Maori Sea-Perch ( Lutjanus rivulatus )

Maori Sea Perch caught in Subic Bay

Maori Sea Perch caught in Subic Bay

Common Name:   Snapper, Rubberlip Snapper, Sea Perch,

Local Name Maya Maya, Bambangon  (Tagalog), Maya-Maya, Kilawan (Cebuano)

Max Size:  80 cm ( 11 kgs )

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef-Associated

Depth:  10 – 100 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit10 inches

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, small fish and crustaceans

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

Note the pattern on the face

Note the pattern on the face

Bigeye Barracuda ( Sphyraena forsteri )

Sphyraena forsteri

Common Name:   Barracuda, Javelin, Sea-Pike

Local Name:   Turcilyo, Batig, Balyos (Tagalog)  Tabangko (Cebuano)

Max Size:   75 cm

Biodiversity Marine, Reef-Associated

Depth:  1 – 300 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size LimitNone

Recommended Bait:  Shrimp, Squid and Fish

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

The Bigeye Barracuda is another of the species from the Sphyraedinae genus. Their large eye is the most distguishing feature that helps in their identification. The Biegeye Barracuda are generally small in size and found in schools around reefs around the country. Anglers are likely to catch these fish while fishing small lures or bait such as shrimp or fish.

Wayne's Bigeye Cuda from Romblon

Wayne’s Bigeye Cuda from Romblon

Silver Grunt ( Pomadasys argenteus )

pomadasys argenteus

Photo courtesy of Mikko C.

Common Name:   Bream, Grunter, Grunt, Javelin

Local Name  Bakoko, Aguot  (Tagalog),  Ago-ot, Likti (Cebuano)

Max Size:   70 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Freshwater

Depth:  1 – 115 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size LimitNone

Recommended Bait:  Shrimp, worms and crustaceans;

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern (LC)

This is one of a couple fish that is known around the islands as Bakoko or Ago-ot.  It is distiguished from the larger Bakoko ( Acanthropagrus pacificus ) by its more elongated snout and small black spots on its sides.  These fish are encountered most often by anglers fishing is estuaries or large rivers that flow into the sea.  Bakoko are known to be shrimp eaters and bait fishermen use small shrimp either live or dead to catch them.

Gudgeon ( Eleotris sp. )

sleeper fish

Aeds Gudgeon on a lure.

Common Name:   Gudgeon, Sleeper, 

Local Name    (Tagalog),  Cadurog, Palog, Lagnas  (Cebuano)

Max Size:   cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Freshwater

Depth:  0 – ?? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size LimitNone

Recommended Bait:  Shrimp, worms and crustaceans;

IUCN Red List Status

This is a fish of the genus Eleotris which are known as Sleepers or Gudgeons. Similar to Gobies and Snakeheads, Sleepers often sit motionless on the riverbed waiting for prey to pass by.  They a generally quite small and of little value to sport fishermen however they can grow to impressive sizes of over 1 ft in length.  Anglers are most likely to encounter these fish when fishing in rivers and estuaries with bait or small lures.

Because of the diversity within this genus of fish we have simply listed the genus.

lagnas fish

Note the thick body of the Gudgeon

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 LimitNone

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.

Freshwater Snapper ( Lutjanus fuscescens )

tangdungan fish

Lutjanus fuscescens

Common Name:   Snapper, Spotted Sea Bass,

Local Name:  Maya Maya, Pargo  (Tagalog), Tandungan, Mangagat (Cebuano)

Max Size:  40 cm

Biodiversity: Brackish, Freshwater

Depth:  1 – ?? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, small fish and crustaceans; Jigs, lures

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

This is a another snapper species from the Lutjanidae family that is found in the Philippine waters.  This particular species if quite a bit more rare than the Mangrove Snapper and is reportedly only caught in estuaries and rivers. They are distinguished from other snapper species by their olive green to brown color with a whitish underbelly.  They also have large bands on their sides and a large dark blotch towards their tails.   According to reports these are abundant in Mindanao around Dipolog City.  They reportedly can reach up to 25kgs.

This species of snapper seems to be unique to South East Asia as it is only reportedly be documented in the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands and China. That makes this a great species for anglers to target who are looking for rare or unique fish.

lutjanus fuscescens

lutjanus fuscescens

Monster Tilapia from the Pasig

tilapia fishing

Here is an amazing catch from the Pasig River in Metro Manila.  This is a 2 kg Pla-pla or Nile Tilapia ( Oreochromis niloticus ) caught by Bipoy.  This is undoubtedly an escaped convict from one of the fish pens in Laguna Lake as these fish are not native to the Philippines.  Anglers catch tilapia, knife fish, sea catfish, and many other species of fish in the Pasig.  It is great to see this river that was once considered “dead” because of pollution to have great signs of life.

Have you caught a nice fish in the Pasig?  Send us your photos and we will share them here.

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Yellow Spotted Trevally ( Carangoides fulvoguttatus )

trevally fishing cebu

Emmanuel’s 1.2kg Goldspot Trevally caught in Cebu

Common Name:    Trevally, Kingfish, Jack, Tarrum

Local Name Talakitok  (Tagalog);  Mamsa, Subad-subad (Cebuano)

Max Size:  120 cm (18 kgs)

BiodiversityMarine, Brackish, Reef Associated

Depth:  Surface  – 100 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:   None

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

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

This is a species of trevally found around the islands that can be distinguished by its golden colored spots.  This species like other trevally species can be found alone or in schools often patrolling the edge of reefs, rocks or grass beds.  They can grow quite large however the majority of these fish caught here tend to be around 1kg in size.  Anglers are likely to catch one of these trevallys when casting lures from the shore off rocks or beaches near reefs.

