Tripletail

Tripletail is a medium-sized tropical and subtropical fish with characteristic large fins that give it a unique, unmistakable appearance.
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Where and When?

The tripletail are distributed throughout nearly all the tropical waters of the world and are particularly common and important as food in parts of the Far East. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, they may be found from Massachusetts southwards all the way to Argentina. Tripletail favour warm water conditions and, although they may sometimes be particularly common in an area they also move seasonally to warmer waters. The Gulf of Mexico can be particularly good for tripletail fishing but only between April and October. Some tripletail move offshore and congregate at specific spots, where they are targeted by sport anglers. Two of these areas are near Port CanaveralPort Canaveral, off the Florida Coast, and Jekyll Island, off Georgia Georgia. Sight fishing for tripletail can be excellent, exciting and rewarding, but the species does feed throughout the night as well and may be caught at any time if conditions are right. Although common in many other parts of the world it is usually caught by commercial fishers with sport angling taking place mostly around Australia, South Africa and North America.

About Tripletail

Tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis) vary markedly in location, size, shape and colour depending on the stage of its life cycle. Juveniles are often found in estuaries and shallow water, imitating floating leaves and coloured with browns and yellows but with white fins. As they grow, they are more commonly caught nearer the deeper ocean and become progressively darker until, as adults, they are mostly black but with a mottling of greys and browns. They have small mouths and large eyes and the scales extend over the bases of their fins. The posterior dorsal, anal and caudal fins are large and are similar in appearance, thus the common name of this fish. Tripletail can grow to 110 cm (3’7”) and 19.2 kg (42 ⅓ lb), but specimens of around 80 cm (2 ½ feet) are much more common. They feed on organisms associated with the objects around which they are often found and include small fish, crustaceans and invertebrates. Tripletail can be solitary but several may accumulate around suitable objects and they undergo seasonal migrations each year and congregate offshore.

How to Catch?

Depending on which part of the life cycle and what size fish is being targeted, there are many options for catching tripletails. In estuaries and lagoons they may be caught incidentally as it is usually difficult to specifically target tripletails in such areas. As the species is an opportunistic feeder it may be hooked on a wide variety of baits in any habitat but the favourites are live bait, natural dead bait and soft lures for spinning. While bank fishing and small boat “blind” fishing can work reasonably well, the tripletail is a sought after game fish mostly due to its habit of associating with floating debris and plants. In open water it is almost always associated with floating items and, in the Gulf of Mexico, marker buoys for crab pots very often attract tripletails, sometimes more than one and sometimes large individuals. Casting towards a large tripletail lurking below some floating debris, waiting for it to slurp in the bait, is definitely one of the more exciting fishing experiences.