November 30, 2005
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protectionís Division of
Fish and Wildlife has certified a new state record triggerfish that
was taken off the
Cape May Artificial Reef. Lois Schuda of Ocean View caught the 5
pound, 11 ounce triggerfish on October 19. It weighed one pound, one
ounce more than the previous record taken off the Shrewsbury Rocks in
Monmouth County in 2004.
Bottom fishing with clams from the familyís boat during the Cape May
County Tournament, Lois reeled the fish in on 20-pound test line. The
fish measured 20 inches in length with a 22-inch girth.
As a Cape May County Tournament entrant, Lois (along with her
husband) took the fish to Harbor View Marina for an official weight
and measurement. At that time, they did not know what they truly had!
Only after the couple got home and started filleting the fish, did
they decide on a whim to check the Divisionís Web site and found that
Loisí catch was indeed, a state record.
Triggerfish have a flat, compressed body with a shape somewhere
between round and rectangular. They are often very colorful.
Triggerfish sport three dorsal (back) spines; the first of which is
the longest and thickest. When in danger, the normally solitary
triggerfish will seek safety in a small cave or crevice within a
reef, raise their dorsal spine, and wedge themselves firmly in place.
The species is named for the interlocking arrangement of the bases of
the three dorsal spines so that the first can be fixed in an erect
position. If one depresses the second or "trigger" spine, the first
is no longer locked in the vertical position.
Diet consists of hard-bodied prey including scallops, clams,
barnacles and sand dollars. These fish are equipped with extremely
powerful jaw muscles and teeth that are used to crush their prey.