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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.
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.
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!
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!
Common Name: Bass, Black Bass, LMB
Local Name: Tawis (Tagalog); ?? (Cebuano)
Max Size: 97 cm (10.1 kgs)
Biodiversity: Freshwater (introduced)
Depth: Surface – 7 meters
Fishing Season: All Year Long
Minimum Size Limit: 12 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.
(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.
Have you enjoyed following our website? Starting soon we will be adding a newsletter to our site which we will be emailing quarterly to anyone interested in additional infomation about fishing in the Philippines. We plan to feature various fish species, fishing techniques and destinations around the country as well as add some additional tips and tricks. There will also be a brag board where we post photos from our followers from that quarter.
If you would like to receive the FTP (Fishing The Philippines) newsletter, please let us know via email at:
We welcome your comments suggestions and involvement in our website as we seek to promote sport fishing in the Philippines and teach the next generation how we can preserve and enjoy our waters and what’s in them!
FTP would like to highlight progress in the country that is being made to protect the waters of the country as well as to promote sport fishing. Dipolog City in Mindanao is making great progress in this area. One such step forward was the passing a Barangay ordinance in the city’s central Barangay that established a 100 meter No Net Zone around the city’s breakwater. The breakwater is one of Dipolog’s prime sport fishing destinations where anglers can catch many species of saltwater and brackish water fish. Among these are the elusive Freshwater Snapper, known locally as Tandungan, Black Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Rabbitfish, Tarpon along with many others. The breakwater sits at the mouth of the Dipolog River and is under the jurisdiction of the city’s central barangay.
This ordinance was passed in 2006 while Angler and Tackle shop Owner Kenny Ong was the Barangay Captain. The ordinance not only protects the anglers breakwater but also serves to minimize conflict between anglers and net fishermen. Since its passing in 2006 this ordinance has been enforced and the breakwater has been protected against illegal net fishing within its 100 meter no net zone. Because of this the Dipolog Breakwater has continued to be a prime sport fishing spot with the many Dipolog Anglers having caught prize fish since the establishment of the ordinance.
Steps like this are invaluable to the sport fishing community here in the Philippines as they help protect and promote healthy fishing practices. FTP would like to see more anglers partner with LGUs around the country to implement and enforce initiatives like this one. Hopefully in the near future anglers together with the LGUs can enforce such laws as the no electrofishing law in streams and rivers, as well as begin initiatives like a fish stocking programs to help increase the number of gamefish in rivers and lakes throughout the country. We hope that this will be an inspiration to you and also remind you that you can make a difference.
Do you know of any similar ordinances or work that is going on in your area? Let us know and we will highlight it and bring more awareness!
Below are attached copies of the documents for those interested in reading more on this:
By Benaiah J Fogle
It does not take a beginner long to become confused when deciding on what line to put on their reel. Here we will explain a little about the various fishing lines on the market today along with their pros and cons. At the end of this article we will also explain what size (lbs test) line is best for your reel.
Monofilament, or just “Mono,” Fishing line is probably the most well-known type of fishing line. Here in the Philippines we typically have two types of mono. The first is the more widely available Nylon. This line is also known as “Local Nylon.” It is it used mainly by commercial and subsistence fishermen because it is cheap and readily available all over the country in fishing supply shops. This line has a thicker diameter than the higher quality imported line and also tends to have poorer knot strength. Its main use is for handlines because of its thicker diameter.
The second type mono lines available are the branded fishing lines from the USA, Australia, Europe and Japan. These are more specifically designed for sport fishermen and usually have a thinner diameter and better knot strength. Like the locally available nylon these mono line do stretch when put under pressure. These lines made by Momoi, Ande, Stren, Berkley, and others are harder to find and usually can only be found in sport fishing tackle shops and sports stores around the country.
Polymer (multi/co) These lines are very similar to monofilament lines however they are usually quite a bit more stretchy. They have their place in certain applications of fishing however in general these types of lines are not recommended.
Fluorocarbon is another type of fishing line similar to Mono. The main differences however are that it typically has less stretch than mono, it is alleged to be less visible in the water, and it is supposed to be more resistant to abrasion.
Braided Lines are another very different type of fishing line that have become quite popular. There are many brands and types of these lines available on the market today. -PE Most of these lines are made from poly ethylene strands that are woven together to form a thread. The number of fibers woven together is often expressed by the word Ply or with the letter X4, where the number corresponds to the number of fibers. The lower the number of strands the less smooth the line (and usually the cheaper the line is) the more strands the smoother the line and thee more expensive. Today most lines range from 4Ply to 32Ply. Braid has virtually no stretch which makes it ideal for deep sea fishing. It also has a very thin diameter while still having a high lbs test rating. Cons of this type of lines are that commonly used knots have a tendency to slip. Special knots are needed to secure the line. Also the line can become hopelessly tangled when casting or trolling. It is much harder to untangle than mono lines and often needs to be cut. Braid is also quite a bit more expensive than mono lines. Beginners who use braid often make mistakes using it and end up losing a lot to tangles. It is however one of the best types of fishing lines available once an angler learns to use it. -Dacron is an older version of the modern PE lines that is still available. It is woven like some of the higher ply PE lines with a hollow core. This creates a flat line when tension is put on the line. Mono lines are often spliced into the hollow core to create knotless leader connections. Dacron line is only of use too ocean fishermen who troll and bottom fish.
