Category Archives: Triggerfish (Papakol)

Starry Triggerfish ( Abalistes stellatus )

starry triggerfish

Common Name: Triggerfish

Local Name: Papakol, Pakoy (Tagalog); Pugot, Tikos, Pakol (Bisaya)

Max Size: 60 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef-Associated

Depth: 40 – 100 meters

Fishing Season: All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit: None

Recommended Bait/Lures: Shrimp, crabs, other small crustaceans, sand worms

IUCN Red List Status Status: Not Evaluated (NE)

The Starry Triggerfish is yet another beautifully patterned triggerfish species found around the Philippines.  This species is common around sandy and muddy bottoms along the coast as well as around reefs.  These fish like other species of trigger fish make a good meal once you peal away their thick skin.  The beautiful pattern on this species also makes it appealing as an aquarium fish.

This fish pictured above was caught by Steve while jigging around Cebu City.

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Clown Triggerfish ( Balistoides conspicillum )

Clown Triggerfish
Common Name: Triggerfish ( Scimitar, Lei, Scythe, White-lined)

Local Name: Papakol, Pakoy (Tagalog); Pugot, Tikos (Bisaya)

Max Size: 50 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef-Associated

Depth: 3 – 75 meters

Fishing Season: All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit: None

Recommended Bait/Lures: Shrimp, crabs, other small crustaceans, sand worms

IUCN Red List Status Status: Least Concern

The Clown Triggerfish is another of the brightly colored trigger fish species that can be found around the islands.  These fish are generally small and are caught by angler who are targeting other reef fish. This particular species is prized as an aquarium fish because of its beautiful coloration and patterns.  

Boomerang Triggerfish ( Sufflamen bursa )

boomerang triggerfish

Common Name Triggerfish ( Scimitar, Lei, Scythe, White-lined)

Local Name: Papakol, Pakoy (Tagalog); Pugot, Tikos (Bisaya)

Max Size:   25 cm

BiodiversityMarine, Reef-Associated

Depth:  3 – 90 meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, crabs, other small crustaceans, sand worms

IUCN Red List Status Status:  Least Concern

This is yet another of the many small species of triggerfish found around the Philippines.  This species can be identified by the boomerang shaped markings over the eyes along with a fairly plain colored body.  Notice the stunning blue eye shadow like color over this fish’s eye.

Like most triggerfish the boomerang is oddly shaped and has a thick leather-like skin.  The make good eating once this skin is removed.  This particular species has quite a depth range in which it can be caught from shallow water all the way to 90 meters.  Angler’s are most likely to catch these when using small baits like shrimp or squid on small hooks.  These are one of the many species of small fish that can be a bother fishermen who are using large bait for larger fish.  The small triggerfish with strong jaws and sharp teeth can cut larger baits to pieces while  evading the hooks.

The triggerfish in the picture above was caught on small pieces of shrimp off Mactan Island in Cebu in around 50 meters of water.

Yellowmargin Triggerfish ( Pseudobalistes flavimarginatus )

Pseudobalistes flavimarginatus

Triggerfish caught in Batangas

Common Name Triggerfish

Local NamePapakol (Tagalog); Pakol (Bisaya)

Max Size:   60 cm

BiodiversitySaltwater, Reef associated

Depth:  2 – 50 meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  shrimp, crabs, shellfish or squid

IUCN Red List Status Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

Blackbelly Triggerfish ( Rhinecanthus verrucosus )

Rhinecanthus verrucosus

Blackbelly Triggerfish caught off of Mactan Island.

Common Name Triggerfish

Local Name: Papakol (Tagalog); Pakol (Bisaya)

Max Size:   20 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef-Associated

Depth:  1 – 20 meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size LimitNone

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, crabs, other small crustaceans, sand worms

IUCN Red List Status StatusLeast Concern

This small species of triggerfish is often miss identified as Picaso Triggerfish which it closely resembles.  The large dark patch located towards its tail however is the distinguishing feature that separates it from its artistic relative.  These are relatively small and so require small hooks and pieces of bait to catch.  This species along with other small triggerfish species are notorious for picking apart large well presented baits and frustrating angler who are after larger fish.

 

Bridled Triggerfish ( Sufflamen fraenatum )

Bridled Triggerfish

Deep Sea Triggerfish caught in Cebu

Common Name Triggerfish

Local Name: Papakol (Tagalog); Pakol (Bisaya)

Max Size:   38 cm  (commonly 26 cm)

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef-Associated, Oceanodromous,

Depth: 8-186 meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size LimitNone

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, crabs, other small crustaceans, sandworms

IUCN Red List Status StatusLeast Concern

Here is a fish caught deep sea fishing in Cebu on shrimp.  This was caught at around 100-150m of depth. These odd looking fish put up quite a fight and make up for their usually small size.  These fish do not appear to be good to eat however they do taste quite good once you get through their leathery thick skin.  Be careful of the mouth on these little guys which is small but armed with shell crushing teeth.  Triggerfish are known in the scuba diving community to occasionally bite divers.

Orange-Lined Triggerfish ( Balistapus undulatus )

Balistapus undulatus

Common Name Triggerfish

Local Name: Papakol (Tagalog)

Max Size:   30 cm  (commonly 26 cm)

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef-Associated, Endemic

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Caught by Julian on his first 24 hour liberty after 4 months of boot camp.

Many species of triggerfish inhabit the waters here.  Once such fish is the Orange-Lined Triggerfish.  These are a relatively small species of triggerfish growing up to about 30cm.

triggerfish species philippines

Triggerfish caught in Cebu