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Daily fishing report

What to do to catch triggerfish.

By DAVE ZALEWSKI
Published December 12, 2006


What's hot: Gray triggerfish are one of the most underutilized and delicious tasting of the species that can be caught bottom fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. They have mouths and teeth similar to sheepshead inshore, which make both of them difficult to catch. Because of the approaching winter with its diminished supply of bait, triggerfish along with all other species of bottom fish are feeding heavily.

Tactics: Triggerfish inhabit only live in limestone outcroppings, artificial reefs and wrecks that are well established with a large amount of growth. Most wrecks and artificial reefs are heavily fished by rod-and-reel anglers as well as divers targeting grouper and snapper to the exclusion of triggers. They provide great spots to downsize tackle and put a few of these hard-pulling fish in the box. Triggerfish are used as an indicator that gag grouper are present. If triggerfish are biting on a ledge, gag grouper usually are also there.

Tackle: Because of their small mouths, use circle or J hooks no larger than #1/0 or #2/0, along with the lightest possible swivel sinker that will take the bait to the bottom. Triggerfish are very aggressive and will rise up in the water column to strike a bait on the way down. Light spinning or conventional tackle in the 10- to 12-pound class the same as used for trout inshore provides great sport and drag-pulling action from some of the larger fish. Gray triggerfish must be 12 inches fork length to be legal.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at (727) 397-8815 or by e-mail at Luckytoo2@aol.com.