Fishing the Philippines 6 N-R

Category Archives: Needle Fish (Balao)

Slender Needlefish ( Strongylura leiura )

Strongylura leiura

Common Name:  Grouper, Hind 

Local Name:   (Tagalog), Balo, Bao (Cebuano)

Max Size: 

Biodiversity: Marine,


Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:   none

Recommended Bait/Lures:

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern

Here is a picture of a small needlefish I caught recently while fishing from the Navy Pier on Corregidor Island.  I believe this is a Slender Needlefish.  This species is quite common all over the country.  If can often be seen patrolling the shorelines and reefs.  This species can grow over a meter in length. I caught this fish while fishing a pink sardine pins minnow.  I had strikes from large Crescent Grunter (probably around .5 kg each) but was not able to properly hook them.  There are also many Jacks patrolling the piers.

Strongylura leiura Philippines

For anyone visiting Corregidor Island, it is an excellent place to fish.  You can fish anywhere on the island and even rent bankas on the island to take you trolling around the island.  The only downside is the garbage which collects on the side of the island that faces Manila Bay.

Needle Fish Surf Fishing

A little friend of mine caught this needle fish with my Yo-Zuri Pins Minnow while surf fishing:

The Bisaya for this fish is Balo.

Category Archives: Pacu

Red Pacu ( Piaractus brachypomus )

red pacu

Common Name:   Pacu, Pirapatinga,

Local Name:  Pacu (Tagalog);  Pacu (Cebuano)

Max Size:  88 cm (25 kgs)

Biodiversity:   Freshwater

Depth:  0 – 15 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:   none

Recommended Bait:  Masa, Insects,

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

Colossoma bidens

This is a freshwater species of fish that is native to South America.  It was introduced into the Philippines from Singapore in the 1980s via the aquarium trade.  It is now a common species that can be caught mainly in private ponds though the BFAR has proposed this fish be stocked in rivers and lakes where the water hyacinth plants are a problem.  It is currently bred throughout the country in ponds and is readily available in local pet shops.

This fish has the reputation of being a vegetarian, though it is more correctly a omnivore.  It can be taken on dough bait, worms, bread and a variety of other bait by fishermen.

These fish grow quite rapidly and can reach weights of over 3kgs.  They are also an excellent food fish.

fishing Crismar

Troy’s Red Pacu from Crismar


Category Archives: Parrotfish

Tricolor Parrotfish ( Scarus tricolor )

scarus tricolor

A Tricolor Parrotfish speared in Dumanjug, Cebu

Common Name:    Parrotfish,

Local Names:    Loro (Tagalog); Mol-Mol (Cebuano)

Max Size:  26 cm (2.2 kgs)

Biodiversity:  Marine, Reef-Associated,

Depth:  2 – 25 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  ??

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern (LC)

Parrotfish are abundant throughout the Philippine Islands and are associated with the beautiful and plentiful reefs of the tropical waters here.  This particular species has a darker body compared  to many of the other species. Other notable features are the fish’s elongated snout, parrot-like teeth, flame red tail, and large scales.  This species grows to a good size of 1-2 kgs however like most parrotfish species they are difficult to catch because of their unique diet and coral crunching teeth.  These fish are often the target of spear fishermen because of their abundance, large size and delicious flesh.

Category Archives: Pompano

Silver Pompano ( Trachinotus baillonii )

Trachinotus baillonii

Expert Angler and Fishing Guide Joseph G. with his Dart caught on Grande Is. in Subic.

Common Name:    Pompano, Dart, Swallowtail

Local Name:  Pampano, Salay-salay, Talakitok  (Tagalog);  Uruk (Cebuano)

Max Size:  60 cm (1.5 kgs)

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Reef Associated

Depth:  Surface  – ?? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:   None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  small minnow lures, flies, and shrimp

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

This species of Pompano is a member of the Carangidae family of jacks and pompanos.  It is found around the Philippines often close to shore near reefs, lagoons, and along sandy beaches.  These fish travel in pairs or small groups and often feed near the surface on small fish.

Like other jacks and pompanos this species makes great table fare.  The elongated shape of this species along with its small spots on the sides help identify the fish.

Joseph caught the fish above on a small lure while casting from Grande Island near Subic.

Black Pomfret ( Parastromateus niger )

fishing negros

Black Pomfrets caught in the Tanon Strait off Guihulngan, Negros

Common Name:   Pomfret,

Local Name:  Duhay, Pampano  (Tagalog);  ?? (Cebuano)

Max Size:  75 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef Associated

Depth:  1 – 100+ m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:   None

Recommended Bait/Lures

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

We received a report recently that these fish are being caught in the Tanon Strait in between Negros and Cebu.  They are quite rare in those waters and the local fishermen do not have a local name for them.  These fish are mainly caught in nets though they are likely to be taken on sabiki type rigs because they feed mainly on zooplankton.

