South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Hogfish

Hogfish

Lachnolaimus maximus
Recreational
FL GA, NC, SC
Commercial
All areas are open for commercial fishing.

The hogfish has a long, pig-like snout, and protrusible jaws with thick lips and strong canine teeth. The first three spines of the dorsal fin, as well as the upper and lower tips of the caudal fin, are extended into long filaments. Color is highly variable and changes with size. The scales on the back are often edged in yellow, and a dark spot is at the rear base of the dorsal fin. This spot disappears with age. Males possess a dark oblique band that covers the top portion of the head, extending to the tip of the snout. Juveniles are much lighter in color overall, usually pink or gray with white mottling along the sides.

Hogfish is most commonly found throughout the Caribbean, although its entire distribution is from North Carolina to Bermuda and the northern coast of South America. Usually, hogfish are found in loose aggregations around hard bottom areas, such as coral reefs, rocky ledges, and wrecks. The species is a protogynous hermaphrodite that spawns from September to April off the coast of Florida. The time of spawning in other areas is unknown. The smallest size at which females are capable of reproducing is about 8 inches, although most mature at a larger size. Like most reef fish species, hogfish are opportunistic feeders, eating whatever may be available from clams or urchins that can be crushed with their teeth to slow-moving or sessile snails.

Hogfish illustration.
Juvenile hogfish swimming over reef.

NC, SC, GA

  • Season is currently open.
  • 2 Bag Limit
  • Min. Size: 17 in Fork Length
  • Notes:

    A descending device is required on board all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper and grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic. The descending device must be readily available for use and attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line. Get more information at Best Fishing Practices Webpage Hogfish in federal waters from North Carolina through Georgia:

    minimum size limit is 17 inch fork length,

    recreational bag limit is 2 fish per angler, and

    recreational harvest is open year-round.

    For more information, see SAFMC Hogfish.

    In FEDERAL waters off the East coast of Florida:

    bag limit = 1;

    minimum size = 16 inches fork length; and

    open May 1 through October 31.

    For more information, see SAFMC Hogfish.

    Must be landed with head and fins intact.

    If you are bringing fish back to the U.S. from the Bahamas by water, please see Bringing fish back from the Bahamas.

    ———-

    Federally Permitted Charter/Headboats:

    • If a federally permitted vessel fishing in federal waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that fish.
    • If a federally permitted vessel fishing in state waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters but open in state waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that species.
    • If a federally permitted vessel fishing in federal waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in state waters but open to harvest in federal waters, they may retain that fish if they do not stop to fish in state waters when returning to port. All gear must be stowed.

    Federally Permitted Charter/Headboats must have the following on board:

    • The 2019 version of the NMFS document titled “Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release with Minimal Injury” (document may be electronic).
    • NMFS sea turtle handling and release guidelines placard
    • Required release and handling gears

    See Snapper Grouper Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Release Gear Requirements for more information.

    For more information on management of South Atlantic federal fisheries, please visit SAFMC or NOAA Fisheries.

    To see commercial regulations, download Fish Rules Commercial App for iOS devices or Android devices.

  • Gear Description: Allowable gear includes vertical hook-and-line, including hand line and bandit gear, and spearfishing gear without rebreathers. When fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic, the following regulations apply: (1) Use of a dehooking tool is required. (2) The use of non-stainless steel hooks is required when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. In waters North of 28-degrees N. latitude, the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required when fishing for snapper grouper species using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. (3) A descending device is required on board all vessels and must be readily available for use (attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line). See below for more details.

FL

  • Season is currently closed.
  • Season Closed: November 01, 2021 – April 30, 2022
  • Season Closed: November 01, 2022 – April 30, 2023
  • 1 Bag Limit
  • Min. Size: 16 in Fork Length
  • Additional Licenses Required: Beginning July 1, 2020, anglers intending to land this species in Florida are required to sign up as a Florida State Reef Fish Angler if they fish from a private recreational boat and are 16 years of age and older. To sign up, call 1-888-347-4356.
  • Notes: A descending device is required on board all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper and grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic. The descending device must be readily available for use and attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line. Get more information at Best Fishing Practices Webpage

    Must be landed with head and fins intact.

    To learn more about hogfish regulations, see SAFMC Hogfish or see myFWC Hogfish.

    If you are bringing fish back to the U.S. from the Bahamas by water, please see Bringing fish back from the Bahamas.

    In FEDERAL waters from North Carolina to Georgia: minimum size limit is 17 inch fork length, recreational bag limit is 2 fish per angler, and recreational harvest is open year-round.

    ———- Federally Permitted Charter/Headboats:

    -If a federally permitted vessel fishing in federal waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that fish.

    -If a federally permitted vessel fishing in state waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters but open in state waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that species.

    -If a federally permitted vessel fishing in federal waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in state waters but open to harvest in federal waters, they may retain that fish if they do not stop to fish in state waters when returning to port. All gear must be stowed.

    For more information, see: Hogfish Commercial Regulations

    To see commercial regulations, download Fish Rules Commercial App for iOS devices or Android devices.

  • Gear Description: Allowable gear includes vertical hook-and-line, including hand line and bandit gear, and spearfishing gear without rebreathers. When fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic, the following regulations apply: (1) Use of a dehooking tool is required. (2) The use of non-stainless steel hooks is required when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. In waters North of 28-degrees N. latitude, the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required when fishing for snapper grouper species using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. (3) A descending device is required on board all vessels and must be readily available for use (attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line). See below for more details.

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