How Does The Triple Tail Fish Taste? [ + Recipes From Pro Chefs]

The Triple Tail fish is not the most popular in the fishing community mainly due to its appearance and occasional odd behavior.

While it’s not a good-looking fish, it still has a great taste that seems to be enjoyed by many who try it.

So, how does the triple tail fish taste? The tripletail fish has a distinctive almost sweet taste that’s very similar to that of snapper or a grouper fish. It’s a saltwater fish, so the texture of its meat is not too flaky or too firm. It can be cooked in various ways without losing its quality or flavor. You just need to make sure it’s properly cleaned before cooking it.

Keep reading to learn some useful facts about the unique triple tail fish to help you catch it as well as the best ways to clean and cook it.

What You Need to Know the Triple Tail Fish

tripletail fish swimming to answer how does the triple tail fish taste

Triple tail fish is a kind of saltwater fish species that are found across the tropics.

It doesn’t actually have three tails but it’s named this way because it has elongated dorsal and anal fins that are about the same length as its tail fin which makes it look like it has three tails.

Aside from the illusion of having three tails, it is considered to be an unattractive fish because of its flat shape and coloration that’s often mistaken for a clump of weeds.

It also exhibits somewhat odd behavior as it often floats near the surface of the water for no reason in a way that’s very similar to dead or dying fish.

Where to Find the Triple Tail Fish?

In the United States, triple tail fish are most common in the north near Massachusetts, the south near Florida, and the west near Texas.

You can find the triple tail fish inshore, offshore, and nearshore. The best areas to target them would be near crab traps, weed lines, or any structures such as channel markers

What Does the Triple Tail Fish Feed On?

The triple tail fish feed mostly on crustaceans like crabs and shrimps. However, they’re opportunistic feeders and might occasionally feed on some small baitfish species if they’re abundant in the waters they inhabit.

How to Catch a Triple Tail Fish?

In order to successfully catch a triple tail fish, you need to be familiar with the areas they are likely to be found and adapt your fishing technique accordingly.

Since the triple tail fish often float close to the surface of the water, you’ll have a good chance using sight fishing techniques to catch them.

You also need to know the right time to target the triple tail fish to increase your odds of catching them and you need to be prepared with the right kind of gear including rods, reels, hooks, baits, and lures.

When to Target the Triple Tail Fish?

The best time of the year to target tripletail fish is during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. During this period of time, the water temperature will be ideal for the fish to feed which will make them a lot more active. They will also start floating closer to the surface more.

What Kind of Gear Is Best When Targeting a Triple Tail Fish?

There are no specific rods, reels, or other gear that’s specifically made for tripletail fish. Generally, heavy tackle is usually preferred when dealing with a large species such as the triple tail.

It’s recommended to go with a 7-foot rod with heavy power and fast action as you’ll need the extra backbone to be able to control the fish. You can pair the rod with a baitcasting reel that can hold about 100 yards of line since triple tails fish can be known for their long runs.

You can check out the best baitcasting rods here, and the best baitcasting combos here. These are the recommendations I’ve thoroughly tested and used over the years, so they are definitely worth checking out.

For the fishing line, it’s recommended to use a braided line with a line test of 10-20 pounds. It’s also recommended to attach a leader that’s about 2-3 feet to your mainline. You can use a fluorocarbon line with a line test of 15-20 pounds.

When it comes to the hook, it’s recommended to use J-style hooks that are 1/0 or 2/0 in size.

What Kind of Baits and Lures to Use When Targeting a Triple Tail Fish?

Like any kind of fish, triple tail fish will be most attracted to live baits as the natural scent and action will draw the attention of the fish and get them to bite.

It’s highly recommended to use live shrimps that are about 3-4 inches in size and hooked under the horn.

Artificial shrimp lures will also be effective in getting the triple tail fish to bite as they will mimic the action of real shrimps. For scent, you can check out the best powerbaits here, these are the ones meant for trout, but they work very well for Tripletail as well.

How to Store a Triple Tail Fish After Catching It?

After catching a triple tail fish that you plan on keeping and eating, you need to store the fish properly to keep it fresh until you get home.

You can try to keep the triple tail fish alive in a bucket of water, however, the best way to keep it fresh as long as possible is to kill it right after catching it then place it in an insulated cooler or bucket full of ice.

Make sure to cut the fish’s gills then let it bleed out to get rid of any unpleasant flavors in the blood and preserve only the good flavors in its meat.

Once you have brought your catch home, you clean it thoroughly. If you’re not going to cook the fish immediately, you need to store the refrigerator after wrapping it in aluminum foil, or waxed paper. You can keep it in an airtight plastic container to keep the smell of fish from getting on any other food in the refrigerator.

The longest you can keep the triple tail fresh in the refrigerator is usually 3-4 days. However, if you would like to store it for a longer time, you can freeze it, then take it out and thaw it whenever you’re ready to cook it.

