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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 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.