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Smooth Puffers

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Smooth Puffers

Postby Just a Guest » May 10th, 2020, 8:14 pm

What’s the deal with all of the smooth puffers at St Marks recently? I have never caught this species until this year. I didn’t even know what type of fish it was until I looked them up online. I came to BBF.net to see if others were running into the same problem. Those things destroy my artificial baits and apparently love to eat bobbers. According to a search I did on here, it appears they were an issue back in 2015.

Is anyone else running into these creatures from hell?
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby procraftwes » May 10th, 2020, 8:20 pm

I caught 2 of them on saturday evening and have never caught one before.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby geofish » May 10th, 2020, 8:24 pm

I've caught a bunch lately, never in previous years. Even caught one on a small live pinfish.
YouTube says they're good eating if you don't poison yourself.
I'm going to try it next time. I'll let you know how they taste, if I survive!
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Srbenda » May 10th, 2020, 8:35 pm

Caught 2 today. Neither are swimming now. Saw another chasing an aquadream spoon back to the boat.

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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Just a Guest » May 10th, 2020, 8:40 pm

Glad to hear I’m not the only one. Are they an invasive species? I’ve been throwing them back in the water.

Will check back in to see how it goes geofish lol. Good luck!
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby FishWithChris » May 10th, 2020, 8:56 pm

Invasive, typically chasing warmer water. Had an issue years ago in PSJ areas, but this is the worst I've seen them here in as far as I remember. Pure trash, but a heck of a fight on light tackle... they'll strike anything !

Switch to Zmans for soft plastic, more durable than your standard gulps and the like.

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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby bbb » May 10th, 2020, 11:34 pm

We caught 2 last week in Mexico Beach in 90’ of water. Had never seen one before and had no idea what it was.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Juan » May 11th, 2020, 7:07 am

I know a guy who actually targets them. He says they're safe and are his favorite fish to eat and the toxic variety are in the tropics and south Florida. I'm not trying them. The way my luck runs, I'd catch a toxic south Florida puffer who made a wrong turn around Tampa. :-D
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Dub » May 11th, 2020, 7:42 am

Do not attempt to eat a smooth puffer unless you absolutely know how to clean it. This fish can kill you, they have a neurotoxin in them, there is a very precise way to cut them at their spine and you peel out their “back straps”. Do not risk it, I’ve eaten it once, cleaned by my father In law, ex commercial fisherman, very knowledgeable. We caught one while grouper fishing off of Crystal River many years ago and made me throw it in the fishbox, said I had to try it once. I did, and obviously survived, but, in my opinion, not worth it. They will all at the very least make you extremely ill. Throw them back!
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Badfish » May 11th, 2020, 7:46 am

You can eat them for sure. They have a really good taste to them and not bad to clean. You have to be careful not to go through the ribs into the stomach cavity which is how I usually fillet anyway.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Srbenda » May 11th, 2020, 9:07 am

Badfish wrote:You can eat them for sure. They have a really good taste to them and not bad to clean. You have to be careful not to go through the ribs into the stomach cavity which is how I usually fillet anyway.



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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Srbenda » May 11th, 2020, 9:17 am

Hey Redbeard, here's a new GIF you've never seen before!

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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Reel Addiction » May 11th, 2020, 9:51 am

Fished the lighthouse flats this weekend and they were everywhere. Must have hooked 10. They will tear up your gulps and even hit your popping cork. We moved several times and caught them at each stop. I can't remember ever catching them in the past. I think they ate the trout because we never found them.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby procraftwes » May 11th, 2020, 10:43 am

Juan wrote:I know a guy who actually targets them. He says they're safe and are his favorite fish to eat and the toxic variety are in the tropics and south Florida. I'm not trying them. The way my luck runs, I'd catch a toxic south Florida puffer who made a wrong turn around Tampa. :-D
20180406-140535.jpg


You were right to doubt him. There's no difference between the smooth puffers in the tropics, the ones in africa, south america, the ones here and the ones that frequent the northeast. Here's a link to their range. https://www.aquamaps.org/imagethumb/cac ... -23579.jpg

Badfish wrote:You can eat them for sure. They have a really good taste to them and not bad to clean. You have to be careful not to go through the ribs into the stomach cavity which is how I usually fillet anyway.


The Smooth puffer have enough poison in their liver to kill 30 men and their skin is also mildly toxic. If you clean them correctly they're safe to eat but there's enough fish in the ocean.

The FDA warns against eating smooth puffer fish because it can be extremely toxic. Ingesting the fish can cause tingling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness or complete respiratory paralysis leading to death. Officials say that there is no known antidote to puffer fish toxin.


Lagocephalus laevigatus(Smooth Pufferfish) Inhabits inshore and near-shore areas, over sand or mud bottoms. Usually found alone or in small, loose aggregates. Adults are pelagic, but near continental margins; young are commonly found on coastal and offshore banks (Ref. 7251). Feeds on fish and shrimps (Ref. 28587). Minimum depth from Ref. 26912. Its flesh is very delicate; nevertheless, in certain region like the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, it is toxic (particularly the skin and the viscera) (Ref. 5377). Poisonous, should not be eaten (Ref. 36731).
Life cycle and mating behavior


https://www.fishbase.se/summary/Lagocephalus-laevigatus

Edible? Yes but making them seem safe to eat is wrong.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Crippledminnow » May 11th, 2020, 11:17 am

Years ago we would catch a hundred at a time in south Florida. We cut the tails off of them and fried them like frog legs, Delish. If you cut one and saw yellow fluid throw it away. That stuff is poison.
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