Preparing the Triple Tail Fish for Cooking

Before cooking any fish, you need to prepare it by thoroughly cleaning it and removing any bones or scales. This will help keep the fish fresh for a long time and it will also help ensure it tastes good.

How to Clean the Triple Tail Fish?

The longest you can wait to clean your fish after catching it is about 12-24 hours, depending on how you store it. That’s why it’s best to keep the fish in an insulated cooler or a bucket of ice to preserve the quality of the meat.

Take a look at these simple steps that will help you efficiently clean your triple tail catch:

  • Wash the fish using cold water to remove any blood or slime on its skin.
  • Hold the fish with its belly in an upright position then use a sharp knife to make a cut from its tail towards its head. Try to keep the blade shallow to avoid damaging the meat.
  • Use pliers to spread the fish’s body open so you can remove all of the entrails and use a soft clean toothbrush to clean out the blood vein that runs along the fish’s spine. 
  • Cut the head, tail, and fins off. This is optional as some prefer to cook the whole fish with head, tail, and fins all intact
  • Wash the fish again from the inside and outside to remove any remaining traces of blood or guts.

Here is a video explaining how to clean and fillet a tripletail:

How to Remove the Scales from the Triple Tail Fish?

It’s often recommended to remove the skin from the fish before cooking it as it can add an unpleasant taste, however, if you prefer to keep the skin you will need to remove all the fish scales.

To remove the scales from the triple tail fish, you need to hold the fish firmly by its tail then scrape over its skin several times using a sharp knife. Repeat the process on both sides of the fish’s body until all the scales are gone.

How to Fillet the Triple Tail Fish?

If you’re going to fillet the triple tail fish, you will need to remove its head and fins first. Make a cut across the fish’s tail on both sides, then another cut across its spine. After that, start cutting through the bones to separate the meat. Try to remove as many of the bones as you can because they will make it difficult to cook and eat the fish.

Best Recipes to Cook a Triple Tail Fish

Many prefer the taste of the triple tail to other popular saltwater species like the red snapper or the grouper and that’s mainly because its meat is strong and somewhat while the texture is the perfect mix of firm and flaky.

The preparation of triple tail fish can be kept fairly simple without needing any special ingredients. Here are two easy recipes that you can follow:

Buttered Fillets

Ingredients

  • Triple Tail Fish, cleaned and filled
  • Softened Butter
  • All-purpose flour Salt and black pepper
  • Garlic Powder

Preparation

  • Heat the butter in a large pan over medium temperature.
  • Mix the flour with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a shallow dish.
  • Coat the fish fillets in the mixture. Make sure they’re completely covered on all sides.
  • Add the fillets into the heated pan and increase the temperature
  • Cook the fillets for about 4 to 6 minutes on each side.
  • After taking fillets out of the pan, dab them with some paper towels to reduce their oiliness then serve them with a fish-friendly side dish such as rice or fresh vegetables.

Whole Baked Triple Tail Fish

Ingredients

  • 2 Triple Tail fish, cleaned with head and tail intact
  • Softened Butter or Oil
  • Sliced lemons
  • Aluminum foil sheets
  • Fresh herbs like parsley
  • Salt and black pepper

Preparation

  • Preheat the oven at a temperature of 425 degrees F.
  • Brush some oil on both sides of the fish and season them with salt and pepper.
  • Add some herbs and lemon slices down the middle of each fish’s body as well as inside the fish.
  • Spread some butter or oil on a nonstick baking sheet before placing the fish on the sheet.
  • Put the sheet in the oven and let the fish for about 10 to 15 minutes. The baking duration mostly depends on the size of the fish.
  • Take the sheet out of the oven and let the fish cool for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Place each on a plate and serve them with rice as well as more fresh herbs and lemon slices.

Related Questions

Is It Safe to Eat Raw Triple Tail Fish?

It is safe to eat raw triple tail fish because it’s a saltwater fish and the high levels of salt in the water will help kill almost all parasites and bacteria that might cause you to get sick if you consume them. The salt will also help preserve the meat of the fish longer. However, it’s still necessary to clean the fish before consuming it.

What Are the Best Tasting Saltwater Fish Species?

Some of the best tasting saltwater fish species include Halibut, Cod, Salmon, and Red Snapper. These fish are good to eat because of their mild slightly sweet flavor as well as their flaky meat. They’re less likely to have any parasites because of the salt in the water and they can be cooked in various ways.

Can Triple Tail Fish Change Colors?

Triple Tail Fish can change color to camouflage themselves. Their bodies will change into a two-tone coloration with one half of their bodies pale and the other half is a shade of brown. This way they will blend better into their surroundings when hunting their prey.

Helpful Resources 

Tripletail

Tripletail, A Weirdly Wonderful Fish

Find Fish Faster Anywhere, Anytime

These Are The Fishing Lines I Absolutely Love

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