Sussex Angling TV Logo no background Jan 14

The Trigger Fish

The trigger fish is one species we will be catching more of in the future as the seas warm up. They are prolific off the coasts of Spain, Portugal and France where they form large shoals and feed voraciously on crab, shrimp, prawn, mussels and other crustaceans and moluscs.

In recent years they have been found further and further up the channel and are well established in places such as Weymouth and Poole. Several have been caught from the Sussex coast already and many have been found in crab and lobster pots. Try a one up one down rig baited with squid, rag worm or shellfish over rough ground.

A word of warning, the triggerfish has very strong jaws and sharp teeth and can bite
through a mono trace easily. Specimen size for Sussex is 3lbs.

Fact File

Latin Name: Balistes capriscus

Distribution: There are many species but the Grey Trigger fish is the most common visitor – normally found in warm waters visiting the Channel and Sussex waters in the summer.

Size: Up to 70cm

Season: Summer months July onwards

Staple food: shellfish and crustaceans

Angling tactics:
Caught mainly in boats when float fishing or bait fishing on the bottom. Use small hooks and strong lineas they have powerful teeth in a small mouth.

Bait Squid, rag and Shellfish

British Record:
Shore 5lb 14oz
Boat record Unknown

Average Size: 2.5lb

Caught on: Boats and occassionaly piers and breakwaters it's a demersal species found mainly around rocky reefs
For more details try

trigger fish

Triggerfish can be caught on baits laid on the seabed, but float fished baits can also produce good results, especially if they are allowed to drift around the area with the tide when the triggerfish are feeding.

In deep-water rock marks freelining bait can work, as triggerfish will come very close in to feed on both mussels and all kinds of shellfish which attach themselves to rocks.