Garfish - Belone Belone
Latin: Belone Belone
English: Garfish, Sea Needle
German: Der Gewöhnliche Hornhecht
Spanish: La Aguja
Croatian: Iglica, Jagla, Igla, Đingula
About:Garfish is a long and slender fish from Belonidae family. This pelagic fish feeds on small fish and leap out of the water when hooked or when larger predator is present. Maximum length is up to 91 cm (around 3 feet) and weight around 1.3 kg (little less than 3 pounds) - on average, it is around 40cm long. It has a sharp, pointed snout - lower jaw is a little bit longer than upper jaw.
Garfish is commonly found near the surface - hence it has darker blue-silver back, transitioning to light blue-silver sides and belly. It is very elongated and very fast swimmer. Often it can be found in large schools.
There are several subspecies:
- Belone Belone Belone (Northeast Atlantic),
- Belone Belone Euxini (Black Sea and Sea of Azov),
- Belone Belone Acus (Mediterranean Sea and adjacent parts of Atlantic Ocean),
- Belone Belone Gracilis (France to the Canary Islands including the Mediterranean).
Note: During the day, on calm weather, garfish often keeps tail near or above surface, it flips and makes odd moves - great way to notice it from the distance. Also, when scared from predators or sometimes when feeding, entire school of Garfish can be seen leaping from the water ...
Habitat: Garfish is commonly found in Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. It is pelagic, migratory fish with migratory pattern very similar to the mackerel - they feed on the same prey - small fishes and similarly sized species.
Fishing period: During summer it is usually far from the shores, but during colder periods, it is relatively close to the shores. Fishing period depends on fishing technique and presence of the fish.
Fishing rigs and tackle: Belone belone can be caught on various rigs - when trolling on much larger prey, it is often a bycatch. Using relatively smaller lures or whole (dead or alive) fish, trolling can be very successful - it is fish found in schools. When trolling for such fish, one can often catch fishes like mackerel, horse mackerel and other similar fish species found locally.
Also, it can be caught on light floating longline. When found close to the shore, it can be caught with rods and reels, using floats to keep the rig close to the surface. As a bait use live prawns/shrimps, mussels, chunks of sardines or other fish or even small whole fish. When hooked, it can put up a nice fight.
Note: beware of sharp beak when Garfish starts to jump out of water. Similarly, when diving, speeding garfish can be very dangerous.
Cuisine: Flesh is soft and tender, very tasty. On the other hand, Garfish has green bones and some people avoid it because of that, with no reason.
It can be prepared in fish stew, pan fried, grilled etc.