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Garfish, Belone belone belone

Irish Record Fish: 3 lbs 11 ozs 1.67 kilos
Boat Specimen: 2.25 lbs 1.021 kilos
Shore Specimen: 2.25 lbs 1.021 kilos
Photo Credit:

Robert Patzner

No photo available!

Garfish, Belone svetovidovi
Irish Record Fish: 1.11 lbs .503 kilos
Caught: off Courtmacsherry 1994
Boat Specimen: 14 ozs .355 kilos
Shore Specimen: 14 ozs .355 kilos
Photo Credit:

Introduction::The Garfish is like the Mackerel in terms of its habits but our view is that it will inhabit harbours and stone works close to the shore during the Irish summer - not a commonly expressed opinion, but that has been our experience.   Any fish > 1 lb (450 grams) is good, with a maximum of 4 lbs (1.75 kilos) possible.  

A smaller species, Belone svetovidovi is also present and recognised for record purposes by the ISFC in 1986.  The current record for this fish is just 1.11 lbs and it was taken off Courtmacsherry in 1994. Any fish over 14ozs (351 grams) will qualify for a specimen medal.  Sadly we have been unable to find a decent photo or details for identification purposes on the Belone svetovidovi species! Garfish are easily identified by their snipe like mouth.

Boat tactics: Garfish will fall to standard mackerel feathers made from thread, bits of cut up beach ball (!), silver foil and plastic bags.  Most small spinners and lures will take any available garfish, indeed they often swim with Mackerel and Greater Sand Eels harassings smaller prey fish. They have no problem in feeding on Mackerel strips.  If you do want some sport use really light line say 4 lbs (2 kilos) line, a 2/0 hook and a float-cum-lead.

Shore tactics: Depending on the weather Garfish can move inshore, but a period of bad weather and they vanish never to return!  We have found that they tend to arrive later than the Mackerel they are often found with - perhaps they like slightly warmer waters.  An incoming tide on the evening is the best option especially after warm weather and if there is sprat or sandeels in the water.  Piers and harbours are key marks. I have seen several decent sized fish taken in Howth Harbour on float rigs, close to the rocks near the harbour mouth.