Fishing in Tonga: When to Go, Where to Go & What to Catch
Trolling for Wahoo, poppin’ for Giant Trevally, spearfishing for Dogtooth Tuna or enjoying a spot of reef fishing, there’s a fishing adventure for just about everyone in the islands of Tonga. Tonga might not be the most-visited South Pacifing nation, but anglers in-the-know choose to come to this epic fishing destination where there are some whoppers to be had all year round! So start planning a fishing holiday in The Kingdom with this complete guide to fishing in Tonga.
Quick Fishing Tips for Tonga
- Looking to get in on a fishing tournament? Check out the Tonga International Billfish Tournament in Vava’u in July. The Nuku’alofa Fishing Club also has monthly competitions
- Inquire about keeping the catch with your chosen charter before you head out, as each charter has different catch policies
- If you have your own gear, look out for bareboat charters where you can save a bit of money
- For spearfishing, the water can be so clear that it’s hard to determine distance if you’re not used to it. Don’t worry, this “bluewater syndrome” passes after a couple of days
For more information on each tip and more, take a look at the 10 Fishing Tips for Tonga.
The Best Places for Fishing in Tonga
Fishing is a way of life for many communities in Tonga, so the fishing all around the country is excellent. For visitors, however, you will need to go fishing with a fishing charter to maximise the fun and make sure you are abiding by fishing regulations. Fishing charters can be found across the four major island groups in Tonga: Tongatapu, ‘Eua, Ha’apai and Vava’u.
Tongatapu is the arrival island for most visiting Tonga, making it the easiest and cheapest destination to travel to. While it lacks in some of the stunning islands with turquoise waters and sandy beaches found in other island groups, it still offers from excellent fishing with charters departing from Nuku’alofa. There are a couple of sports/game fishing charters to choose from, as well as a more laidback reef fishing charter. Check out The Best Fishing Charters on Tongatapu for more details.
Located a short flight/ferry journey from Tongatapu, ‘Eua is a relatively cheap and easy island to get to. While charter options are limited, there is at least variety with some locals offering authentic fishing trips, such as Kiko’s Whale Tours, as well as the base of Blue Water Explorer who offer multi-day spearfishing and sports fishing holiday packages from the island.
This central island group in Tonga is a little more expensive to get to but is arguably worth it to experience these tranquil South Pacific islands beautiful beaches and clear turquoise waters. Some locals, such as your host at Captain Cook’s Hideaway, offer casual fishing trips, while the Matafonua Lodge offer half-day fishing charters either trolling for bluewater fish or popping for Giant Trevally at the reefs.
Vava’u is a northern group of islands and is the main island group for sports and game fishing in Tonga. The fishing charter options are almost endless, taking you out to catch just about any of the game species found in Tonga. While casual fishing charters are available, Vava’u is definitely a better option for serious anglers. Check out some of your charter options in the 10 Best Fishing Charters in Vava’u.
Game Fish Species in Tonga
Tonga’s waters are home to most game fish species that are found in the South Pacific. The list includes:
- Blue Marlin
- Black Marlin
- Pacific Sailfish
- Yellowfin Tuna
- Skipjack Tuna
- Dogtooth Tuna
- Giant Trevally
- Spanish Mackeral
- Coral Trout
For more information on the most popular fish to target in Tonga, take a look at What Types of Fish Can You Fish for in Tonga?
The Best Time to Fish in Tonga
Tonga has warm air and sea temperatures all year round. What’s more, most game species are found in Tonga’s waters all year round! There isn’t really a bad time to go fishing in Tonga, but if you are targeting a specific species and perhaps the largest fish of that species possible, then there are certainly better seasons than others.
Peak Months for Game Fish in Tonga
- Blue Marlin – June to December
- Black Marlin – June to September
- Pacific Sailfish – June to March
- Wahoo – August to November
- Mahimahi – June to February
- Yellowfin Tuna – August to February
- Skipjack Tuna – May to January
- Dogtooth Tuna – July to January
- Barracuda – June to September
- Giant Trevally – July to March
- Spanish Mackeral – July to October
- Kawakawa – July to March
- Coral Trout – July to October and January to April
For a more in-depth article on the fishing seasons, check out The Best Time for Fishing in Tonga.
Fishing Techniques & Specialities
A standard fishing charter in Tonga usually involves trolling the bluewater for game species. However, if you’re looking for something else, them most fishing charters in Tonga have the set-up, whether it’s jigging, casting or popping. Some fishing techniques like spearfishing are more specialised and have dedicated charters for this.
Giant Trevally Fishing
GTs or Giant Trevally often favour the rougher terrain of the shores or reefs, compared to much other game fish that favour the open ocean. For this reason, they are best caught in Tonga casting with poppers. There are specialised fishing tours for this, such as Poppin’ Tonga in Vava’u, while other charters typically have casting lines to allow you to give it a go.
Spearfishing is an exciting way to fish in Tonga, with amazing spearfishing grounds and charters in Vava’u and ‘Eua. Choose a half-day spearfishing tour with all the gear included with Dive Tonga in Vava’u or opt for a seven to 10-day spearfishing holiday with Spearfishing Tonga (a.k.a. Blue Water Explorer) in ‘Eua. Learn more in The Complete Guide to Spearfishing in Tonga.