Longbill Spearfish

Longbill spearfish are a rare and underpopulated species of billfish found on the Atlantic side of North America from the Florida up to New Jersey. Longbill spearfish can be caught by trolling with baits. Fishing for them is generally not recommended because they are so underpopulated. In some waters, fishing for Longbill Spearfish is not permitted.

longbill spearfish caught with a moyes lure

Longbill spearfish caught using Van Moyes lures

How to identify Longbill Spearfish

The longbill spearfish has the tallest dorsal fin of all the billfish—except the sailfish. Relative to other billfish, the longbill spearfish has a short bill and slender body. Where the ventral fins in most billfish are positioned close to the anal fin, in longbill spearfish ventral fins are positioned are well in front of the anal fin.

The upper jaw (bill) of the longbill spearfish is about double the length of the lower jaw. However, the bill is still substantially shorter than that of other billfish species.

longbill spearfish identification diagram

The pectoral fins of the longbill spearfish extend past the curve of the lateral line. The dorsal fin and upper back of the longbill spearfish are a vibrant blue color with no markings. There are slightly visible vertical lines that run along its sides.

Longbill spearfish grow up to 5 feet and average between 20 and 40 pounds.

Identifying characteristics:

  1. Elongated bill (shorter than other species)
  2. Tall, blue dorsal fins
  3. Two dorsal fins
  4. Two anal fins
  5. White underbelly
  6. Slender body

Where to catch Longbill Spearfish

These fish are found in the Atlantic from Venezuela to North America. Since they are a migratory fish, they can sometimes be found in the Gulf of Mexico. They are often found in the deeper waters offshore. They prefer temperate waters and will start to migrate when the water gets cold.

Range: South
Longbill Spearfish Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Longbill Spearfish:

How to catch Longbill Spearfish

Anglers don’t often see longbills because they are stealthy deep-water fish that aren’t found in large numbers. Longbills are often caught accidentally while anglers are fishing for other species, such as blue or white marlin. Because they are rare and underpopulated, it is technically illegal to fish for them. Those who choose to target them should try trolling for them. Though smaller than marlins, this fish can still put up a powerful fight. Their long bill can act as a spear, which is why it is advisable not to try to bring them into the boat. Instead, keep them partially submerged in the water until they calm down, then try to get hook out or simply cut them loose.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Longbill Spearfish:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Longbill Spearfish

Baits to use for longbill spearfish include dolphin, bonito, squid, needlefish, pilotfish, sardines and flying fish with light tackle.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Longbill Spearfish: