Fishing the Philippines 10 T-Z

Category Archives: Tuna (Tambakol)

Dogtooth Tuna ( Gymnosarda unicolor )

Gymnosarda unicolor

Big Dogtooth caught in Zambales


Common Name:  Dogtooth Tuna, White Tuna

Local Name: Tambakol (Tagalog), Lanhu-an (Cebuano)

Max Size:  248 cm ( 131 kgs )

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef Associated, Oceanodromous

Depth: 10 – 200 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

This is one of the big game species that can be caught here in the Philippines which is normally targeted by angler who are deep water jigging.  Those this species is normally caught at deeper depths, it can also be caught while trolling lures near the surface.  Dogtooth are reef associated fish normally found offshore around reefs.  They feed mainly on small schooling fish and squid though they are opportunistic feeders and can be caught on a variety of bait.

Dogtooth are known by many different names throughout the country of which Tambakol seems to be the most common.  Surprisingly they are not members of the Tuna family.  They are excellent food fish and prove a great challenge when hooked.

The one pictured above was caught by anglers fishing out of the Masinloc Zambales Fishing Lodge.

Yellow Fin Tuna ( Thunnus albacares )

Thunnus albacares

Common Name: Tuna, Yellow Fin

Local Name: Tambakol

Max Size:  239cm  (commonly 150 cm)

Biodiversity: Marine, Pelagic-Oceanic, Oceanodromous Endemic

Depth: 1 – 250m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Yellow Fin Tuna are one of the big game fish that can be caught here in the Philippines.  The big ones can be fished in certain parts of the country like Siargao, General Santos City, Mindoro, Palawan and along the Philippine Trench.  Smaller ones can be caught throughout the islands.  Arnold caught this beautiful 36kg specimen in Siargao while drifting live squid down under bright propane lamps.  The lamps attract squid which then bring the fish.  Smaller ones can be caught when trolling lures and feathers. Often local fishermen target these tuna and other species using long lines that they troll behind their boats.  Their long lines sometimes have up to 40+ feathered hooks.

Mackerel Tuna ( Euthynnus affinis )

where to fish around the Philippines

A good sized Mackerel Tuna caught in Siquijor

Common Name:   Tuna, Kawa Kawa, Bullseye

Local Name:  Tulingan (Tagalog); Barilis, Hasa Hasa (Cebuano)

Max Size:  100 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Pelagic, Oceanodromous

Depth:  0 – 200 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  12 inches

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Tuna flies, small fish and crustaceans

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

This species of fish is common in large schools off the coast all over the Philippines.  It is usually found quite close to shore where the school feeds on  baitfish.  It is quite a popular fish for local fishermen to target as it is quite abundant, easily caught and fetches a good price in the market.  It has dark flesh that is quite tasty.

Fishermen most often go after this fish with long lines of multiple hooks (sometimes up to 30 or more hooks per line).  Their hooks are relatively small long shank hooks dressed with striped feathers, tinsel, crystallite, or various other materials to create a small pin fish lure.  For those who are familiar fly fishing their dressed hooks look very much like Clouser Minnows.

Siquijor Tuna Photo courtesy of Eric Mark E. Opaon

tuna spots in the philippines

Small Tulingan caught off Puerto Galera Mindoro

Category Archives: Wrasse

Cheek-Lined Wrasse ( Oxycheilinus digramma )

cheeklined wrasse

A Cheek-Lined Wrasse caught off of Mactan Is.

Common Name:    Wrasse, Scribbled Wrasse,

Local Names:  Mameng,  (Tagalog);  Mol-Mol, Labayan, (Cebuano)

Max Size:  40 cm 

Biodiversity:  Marine, Brackish, Reef-Associated,

Depth:  3 – 60 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  10 inches 

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Fish, Fish

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern (LC)

This plentiful species is found all throughout the Philippines around the abundant tropical reefs. The larger wrasse are one of the bruisers on the coral reefs.  They are typically found alone or in pairs generally confined to a particular area or even part of the reef.

