Houndfish (Tylosurus crocodilus)

Houndfish (Tylosurus crocodilus)

houndfish, needlefish, fenwick island, atlantic fish,
Mike Fetters and his houndfish from the surf

Also known as … crocodile needlefish

Description …

Houndfish are long slender fish with a cylindrical shaped body, a bony head and jaws covered with sharp teeth.  The dorsal fin is located close to the rear of the body followed by a caudal penduncle with a keel .  Their colors are greenish to blueish along their backs fading to a silvery green on the sides and belly.   They are often confused for needle fish but get larger and when a juvenile, the houndfish’s teeth point anteriorly and change as the fish reaches maturity.  Houndfish get much larger than our average Atlantic needle fish species here in Delaware.

They  feed primarily on small fish and many like their meat.  They will hit lures like spoons, small plugs, and flies or poppers. they have been caught many times in the surf on mullet rigs.  

Cape Henlopen State park, hound fish, Needlefish, old inlet, sussex county, delaware
Houndfish from the surf at Cape Henlopen State park

They can be dangerous to boaters and kayakers when they leap from the water and spear people with their long pointy beak like mouths.   They are attracted to light and can be found in many areas that are constantly lit up by overhead lights.  Hunting the bait fish attracted to these well lit areas.

Needlefish differences …  Atlantic Needlefish  rarely get larger than a pound.  They have a silvery horizontal stripe and the absence of a caudal penduncle with a keel.  The teeth of a needlefish are always straight and due to the fish’s mature size makes it one of the easiest way to distinguish them from hound fish.  A mature adult needlefish is the size of a juvenile houndfish.  If the teeth are not pointed down it is a houndfish.

Delaware creel limits …  none 


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