Pacific Needlefish Photos

Pacific Needlefish in Panama is a bycatch species. Anglers don’t target these species but are caught when trolling either a live bait blue runner, trolling a silver spoon, or a diving lure. Like all ray-finned they are capable of making short jumps out of the water at up to 37 mph. This jumping activity is greatly excited by artificial light at night; night fishermen and divers in areas across the Pacific Ocean have been “attacked” by schools of suddenly excited needlefish diving across the water towards the light source at high speed. Average Needlefish grow to around 2 feet but sometimes grow to 4 feet. Pacific Needles are usually found in and around the many islands that hug the coast of Panama. Should you catch one of these toothy species it’s best to release back to its natural environment.

Pacific Needlefish Information

Scientific name:  Tylosurus crocodilus

  • Pacific Needlefish are piscivorous fishes primarily associated with very shallow marine habitats or the surface of the open sea.
  • These species closely resemble North American freshwater gars in being elongated and having long, narrow jaws filled with sharp teeth.
  • Some species of needlefishes are referred to as gars or garfish despite being only distantly related to the true gars.
  • Their most distinctive feature is their long, narrow beak, which bears multiple sharp teeth.
  • In most species, the upper jaw only reaches its full length in adulthood, so the juveniles have a half-beak appearance, with an elongated lower jaw, but a much
    smaller upper one.
  • All Pacific Needlefish feed primarily on smaller fishes. In addition, some species also take krill, swimming crustaceans, and small cephalopods.
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