Although many anglers consider March and April to be two of the best months in South Florida for catching offshore tripletail, there are plenty to be found on a calm offshore day during the fall months as well. However, finding these fish is just one part of it. Properly fighting and landing a tripletail is another. Landing a tripletail can take a fair amount of skill since they are known for taking hard runs once they come within close proximity to the boat.
Three to eight pound tripletail are fairly common with the Florida state record at 40.8 pounds. According to FWC regulations, Florida tripletail must be 15 inches to keep and there is a limit of two fish per person per day. As far as gear, I generally use light spinning gear with 20 to 30-pound test braided line, monofilament leader and a live shrimp (tripletail like to feed on small crustaceans like crabs or shrimp).
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to landing one of these Florida sport fish:
1.) Look for dark spots lingering near the top of the water close to floating crab-pot buoys, platforms or flotsam. Tripletail are most often seen and caught near floating structure. Eventually you’ll get the hang of spotting them (even though they don’t look like much more than an over-sized mangrove leaf from a distance).
2.) Remember to cast past surface structure or crab-pot buoys so that your bait can be retrieved slowly and placed directly in front of the fish. Tripletail are skittish and finicky, so the bait has to pretty much drift right past them in order for them to bite. Once your bait is close to the fish, stop reeling and let the bait sink. This should provoke a strike.
3.) Always keep proper pressure on the line and let the fish run if it wants to take out line. Never reel against the drag. Tripletail have small mouths, so it can be a difficult to get a good hook set. Once you do, you never want to “horse” them in. Maintain steady pressure on the line at all times.
Once you’ve mastered the art of landing this species, you may want to invite one to dinner. Tripletail is one of the tastiest fish you’ll ever eat since they have a light, flaky texture when cooked. Just be sure to follow all state regulations and bag limits.