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Smooth Puffers

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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby STMU » May 11th, 2020, 11:56 am

Glad I'm not the only one who's been frustrated by these things this year. Finally splurged and bought an expensive live target lure last week. The first cast it gets bit in half by a smooth puffer. That's what I get!!!! Sticking with cheap soft plastic and hard baits this summer.
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Smooth Puffers

Postby Red Beard » May 11th, 2020, 12:49 pm

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

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Ha ha yes sir

..seen a few but haven’t had any encounters with them inshore in my stomping grounds.

I know the southern puffer fish “toadies” supposedly are good table fair. I’ve never eaten any.
I do poke them wile gigging if they break social distancing laws.




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Last edited by Red Beard on May 11th, 2020, 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby FlyrodC » May 11th, 2020, 1:21 pm

FishWithChris wrote: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 ! sent from the Ketchup Packet


That's fersure, I got one on a fly in March.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby flatsbroke22 » May 11th, 2020, 9:05 pm

Yes they have been bead this year. We caught a lot of them about 5 years ago at Econfina. That was the first time seeing them. Caught them on just about everything in the tackle box. They are very aggressive and will destroy a soft plastic. Hard as hell to get off your hook.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Ted in Tallahassee » May 12th, 2020, 9:36 am

Since 2013 I've fished a lot out of St. Marks. Like someone said above they were here in 2015 I think it was. I believe the first I'd learned of them was in spring of 2015 when I was getting shrimp in the morning at Jerry's bait shop and I saw a picture of a weird fish on the wall where people pin up pics of their local catches that said "Rabbitfish." Another name for smooth puffers, they kinda look like rabbits in the face, especially with the teeth. I asked the lady what that was and she said some people had caught them recently. Then when I was out there that day lo and behold I caught one or two. I had not seen them before or since, UNTIL THIS YEAR. They're everywhere! From two feet to ten feet, everywhere. The last three trips I've made to St. Marks they're crawling all over the flats, and I even caught one yesterday up in the river by an oyster bar! I HATE THEM!

On the flats they destroy your Gulps and they even take chunks out of the bobbers! Worst of all they even eat live pinfish! I kept trying to keep a live pinfish out on a bobber and they wouldn't last five minutes. I was basically just feeding the rabbitfish with live pinfish. Now I should say that when I'm drifting the flats I usually chum by hanging a few trout/flounder etc. carcasses from the previous trip over the side on a wire. That would absolutely draw swarms of them in. They would sit there and nip away at the carcasses until they were skeletonized. They are brazen about it--no fear of man. Out of frustration with them I've even stabbed one or two as it ate my chum carcasses. I also even sliced one open that I caught and threw it back in to see if the others would eat it--they devoured it like a pack of piranahs! But there's just too many. Killing one or two can't solve the problem, and trying just wastes time.

As I recall from 2015, they were only here a short while, then they disappeared. I hope they leave soon! It's horrible trying to fish with them around. I hope they go away with this wind and cool mornings.

I thought pinfish were bad.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Srbenda » May 12th, 2020, 12:49 pm

[quote="Ted in Tallahassee"Now I should say that when I'm drifting the flats I usually chum by hanging a few trout/flounder etc. carcasses from the previous trip over the side on a wire. [/quote]


Chumming while drifting? Side topic, but how does this work?
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby jayseashan » May 12th, 2020, 12:51 pm

Yeah, I have been fishing St Marks since 2014... Only have caught a few over the years and this past weekend (5/10/20) I caught 2 way up in a creek. One with a gold spoon and the other on live shrimp/carolina rig.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Salty Gator » May 12th, 2020, 1:15 pm

Srbenda wrote:[quote="Ted in Tallahassee"Now I should say that when I'm drifting the flats I usually chum by hanging a few trout/flounder etc. carcasses from the previous trip over the side on a wire.



Chumming while drifting? Side topic, but how does this work?[/quote]

I recently found out it was illegal to use flounder strips( from previous trips) as bait. Chumming w a carcass would certainly fall under the same rule. Just FYI in case someone wants to be a jerk
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby eightwt » May 12th, 2020, 4:37 pm

I remember first one i caught, was on the fly. Got it out of the water to unhook, that's when it started inflating. Startled me as I didn't know what it was, LOL. Laughed my butt off at myself for doing a two step!!
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby gary z » May 12th, 2020, 7:35 pm

Gary Droze needs to catch one and report
on how good/bad they are to eat.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Double Naught » May 12th, 2020, 10:47 pm

If I have a choice for my last meal, I doubt it would be a puffer. Just sayin.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Charlie P » May 19th, 2020, 1:54 pm

I can attest they haven't gone anywhere. Caught 10 or 12 on Sunday and lost a bunch of Gulps, assholes.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby Ted in Tallahassee » May 21st, 2020, 12:48 am

Chumming while drifting--it depends on the wind & tide. For example if the tide/water flow is going out (heading south) and the wind is blowing your boat towards the north. and you have lines on floats traiiing to the south, those lines are going to be in the chum scent trail. On those trailing lines I'll usually have a live pinfish on a bobber and I'll maybe also have a second trailing rod with a piece of cut bait on a bobber at a shorter distance than the pinfish rod to avoid tangles. As I drift I cast a third rod with a jig on a popping cork in the other direction, with the wind. Seldom does a five minute period go by where nothing happens.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby dombern34 » May 21st, 2020, 7:33 am

they've bent my rod a time or 56456465. I don't even keep trout so they as well went back in the water.
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Re: Smooth Puffers

Postby StMarksAngler » May 21st, 2020, 9:27 am

As someone who spends 90% of my time on the water, in the water spearfishing, I can attest that puffers are a normal and regular part of the ecosystem. I haven't noticed any obvious change in their prevalence in the last 10 or 15 years. There must just be something about the water temps or nutrient gradients that occasionally push them closer to shore for a period of time where you're more likely to encounter them on a hook.

The picture under the water is a lot different than the one above it. Most folks probably don't realize our waters are loaded with hogfish for example.
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