Like most trevally species these fish make great table fare.  They taste great when cooked a variety of ways including; grilled, deep friend, or cooked in one of many local saucy recipes.

trevally species philippines

Wayne’s Yellow Spotted Trevally from Romblon

Barracuda Tackle and Tactics

This article is about fishing fishing for barracuda from shore with lures.  Trolling for large barracuda is another article in itself for another time.  Our hope is that anglers can learn a little more about this wonderful fish and experience the thrill of catching them on lures! Enjoy!

A healthy Barracuda caught on a lure

A healthy Barracuda caught on a lure

Barracuda are a torpedo shaped saltwater fish that can be found all around the world.  There a couple species of Barracuda that are found in the Philippines of which the Great Barracuda ( Sphyrena barracuda ) is the most notable.  Barracuda feed on just about any fish that they can manage to strike.  They have razor sharp teeth which are notorious for their slicing capabilities.  If is not uncommon for a baitfish to be severed in half by a strike from a barracuda.  Barracuda have a silvery color with a dark barred back.  In shallow water they can change the color of their bars from a dark almost black color to a light brown color that helps them blend into the sea floor.

IMG_20140619_160706-1

Barracuda can be caught in a variety of marine environments.  Smaller barracuda, called Juveniles, are mainly caught around reefs, estuaries, and coastlines, while the larger barracuda are usually caught around deeper reefs and offshore.  Juvenile Barracuda often form large schools while larger adults are more solitary.

Tackle

A Medium to Medium/heavy lure casting setup will suffice for most barracuda and other coastal fish that can be  caught around the Philippines on lures. Anglers here typically use 10 – 15lbs mono line or 12 – 30lbs braided line. More important than the size of main line used is the size of the leader line.  A safe choice is a small section of solid or stranded trace wire.  Fluoro and mono can be used and will be fine for most of the fish caught however occasionally cudas will strike a lure head on and slice neatly through even heavy mono and flouro.

A few of the many lures that work for Barracuda

A few of the many lures that work for Barracuda

Barracuda will strike almost any lure that is thrown at them.  More important than the lure used is the type of retrieve used.  Anglers usually have their preferred lures and colors which they feel work best. Some of the most commonly used lures include: soft plastic flukes, minnows and swimbaits; crankbaits, vibe lures, cuda tubes, spoons and jigs, feathers and flies, poppers and just about anything else :-).  Catching barracuda on live and dead bait is an art that we will not discuss in this article.

Tactics

The retrieve is one of the most important things when fishing for barracuda.  It can make the difference between no fish and no stop action.  Barracuda can’t resist an injured looking fish that is trying to get away.  The trick for anglers is to make their lures imitate that frantic action.  Despite the Cudas preference to fleeing baitfish their preference seems to vary quite a lot day to day.  We recommend that you try a variety of retrieves until you figure out what their interested in.  Try a fast retrieve with brief pauses, or a slow sweeping rod movement with longer pauses in between.  Slow retrieves with short sharp movements is also good.

By far the best time to fish for Barracuda is right around high tide.  Barracuda will often sit in one area and not so much as look at passing fish until the tide changes.  High tide usually draws the fish closer to shore to feed on small baitfish that are moving about in the tidal areas.

Barracuda are also a fun species to catch on flies

Barracuda are also a fun species to catch on flies

Because of their teethy mouths Barracuda can be difficult to land.  Often the barracuda’s thrashing will dislodge a lure from their mouth and allow them to escape.  Anglers call this spitting the hook.

Barracuda are great fun to fish for a variety of reasons.  They readily strike just about any lure when the tide is right and do not require much knowledge, skill or technique in that regard. The smaller barracuda also move about in school and can often be caught in numbers.  The violent thrashing strikes of Cudas also never get old.  They are incredibly fast in the water and their sudden strikes often catch angler by surprise.  It is also not uncommon for barracuda to strike feet or inches from shore.  Barracuda will often use structures in the water to help corner fish from escaping.

Barracuda are edible and are their flesh is considered fair though it is not encouraged they can be kept and eaten.  There is a risk of Ciguatera Poisoning when eating this fish because they are at the top of the food chain around reefs and often consumer smaller reef fish that have Ciguatera.

Fishing for barracuda can be useful along with fun because barracuda make great bait for deep sea fishing.  Smaller cudas can be sliced into steaks and used to catch grouper, snapper and other deep sea species. Larger cudas can be filleted which can be sliced into strips.

Care needs to be exercised when handling barracuda, even small ones, because of their razor sharp teeth.  Barracuda are not known to be the best fighting fish in the sea however they do often thrash about when they are handled.  Tools such as needle nose pliers, hook removers and lip grips are handy to have when fishing for barracuda to keep your fingers from harm.

By Benaiah J Fogle

Swordfish ( Xiphias gladius )

swordfish

Ram’s Sword caught on live squid

Common Name: Swordfish, Broadbill

Local Name: ? (Tagalog); Pugot, Malasugi (Bisaya)

Max Size: 455 cm ( 650 kgs)

Biodiversity: Marine, Pelagic-Oceanic

Depth: 0 – 800+ meters

Fishing Season: All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit: None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Fish, Squid

IUCN Red List Status Status: Least Concern

Swordfish are a prized catch here in the Philippines because they are quite rare and also because they have the best tasting flesh of all the billfish.  Swordfish are known to stay at great depths during the day and to move closer to the surface to feed at night.

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