Common name: Garfish
Latin name: Belone belone
Record weight: Garfish are most commonly found close to shore, hence the record weights for boat and shore are very similar. The boat record currently stands at 3lb 9oz 8 drams and the shore record at 3lb 4oz 12 drams.
Distribution: A summer species that prefers warm water. Hence the garfish is on the edge of it's northern limit around the British Isles during the Summer months. Garfish are a surface living species and are rarely found more than ten metres down during the Summer, although they will spend most of their lives off-shore over deep water. They can be found hunting in shallow water just below the surface during the late Spring and Summer. More common in the warmer waters of Southern Europe.
Features: Difficult to confuse with any other species of sea fish. The garfish are extremely long fish, reaching around a metre in length, yet weighing only three pounds. The garfish also has a long, tooth-filled beak that is ideal for catching the small fish and zooplankton that it preys upon. With it's blue back and silver flanks the garfish is well camouflaged, but it's main anti-predator defence is it's turn of speed.
Diet: Garfish are designed to feed upon prey of less than 3cm in length. They spend their lives close to the water surface, often following the breaks between oceanic and coastal waters where the densities of plankton are highest. Their diet consists of small fish, crustaceans and the early stages of a whole host of marine animals.
Spawning: Moves inshore to spawn in the late Spring. The eggs are released into the surface waters and are fertilised externally. The larvae measure only a few millimetres in length and feed on phytoplankton, switching to the richer zooplankton as they grow.