Tips When Fishing for Hogfish
Hogfish are a specific species of wrasse fish, usually found in the western parts of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. Hogfish are one of the most popular types of fish in Florida and often a preferred choice for fishing in Florida Keys. Hogfish are also referred to as a hog snapper and have a very distinct appearance. Hogfish have a large snout, a unique dorsal fin, and are pink or red in color.
When fishing for hogfish most will be relatively small in weight ranging from one to four pounds. While hogfish can grow much larger than four pounds, it is dangerous to eat common reef fish over six pounds as they have a higher chance of having a foodborne illness called ciguatera toxin.
Another characteristic about hogfish is that they use their nose to dig in the sand when searching for food, which is where their name is derived from because this is similar to pigs and hogs. If you are looking to catch some hogfish, we’ve gathered some of the best tips for how to catch hogfish. Without further adieu, here are tips when fishing for hogfish.
Knowing Where to go Fishing for Hogfish
If you are about to fish for hogfish in the Florida area, you should be aware that hogfish are usually found within Florida Keys in cities like Key Largo, Islamorada, and Marathon. Having a center console boat or a bay boat are ideal when fishing for hogfish. You will want to try and find exposed rock areas, coral reefs, and sandy ledges to give you the best opportunity to locate hogfish. Hogfish live in areas with sandy bottoms, as they use their nose to sift through the bottom to locate food, so finding the right bottom is step one for catching hogfish. A tip when cruising the water, is look for changes in water colors; lighter blues or teal waters are a clear indication that the ocean bottom is sandy, darker blues will indicate rocky or grass bottoms and/or deeper depths.
Once you have found the right fishing grounds, you should use live bait or dead shrimp, which is in abundance in the Florida Keys. As a rule of thumb, using a type of crustacean will give you the best advantage to catch hogfish because that is what their diet consists of. While you can catch hogfish accidentally with other forms of bait, we highly recommend live shrimp for the greatest chance of success. If you prefer chumming, many fishermen tend to use chum from discarded crustacean parts to attract hogfish.
When fishing for hogfish, be sure to check with local regulations on hogfish restrictions, fishing rules, and limits.
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