When snorkeling, the tendency is to look down where numerous reef fish can be seen darting through rocks and coral. Needlefish, on the other hand, are surface swimmers and, as such, can be a little unnerving. Many times I’ve looked up and found myself in the midst of a shoal of needlefish, circling around me. At such times, I try not to think of Custer’s Last Stand.
In my attempts to identify what I see in the water, I use John P. Hoover’s book The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Whales, and Seals. His website is hawaiisfishes.com.