• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On July 23, 2018
  • Comments
  •  2

In the past decade, Jersey’s wrecks and reefs have begun to colonize with summer visitors in the form of gray triggerfish.

Previously known as a relative bycatch on the structure piles, triggers are now carpeting inshore wrecks and reefs, sometimes by the hundreds. For those that don’t know, triggerfish contain a sweet white, flaky meat and offer up quite a spirited tussle for recreational anglers. The key to effectively catching triggers is to design your rigs to get around that sharp beak for a solid hookset.

You want to hit quickly on triggers, as they are adept at clipping baits off the hook with ease. Generally speaking, when fishing Jersey structure piles, start with a 75-pound Spro Barrel swivel, then using 30-pound TripleFish monofilament leader, tie a hi-lo rig with 3-inch droppers roughly 18 inches apart and with a double overhand knot, loop on a bank sinker anywhere from size 4 to 8 ounces if fishing the ocean, 1 to 2 ounces when fishing off piers. The real key to success is in the hook size. Scale down small and use hooks anywhere from size 1/0 to size #4, depending on the size of the triggers below. When baiting, leave the big gobs of stuff at home and utilize tiny bits of bait that triggers can nip and swallow in one peck, such as squid tentacles, half inch squares of cut squid, tiny bits of clam or even Fishbites.

While nearshore wrecks and reefs in about 25 to 60 feet of water hold plenty of triggers, do not overlook local piers and inlet areas for triggers as they will stick to the rocks, jacks and pilings throughout the summer months. A medium power moderate to fast action conventional rod and reel set up is sufficient such as a Lamiglas 7040CT matched with a Shimano Torium 20 reel spooled with 50-pound Power Pro braided line. Simply drop your rig to the bottom and wait for the quick tap-tap-tap pecks of the triggers, setting the hook immediately. If you swing and miss, simply put it back down as they are aggressive strikers and will come back to hit immediately.

Gear Used


Torium 20HGA

The Shimano Torium Star Drag Reels are new to Shimano’s Torium series reels. They are compact, rigid, and powerful saltwater conventional reels with excellent castability and durability expected by saltwater anglers.



TFX7040CT Tri-Flex Inshore Rod

These Tri-Flex Graphite Inshore rods add power to move the most difficult Stripers, Blackfish, Amberjack and Grouper quickly away from line-parting wrecks. Tri-Flex stands for our proprietary blank designs in which three layers of material.



EZ Clam

Fishbites 0065 Long Lasting EZ Clam 2Pk can be used on a bare hook or as a trailer on a jig or skirt. You can use them to catch a wide variety of saltwater species. The Longer Lasting formula features a cloth binder in the middle of the bait that keeps it on the hook.



Moss Green Spectra Braid

PowerPro braided Spectra fiber with Enhanced Body Technology (EBT) gives you awesome handling performance on any reel. Unlike the older style braided lines, fishing with PowerPro is as easy as fishing with monofilament.



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