Tripletail Fishing (Lobotes surinamensis)

All Tackle Record
42lbs, 5oz

Tripletail Fishing (Lobotes surinamensis)

This prehistoric-looking fish might be the most underappreciated catch of the saltwater sportfishing world. It's fun to seek out, grows to a decent size, puts up a good fight and makes for an excellent meal - why isn't it more popular?

It's okay, little Tripletail. We got you. We'll make you famous.

This is a semi-migratory, usually solitary swimming, pelagic fish that's fairly widespread throughout the world, but somewhat scarce in numbers. It's not commonly fished for recreationally, but is also caught and marketed in decent quantities commercially.

How big

Trip's can grow up to about 35'' and a speculated 50lbs. A usual catch will, however, be between 2 and 16lbs.

When & Where

This species inhabits tropical and subtropical waters worldwide - in the eastern Atlantic off Africa and Portugal and in the Mediterranean Sea, throughout the Indo-Pacific, in the eastern Pacific from Costa Rica to Peru and in the western Atlantic from Chesapeake Bay to Argentina, including the Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean Sea.

In Florida, it's most likely to be found off Port Canaveral March through June (peaking in May) on the Atlantic coast and from Ten Thousand Islands to Boca Grande during spring and summer and in the Apalachicola Bay in the summer on the Gulf coast. The Keys will have good numbers of them throughout the spring and summer months as well. Jekyll Island, GA sees great numbers April through July.

If this fish doesn't start some questions, we don't know what will. Landed with Entice Charters out of Fort Myers Beach, FL

How to catch

Tripletail are commonly found lazying on the surface around any type of flotsam, especially buoys, or just drifting with the coming currents, imitating other floating objects (hence their nickname, buoyfish). They can also be found close to jetty/pier pilings or in deeper water around ship wrecks.

Live shrimp is the preferred bait, however, the fish's diet includes menhaden, bumper and anchovies, so those should work as well. Trip's will not be shy about hitting jigs, plugs, popping bugs or shrimp pattern flies either.

Once spotted floating, the bait should be cast close to the fish, retrieved slowly and stopped to sink right next to it, or cast and allowed to drift to the fish with the current. Upon being hooked, Trippletail will instinctively dive down to take cover, so a stout leader or a shock tippet should be used. Additionally, their gill covers are razor sharp, so they should be boated using a landing net.

Good to eat?

Excellent! White and fine textured meat.


Season - always open;
Size limit - 15'' minimum for Florida, 18'' minimum for Georgia, Mississippi; other states have no size regulations;
Bag limit (per angler per day) - 2 for Florida and Georgia, 3 for Mississippi; other states have no bag regulations;