Snubnose Pompano ( Trachinotus blochii )

angling luzon

Common Name: Snubnose Pompano

Local Name: Permit,

Max Size:  110 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Reef Associated, Endemic

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

This is a species closely related to the Permit ( Trachinotus falcatus ) of the Atlantic.  It is often called Permit here however its correct name is Pompano.  This fish is found throughout the Indo Pacific where the juveniles school often along sandy shorelines, sandy or muddy bays and river mouths.  The adults tend to be more solitary and are more commonly found around coral reef and rocky reefs.  These fish feed primarily on mollusks and hard shelled invertebrates.  Great baits for these fish include hermit crabs, small sand crabs and other mussels and shells.

The fish pictured above was caught by Jun in Puerto Azul located in Cavite.

Pompano Dolphinfish ( Coryphaena equiselis )

Coryphaena equiselis

Common Name:  Pompano Dolphinfish,

Local Name: Dorado, Lali (Bisaya)

Max Size:   127 cm  (commonly 50cm)

Biodiversity: Marine, Pelagic, Endemic

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

This is a small species of fish that is often misidentified as juvenile Dorado (Mahi Mahi).    It is in fact a different species known as a Pompano Dolphinfish.  They are smaller than their Dorado cousins but also travel is schools.  One way to identify the species is by the long dorsal fin which extends the length of their whole body.

These were caught off of Dumaguete by angler Mike and his companions while they were fishing around FADs or payaw.    These fish were in a feeding frenzy and Mike related to me that they were hitting just about every lure that was thrown at them.  Over 40 fish were caught in an hour.

So next time you are out hunting around payaw and come across “baby” Dorado, take a closer look at it and see if you have a Pompano Dolphinfish.  These are an excellent food fish tasting like Dorado, but sweeter according to Mike.

Silver Moony ( Monodactylus argenteus )

Monodactylus argenteus

Common Name:  Moony, Silver Moonfish, Malayan Angel

Local Name: Lapis (Bisaya)

Max Size:   27 cm  (commonly 12 cm)

Depth:  1 – ?? m

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Freshwater, Pelagic-Neritic, Endemic

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  5 inches

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, krill

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

Here is a relatively small species of fish similar to a pompano that can be caught in the ocean as well as estuaries, mangroves and along the shore line.  This species, also known as Silver Moonfish or Malayan Angel, feeds on plankton small crustaceans and small fish and can be caught using small hooks and bait.  These fish are found in schools and so when you catch one you can expect more to follow.  These fish are known to grow up to 12 inches and are excellent food fish similar to Spanish Mackerel and Trevally.  Here in Cebu they are known as Lapis.  These two pictured above were caught off of Mactan Island.  These fish are also popular in the aquarium trade and are known as Mono Angel.  The smaller juveniles can actually be kept in fresh water.

Monodactylus argenteus

Silver Moony caught on Shell Island, Cebu

Category Archives: Rabbitfish (Kitong)

Streaked Spinefoot ( Siganus javus )

Java Rabbitfish

Streaked Spinefoot caught in Cebu

Common Name:  Java Rabbitfish, Spinefoot

Local Name:  Samaral, Alama, Barangan (Tagalog);  Danggit, Kitong (Cebuano)

Max Size:  53 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Reef Associated,

Depth:  0 – 15 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:   none

Recommended Bait:  Banana, Rice, Seaweed

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern (LC)

  This is one of the many species of Rabbitfish that inhabit Philippines waters.  They are primarily on algae and are not targeted as a sport fish in the country.  Instead they make a good food fish and subsequently are targeted by anglers using bait.  Local angler have two main methods of catching these fish; one is with small hooks attached to a float that are baited with cooked Saba (cooking banana, similar to a plantain) or glutinous (sticky) rice.  The other method used involves a rig designed to snag the fish with big hooks that are positioned around the bait which is usually a piece of banana.

  Rabbitfish are also known as Spinefoots because of their venomous spines.  Care is needed when handling these fish because a small prick on the finger from the spines on a Rabbitfish can leave a throbbing pain for quite a while.

   These fish are a good food fish and have a firm though somewhat soggy texture. In Cebu they are often stuffed with onions, tomatoes and spices and grilled.  Their thick skin helps keep the fish from falling apart while grilling.  Rabbitfish have been successfully cultured in ponds and though not an ideal culture fish.

    Small Rabbitfish make good bait for large reef associated predators such as Giant Trevally.

Spotted Butterfish ( Scatophagus argus )

pond fishing in cebu

Dave’s Butterfish

Common Name:  Spotted Scat

Local Name:   (Tagalog), Kitang (Cebuano)

Max Size:  35 cm (1.2kg)

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Reef Associated,

Depth:  0 – ? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  8 inches

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Squid, fish & many other baits including algae.

