June 19, 2023

A Primer To Catching Biloxi Marsh Tripletail This Summer


A great alternative to speckled trout fishing is switching gears to Biloxi Marsh tripletail. They bite longer through the day, are more resistant to summer heat and aren't far from where speckled trout are feeding.

devin denman tripletail biloxi marsh

Captain Devin posing with a freshly caught, keeper-sized tripletail.

So where should you go and what do you look for? Well, if you're completely brand new and want to try your hand at one of these fish, then this guide gets you set in the right direction.

I'll share what tripletail are, where to find them, my strategy for locating and catching them as well as tackle that I prefer to use.

Quick note about this guide:

This guide only explains how I prefer to target Biloxi Marsh tripletail. That's one species for a particular area. It may not be the best way for you to do it on other locations. It is simply what has worked for me.

With that out of the way, let's get started with what this fish is:

What is a Tripletail?

The Atlantic Tripletail, or Lobotes surinamensis, is a pelagic fish that frequents coastal waters in tropical and sub-tropical seas.

They can grow as long as 35 inches in length and weigh up to 40 pounds, with the world record triple tail weighing in at 42.31 pounds. Fun fact: it was caught off Zululand, South Africa in 1989.

So that gives you an idea as to how far these things travel, and how big they can grow.

For comparison, the Louisiana state record tripletail was caught in 1959 and weighed 39.50 pounds.

So, the biggens definitely come to Louisiana! But, when you are targeting Biloxi Marsh tripletail, it is more common to see them being much smaller, in the 16-22 inch range.

In Louisiana, the creel limit for triple tail is eighteen inches in length and five per angler per day. Check with Wildlife and Fisheries to verify this before keeping any fish.

undersized throwback triple tail gulp shrimp

A tripletail this size, while fun to catch, is a throwback and not legal to keep.

Where do you find tripletail?

Well, all around the world in warm water but, as this question pertains to Louisiana, we find triple tail along the coast in saltier water, though they do seem to tolerate lower salinity.

The Biloxi Marsh and Mississippi Sound are two places you can bet on locating them, though they do appear to be more numerous in Venice.

I'm sure tripletail are found well west of the Mississippi River in places like Grand Isle and even Tiger Shoals, but it's my bet that most anglers frequenting those waters do not target tripletail and, the few who do, do not report their catches.

But I bet they're out there.

Anyway, the focus of this guide are Biloxi Marsh tripletail. Just to be clear, I mean the northeast quadrant of the Biloxi Marsh, Mississippi Sound and Lake Borgne.

To be more specific...

..we find Biloxi Marsh tripletail in these areas floating under anything intersecting the water's surface:

  • crab corks
  • oyster poles
  • pilings
  • floating grass
  • birthday balloons
  • the hat that flew out your boat
  • literally anything at the water's surface

When do we find tripletail at these locations?

That's a better question for which the simple answer is "from spring through fall", so long as it stays warm.

I believe that, when it gets cold, they go deep and become more difficult to target. I could be wrong about this. There's just not a lot of information out there about them, not in comparison to other species like speckled trout and redfish.

If you think you may know something that I do not, then please feel free to comment below.

What makes Biloxi Marsh tripletail so fun to catch?

Tripletail are fun to target and catch because they can be sight fished (since they float at the water's surface), are picky eaters and put up a good fight once hooked.

tripletail mississippi sound crab trap cork buoy

Triple tail are fun to look for since they are easily seen once located.

Given this, on some summer days I would rather take my chances targeting tripletail than jostle with The Flotilla at whatever community hole for speckled trout.

Oh, that and tripletail make pretty darned good table fare!

So, how do I locate, close with and catch Biloxi Marsh triple tail? That's a good question. Here's my overall strategy:

My Overall Strategy for Targeting TripleTail in the Biloxi Marsh, Mississippi Sound and Lake Borgne Areas

It's as easy as taking a boat ride. I'll explain:

Since we know that tripletail float under or next to anything at the water's surface, the strategy to finding them is to look at as many things at the water's surface as possible.

oyster lease cane poles triple tail fishing gnartooth

Rows of crab traps are a great example. Think about how many you see while you're out fishing. Quite a few, right?

I like to run my boat down those rows, observing for any triple tail that could be floating at the surface.

And let me tell you something:

You will know it when you see it.

If you think you saw a Biloxi Marsh triple tail, then you probably didn't. It's always worth checking, but you will know what I am talking about because when you do see one it will punch you in the eye, it will be so painfully obvious.

