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Ballyhoo (Hemiramphus brasiliensis)

The Ballyhoo or Hemiramphus brasiliensis is a saltwater fish that is often used as bait. This fish is a species of Halfbeak and has a silver body with green and black on it back and darker fins. As you can see, this fish has a "beak" that sticks out quite far. In fact, this "beak" can make up almost 20% of its total body length. This fish is often found in the Gulf of Mexico and will have a bit of red on its tail. It is used to catch all kinds of saltwater game fish including Mahi Mahi, Marlins, Sailfish, Mackerel, Tarpon and many others.

Ballyhoo are small, only reaching about 16" in maximum length. They have short pectoral fins and un-scaled anal and dorsal fins. If you are thinking of trying to catch a few for bait you can normally find them in sandy bottoms right around the surface. You can learn how to rig a Ballyhoo in the video below...

When the Ballyhoo spawn they release a substance that allows their eggs to stick to floating debris. This helps them spread their species to different locations. If you have additionally information about the Ballyhoo fish that you would like to share please do!


Anonymous said...

I saw an episode of 'Manhunt' on Discovery channel. Some guy who was being hunted (as part of the prog) was in a small boat at night and crossing a river in Mexico when suddenly he felt a hard 'Twack!' to the back of his neck, and it started bleeding.

He guessed he had been hit by a flying fish, and the cut was probably caused by it's fin as it scraped past.

His symptoms was 'Whip-lash' type and also what looked like a small slash wound to the back of his neck.

The camera crew, taking no chances, got him to the nearest hospital where a Doctor soon had it sewn up for him with just a few stiches and also managed to stop the bleeding.

But one of the crew noticed that a long 'lump' still seemed to be lodged in his neck.
The Doctor, after a further examination finaly agreed, and so he opened his wound back up and this time he found a 5" inch long, thin 'icicle' looking 'nose' from a 'Ballyhoo fish' that had broken off and stuck right inside his neck!
They said it was probably because of the force of impact!

I did not know these fish could fly, obviously at speed too!

A very lucky escape!
(though he would of been even more lucky had the fish not hit him at all!)

Liverpool. UK

Bex Grace said...

I am currently living in Doha, Qatar.
When swimming in the shallow beach area with other open water swimmers, early one morning we disturbed lots of these fish. Lots of them flying / skimming across the water among us. While doing backstroke admiring all the 'flying fish' one flew straight into my face. I thought I had broked my nose with the impact and had a small cut by my right nostril -where it meets the cheek.
After several days the swelling had gone down and I asked for an x-ray because I felt something by my left nostril. Which was strange since the impact seemed to occur on the right side....
An x-ray and a CT scan revealed a 3cm needle like long bone sitting 'under' my nose. More or less painless it was wedged under my upper lip -in the direction up towards my nose Right to left. I had surgery to remove the bone and a second minor surgery to remove a second bone of the same size!!! seems the nose /beak /bone had split.
NOt sure if the fish was attracted to my mirror goggles that would have been reflecting the rising the sun...or if they are typically aggressive fish. In my light research there is no mention of these fish in the Middle East but can confirm we have a varirty of Ballyhoo /halfbeaks /needle fish in Persian Gulf.

Doha, Qatar

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