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Happy fly fisherman holding a moustache triggerfish caught on a fly at Astove Atoll.

Fly Fishing Triggerfish

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

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

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

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.


  • Triggerfish average length 30 - 40 cm
  • Triggerfish average weight 5 kg
  • Triggerfish diet Carnivore

The search for triggerfish


All three species of triggerfish can be found on the shallow reefs and flats. The yellowmargin triggerfish prefers sandy-bottomed areas close to patches of turtle grass and coral. It is also common to find a yellowmargin close to a large coral “Bommie” situated on a white sandy flat.

Both the moustache and Picasso triggerfish inhabit more reef-like bottoms filled with corals and seaweed.


Here are two flies that will always be in our guides’ fly boxes.

  • Alphlexo Crab

    This is a very realistic crab-looking 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.

    available On Island
  • Spawning Shrimp

    This 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.

    available On Island
  • Kraken Crab

    This diverse fly doesn’t really imitate a specific creature, but rather an array of different crustaceans that are found on and around turtle grass, coral patches and white sand. The most common colors would be olive, dark brown, tan and white. The general rule of thumb is to fish a dark fly over a dark bottom and a lighter colours over lighter bottoms.

    available On Island
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Best fly rods to target triggerfish

Fly fishing is an art form that not everyone can master. It takes skill, patience, determination and knowledge. The right rod will take you a lot closer to landing the catch.

Best tides to fly fish triggerfish


Triggerfish are not afraid of shallow water. This makes them extremely desirable to fly fishermen and the allure of targeting feeding, 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.


As previously mentioned, triggerfish are notoriously skittish, partly due to the fact that they feed in such shallow water. All of this makes approaching them quite difficult and extremely frustrating at times. There are three rules to catching a triggerfish:

1 - A stealthy, quiet approach is needed once a fish has been spotted. 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.

2 – You need to 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 and, even worse, it will probably spook off when lifting the line off the water to make a re-cast. An accurate, aggressive cast is required.

3 – A bucket load of luck! Following rules one and two on its own unfortunately doesn’t guarantee you a trigger. They can be incredibly tricky at times, hence the nickname ‘Tricky Triggers’!

Hooking the fish is only half the battle though. They have serious teeth that can cut through most leaders with ease, and they are dirty fighters as they burrow themselves into the nearest coral hole, again resulting in cut leaders.

They will fight you every step of the way to the net, darting this way and that and bolting for the coral time and again, but once you claim victory, you would have added a serious notch to your fly fishing belt.

Photos of triggerfish caught on a fly

Some of the big ones that did not get away.
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Past triggerfish catches with Alphonse Fishing Co™

"This was my dream catch, she was huge and put up a heck of a fight." - Craig Williams

Read more about the triggerfish species to catch with Alphonse Fishing Co™ READ MORE

The ultimate saltwater fly fishing destinations

We choose destinations that meet our anglers’ needs and desires. You can focus on one atoll or combine several for a richer and more varied experience.
  • Alphonse Atoll

    Alphonse Atoll

    A dream destination for any fly fisherman, Alphonse Atoll in Seychelles is renowned for its expansive sea flats, which provide easy wading and world-class fly fishing.  The atolls are regarded as some of the most pristine, untouched islands in the world yet Alphonse Atoll is just a 60-minute flight from Mahé.

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  • Cosmoledo Atoll

    Cosmoledo Atoll

    Cosmoledo Atoll is just a stone’s throw away from the world heritage site of Aldabra, often referred to as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.

    Its ecosystem is pristine with saltwater flats and a huge variety of fish species, attracting fly fishermen from around the world. It is home to an eco-camp, dedicated to the atoll’s conservation.

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  • Astove Atoll

    Astove Atoll

    The home of the biggest giant trevallies in the Indian Ocean, this island in the Seychelles offers superb fly fishing in a shallow lagoon surrounded by sheer drop-offs. Just over a thousand kilometres from Mahe, this atoll forms part of the remote Aldabra group of atolls. Uninhabited since 1969, this atoll has seen very little human presence which makes for a wild and unique experience.

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  • Farquhar Atoll

    Farquhar Atoll

    Farquhar Atoll is the most southerly atoll in the Seychelles chain of islands lying just over 700km to the southwest of the main island Mahe. This remote atoll has a total area, including the large lagoon, of 170.5 km² which is 18 km north to south and 9 km east to west.

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Make your triggerfish fly fishing dream come true

Turn your fly into a fish’s ultimate temptation. The Seychelles, with its 115 islands and deserted atolls, ideal weather and warm Indian Ocean waters, is renowned for being home to some of the world’s richest fishing grounds. You don’t even have to venture too far to break fishing records!

Unique fly fishing experiences like nowhere else


  • Home of the world's best fly fishing
  • Unique, bespoke trips to suit your needs
  • Located in the pristine remote outer islands of the Seychelles
  • Luxury accommodation and exquisite food
  • Unrivalled professional guides
  • Some of the richest fishing grounds in the world
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Latest Fly Fishing Blog Posts

Read what our expert guides have to say or what fish our guests have been catching
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