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

LAMAVE.ORG Conservation Through Research and Education

lamave.org

One of the resident Whale Sharks of Oslob, Cebu

 

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:

shark conservation philippines

Tricolor Parrotfish ( Scarus tricolor )

scarus tricolor

A Tricolor Parrotfish speared in Dumanjug, Cebu

Common Name:    Parrotfish,

Local Names   Loro (Tagalog); Mol-Mol (Cebuano)

Max Size:  26 cm (2.2 kgs)

Biodiversity:  Marine, Reef-Associated,

Depth:  2 – 25 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  ??

IUCN Red List Status Least Concern (LC)

Parrotfish are abundant throughout the Philippine Islands and are associated with the beautiful and plentiful reefs of the tropical waters here.  This particular species has a darker body compared  to many of the other species. Other notable features are the fish’s elongated snout, parrot-like teeth, flame red tail, and large scales.  This species grows to a good size of 1-2 kgs however like most parrotfish species they are difficult to catch because of their unique diet and coral crunching teeth.  These fish are often the target of spear fishermen because of their abundance, large size and delicious flesh.

Two-Spot Banded Snapper ( Lutjanus biguttatus )

lutjanus biguttatus

Two-Spot Banded Snapper caught in Cebu

Common Name:    Snapper, Scribbled Wrasse,

Local Names Bambangon, Pargito, Maya-Maya (Tagalog); Awnan, Malaponti, (Cebuano)

Max Size:  25 cm 

Biodiversity:  Marine, Reef-Associated,

Depth:  3 – 36 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit: 10 none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Fish,

IUCN Red List Status Not Evaluated (NE)

This is a somewhat uncommon species of small snapper found around reefs and sea slopes of the country.  It is easily identified by its eye catching color, its white band running nose to tail, and its two small spots located just under the dorsal fin.  These fish feed mainly on small fish and crustaceans and are most likely to be caught while fishing around reefs using small lures and live or dead small fish or shrimp. Smaller hooks would be required to catch these fish because their small mouth size. These fish both school in large numbers and also swim solitary.

Cheek-Lined Wrasse ( Oxycheilinus digramma )

cheeklined wrasse

A Cheek-Lined Wrasse caught off of Mactan Is.

Common Name:    Wrasse, Scribbled Wrasse,

Local Names Mameng,  (Tagalog);  Mol-Mol, Labayan, (Cebuano)

Max Size:  40 cm 

Biodiversity:  Marine, Brackish, Reef-Associated,

Depth:  3 – 60 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  10 inches 

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Fish, Fish

IUCN Red List Status Least Concern (LC)

This plentiful species is found all throughout the Philippines around the abundant tropical reefs. The larger wrasse are one of the bruisers on the coral reefs.  They are typically found alone or in pairs generally confined to a particular area or even part of the reef.

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)

Mayan Cichlid ( Cichlasoma urophthalmus )

Mayan Cichlid

A great shot of a Mayan Cichlid thanks to Welbart

Common Name:    Mexican Mojarra, Tilapia (mis-identified) 

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

Max Size:  39.4 cm (1.1 kg)

Biodiversity:  Freshwater, Brackish, Introduced

Depth:  0 – ?? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Worms, Small Fish, Insects

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

Mayan Cichlids have been reported in central Luzon as established in many local waterways.  This species is originally from South America and has been transferred around the globe through the aquarium trade. That is undoubtedly how it found its way to the waters of the Philippines. It is likely that this species will spread throughout the country and become well established.

These cichlids are look very similar to tilapia only they have a more brownish and reddish color and a spot on their tail.  They also have eight bars along their bodies which can help identify them.  Anglers are most likely to catch these in the Provinces of Pampanga and Bulacan when fishing in freshwater for tilapia or brackish water fish.  Mayan Cichlids make good food fish and can be fished for as gamefish.

mayan cichlid

Cocoa Snapper ( Paracaesio stonei )

coco snapper

Common Name:   Snapper, Deepwater Snapper, Stones Fusilier

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

Max Size:  50 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Bathydemersal, Deep-Water

Depth:  200 – 300+ m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size LimitNone

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Fish, Squid

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

These fish are found in extremely deep water and are therefore quite difficult for most anglers to catch.  To catch these fish specialized deep sea tackle is need such as PE braided line, heavy lead weights, lights, and electric reels.

Ruby Snapper ( Etelis coruscans )

deep water snapper

Banjie’s Huge Snapper

Common Name:   Flame Snapper, Longtail Snapper, Longtailed Deepwater Snapper

Local Name  Maya-maya, Tikwi (Tagalog);  Sagisihon (Cebuano)

Max Size:  120 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef Associated, Deep-Water

Depth:  90 – 400 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size LimitNone

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Fish, Squid

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

The Ruby Snapper is one the prized fish found in deep water around the country.  These fish can be difficult to catch mainly because of the great depths at which they are found.  Anglers fishing for Ruby Snapper and other deepwater species often use electric reels to aid in the retreival of line.  Dropping a heavy weight down over 200m takes a long time to reel in and is tiring even when there is no fish on the other end.  Braided line is a must when fishing in deep water, called Deep Dropping.

The 27kg monster pictured above was caught very deep with a special winch reel.  They used a whole squid as bait and it took quite a while to bring the monster in.

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