Tripletail, also known as the Atlantic Tripletail, are found in tropical and temperate waters around the world. Their scientific name is Lobotes surinamensis, but local fishermen refer to them as a flasher, or even as “blackfish”. These fish have the strangest habit of lying just below the surface of the water and floating with one side exposed. If you spot this fish floating from a distance, you might mistake it for a pile of floating leaves, or even as floating trash in the water. Scientists have been unable to find an answer to explain this abnormal behaviour. The most popular theory is that these fish float as a way to regulate their body temperature, and also use it as a hunting method. Small baitfish are known to find shelter under floating objects to protect themselves from aerial predators, but are unaware that this makes them an easy target for the floating Tripletail.
These fish have a very distinctive look, and can easily be distinguished from other species by looking at the arrangement of its rear fins. The dorsal fin of the Tripletail are large and round, and have two adjacent anal fins that make the fish look like it has three tails (hence the name, Tripletail). Its body is laterally compressed (like a flounder), and the body tapers down to its small head. They have mottled and spotted color patterns, and are generally a mix of different shades of brown, black, and grey.
The largest Tripletail ever caught, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife department, was just shy of 37 inches and weighed in at nearly 40 pounds! We’d all love to land a fish that size, but we have to reel in your expectations. The average Tripletail averages about 20 inches long, and weighs in at 12 pounds. Also, it’s been found that the female Tripletail are generally larger than their male counter parts. These fish have a lifespan of about 10 years, and have a diet that mainly consists of small baitfish, crabs, and shrimp.