The Golden Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) is a species of marine ray-finned fish in the tilefish family, Malacanthidae. It is native to the western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, where it is found in deep waters on the continental shelf.

The Golden Tilefish has a long, slender body and is usually a yellowish-gold color, hence its name. It has a large head with a pointed snout and a large mouth. Its dorsal fin is divided into two parts, and it has a forked tail. 

It can reach up to 35 inches in length and can weigh up to 10 pounds. Its diet consists mainly of crustaceans and mollusks. The Golden Tilefish is a highly migratory species and is known to migrate along the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Mexico from North Carolina to Florida in the winter months.

Spawning peaks in June (Mid-Atlantic) and from April to June (South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico). Females release 2 to 8 million eggs when they spawn.

Tilefish feed during the day on the bottom feeding crustaceans, clams, snails, worms, anemones, and sea cucumbers.

Juvenile tilefish are preyed on by spiny dogfish and monkfish as well as conger eels and large bottom-dwelling sharks such as dusky or sandbar sharks.

Fishing for tilefish

The tilefish is a popular game fish and is also commercially fished for its meat. The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan includes annual catch limits for recreational and commercial anglers.

In 2021, recreational anglers landed 260,000 pounds of tilefish, according to the NOAA Fisheries recreational fishing landings database. The majority of the recreational harvest was landed in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Regional recreational management measures include: Recreational fishermen can keep a limited number of tilefish per fishing trip in the Mid-Atlantic/Southern New England area. There is a limit on how many tilefish recreational fishermen can keep and a limit on the total amount that can be harvested during the year in the South Atlantic.

It is an important species for recreational and commercial fisheries in the US. In recent years, however, the population of Golden Tilefish has been declining due to overfishing and habitat destruction. As a result, the species has been listed as a species of concern by the US National Marine Fisheries Service.

Managers have taken steps to decrease overfishing. Commercial tilefish fisheries IFQ (individual fishing quota) programs are used to manage the Gulf of Mexico and the Mid-Atlantic. Although specific details may vary from region to region, the general principle is that managers allocate a portion of the annual catch to participating fishermen.

If you are wanting to catch Golden Tilefish, the best commercial gear type to use would be an electric reel with a 100-pound braid line. The mono leader on the bottom can be a 300-pound test and should have an 80-pound mono branch crimped to each sharp circle hook. Tilefish don’t have teeth, so you don’t have to worry about your fishing gear.

In the Gulf of Mexico, tilefish are included in the reef fish aggregate bag limit, along with several other reef fish species, and the fishery is closed when the annual catch limit is projected to be met.


Tilefish taste

The taste of tilefish has been described as sweet with a hint of richness. It has a mild flavor, with just a slight hint of brininess. The meat is flaky, and it has a delicate buttery texture. 

When cooked, the golden tilefish has a medium-firm texture.

It is a great fish to pair with sauces or marinades, as it can take on the flavors of the ingredients used. It is also great for baking, grilling, and pan-frying. This fish is versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes.

Nutritional facts about tilefish

Tilefish is a healthy option for those looking to add nutritious fish to their weekly diet. This fish is loaded with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids providing about 1,200 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids per 3-ounce serving. 

High in protein, tilefish provides about 21 grams per 3-ounce serving. It also provides vitamins like A, B6, and B12. This fish is a great source of selenium providing about 51 micrograms per 3-ounce serving, a mineral that helps to reduce inflammation and plays a role in the immune system. 

The American Heart Association has even recommended tilefish for its beneficial effects on the heart. Tilefish is low in mercury, meaning it is safe to consume, and it is a great low-fat source of protein. 

Tilefish is a great addition to any meal, whether it is grilled, baked, or pan-fried. Adding tilefish to your diet offers a wide range of health benefits and is a great way to enjoy tasty, healthy fish.

Best Golden Tilefish recipes

roasted fish

Tilefish is some of the best-tasting fish and is extremely versatile. It can be used in many cooking methods. However, it shines when baked or roasted with butter or spices. 

These are some of the best tilefish recipes:

1. Buttery Tilefish

This buttery tilefish recipe uses moist, well-seasoned tilefish filets and savory butter. Then it gets a burst in freshness from lemon juice and a savory flavor from chives. This delicious and delicate dish can be enjoyed on its own or with a bowl full of green salad or sauteed vegetables.

2. Crispy Tilefish with Ponzu Butter

You already know that tilefish is delicate, so it will be crisp as well. This crispy tilefish with ponzu butter recipe highlights the fish’s flakiness. Season the flesh side of the filets in salt, and cook it in a large skillet until opaque. 

For a gourmet dinner, top it with mild, earthy, lightly-browned enoki mushrooms. Serve the fish and mushrooms with a tart, rich yuzu-ponzu-butter sauce to elevate the meal.

3. Golden Tilefish with Pesto-Pecan Crust

While tilefish browns beautifully you will need to make sure your cooking is a bit more sophisticated. This recipe calls for seasoning the fish and topping it with a pesto–pecan crust. 

It is made up of pecan meal and lemon juice, nutritional yeast, parmesan, olive oil, parsley, pepper flakes, and salt. This golden tilefish with pesto-pecan crust recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

4. Oven Roasted Golden Tilefish

This oven-roasted golden tilefish recipe uses the standard cooking technique to create a flaky, yet firm tilefish. The filets are brushed with olive oil, sea salt, and ground pepper and oven-roasted until they feel firm to the touch.

You can enjoy the fish filet on its own, with butter and lemon slices, or with grape tomatoes and onion with fennel.

Best wines to drink with the Golden Tilefish

wine and fish

The mild, subtle flavor of the Golden Tilefish allows it to pair well with a wide range of wines. Some of the best choices are white wines with a mild, citrusy flavor, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, or Grüner Veltliner. 

Sauvignon Blanc has a bright acidity that brings out the flavor of the tilefish, while Riesling has a fruity sweetness that complements the mild fish. Grüner Veltliner, a unique Austrian grape variety, has a bright, mineral-driven flavor that enhances the subtleness of the tilefish. 

All three of these wines have a light body that won’t overpower the delicate texture of the tilefish. They are also versatile enough to pair with a variety of side dishes, from steamed vegetables to a light salad. The bright acidity and citrusy flavors of these wines will also help to cut through any buttery richness that may be present in the dish.

In summary, white wines with a mild, citrusy flavor, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, or Grüner Veltliner, are great choices for pairing with Golden Tilefish. These wines have a light body and bright acidity that won’t overpower the delicate texture of the fish. 

Their citrusy flavors will help to enhance the subtle flavor of the fish and cut through any buttery richness that may be present in the dish.


The golden tilefish is a nutritious and delicious-tasting fish that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It has a mild, buttery flavor that pairs well with citrus and herbs. It is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, making it a healthy and delicious choice. 

Fishing for golden tilefish is a great way to get a delicious and nutritious meal. It is also a sustainable, environmentally friendly choice. When fishing for golden tilefish, it is important to follow local regulations as many areas have restrictions on fishing for them. With the proper gear, technique, and knowledge, anyone can enjoy a successful and delicious fishing trip for golden tilefish.

There are many delicious recipes for golden tilefish, such as roasted, fried, or grilled. Wines that pair well with this fish include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio.

All in all, the golden tilefish is an excellent seafood choice that is sure to please any palate.