Caulolatilus Microps



Offshore, Deepwater, Continental Shelf, Continental Slopes

5 - 23 pounds

25" - 35"

Grey Tilefish 

Also Known As: Blueline Tilefish

Guides Who Fish This Species

Grey Tilefish (Caulolatilus microps) Fish Description

The Grey Tilefish, also commonly known as blueline tilefish, is a deep-dwelling saltwater fish. It is grey in color with a large head and has a deep body. They’re also called blueline because they have a blue to a purple line from their nose to under their eyes.  


Diet and Size

The grey tilefish is a medium-sized fish. They can grow up to 35 inches long and can weigh up to 23 lbs. Their average size is 5-8 lbs and 25 inches in minimum. The females tend to be smaller than the males, but they mature more quickly.   They primarily feed on other bottom-feeders such as crabs, shrimps, sea urchins, mollusks, and small fish.


Interesting Facts About the Grey Tilefish

  • Some Anglers call the grey tilefish the poor man’s lobster because they do taste like one if you cook it right. Their colorful relative, the golden tilefish is also said to be a tasty poor man’s lobster.
  • They are also known for digging sands to make burrows where they rest and seek protection.
  • Scientists are still figuring out if this species practices hermaphroditism.
  • They can live up to 26 years!


Fishing Techniques: How to Catch the Grey Tilefish

Since the grey tilefish are bottom-dwelling gamefish. The best way to catch them is through deep drop fishing. Set up your rig to reach the bottom, since that would be the key to catch this fish. Check the conditions of the water, usually, you only need 16 ounces but if the current is strong, you can even go up to 3-pound or even 5-pound weights to get to their depths of 100 to 400 feet. Drop your cast and wait patiently until you feel a bit of tug. Don’t pull too quickly, wait for them to get a good chomp. Set your boat speed to 2 knots for a steady drift while you’re waiting for a bite. They’re not bait-shy, so it doesn’t take long before a tilefish strikes. Don’t be afraid to use a multi-rig, some anglers even hit a triple with this fish. 

Use an 8-foot spinner rod equipped with a 20-40 and 50 lb braided line. It’s best to use a high-speed rail with depths of 400 feet. Use a thin line so you can easily feel the line. Having a sensitive line is the most important factor since it can be hard to notice the strikes with this depth. For hook sizes, use 5/0 to 7/0 circle hooks. Attach a light strobe to improve your bait presentation.

The most common baits for the grey tilefish are squids, eels, and pieces of bonita or barracuda. For lures, the best ones are squid lures or jigs.


Habitat and Distribution

The grey tilefish are bottom-dwelling fish that are mostly found in depths of 250-800 feet deep, but some have been found as deep as 1,500 feet. They like places where it is muddy, rocky, or sandy bottoms of continental shelves and continental slopes. They are non-migratory species and mostly stay in their burrows. 

They’re mainly found on the east coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the United States. They are generally located in 3 places: the Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico. Good fishing spots for the grey tilefish are in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and in Florida. Their spawning season is from May to October. According to anglers in Florida, the best time to catch them is during Winter in Florida when they are more abundant.