Category Archives: Rare/Bizarre

Orbicular Batfish ( Platax orbicularis )

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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

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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 LimitNone

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.

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Jay’s Hairtail caught in Bohol

Espada fish

The fearsome jaws of the cutlass fish

Longnosed Lancetfish ( Alepisaurus ferox )

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Common Name:   Lancetfish, Handsaw Fish, Wolffish 

Local Name  Tokey, Diwit, Aswang (Tagalog); ?? (Cebuano)

Max Size:  215 cm (9 kgs)

Biodiversity:  Marine, bathypelagic, oceanodromous  

Depth:  1 – 1900 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:   none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Fish, Squid

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

Lancetfish are a unique strange looking fish that are capable of handling great extremes in pressure and temperature.  They are able to feed at the surface all the way down to almost 2000 meters.  They can also be found from the tropical seas all the way to the arctic.  Their diet consists mainly of squid and fish and they are primarily a nocturnal fish.   They resemble both Snake mackerel and Scabbardfish however they have noticeable differences than both.

  The fish in these pictures was caught at around 300 meters depth off Paluan, Mindoro Island by Doc and was 3.8 kilos.  He described the fish as having soft skin, two inch long long teeth and being called Tokey or Tukey by the locals there.  They caught this fish while deep sea fishing for large squid.

longnosed lancetfish

Alepisaurus ferox

wolf fish

The ferocious teeth of the Lancetfish

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eel

Armored Sea Robin ( Satyrichthys welchi )

armored gurnard

Common Name:   Sea Robin, Gurnard, Crocodilefish

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

Max Size:  50 cm

BiodiversityMarine, 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 BiodiversityMarine, 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.

Wolf Herring ( Chirocentrus sp. )

Chirocentrus dorab

Wolf Herring Caught Trolling In Pagbilao

Common Name Wolf Herring

Local NameBuan-Buan, Bidb-bid (miss-identified) (Tagalog); ?? (Bisaya)

Max Size:   146 cm (40+kgs)

BiodiversitySaltwater, Brackish, Reef associated

Depth:  1 – 120 meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Small fish or lures

IUCN Red List Status Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

This sly predator is quite rare and elusive.  It is often mistaken for a Tarpon or a Ladyfish due to its silvery sides and shape.  It can be distinguished however by its large grotesque fangs and long sardine shaped body.  These can be caught on lures, trolling or with live or dead bait.

There are two main species of Wolf Herring that can be found around the country, the Whitefin and the Blackfin.  We believe this is the Blackfin (nodus) species however we are not sure.

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A Wolf Herring taking on a pins minnow lure

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Wayne’s Wolf Herring caught in Romblon

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 Size75 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef Associated

Depth1 – 100+ m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:   None

Recommended Bait/Lures: 

IUCN Red List StatusNot 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.

Oilfish ( Ruvettus pretiosus )

Ruvettus pretiosus

Big Oilfish Caught by Josh in Siargao

Common NameOilfish

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

Max Size:  300 cm (63.5 kgs)

Biodiversity: Marine, Benthopelagic, Oceanodromous

Depth100 – 800 meters

Fishing Season: None

Minimum Size Limit:   None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Fish (cutbait or whole) , squid

IUCN Red List Status StatusNot Listed

This species is a deepwater species related to the Snoek (Snake Mackerel). These are relatively rare to see around the country due to the depth at which they live.  These fish are called oilfish due to the high oil content of their flesh. They are edible and delicious however eating large quantities of this fish’s flesh causes a laxative effect which can be quite disturbing.  It is recommended that if you eat this fish that you don’t eat very much.

oilfish

Another Shot of Josh’s Oilfish

Black Snoek ( Thyrsitoides marleyi )

Thyrsites atun

Black Snoek caught in Batangas

Common Name:  Snoek, Snake Mackerel, Blacksail Snake Mackerel, Barracauta

Local Name: Tanigueng Aswang (Tagalog), ??? (Cebuano)

Max Size200cm ( 6kgs kgs )

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef Associated, Oceanodromous

Depth: Surface  – 400 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size LimitNone

Anthony caught this bizarre fish on August 25, 2013 while deep water jigging. Apparently these fish takes good when fried.  Snoek are deep water fish that often migrate too the surface at night to feed.  They are normally found in school and feed on a variety to small fish and crustaceans.  They put up a good fight and apparently often swim straight down or up during the fight.