NEW: The recreational gray triggerfish season in Gulf state waters will reopen to harvest March 1, 2018. When the season reopens, the following regulations will be in effect in Gulf state waters: 

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 14” Fork Length (will be 15" when season opens March 1, 2018) 12" Fork Length
Daily Bag Limit

  2 per person (will be 1 fish per person when season opens March 1, 2018)

    10 per person


Gear Requirements:

State Waters Harvest Seasons

Gulf: Reopens March 1, 2018. Annual season closures are January, February, June and July. 

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. 

Several changes effective Jan. 16, 2018. Learn more about season External Websiteand regulation changes in Gulf federal waters.

Starting Jan. 16, 2018, season will close through Feb. 28, 2018. When season reopens, bag limit will be 1 fish per person per day and minimum size limit will be 15 inches FL.

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

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