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern (LC)

These are a relatively small fish that are very similar to the Rabbit fish species.  They resemble rabbit fish however they have a more unique body shape.  They are said to have venemous spines that cause painful wounds so should be handled with care.  Here in Cebu angler use very small hooks to catch these fish.

White Spotted Spinefoot ( Siganus canaliculatus )

Danggit Fish   This is one species of spine foot or Rabbitfish which is well known in Cebu and throughout the country.  It is locally called Danggit (pronounced dung-geet).  These are a relatively small fish that can be found around the coastlines and reefs scavenging and feeding on algae.

Goldlined Spinefoot ( Siganus guttatus )

Goldlined Spinefoot

Kitong caught in Cebu

This fish is known locally as Kitong.  It can be found around reefs and shorelines all over the country.  They have very small mouths with very sharp teeth which make catching them on hooks difficult.  This one was taken while using banana as bait.  It was snagged as it nibbled on the large piece of the banana.  These are also known as Samaral fish and are delicious when grilled.

rabbitfish philippines

The kitong and the rig used to catch it.


Category Archives: Rare/Bizarre

Orbicular Batfish ( Platax orbicularis )


Photo of a school of Batfish courtesy of Andrew Leighton

Common Name:    Batfish,

Local Names:    Dahong-Gabi (Tagalog); Alibangbang, Lagupan (Cebuano)

Max Size:  60 cm 

Biodiversity:  Marine, Brackish, Reef-Associated,

Depth:   5 – 35 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, cutbait

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

Batfish are common throughout the seas of the Philippines.  Juveniles are often seen around shallow reefs and sandy flats, while adults are most common around wrecks and deeper structures. Their name in Tagalog: Dahong-Gabi literally means Taro Leaf, and comes from this fish’s broad but flat body.

Batfish are edible however they have a very bitter skin which ruins the flavor of the meat if eaten.Platax orbicularis

Scribbled Filefish ( Aluterus scriptus )

fishing Bataan

A Large Filefish caught by Eric in Bataan

Common Name:    Filefish, Tilapia

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

Max Size:  110 cm (2.4 kg)

Biodiversity:  Marine, Reef-Associated,

Depth:  3 – 120 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Alae, Seagrass, Small crustaceans

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

Hairtail ( Trichiurus haumela )

Trichiurus auriga

Common Name:   Hairtail, Ribbon fish, Cutlass Fish, Belt Fish, Frost Fish

Local Name:   Balila, Espada (Tagalog);  Diwit (Cebuano)

Max Size:  2 m (5 kgs )

Biodiversity: Marine, Benthopelagic,

Depth:  0 – 350 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  fish, minnow lures

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

 This is one of the stranger looking fish found in the seas of the Philippines. There are over 40 different species of cutlassfish in the world which all share a similar shiny, blade like appearance.  They silvery sides of this fish are so brilliant that the colors of the rainbow can be seen when a camera flash or sun light are reflected off it.

In the tperate seas these fish are known as frost fish because their appearance in late fall often corresponds with the coming of the frost. Here in the Philippines however we have noticed that they appear to be more prevalent in the months of Habagat or monsoon season. During this time schools of cutlassfish move closer to shore.

Surprisingly these fish readily take lures and so can be caught by Anglers fishing from piers and rocky coastlines. For some reason these fish seem to prefer red head lures and to feed at night.


Jay’s Hairtail caught in Bohol

Espada fish

The fearsome jaws of the cutlass fish

Armored Sea Robin ( Satyrichthys welchi )

armored gurnard

Common Name:   Sea Robin, Gurnard, Crocodilefish

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

Max Size:  50 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Deep Water, Benthic

Depth:  80 – 228 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, small fish and crustaceans

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

This bizarre looking little bottom feeding fish belongs to the family of sea robins.  These two were caught off Cuaming Island, Bohol while deep bottom fishing.  These fish are edible.

Purple Spotted Big-Eye ( Priacanthus tayenus )

fishing negros

Mike’s Big-Eye caught in Negros

bigeye fish

500g Bigeye caught near Cebu City

Common Name:   Big-Eye, Glasseye, Bullseye Local Name:  Mata -Hari, Siga (Tagalog); Baga-Baga, Bukaw-Bukaw, Siga, Dilat (Cebuano) Max Size:  35 cm Biodiversity: Marine, Reef-Associated Depth:  20 – 200 m Fishing Season:  All Year Long Minimum Size Limit:  6 inches Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, small fish and crustaceans IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE) This is a species that is commonly seen in the fish markets around the country.  It is a good food fish though they do not grow very large.  Fish belonging to this Family are easy to identify due to their large eyes from which there name comes.  They are mainly a reef associated species and can be caught by anglers fishing around both inshore and offshore reefs.

bukaw fish

The Bigeyes turn a bright red once they die.

Published on : 22/05/2017 by Puerto Parrot

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