OTHER NAMES: 'Hoo, Halfbeak
RANGE: All Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.
HABITAT: Most common around reefs
and shoals, but widespread from deep water to larger bays.
DESCRIPTION: Ballyhoo differ from
the Needlefishes in that only the lower jaw of the ballyhoo is elongated
into a "bill." Several species occur in our waters, but only two are
prominent. Their ranges overlap and their appearance is so similar that
few anglers care about distinguishing them. The ballyhoo, shown here,
has a short pectoral fin and the upper lobe of its tail fin is gray. The
Balao, has a long pectoral fin and the upper lobe of the tail is
SIZE: Both species average 10-12 inches, but commonly reach 15 or
FOOD VALUE: Primarily used as bait.
GAME QUALITIES: Cagey biters and zippy little fighters, but too
small to merit attention except when bait is needed.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Ballyhoo respond readily to ground chum.
Although cast netting is the way to capture more of them, they can be
caught with tiny hooks and small bits of cut bait or Sabiki Rigs.,
fished from spinning outfits or poles.
FISHING TECHNIQUES: Still Fishing.