Triggerfish (Balistidae spp)

Sight fishing for Triggerfish on the flats is a relatively new but extremely exiting experience. The FlyCastaway guides where of the first guides to develop the techniques and flies, as well as to introduce and establish Triggerfish as a much sought after trophy for flats fisherman. In the past few years the FlyCastaway guides have perfected the art of picking the right tides and habitats to catch these colourful characters.

Triggerfish occur in the Indian and Pacific oceans. We target three species of Triggerfish, namely the Moustache or Giant Triggerfish, Yellow Margin Triggerfish, and the smaller but beautiful Picasso Triggerfish.

Triggerfish are opportunists, feeding mainly on crustaceans, but if the opportunity arises will feed on small baitfish and urchins. The Moustache Triggerfish and Yellow Margin Triggerfish are the larger of the target species with specimens up to 15lbs having been landed on fly. These fish have extended anal and dorsal fins which work in conjunction with each other but in different directions. This counteraction gives the Triggerfish lightning fast acceleration and a great deal of strength and power.

Techniques

All fishing for Triggerfish is done by sight casting to the fish feeding on either sand flats, pancake flats, storm ridges or outer reef areas. Fish are usually spotted whilst tailing. Crab patterns have proven to be the most successful when targeting Triggerfish, with patterns such as Velcro crabs, Merkins, Mc Crabs and Borski sliders in sizes #4 and #6 being the most popular.

Because Triggerfish have teeth and jaws that will remove a finger in seconds, we recommend that all flies are tied on Gamakatsu SL 12 or SC15 hooks. We also recommend 20lb tippet as they tend to fight dirty and will head straight for any coral or hole in the area. The ideal length of the leader is between 10 and 12 feet. The only thing you have to be careful of when handling these fish is their powerful mouths and anal trigger fin. It is very possible to get all three target species in one day and join the “Triggerfish Grand Slam” Club.

Tackle

  • Fly Rod: Qast action 9 foot 9 or 10 wt fly rod
  • Reel & Backing: Saltwater series reel that can hold 300 or more meters of 50 – 60lbs braid.
  • Lines: Weight forward 9 or 10 weight saltwater floating line. A Bimini Twist to Double Surgions should be tied into the braid, following which the fly line and backing should be joined using the loop to loop method.
  • Leaders: 17 – 20lb 12ft tapered fluorocarbon leader 30lbs braided loops nail knotted on both ends.
  • Knots: Fly to leader – Improved Homer Rhode or Perfection Loop; Leader to braided loop Perfection loop.
  • Flies: Velcro Crabs, Bramhams Swimming Crab, Spawning Shrimps, Fleeing Crabs and Merkins tied in natural colour combinations of sand and tan on Gamagkatsu No 2 – SC12S (Link to fly patterns and fly tying)
  • Boots: A good quality thick rubber soled boot with ankle support.
  • Gravel guards: A good idea to prevent sand penetrating your boots.
  • Sunglasses: Dark amber or mirror blue grey lenses.

Before leaving on your trip you will be briefed in detail by the FlyCastaway guides as to exactly what fly patterns you are going to need and how you should prepare your tackle. For all our destinations we have compiled a comprehensive tackle list.

Destinations 

Seychelles – CosmoledoProvidence, Astove and Farquhar Atolls