Category Archives: Grunter

Silver Grunt ( Pomadasys argenteus )

spotted grunt

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.

pomadasys argenteus

Photo courtesy of Mikko C.

Pacific Sea Bream ( Acanthopagrus pacificus )

Acanthopagrus pacificus

Gary’s Bakoko from Pampanga

Common Name:   Sea Bream, Porgie, Grunt

Local Name:  Bakoko, Agoot, Bakokong Moro (Tagalog);  Bunggok,  (Cebuano)

Max Size:  50 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Pelagic-Neritic

Depth:  1 – ?? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  8 inches

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, small fish and crustaceans

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

There are quite a few species of fish that are called by the name Bakoko here in the Philippines of which the Pacific Sea Bream is one.  This particular species is primarily found in estuaries and even in rivers in brackish water.  They are not a particularly large fish however they are a heavy set fish and make a good food fish.

  Anglers target these fish mainly with shrimp either live or dead.  This fish is most commonly caught around central Luzon though it is present all throughout the waters of the Philippines.


Acanthopagrus pacificus

A good haul from Pampanga

Acanthopagrus pacificus

A good sized Bream caught night fishing in Bacolod

These fish are called Baccucu in Bacolod City.

Cresent Grunter (Terapon jarbua)

fish species philippines

Grunter caught on a lure

Common Name:   Grunter, Terapon, Thornfish, Crescent Perch

Local Name:  Bagaong (Tagalog);  Bugaong, Gunggong (Cebuano)

Max Size:  36 cm

BiodiversityMarine, Brackish, Freshwater,

Depth:  1 – ?? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, small fish, crustaceans, small flashy lures

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern (LC)

These are a relatively small fish that can be caught all over the Philippines from the shore or rivers that flow into the sea. They are most commonly found over sandy bottoms along beaches coastline and estuaries.   They can be caught on lures or live bait and can grow up to around a kilo in size.  They are known to make a grunting or croaking sound when handled and often will tighten their bodies and expose their many spines. They should be handled with care.  They are a fair food fish with a white flesh that retains a slight fishy taste after it is cooked.  These fish are not a primary target of sport fishermen and instead are often considered as pests. They are fun fish however for children to fish for as they will readily take almost any bait.


Surf Fishing in Cebu

Tapiroid Grunter (Mesopristes cancellatus)

mesopristes cancelatus

Cross Barred Grunter

Common Name:   Grunter, Cross-Barred Grunter

Local Name:  Pigek (Tagalog);  Pigok (Cebuano)

Max Size:  30 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Freshwater, Amphidromous

Depth:  1 – ?? m

Fishing Season:  April to September, December

Minimum Size Limit:  6 inches

Recommended Bait/Lures:  small shrimp, worms, insects

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern(LC)

The Pigek is a somewhat rare species to catch around the country.  It is a highly sought after food fish and usually has a high market price.  They are caught mainly in freshwater rivers where they migrate to spawn.  These fish are not large however can grow to be quite portly reaching weights of up to 1kg.  Because they can be found in clear freshwater rivers and feed on small shrimp, insects and worms Pigek make a good species for fly fishermen to target.  They are known to travel as much as 10km up streams.


Pigek caught in the Kawasan River, Cebu

A large pigek from Butuan City, Mindanao

A large pigek from Butuan City, Mindanao

pigok fish

Note the extended upper jaw and thick fleshy lips

Update:  According to my friend Chito in Butuan City, this fish is seasonal and can be caught in nets of on tackle.  It spawns in estuaries and is highly valued for its delicious meat.  It can fetch up to 500.oo php per kilo in some places.  Its oil is also apparently used in some musk perfume.