Preferring hard bottoms, artificial reefs, wrecks, and ledges, the Gray Triggerfish is found in nearshore and offshore waters often near floating objects.
They use their powerful teeth to dislodge and crush small mussels, sea urchins, and barnacles.
Gray Triggerfish are light gray to olive-gray to yellowish-brown.
There are 3 faint broad dark blotches on the upper body and often white dots and lines on the lower body and fins.
They have large incisor teeth (rat-like sharp teeth) and its body is covered with tough, sandpaper-like skin.
Did You Know?
Gray Triggerfish are not very good swimmers and could be considered a laid-back fish. When resting these fish sometimes rest on their side.
Triggerfish get their name from a set of upper spines they use to “lock” themselves into holes, crevices, and other hiding spots. The large spine can be "unlocked" by depressing the smaller, “trigger” spine.
Common Fishing Lures and Baits
Besides fishing over man-made artificial reefs, many anglers now investigate any floating structure or debris to find Gray Triggerfish.
A small hook on a dropper loop with a light weight, baited with clam, fiddler crab, green crab, or shrimp is ideal.
Typical Sizes Caught
Gray Triggerfish are commonly caught in the range of 1 to 3 pounds by Delaware anglers.
Citation Minimum Lengths/Weights
Live Release Award Adult: 20 inches minimum Youth (age 15 and under): 18 inches minimum
Sport Fishing Tournament Award Adult: 5 pounds minimum Youth (age 15 and under): 3.5 pounds minimum
Note: Ocean Triggerfish are not currently eligible for a Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament or Live Release award, but a large specimen may qualify for an “Unusual Species” award.
Delaware State Record
Gray Triggerfish: 6 pounds 5 ounces Buddy J. Masten 2012