Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps)

Tilefish

  • Size 10-20 lbs
  • Food Value Excellent
  • Game Qualities Low
  • Habitats Offshore, Reef, Wreck
There are many species of Tilefish in the world but the one you’re most likely to find on a charter is the Great Northern Tilefish. It goes by many names including Golden Tilefish, Golden Tile, Blue Tilefish, Common Tilefish, and simply “Tilefish”. This deep-water delicacy may look a little gormless, but tile fishing is a real treat for anglers all across America’s East Coast.

How big?

The average Tilefish pulled in on a fishing charter weighs around 10-20 lbs, but they can get much, much bigger – the all-tackle record stands at a jaw-dropping 65 lb 3 oz! This monster was only caught in 2012, so even bigger fish could well be out there.
Two happy anglers holding up large Tilefish
A huge Tilefish caught out of Islamorada, FL

Where and when?

Tilefish live at the bottom of the West Atlantic, anywhere from 250’ to 1,500’ down. They can be found from Nova Scotia to Venezuela, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and occasionally in the Caribbean.
 
Tragically, the species was nearly wiped out in the 19th century by a shift in the path of the Gulf Stream. They’re still classified as endangered, although numbers are recovering across much of the Mid-Atlantic since protections were put in place.

How to Catch Tilefish

The main way people catch Tilefish is by deep dropping, drifting cut baits along the bottom on wire lines and heavy tackle. Hauling in even a 20-lb fish from 400’ down is exhausting and not much fun, so most Tilefish fishing charters use electric reels to target them.

Good to eat?

The general rule with fish is “the deeper you go, the tastier they get.” Tilefish is no exception, although it’s not quite as tasty as deep-water Snappers and Groupers. The meat has a firm but tender texture and a sweet, juicy flavor. They’re often compared to lobster more than other fish.

Nearby Tilefish Fishing Charters

Top Tilefish Fishing Destinations