Trigger Fish

by David Proudfoot

Balistes capriscus

species ID trigger fish

Distinguishing features

The trigger fish is well named as the second of the three spines on the first dorsal can act as a trigger and locks the strong sharp first spine as a defensive measure. The body is deep and narrow with a small spin in place of the pelvic fins. It has a large second dorsal, tail and anal fins. The body is generally a greeny brown or grey colour and the dorsal and anal fins have a blue line along their base.


Can grow to a length of over 40 cm and reach weights of 2.7 kg.

British Record Fish List

UK Shore Record: 5lb 14oz 8dms / 2.679kgs
UK Boat Record: 6lb 4oz 14dms / 2.859kgs

European Line Class Record for this species


This trigger fish is found from the west coast of Africa, into the Mediterranean and north into the English Channel and Atlantic west coast of the UK. It is a summer migratory fish in the northern half of its range. It lives mainly on mixed rough ground and is frequently found in the same areas as black bream.


Peeler crab work well for triggers and they can also be caught on small squid, worm and mackerel baits.

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