Fire-Tail Devil ( Labracinus cyclophthalmus )

dottyback fish

Dennis’ Dottyback

Common Name:   Dottyback, Devil Fish

Local Name:   **  (Tagalog),  **  (Cebuano)

Max Size:  23.5 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef-Associated

Depth:  2 – 20 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait:  Shrimp, small fish and crustaceans;

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

This is a small reef fish that is found around the islands in shallow reefs.  They look like a cross between a wrasse and a grouper, however are not related to either.  **  We are not aware of this fish’s name here in the Philippines probably because it is usually miss-identified as either a wrasse or a grouper.

Redbreasted Wrasse ( Cheilinus fasciatus )

fishing guides philippines

Ed’s wrasse from Maasim

Common Name:   Wrasse

Local Name:  Mameng (Tagalog); Labayan, Buntogon, Mulmul (Cebuano)

Max Size:  40 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef-Associated

Depth:  4 – 60 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  10 inches

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, small fish and crustaceans

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern (LC)

Cigar Wrasse ( Cheilio inermis )

Cheilio inermis  Here is a Cigar Wrasse that was caught in Puerto Galera, Mindoro.  It was caught on a silver minnow lure from the shore.   This species an be found patrolling reefs, weed bed, and sand coastlines all around the country.  It can be taken on various tackle including but not limited to live  shrimp, crabs and minnows, as well as lures, jig and soft plastics.  These fish put up great fights for their size.

Tripletail Wrasse (Cheilinus trilobatus)

Common Name:  Wrasse

Local Name:  ?? (Tagalog); Tanggisan (Cebuano)

Max Size:  45 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef Associated, Brackish

Depth: 1 – 30 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  10 inches

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, crabs, other small crustaceans, small lures

Here is a nice little fish I caught in Puerto Galera Mindoro while surf fishing from the beach.  I caught this using a peice of a ghost crab below a bobber.  It put up a good fight.  It was around 11 inches long.  These fish can be found all over the Philippines around reefs.

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Largemouth Bass ( Micropterus salmoides )


Micropterus salmoides

Large Mouth Bass

Common Name:  Bass, Black Bass, LMB

Local Name:  Tawis (Tagalog);  ?? (Cebuano)

Max Size:  97 cm (10.1 kgs)

Biodiversity: Freshwater (introduced)

Depth: Surface  – 7 meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  12 inches

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, small fish, worms, lures

IUCN Red List Status:  (LC) Least Concern

Largemouth Bass were introduced into the Philippines at the turn of the century by Americans who wanted to propagate a sport and food fish in the islands.  The bass were successfully stocked into lakes Lumot and Caliraya, two hydroelectric reservoirs in Laguna.  Later bass were also seeded in the Pantabangan reservoir in Nueva Escija.

Bass have done well in the country though confined mainly to these three lakes.  They remain a top angling species for anglers on the island of Luzon.

Due to the challenging terrain around all three reservoirs, most angler fish for bass from boats.  Bass can be caught all year round though the best time of year to fish for them are the months of March to May.


Philippines Record:

(This is the largest largemouth bass caught in the Philippines on rod and reel that FTP has received record of to date.  If you know of one larger please contact us.)

4.58 kgs  Caught in Pantabangan Reservoir, Nueva Escija in 2007 by Annie Gonzales.

philippine record 4.62 kg bass

The Rabbit Hunt

The Rabbit Hunt By Benaiah Fogle

A mention of the word Danggit in Filipino company is usually met with grins of delight and expressions of Lami-a uy! Sarap yan! and so on. This same word in the company of expats is met with groans and expressions of disgust. This is an article about Danggit, well the live one anyway, and its place in fishing here in the Philippines.

