RegulationsGulf State WatersAtlantic State Waters
Minimum Size Limit 14” Fork Length 12" Fork Length
Daily Bag Limit

  2 per person

    10 per person


Gear Requirements:

State Waters Harvest Seasons

Gulf: Closed through Dec. 31, 2017, reopening to harvest Jan. 1, 2018, in Gulf state waters. FWC will consider a limited 2017 season at an upcoming meeting. To comment, visit 

Atlantic: Open year-round.


Federal Waters:

Gulf of Mexico: 14" FL; 2 fish bag limit within 20 reef fish aggregate. Closed through Dec. 31, 2017, reopening to harvest Jan. 1, 2018.

Atlantic: 14” 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.     


State Record:

12 lb 7 oz, caught near Pensacola July 15, 2001


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Image Credit: Diane Rome Peebles

FWC Facts:
Least killifish rarely exceed 1 inch in length and are the smallest of Florida’s freshwater fish.

Learn More at AskFWC