Nylon Twine is another type of line that can be found around the country. It is not used very often as a fishing line except by subsistence fishermen as an alternative to a mono line. The main reason it is included in this list is because it is label as “Fishing Line.” This can be confusing to people unfamiliar with fishing lines because it resembles braided line but has a great deal of stretch. For sport fishermen this does not make a good fishing line to put on reels. Instead it makes an excellent line to wrap rod guides, decorate rods and to use for other household projects.
Fishing the Philippines is proud to say that we have a small part in the conservation of Large Marine Vertebrates in the Philippines! We have been able to supply our friends at LAMAVE with materials to tag Whale Sharks, Tiger Sharks and Mantas for scientific study! It is great to see this NGO working to learn more about and promote conservation of these giants of the tropical seas.
Check out LAMAVE and what they do:
The Rabbit Hunt
By Benaiah Fogle
A mention of the word Danggit in Filipino company is usually met with grins of delight and expressions of Lami-a uy! Sarap yan! and so on. This same word in the company of expats is met with groans and expressions of disgust. This is an article about Danggit, well the live one anyway, and its place in fishing here in the Philippines.
The word Danggit is a well-known name in Visayan for one of the many species of Rabbitfish inhabiting Philippine waters. Rabbitfish are also known in English as Spinefoots, and are known by many different names around the rest Philippines. Some of the names of the more well-known species include: Samaral, Kitong, and Danggit.
These fish are primarily a saltwater fish however they can be found in estuaries and even up stream in freshwater rivers. They also range in size from small almost minnow size fish to large kilo size fish. They all are generally round and compressed in body shape with small mouth bordered by lips that look as if they are ready to kiss. They range in color from mottled brown and green to silver, spotted, streaked and ever darker with more dramatic colors.
Rabbitfish all possess painful sharp spines all over their bodies. This is the reason they are called Spinefoots. A prick from one of these venomous spines leaves a throbbing pain for a long while. Fishermen need to exercise caution when handling this fish for that reason.
The mainly vegetarian diet of the Rabbitfish leads them close to the shore line around the country in search of seaweed and other plant matter. They often come in with the tide to shallow water to harvest the seaweed growing on the tidal flats. They often travel in schools which can be easily identified by the slivery flashes of the fish as they feed in schools on the algae on the seabed.
Rabbitfish are edible and make for fair table fare. Local favourite recipes for Rabbitfish include; Grilled Kitong (stuffed with onions and tomatoes), Steamed Kitong with Sweet and Sour Sauce and Fried Kitong. Small Rabbitfish are also a popular fish to salt and dry. Known simply as Danggit, these dried fish are then deep fried and eaten for breakfast lunch or dinner. My wife calls it her Philippine bacon. 😀 When the dried Danggit are fried there usually a pungent fishy smell that hangs in the air. This is usually what deters most foreigners from enjoying this Philippine delicacy.
Float Fishing – The small mouths on these fish along with their sharp algae scraping teeth present a challenge that frustrates and deters many fishermen. There however is a technique for catching Rabbitfish that works and with a little practice angler both you and old can enjoy the thrill of fishing for Rabbitfish.
Making a Danggit Rig is the first step. The rig includes a float with a swivel attached beneath onto which two lengths or at least 18” of light leader line are tied. Two small split shots are pressed onto the lines near the ends and then two long shank hooks of the smallest available size are tied at the ends. The long shanks help keep the fishes’ teeth from cutting the main line. There are two favourite baits for catching Rabbitfish. The first and most popular is the boiled cooking banana (Saba) and the other is glutinous rice. Rabbitfish seem to prefer these sort of baits though than can be caught on other things. Once small pieces of banana or sticky rice are cut and placed on the end of the hooks the rig is ready to be cast.
Local fishermen often chum the spot there plan on fish both before and during the time they fish. Rabbitfish feed throughout the day and so can be caught all day long. In areas where large predator fish are present small Rabbitfish when caught can be used as live bait.
Salvage – Another less palatable way that local fishermen catch these fish is by using specialized “salvage” rigs. This rig is designed to attract the fish to a bait which has two large hooks behind it. When the fisherman feels the Rabbitfish nibbling on the bait they jerk the line in attempt to snag the fish on the large hooks. This is obviously not a method used when fishermen are practicing catch and release because it often leaves large wounds in the fish. The local sport fishing community looks down upon such a method because of that harmful result.
Pana – Because of their large round profiles, Rabbitfish make great targets for spearfishermen. They are also not a very shy fish and will often swim within spear distance of fishermen. Locals use homemade spearguns made of a piece of wood, a length of stainless steel bar and rubber straps. Spearmen either swim along shorelines, rocks, or reefs in search of fish or they set a bait in a good area and wait for the fish to congregate.
Now you know the basics of fishing for Rabbitfish.