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Last chance to enjoy a tasty hogfish until May 1st

Hogfish
Hogfish

JACKSONVILE, Fla. – The annual closure for hogfish fishing is approaching, if you want to enjoy a delicious hogfish, you’ll need to catch it before November 1st.

Hogfish recreational harvest will close in state and federal waters off the east coast of Florida and Florida Keys Nov. 1. This closure includes all state waters south of Cape Sable, which is on the Gulf side of Florida, and up the Atlantic coast. The Keys/east Florida hogfish season runs from May 1 through Oct. 31.

Recreational harvest remains open in state and federal waters north of Cape Sable in the Gulf..

Areas shaded in pink closing Nov 1st

Visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Hogfish” for more.

Hogfish fishing has been much more closely managed the past few years, most of which anglers agree with. The minimum size limits were increased- the previous limits were 12″, you don’t get much meat off of a 12″ hogfish, the larger limits mean you have to catch fewer of the species to make a meal . The new regulations require caught or speared hogfish to be no shorter than 16″ to the fork in the tail.

How to measure a hogfish

Hogfish are popular partially due to their unique appearance and partly due to how delicious they are.

Appearance

  • First 3 spines of dorsal fin greatly elongated
  • Black blotch near end of dorsal fin
  • Body deep, strongly compressed
  • Snout elongated in adults
  • Tail with elongated upper and lower lobes
  • Young mottled with various colors, fading with age

Size: Up to 36 inches

Habitat

Rocky bottoms, ledges and reefs offshore; young associated with seagrass beds

Behavior

Long, hog-like snout allows them to feed on bottom-dwelling mollusks and crustaceans. Because they tend to root in the sediment in search of small prey, they are not commonly caught on hook and line.

Additional Information

Also known as hog snapper.

Popular food fish. Primarily harvested by spearfishing.

State Record: 19 lb 8 oz, caught in Daytona Beach