The word Danggit is a well-known name in Visayan for one of the many species of Rabbitfish inhabiting Philippine waters. Rabbitfish are also known in English as Spinefoots, and are known by many different names around the rest Philippines. Some of the names of the more well-known species include: Samaral, Kitong, and Danggit. kitong These fish are primarily a saltwater fish however they can be found in estuaries and even up stream in freshwater rivers. They also range in size from small almost minnow size fish to large kilo size fish. They all are generally round and compressed in body shape with small mouth bordered by lips that look as if they are ready to kiss. They range in color from mottled brown and green to silver, spotted, streaked and ever darker with more dramatic colors.

Rabbitfish all possess painful sharp spines all over their bodies. This is the reason they are called Spinefoots. A prick from one of these venomous spines leaves a throbbing pain for a long while. Fishermen need to exercise caution when handling this fish for that reason.

The mainly vegetarian diet of the Rabbitfish leads them close to the shore line around the country in search of seaweed and other plant matter. They often come in with the tide to shallow water to harvest the seaweed growing on the tidal flats. They often travel in schools which can be easily identified by the slivery flashes of the fish as they feed in schools on the algae on the seabed.

This is a Danggit

This is a Danggit

Rabbitfish are edible and make for fair table fare. Local favourite recipes for Rabbitfish include; Grilled Kitong (stuffed with onions and tomatoes), Steamed Kitong with Sweet and Sour Sauce and Fried Kitong. Small Rabbitfish are also a popular fish to salt and dry. Known simply as Danggit, these dried fish are then deep fried and eaten for breakfast lunch or dinner. My wife calls it her Philippine bacon. When the dried Danggit are fried there usually a pungent fishy smell that hangs in the air. This is usually what deters most foreigners from enjoying this Philippine delicacy.

Fishing Techniques

A Danggit float rig

A Danggit float rig

Float Fishing – The small mouths on these fish along with their sharp algae scraping teeth present a challenge that frustrates and deters many fishermen. There however is a technique for catching Rabbitfish that works and with a little practice angler both you and old can enjoy the thrill of fishing for Rabbitfish. Making a Danggit Rig is the first step. The rig includes a float with a swivel attached beneath onto which two lengths or at least 18” of light leader line are tied. Two small split shots are pressed onto the lines near the ends and then two long shank hooks of the smallest available size are tied at the ends. The long shanks help keep the fishes’ teeth from cutting the main line. There are two favourite baits for catching Rabbitfish. The first and most popular is the boiled cooking banana (Saba) and the other is glutinous rice. Rabbitfish seem to prefer these sort of baits though than can be caught on other things. Once small pieces of banana or sticky rice are cut and placed on the end of the hooks the rig is ready to be cast. Local fishermen often chum the spot there plan on fish both before and during the time they fish. Rabbitfish feed throughout the day and so can be caught all day long. In areas where large predator fish are present small Rabbitfish when caught can be used as live bait.

A good haul of Danggit and Kitong caught on a float rig

A good haul of Danggit and Kitong caught on a float rig

Salvage – Another less palatable way that local fishermen catch these fish is by using specialized “salvage” rigs. This rig is designed to attract the fish to a bait which has two large hooks behind it. When the fisherman feels the Rabbitfish nibbling on the bait they jerk the line in attempt to snag the fish on the large hooks. This is obviously not a method used when fishermen are practicing catch and release because it often leaves large wounds in the fish. The local sport fishing community looks down upon such a method because of that harmful result.

A Kitong taken on a salvage rig

A Kitong taken on a salvage rig

Pana – Because of their large round profiles, Rabbitfish make great targets for spearfishermen. They are also not a very shy fish and will often swim within spear distance of fishermen. Locals use homemade spearguns made of a piece of wood, a length of stainless steel bar and rubber straps. Spearmen either swim along shorelines, rocks, or reefs in search of fish or they set a bait in a good area and wait for the fish to congregate.

This is a Kitang which can also be caught when fishing for Kitong.

