Triggerfish Fly Fishing

There are three main species of triggerfish that we fly fish at Alphonse Fishing Company: the yellow margin triggerfish, the moustache triggerfish, and the Picasso triggerfish; all are equal in beauty and challenge!

Moustache Triggerfish

A moustache triggerfish

The moustache triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens) is the most commonly caught of these. It’s appropriately named as it boasts a very prominent dark line above its top lip. The rest of the body is mostly yellow with orange fins edged with black lines.

Yellow Margin Triggerfish


The yellow margin triggerfish (Pseudobalistes flavimarginatus) comprises an array of colours. It has a tan body with dark spots, orange margins in the fins, and a pale orange snout and cheeks.

Picasso Triggerfish

A Picasso triggerfish

The Picasso triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) might be the smallest out of the three but definitely tips the scale in the looks department with its striking yellow-lined lips, electric blue forehead, and black and white markings along the body.

Key Facts About Triggerfish

Triggerfish Average Length​

Triggerfish Average Length

30 – 40 cm

Triggerfish Average Weight​

Triggerfish Average Weight

5 kg

Triggerfish Diet

Triggerfish Diet


Moustache triggerfish

The Search For Triggerfish

The type of triggerfishes found in Seychelles prefers the shallow coral reefs and flats. The yellow margin triggerfish prefers sandy-bottomed areas close to patches of turtle grass and coral. It is also common to find a yellow margin close to a large coral “Bommie” situated on a white sandy flat. At the same time, both the moustache and Picasso triggerfishes inhabit more reef-like bottoms filled with corals and seaweed.

Best Triggerfish Flies

Alphlexo Crab Fly

The Alphlexo Crab Fly is a very realistic crab-like pattern. It also has a relatively solid and rigid profile/structure to further fascinate the triggerfish once it has been pounced on. A general rule of thumb is to use olive or tan colours when fishing darker bottoms and white or lighter colours when fishing over sandy bottoms.

Spawning Shrimp Fly

The spawning shrimp fly has been around for ages for a reason – it works! It can be tied in various colours and weights. A Spawning Shrimp tied with lightweight bead chain eyes is ideal for super shallow tailing triggers. This also makes for a more delicate presentation when targeting these skittish fish.

Kraken Crab Fly

The Kraken crab fly doesn’t imitate a specific creature but rather an array of different crustaceans found in and around turtle grass, coral patches, and white sand. Common colours are olive, dark brown, tan, and white. The rule of thumb is to fish a dark fly over a dark bottom and lighter colours over lighter bottoms.

Best Triggerfish Rod Set Up

When targeting these fish, you need to be accurate and, more importantly, subtle! Using an eight or nine weight rod will allow you to do this and also have enough backbone to pull these extremely hard fighters when needed.

Healthy triggerfish

Best Tides For Triggerfish​

Triggerfishes are not afraid of shallow water. This makes them extremely desirable to fly fishermen, and the allure of targeting feeding and tailing fish is very appealing. Accordingly, the best tides to target triggers are around the low tide cycle.

Targeting triggers directly over the Neap Tide cycle can be tricky as the water level will not be low enough, whilst the opposite will happen during the Spring Tide cycle as the water will drop too quickly off the flats and race back on when the tide turns, making your window of opportunity to target them very short. The best time would therefore be two to three days before or after Spring Tide.

A very yellow triggerfish
Triggerfish Fly Fishing
a good example of a triggerfish
Triggerfish fly fishing done by this angler.

Making The Catch

Triggerfish are notoriously skittish, partly because they feed in such shallow water. All of this makes approaching them quite challenging and extremely frustrating at times. There are three things you need to catch one of these:

A stealthy, quiet approach

You know your own casting capabilities, so if you know, you can reach, stop and make the cast. Getting unnecessarily close will most likely spook off the fish.

Make your first cast count

Presenting too close will frighten the fish. Presenting too far away will result in the fish not seeing the fly. An accurate, aggressive cast is required.

Make your first cast count

Following all the rules, doesn’t guarantee you a trigger. They can be incredibly tricky at times, hence the nickname ‘Tricky Triggers’!

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