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NEW: The FWC approved changing the recreational, commercial, sale and import minimum size limit for gray triggerfish in Atlantic state waters from 14 to 12 inches fork length at the November Commission meeting. They also adopted a 10-fish recreational bag limit. The effective date for this change is Nov. 21, 2015. 


Gray Triggerfish

Gray Triggerfish: Balistes capriscus 

Florida Regulations:    

Regulations Gulf State Waters Atlantic 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

Closed Feb. 7-Dec. 31 in Gulf state and federal waters.  


Federal Waters:

Gulf of Mexico: 14" FL; 2 fish bag limit within 20 reef fish aggregate. Closed Feb. 7-Dec. 31, 2015. Learn more about the federal closure icon_PDF.gif

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:
Sailfish can swim 68 miles per hour, faster than a marlin.

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