They look like a grocery bag floating at the surface. They are usually dark in color, but can be golden or silvery.

tripletail biloxi marsh oyster pole pvc

Now, going back to running rows: it could be rows of crab traps, or rows of navigational aids or whatever.

The idea here is that you're playing a numbers game. Obviously there won't be a tripletail under every floating thing you encounter.

Duh. Don't be naive!

It's a numbers game. Don't be surprised if you have to look at a hundred crab traps before you finally see a single tripletail.

If you run enough rows of <insert thing intersecting the water's surface> you will eventually come across tripletail.

I'll run rows until I find them. When I do, I'll circle back, come off plane, approach on trolling motor and make my casts.

It's really that simple! This YouTube video I filmed in 2022 perfectly captures the process of targeting Biloxi Marsh tripletail:

These fish don't spook so easy, though I have found that some fish are more willing to bite than others.

Those other fish require more patience and sometimes you just have to accept that they're not going to eat. It is what it is.

Preferred Fishing Tackle For Catching Biloxi Marsh Triple Tail

I have found throwing three-inch Gulp Shrimp on an 1/8 oz jighead is the best way for me to catch triple tail. I make a cast to them in the same way I cast to redfish when sight fishing.

triple tail gulp shrimp

Will they eat live shrimp? Yes. Have I used live shrimp before? Yes.

But they don't always commit to live shrimp. Sometimes they just don't. Sometimes they follow it to the boat before spooking off, or they follow the cork instead (which is maddening).

So, for all these reasons I already dislike using live shrimp, I still don't prefer to use them for Biloxi Marsh triple tail. I'd rather accurately put the bait where it needs to go, and I can best do this with casting tackle:

  • 7'6" medium-heavy, moderate fast casting rod
  • 30lb monofilament
  • 8:1 100 size casting reel

Yes, it takes a little more skill. Getting that skill takes practice, patience and experience, but I've put in my time and recommend that you do as well. It's worth it.

Over To You

What do you think? Have you caught any triple tail recently and, if so, how did you pull it off?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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  • This is a great comment.

    Yes, I’m glad to hear the specifics on tackle. I’m still experimenting and learning with them, and I’ll say that fluorocarbon line/leaders do make me warm and fuzzy. Some fish eat right away and others (as you said) require a lot more patience. lol

    It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that they like to see the bait come from where they are expecting it. This is much easier to do with oyster poles, as they are less “snaggy”, as opposed to crab traps. But if the wind isn’t blowing too badly and the boat is steady it’s possible to make that kind of cast.

    Practice makes perfect. I’ve been putting in my time on these fish and, each trip out, I am averaging over 100 nautical miles round trip.

  • I usually target them after longer trips out to the sound for trout in the summer on the way back in. Seems they almost like the sun being out as if they are basking in the sunlight. Usually use doa shrimp sprayed with scent. Agree with previous comment that the t-top can spook them a bit so usually start casting before I get that close. Use the spot lock and sometimes make 50 cast but once they bite they are a blast to catch. Use much lighter line and leader 10lb braid and 12lb flourocarbon leader which improves hookup ratio. Once I see a fish if he goes deep I keep casting cause he isn’t too far away. Will vary retrieve and depth etc. Delicious eating but my issue is opportunity. Just can’t get out there enough on the right days.

  • Two fish out of seven sounds about right, but I am no tripletail expert. I’ve only been fooling with them for a few years. I think Keitech swimbaits could be a good choice, too. They’re scented strongly with squid, IIRC.

  • I saw a number of beautiful tripletail, up to 10 pounds or so, in Mississippi Sound two weeks ago, before these strange summer winds started blowing every day. I managed to spook the two largest fish – I blame the T-top, but the truth is I just approached to closely and too fast. Anyway, got a 19-inch keeper and a 15-inch released fish on a similar lure. I used a 3.5” artificial shrimp on a keel-weighted swimbait hook – with a small strip of FishBites to add some scent. So, two fish caught out of seven cast to – I was wishing I had some live shrimp, but maybe I’ll stick to artificials and try the Gulp shrimp next time…

  • I caught my 1st one ever about a week ago. We were targeting redfish right along the shoreline using Berkley’s paddle tails. Wasn’t even near anything floating so it surprised the heck out of me. Unfortunately it was about an inch short so we released it unharmed. When we later tried to target them under crab trap floats – nothing. Thanks for a great article, hoping to get my 1st keeper soon.

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