The stone crab traps have been out for a month now, and the tripletail have been showing up under them in greater abundance. Tripletail, named for the way their lobe-shaped dorsal, caudal and anal fins overlap, actually live in Southwest Florida year-round, but they do seem to become more plentiful in the fall. This happy coincidence with stone crab season makes successfully targeting tripletail much more likely at this time of year.
Tripletail are drawn to floating structure like lovebugs to a car with a new paint job. It doesn’t take much to hold them, either: Channel markers, styrofoam buoys, coconuts, newspapers — I even saw one under a dead duck floating in the middle of Charlotte Harbor last year. Offshore, where floating structure can be rare, something as small as an old loading pallet can hold the entire food chain from tiny baitfish to blue marlin — along with schools of up to 50 tripletail. When given a choice of places to hang out, tripletail usually spread themselves out a bit. You may find two or three around a bit of flotsam, but usually they’re solitary.
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