The Billfish family are one of the most unmistakable species of fish that you will find in the ocean. These fish cruise the ocean looking for prey and when they do they smash their way through the big ole balls of bait that they hoard together, slashing away with their formidable bills stunning the fish and breaking the balls up enabling them to pick out their prey items. The Billfish is known as one of the hardest fighting and fastest running fish in the world’s oceans and this is why many anglers travel thousands of miles around the world to catch the Billfish of their dreams.
Scientific Name: Istiophoridae
Where to catch Billfish
Billfish occur worldwide in both temperate and tropical waters. They are a highly migratory species of oceanic fish, spending much of their time following major ocean currents. Billfish usually avoid inshore waters unless there is a deep drop-off close to the land, normally they swim along the edge of the continental shelf where cold nutrient rich up-wellings can fuel large schools of fish.
Billfish can be found here, cruising and feeding on all the prey fish that live there. Destinations such as Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala in South America are fantastic destinations to head to for some amazing Billfish angling. Other top destinations to travel to for the chance of a monster Billfish include Tenerife and La Gomera where the chance of a 1000lb plus fish is a real possibility.
Fishing methods for Billfish
Billfish are among the most sought after of big gamefish, and major recreational fisheries allow anglers to fish for these amazing creatures. You will find many boats designed specifically for targeting Billfish, these are expensive purpose-built offshore vessels with powerfully driven deep sea hulls.
They are often built to luxury standards and equipped with many technologies to ease the life of the deep sea recreational fisherman, including outriggers, flying bridges and fighting chairs, and state of the art fish-finders and navigation electronics. When fishing for Billfish the boats cruise along the edge of the continental shelf where many Billfish can be found down to 200 metres (600 ft).
Billfish are sometimes caught deeper down the water column by drifting with live bait fish such as ballyhoo, striped mullet or bonito. Alternatively Billfish can be caught by trolling at the surface with dead bait or trolling lures designed to imitate bait fish.