The needlefish is one of the strangest swimming the oceans today.
The world's lakes and oceans are filled with plenty of strange-looking fish. The needlefish, also sometimes called a houndfish or long Tom, is no exception. With its upper jaw and lower jaw being filled with razor-sharp teeth in a garfish-like beak, this species is well known to saltwater anglers in coastal waters all over the world.
They are often an unintended bycatch when anglers are targeting a different species. Such is the case with this video featuring YouTuber Fishing with Luiza. She is looking for roosterfish, and ends up catching dolphin, jack, and one of the largest needlefish we have ever seen.
Just one look at those giant, elongated jaws and you will understand how this species got its name.
Needlefish is of course, the fish's common name. Its scientific name is Tylosurus crocodilus and there are a few different variants of the species, all of them part of the greater family belonidae. There is the Atlantic needlefish, the Mexican houndfish, and the flat needlefish. The Mexican houndfish variety's world record, as recognized by the IGFA comes is a 21-pound, 12-ouncer caught off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in 1993.
They are excellent jumpers. In fact, the species is so skilled at jumping that they can pose a hazard to boaters in shallow waters. There have been confirmed reports of needlefish killing people after that sharp jaw punctures a person.
This species has a varied diet. You will most often find them eating small fish, which is how they often end up on fisherman's lines. However, they also target crustaceans, and cephalopods. The juveniles eat plankton until they are large enough to start hunting for bigger prey in the open sea. Almost every needlefish has a slender body and less pronounced dorsal fins and anal fins. It helps these fish to attack with speed and precision.
Chalk the needlefish up as one of the stranger inhabitants of the oceans, but one that any angler should add to their bucket list to target one day.