Charleston Offshore Fishing: Triggerfish – By Captain Will Adams

When people are talking about Triggerfish, they generally mean Grey Triggerfish. Triggers usually inhabit 70’-120’. In 120’ + you can find Queen Triggerfish-very beautiful fish with dark blue stripes on both sides.

When I’m targeting Grey Triggerfish I start at about 25 miles and work my way out to 40 miles offshore.

They are usually suspended above live bottom and sometimes you can find them above artificial reefs.

They compete for the same habitat and food sources as Red Snappers and Gag Groupers so they’re usually the culprit when your bait is stripped clean.

Adult Triggers like to stay low while the juveniles drift near the surface. Adult Triggers like to eat crab, sea urchin, shrimp, and sand dollars.

I don’t recommend shrimp or sand dollars being the shrimp are stripped clean faster than you can keep up, and well, sand dollars just isn’t something I would try.

Triggerfish can be ingenious in the way they feed. You want to change your approach completely to using 80lb fluorocarbon and small meaty hooks(circle).

Small hooks are the key – I cannot express that enough!

I usually drop a 6oz if I’m suspending the bait or an 8oz if searching for the adult Triggers. I use small pieces of squid that I brine the day before I plan on using.

Remember that it may feel like a small fish when he’s biting, but when you do get him hooked-hold on! They are a fish that love to fight and then twist on the way up.

Small hooks are the key – I cannot express that enough!

I also use small chunks of blue crab. Remember when hooking the blue crab to make sure you expose the barb back outside of the bait, it makes it easier to penetrate their armored mouth.

Click the picture to go to our website!

Triggerfish are very delicious but can be difficult to clean.

Take your time and be careful not to put your fingers near their mouth when taking the hook out. I’ve seen them nip the tip of fingers right off.

If you’re ready to try and hunt these elusive but delicious little fish, head up to Haddrell’s and those boys will set you up with everything you need to get the job done.

If you had luck I’d love to see how it worked out for you, email or find me on Facebook.

Capt. Will Adams – Write off the Rip Charters Tel 843-270-0909 or email:

You may also be interested in reading Improve Your Offshore Fishing Skills