What is the Deal with the Puffer Fish?
Anger Issues in the Taylor County Flats
Nowadays Anglers have been reporting an increasing number of Smooth Puffer fish (possibly Lagocephalus laevigatus) hooked in their lines on the Taylor County flats. This looks like a recurrent phenomenon that takes place every 5-8 years and might be related to a “strong recruitment” of juveniles to the fishing grounds. They are very active and voracious fish that feeds on fish and shrimps, so they’ll go behind angler’s bait.
Puffer Fish Locations
This fish inhabits inshore and near-shore areas, over sand or mud bottoms. Usually found alone or in small, loose aggregates. Adults are pelagic (live in the water column); young are commonly found on coastal and offshore banks. Its flesh is very delicate; nevertheless, in certain region it is toxic (particularly the skin and the viscera), and can be poisonous, so should not be eaten. UF fisheries scientists have been consulted and they are assessing any other potential reason for the presence of the smooth puffer in our waters.
If you would like more information about best fishing practices, visit https://www.flseagrant.org/fisheries/, and if you want to check some resources about Florida’s fishes visit https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/