Shortbill Spearfish

Tetrapterus Angustirostris
Shortbill Spearfish - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Tetrapterus Angustirostris
Other names Hatchet Marlin, Pacific Short Billed Spearfish, Short Billed Spearfish, Shortnose Spearfish
Size Up to 2.3 m (7.5 ft)
Weight Up to 52 kg (114 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Oceanic waters, offshore
Depth Range
Shortbill Spearfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Shortbill Spearfish are a migratory species preferring tropical and temperate waters and can be found in depths down to 1,830 m (6,003 ft) but are usually found in depths of 350 m (1,148 ft) or less.
  • They are a apex predator using their bill to stun, injure or kill prey prior to swallowing them. Diet consists of baitfish, squid & crustaceans.
  • Female spearfish are slightly larger than males.
  • The Shortbill Spearfish spawn during winter months in warmer offshore currents, the fish larvae are pelagic.
  • These spearfish mature at around the age of 2 and have a average lifespan of 3 years. The maximum age is estimated at 4 to 5 years.
  • They are a targeted sports fish for anglers around the world.
  • Main predators of spearfish include sharks, larger predatory fish when they are younger & anglers.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing

Shortbill Spearfish are a popular sports fish with minimal to no commercial importance in Australia. They are highly regarded in Japan for sashimi and fish cakes.

The Australian distribution of Shortbill Spearfish are throughout the country except for the Northern Territory.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Istiophoriformes

Family: Istiophoridae

Genus: Tetrapturus

Species: Tetrapturus angustirostris

Conservation Status

Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Shortbill Spearfish is categorised as “Data Deficient” as there is not enough information on the species for proper assessment.

Fish Taste Quality

Shortbill Spearfish are an average table fish with a mild flavour – known more for catch & release fishing. Although highly popular in parts of Asia & Hawaii.

Taste Rating: 3/5

How to catch
Shortbill Spearfish

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Artificial Rig, Large circle hook rigged on leader with/without sinker with a crimp sleeve

Bait: Lures, Pilchards, Slimy Mackerel, Bonito, Tuna

Technique: Trolling, Cast lures with a fast retrieve

Popularity: Popular

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