Triple The Treat Triple Tail fishing

Triple the treat, Good friends, perfect weather and great fishing! Recently I got a spur of the moment offer to hit the water with Brad Spalding of the charter boat Brassy Hooker out of Port Canaveral, Florida.

Triple Tail Tour

Along for the trip were my great friends Derek and Cory Redwine

Port Canaveral Weed Mat

After weeks of high winds in November, a window of summertime weather was happening in December. My Dad always said, “You can’t beat Florida”, and it was stated during times like these. Many large weed patches and mats had blown inshore during the blow.

Weed Patch Hopping

We went from one patch to the next, probing them with light spinning tackle and shrimp and minnow imitating soft baits tipped with a tiny piece of squid.

Target Triple Tail

Our target was tripletail, a unique fish that loves to hang out under anything floating and around fixed structures like buoys. They are great fighting and even better eating.

Sight Fishing for Triple Tail

The weather could not have been better for sightfishing. Good polarized glasses like my Costas are imperative for cutting the glare and seeing the subtle signs of a fin or nose protruding from the weeds.

Triple Tail on live shrimp

I’ve always described the tripletail as looking like a prehistoric crappie. They can be the most willing eater or they can refuse even their most favorite bait, live shrimp.

Triple Tail Description

The tripletail gets its name from the extended dorsal and anal fins in combo with the tail, giving it the look of three tails. They have very sharp, serrated gill plates and small gripping teeth.

Landing Triple Tail

Having a dip net is advised for landing tripletail of any size. They have very tough scales that make gaffing sketchy. So many times you hit them hard with the hook and come up with only a scale. Netting works best! A bucket can be used in a pinch if you get the timing right and scoop them up.

Cory Redwine with Triple Tail

Cory picks off a nice one. “Tails” as we fondly call them have a minimum size of 15 inches and a bag limit of two per person in Florida.

Triple Tail on light spinning reel

Just because you don’t see a tripletail sitting under an object, does not mean he is below it just out of sight. Drop a bait down and check any substantial debris.

15 pound triple tail

This 15 pounder was a treat and is a good one, but they do grow over 30 pounds.

Derek Redwine triple tail fishing

Derek Redwine is working the edges of this giant weed mat looking to draw tripletail out from underneath. We work the baits slowly because the tails are not real fast in their approach. Sometimes the bait has to brush their lips to get a response.

Derek Redwine triple tail catch

But when they grab it, it is all worth it!

Soft Plastic Bait for triple tail

Derek likes to fish a soft plastic swimbait for tripletail because he can slow the presentation down to a crawl to give the slow moving tails a chance to make their move.

Tripe Tail Group

Often the tripletail will be in groups and multiple hook ups are not uncommon. The big ones tend to be hesitant, while the throwbacks are much more aggressive.

Triple Tail group picture

Not bad for a three-hour tour, we did also encounter a big cobia that ate with gusto, but quickly pulled the hook on it. Thank goodness the tails helped distract us from that disappointment. Thanks to Brad as well for showing us a great time.

Triple Tail Cleaning

Tripletail are one of our favorites to eat. Derek and Cory rave about the sashimi it makes and I like it cooked any way you can. It is a white meat and very much like snapper. Hard to beat.

Capt. Scott Goodwin
Capt. Scott Goodwin started fishing in the lakes of Kentucky where he grew up. A move to Florida, however, brought him into a whole new realm of fishi...