This is a Kitang which can also be caught when fishing for Kitong.

Now you know the basics of fishing for Rabbitfish.

   san carlos tourney 20148san carlos tourney 20146



Fly Fishing Seminar (1/23/13) in Cebu City

Fly fishing cebu

We held a Fly Fishing Seminar and Casting session on Feb. 23, 2014.  A visiting experienced fly fisherman, Sven Cederberg shared some of his knowledge and expertise on fly fishing basics, tactics and fly casting.  The seminar was held at Vista Mar Beach Resort located on Mactan Island in Cebu City.  We had six people that attended and had a great time hearing from Sven and learning more about fly fishing.

Here are some pictures:

fly fishing seminar cebu

The Group Listen to Sven’s Saltwater Fly Fishing Tactics

fly fishing

A Sampling of Sven’s Fly Box for Fresh and Saltwater

fly fishing

A shot of us during the casting session after the seminar.

The seminar consisted of an introduction by Sven to who he is and where he fishes.  He shared his experiences fishing both fresh and salt water in both Sweden and New Zealand.  He then shared some of the basics of fly fishing and showed us some of his go to patterns for both fresh and salt water.  Sven also showed us the Perfect Loop knot he uses for connecting his fly line to his leader.  After the informative seminar we all headed to the jetties on the water to practice casting.  We had a couple looks from some small barracuda but no fish landed.

If you are visiting Cebu and would like to interact with local anglers as well as share your experience or expertise let us know.  We would love to organize more seminars, training/fishing sessions or get togethers.

A Note On Fish Names In The Philippines

It can be quite difficult and confusing trying to figure out the correct name of a fish you catch here.  Here is a little info on fish names and on why it is such a task;

Linguistic Diversity – The Philippines is a country composed of more than 7,000 islands.  There are 8 major languages spoken throughout the country  (Cebuano, Bikol, Hiligaynon, Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Waray, and Pangasinan) and there are many distinct dialects of those languages.  Each language and many times dialects have their own and often distinct name for a particular fish.  A Caranx ignobilis (Giant Trevally) is known as a Talakitok to a Tagalog speaking person and as a Mamsa to a Visayan.  Depending on the region you are in when you catch a particular fish you will hear a different name.  We list the English names and the scientific names here on Fishing the Philippines because the names of fish are more standardized.

A Lack of Awareness – Another reason why learning the correct name of a fish can be difficult here is due to the fact that much of the population here knows little of the diversity of fish species found here in the Philippines.  Most people will know the names of the fish they directly come in contact with; Fish they buy to eat or fish raised in ponds or lakes nearby.  That is why one of our goals here on Fishing the Philippines is to show the diversity of species found here and to teach an awareness and appreciation for these fish.

Incorrect Naming – Another problem when determining a fish’s name here is when people tell you what they think the fish is.  Often this means that you will be getting the name of a fish that this fish reminds the person of.  We have found that local fishermen and fish vendors are able to give the more accurate names of fish species found in various regions.

Introduced Species – This creates a unique problem as well because these fish do not have local names.  The local communities create names for these fish which can also lead to confusion.  The name Black Mass or Black Mask is a name used in parts of Laguna to refer to the Largemouth Bass (a species introduced to some lakes from America).  It however is also used for some invasive species of carp such as bighead carp and silver carp.


Our task – Fishing the Philippines was started because we noticed a lack of information when it came to fish and fishing here in the Philippines.  Our goal is to teach conservation and appreciation of the wealth that we have teaming in the water here in the Philippines.


How you can help –  If you know the local names of the fish we post please let us know.  We would like our site to be a comprehensive resource for sport fishing and you can help be a part of that.  Also feel free to contribute to our fish species list.  You can do that by sending us pictures and information about fish you have caught here.  We are also glad to promote and share information regarding fishing events, conservation projects and other educational programs involving fish.

Published on : 22/05/2017 by Puerto Parrot

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