Needlefish ( Balo )

spearfishing in philippines

Had a successful morning spearfishing, landing my largest Needlefish to date.  This monster weighed in at 2.4 kilograms! Needlefish are abundant here in the waters of the Philippines and can grow to enormous size.  Here in Cebu we see schools of them in shallow water especially following around schools of small bait fish.  Here in Cebu they have a reputation of being a dangerous fish because of their tendency to leap out of the water when spooked or when chasing bait fish.  Their hard bony bill acts as a sort of spear head as they hurtle through the air and can inflict serious damage and even death on unsuspecting fishermen or boaters.  Their teeth as well are incredibly sharp.  It is not uncommon for needlefish to snap at your hand when you handle them.  That is one of the reasons I started using cut resistant dyneema gloves when spearfishing, to avoid bites and scratches when I place these guys on the stringer.

Needlefish are actually a pretty good food fish.  They have a strong fishy smell when caught which can be a turn off,  however their meat is a white and flakey and is quite delicious when grilled, used in Kinilaw (something like ceviche) or used in soup. Larger needlefish can be filleted and the skin removed, this produces fillets of flakey white meat similar to mackerel.

needlefish fishing


Chinaman Snapper ( Symphorus nematophorus )

snapper species of the Philippines

Common Name Snapper, Chinaman Fish, Chinaman Cod

Local Name:  Maya-Maya (Tagalog); 

Max Size:  100 cm (14 kgs)


Depth: 15 – 100 meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Crabs, small fish, lures, small jigs

IUCN Red List Status:  (LC) Least Concern

Here is a species of snapper that can be found around the Philippines.  It is fairly uncommon however in terms of how often it is caught.  These pics were sent to us from Patrick in Palawan who caught this fish while spearfishing.  If you have ever caught a fish like this or if you have any information regarding this species please contact us.  patrick hung with snapper

Ocellated Flounder ( Pseudorhombus dupliciocellatus )

what species of flounder are there in the Philippines

Common Name:  Ocellated Flounder

Local Name:  Darapa, Tatampal, Darapang Bilog (Tagalog); Palad (Cebuano)

Max Size:  40 cm

Biodiversity: Saltwater

Depth: 50 – 150 meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Crabs, small fish, lures, small jigs

IUCN Red List Status:  (NE) Not Evaluated

There are numerous species of flatfish in the Philippines of which the Ocellated Flounder is one of the larger.  Unlike their cousins in the temperate seas the tropical flounder are generally smaller and much more rare.  Omet had some good luck on this drop jigging around Mactan Island in Cebu when he managed to hook and land the rare treat 🙂

fishing for flounder

Golden Trevally ( Gnathanodon speciosus )

spearfishing philippines fish species

Don from,, with a good size Golden Trevally he speared in Coron.

Common Name Golden Trevally

Local Name:  Garapeche, Malapandong Dilaw, Banlog (Tagalog); Badlon (Cebuano)

Max Size:  120 cm (15kgs)


Depth1 – 80 meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Crabs, small fish, lures, small jigs

IUCN Red List Status:  (LC) Least Concern 

Trevally are abundant throughout the water of the Philippines.  Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the many different species.  That is not the case however with the Golden Trevally.  The bright golden color of this fish along with its and downward facing mouth make this fish easy to identify.  Its unique mouth helps it to root out crustaceans from the sea floor.  Though it may appear that crustaceans are this fish’s favorite snack, it is in reality an opportunistic feeder and will prey upon what small fish and invertebrates that it can find.

Larger Golden Trevally often school together.  Small juveniles can often be seen piloting, or swimming directly in front of larger fish and predators.  These fearless little golden swimmers also occasionally pilot in front of divers as well!  Small juveniles are also common in the aquarium trade.

Have you caught a Golden Trevally here in the Philippines?  If so send a message and share the experience 🙂

Striped Snapper ( Lutjanus carponotatus )

striped snapper philippines fishing gear

Common Name Striped Snapper, Spanish Flag Snapper, Gold Band Snapper, Stripey, 

Local Name:  Alsis (Tagalog); Bad-lisan (Cebuano)

Max Size40 cm


Depth1 – 80 meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

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

IUCN Red List Status:  (NE) Not Evaluated

The Stripey is one of our small species of schooling snapper that can be found throughout the islands around reefs, slopes, and bays. They often school is large numbers up to 20 or 30 individuals.  Their golden colored lateral lines distinguish them from other species of snapper which have similar size and body shape.  These are not one of the most common species to be caught on rod and reel though occasionally they can be.  Have you caught a stripey here in the Philippines?  If so please send us your photos.


Philippines Record:

(Currently no Philippine record for this Species)

IGFA World Record at time of publication of this article:    .68 kgs  Caught in Singapore by Steve Wozniak, 2010.

Back Online!

Some of you may have noticed that our site was down for about a month recently.  No, this did not have to do with our incredibly slow internet here in the Philippines 😀  We had a small issue with the domain renew, but we are happy to announce that we are back and looking forward to posting more helpful fishy content! 😀

You mean a lot to us and so please do feel free to contact us and share you experience fishing here in the Philippines or abroad.  We still have plenty of fish species to add to our site here so if you happen to catch a fish here that is not listed please email us and let us know.  We would love to feature you and your catch and add it to the database here.

Tight Lines and God Bless!


FTP Magazine 2017 issue!

Latest issue of our FTP magazine is posted. Check the FTP Magazine page on the bar above to download your free copy today 🙂 Happy Reading!



Cruising Snapper

Was able to capture this rare shot on my gopro of a good size snapper cruising around the shallows.  I noticed that these predators usually have a territory that they stick to.  Unlike groupers and some other predators these snapper are constantly moving, swimming back and forth, patrolling.  Enjoy the rare capture 🙂

Spearfishing Gear Philippines

Gray Eel Catfish ( Plotosus canius )

Philippine Record fish

Gray Eel Catfish Philippines

Common Name Eel Catfish

Local NameIto, Patuna (Tagalog);  Ito (Cebuano) , Alimusan (Hiligaynon)

Max Size:  150 cm (15 kgs)

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Freshwater (endemic)

DepthSurface  – ??

Fishing Season:  All Year Long (best time: March – May)

Minimum Size Limit:   None

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

IUCN Red List Status(NE) Not Evaluated


Philippines Rod and Reel Record:

Angler:  Bobby Replente (picture above)

Location:  Bacolod City, Negros

Date:  March, 2016

Weight:   4.5 kgs

Bait:  Squid

Largemouth Bass ( Micropterus salmoides )


Micropterus salmoides

Large Mouth Bass

Common Name Bass, Black Bass, LMB

Local NameTawis (Tagalog);  ?? (Cebuano)

Max Size:  97 cm (10.1 kgs)

Biodiversity: Freshwater (introduced)

DepthSurface  – 7 meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit12 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