Gray Triggerfish

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.

Gray Triggerfish Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year-Round
Size Limit No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person No Limit
Delaware Range Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters Common
General Habitat and Food Preferences 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.
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 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 Length and Weight 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

Note: Ocean triggerfish do not qualify