Needlefish ( Balo )
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.