The 2020 Gray Triggerfish season for state and federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico will open March 1st, 2020 and go until May 1st, 2020. The season will close for May, June, and July but then reopen August 1st 2020 and go through December 31st, 2020. (If the max quota for the Gulf is reached, earlier season closures are possible.)
The daily bag limit for Triggerfish in state and federal waters is 1 per person, per day. The minimum size to harvest is 15” to the fork. Triggerfish are usually found on hard- bottoms, reefs, and ledges in water that usually exceeds 80ft deep. Because of their habitat they are usually are caught alongside the famous Red Snapper. Triggerfish typically prefer cut bait such as squid. Since they have very hard, bony mouths it is important to use smaller hooks when fishing for them to increase your hook up ratio. Triggerfish are one of the most delicious fish to eat in the Gulf and are a firm, white flakey filet that you can cook a variety of ways. See the recipe below for one of our favorite ways to cook up a Blackened Triggerfish Sandwich.
FUN FACT: The Florida state record triggerfish is 12lbs, 7oz and was caught off the coast of Pensacola in July 2001.
Blackened Triggerfish Sandwich & Homemade Slaw
You will need:
1 bottle Chef Paul’s Magic Seafood Seasoning
Cast Iron Skillet
2 Sticks of butter, melted
Kaiser or Hawaiian King Buns
Louisiana Tartar Sauce
6 cups shredded cabbage/carrot mix
½ cup Mayo
1 tsp white vinegar
1/3 cup miracle whip
¼ cup sugar
1 lemon, squeezed and seeded
1) Prep your fish. Cut out any bloodlines and trim up filet to fit a sandwich. Triggerfish usually yield one sandwich per filet.
2) Get your skillet hot. (350-400 degrees)
3) In a large bowl combine mayo, miracle whip, sugar, cabbage mix, vinegar, and lemon juice. Mix until all combined. Set slaw aside.
4) Once skillet is hot, dip one filet into melted butter and then top the upward side completely with chef Paul’s seasoning. Place seasoned side down in skillet and then coat top side in skillet with seasoning as well. Repeat process for all filets. They will need to cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
5) Toast your buns and add a little tartar sauce on them.
6) Top buns with slaw and a blackened filet. Serve immediately.