Recreational harvest of gray triggerfish in Gulf state waters closed Sept. 28 in response to harvest projections indicating the 2018 federal recreational quota for gray triggerfish has been reached. The closure will remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2018. Learn more.

Have you signed up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey yet? Learn more.



Gray Triggerfish: Balistes capriscus 

Florida Regulations:    

RegulationsGulf State WatersAtlantic State Waters
Minimum Size Limit 15” Fork Length 12" Fork Length
Daily Bag Limit

                 1 per person

                       10 per person


Gear Requirements:

State Waters Harvest Seasons

Gulf:  Closed Sept. 28-Dec. 31, 2018. Closed annually January, February, June and July.

Atlantic: Open year-round.

Federal Waters:

Gulf of Mexico: 15" FL; 1 fish bag limit within 20 reef fish aggregate. Closing Aug. 17, 2018-Feb. 28, 2019. Learn more. icon_external.png

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


Florida Rule icon_external.png

Gulf Federal Waters Rules icon_external.png

Atlantic Federal Waters Rules icon_external.png


Image Credit: Diane Rome Peebles

FWC Facts:
Tribal societies in Central America, West Africa, Australia and Papua, New Guinea consider sawfish symbols of strength, spirituality and prosperity.

Learn More at AskFWC