It is, however, distributed across tropical seas especially Indonesia region which is commonly found in wet market in Pontianak, West Borneo. Large adults are sometimes found near the surface over deep, open water, although always associated with floating objects.
Young fishes are also often found in or near shipwrecks, beams or supports, jetties, flotsam and sea buoys. Fry are usually found in waters that exceed 84 °F (29 °C), greater than 3.3‰ salinity, and more than 230 feet (70 m) deep.
This is thought to be a feeding strategy because of the locality of their prey items and the floating structures associated with this behavior. The Atlantic triple tail has scales that extend onto its dorsal, anal, and caudal fins and a head profile that conceives as the fish ages.
Large congregations of triple tails during the summer months in the inshore and nearshore waters of coastal Georgia suggest this area is a critical estuaries spawning habitat for the species. Larval Atlantic triple tails go through four levels of development; reflection, flexion, post flexion, and transformation.
By the time the larvae reach 0.16 in (4 mm), they have large eyes and concave heads. The larval forms of Atlantic triple tails resemble those of boar fishes, some jacks, spade fishes, and bass.
A few tons of Atlantic triple tails are fished commercially on the east and west coasts of Florida, and marketed fresh, frozen, or salted. They are mainly caught using haul seines, gill nets, and line gear.
The Atlantic triple tail is not listed as endangered or vulnerable with the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The name triple tail comes from the fact that the large and rounded soft dorsal fin and anal fin extend far back on the body and closely resemble the tail in color and shape, so that the fish might appear to have three tails.
Adult triple tail have drab, spotted and mottled color patterns, in various shades of black, brown, and gray. Triple tail has the ability to change color to match their surroundings, from nearly solid black to yellow to silvery gray.
Young triple tail are well camouflaged and resemble leaves or debris, particularly when floating near the surface in Sargasso. Triple tail has the ability to change color to match their surroundings, from nearly solid black to yellow to silvery gray.
In the United States, they occur from Massachusetts south along the Atlantic coast and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Triple tail appear in bays and inshore waters on the northern Gulf Coast in April and remain through early October.
In the northern Gulf of Mexico, triple tail are somewhat migratory, moving between the ocean in winter and inshore waters in summer. Unlike cobra, there appears to be little east and west movement along the coast of the northern Gulf.
Seemingly lazy, triple tail are fond of drifting, especially beneath floating material, boats, and buoys or adjacent to posts and pilings, usually in the shadows. Triple tail frequently lie on their sides and float listlessly near the surface, looking like clumps of leaves or a plastic bag.
It is thought that their odd behavior and association with objects is strongly related to feeding, but there are likely other factors. A typical female triple tail 24 inches in total length might produce 4.5 to 8 millions eggs in a season.
Juvenile triple tail are commonly found in floating patches of Sargasso or other types of drift algae and appear to be strongly associated with shaded structures. The transition from a larval triple tail to a juvenile occurs between 0.35-0.37 inches (9.0-9.5 mm) in standard length.
Triple tail is opportunistic feeders that lie motionless until their prey comes close, and they strike rapidly. They feed on fish and benthic crustaceans, including gulf menhaden, Atlantic bumper, glass minnows, swimming red crabs, anchovies, shrimp, and squid.
The triple tail's fondness for floating objects, posts, and pilings makes it a good target for anglers. However, good results are sometimes achieved by fishing a lure or bait deeper below the surface alongside pilings.
However, a pending regulation would limit recreational catches to five fish per day with a minimum length of 18 inches. The preopercule (the bony plate just forward of the gill cover opening) is serrated and sharp, and the dorsal spines are stiff and sharply pointed.
Being a relatively flat fish, triple tail files are not thick, but the firm white meat is tasty and often compared to grouper and snapper. The meat flakes easily and does not do well on a grill unless it is cooked with the skin and scales left intact on the files.
It's been reported that K-Paul's restaurant in New Orleans once played on an earlier success with red drum and served triple tail as “reddened blackish.” As triple tail have become popular sport fish, fishery regulations have been enacted by all Gulf of Mexico states.
Aspects of the Reproductive Biology of Triple tail, Robots Surinamese, in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, Nancy J. Brown-Peterson and James S. Franks, Division of Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi Diet of Triple tail, Robots Surinamese, from Mississippi Coastal Waters, James S. Franks, Katherine E. VanderKooy, and Nikola M. Garber, Center for Fisheries Research and Development, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, 2002 Biological Aspects of Triple tail, presentation on triple tail life history and research, presentation to the Historic Ocean Springs Saltwater Fly fishing Club, by Dr. Read Tendon, Center for Fisheries Research and Development, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. Larval Development and Distribution of Robots Surinamese, James G. Ditty and Richard F. Shaw, Center for Coastal, Energy, and Environmental Resources, Louisiana State University, 1993 Residence, Habitat Use, and Movement Patterns of Atlantic Triple tail in the Osaka Sound Estuary, Georgia Triple the Fun, Coastal Angler magazine, June 30, 2013, Captain Sonny Schindler.
Interview with Read Tendon and Jim Franks on Girl's triple tail tag and release program You can’t go to your local tackle shop and buy a triple tail edition rod and reel, and rarely do you see it adorning T-shirts or caps.
Another Gulf Coast angler once told me that you could throw a triple tail filet in the mud, drag it behind the car on the way home and it would still taste good. The point is that any cook, whether culinary novice or professional, will find triple tail easy and worthwhile to prepare.
The triple tail inhabits inshore, nearshore and offshore waters and often is found near floating weed lines, crab traps, channel markers and other structure. I am often amazed at how triple tails seem to think they are completely hidden from predators, even though they stand out for anglers with a sharp eye.
They also don’t last in the fridge or on ice for as long as other fish, so eat them up quick! Lightly butter a 9×13-inch glass baking dish and set aside.
Season the fillets with salt, pepper, garlic and onion. Spread about 2 tablespoons of softened butter over the top of each fillet.
Bake in preheated oven until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork (about 20-25 minutes). Deep, somewhat rounded shape gives it the appearance of an oversize pan fish.
Name derives from similarity and near juxtaposition of the dorsal, caudal and anal fins, resembling three tails. SIZE: Most run 2-12 pounds; but rare catches reach 30 or more.
GAME QUALITIES: Despite its clumsy looks, the Triple tail is a good game fish in all respects. It willingly strikes artificial lures and its fight is characterized by short, frantic runs and startling jumps.
Streamer flies, plastic and buck tail jigs and mirror plugs are among the pet lures. HABITAT: The Triple tail is a true world traveler, drifting with ocean currents and often spotted by dolphin fishermen in weed lines or alongside floating debris.