How to Catch Hogfish


Hogfish --- or hog snapper --- is a member of the wrasse family. It lives in the Atlantic and Gulf waters around the Florida Keys. The biggest hogfish are caught 100 feet below the surface. However, catching a hogfish is challenging. You need to be prepared with bait and gear to sink, as hogfish swim close to sandy ledges and rocks. If you are lucky, you'll return from your fishing trip with hogfish for the dinner table.

Things You'll Need

  • Fish chum made from crustacean parts
  • Weighted basket
  • Line
  • 12-pound gear with 12-pound test
  • Spear
  • Anchor your boat in the area where you want to catch the hogfish. You need to provide the bait directly into the habitat as hogfish will not leave the habitat to swim to you.

  • Put chum inside the weighted basket. Prepare chum from crustacean parts such as crab legs, shrimp heads or small shellfish to increase your chances of a catch.

  • Lower the weighted basket as far down as you can from the bow of the boat using a line. Hogfish swim along sandy ledges, rocks or the ocean floor so keep the bait basket low.

  • Set up your 12-pound gear with 12-pound test, using crustacean parts as bait. Cast the line over the bow of the boat and wait for a bite.

  • Jump in the water with a fishing spear, if you are having no luck with the fishing line. Scuba dive or free-dive in the direction of the chum to try and hunt for the hogfish. Kick up the sand to attract the hogfish in your direction, as hogfish can sniff out food amid the sand particles.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't have a weighted basket, tie chum to a diving weight and suspend it from a line from the bow of the boat.
  • Use a circle hook and line if you are looking for hogfish in grassy patches or shallow water.
  • Always check local fishing regulations before trying to catch a hogfish. For example, there is a 12-inch length limit for fish in Florida.

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  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
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