What Fish Species Can You Target in Tonga?
Always wanted to reel in a ridiculous-sized fish or looking for the next pelagic species to target on a list of many? Tonga’s going to sort you out. The island nation of 170 islands has most of the game species sought for in the South Pacific, from monstrous marlin to darting wahoo! Check out what are some of the most popular fish species to target in Tonga in this guide.
While you’re here, you might also want to bookmark our complete bible to fishing in The Complete Guide to Fishing in Tonga.
In Brief: The 13 Most Popular Game Species in Tonga
- Blue Marlin
- Black Marlin
- Pacific Sailfish
- Yellowfin Tuna
- Skipjack Tuna
- Dogtooth Tuna
- Giant Trevally
- Spanish Mackeral
- Coral Trout
We go through some of the most popular and most targeted catches in the guide below.
Billfish (Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, Striped Marlin and Pacific Sailfish)
Best time: June to December
Billfish are a big deal in Tonga, with Tonga having an international reputation for its blue marlin fishery.
The most common billfish species caught in Tonga include blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin and Pacific sailfish. What’s more, the blue marlin, in particular, grows big here with catches over 200 kg (440 lbs) being quite a common occurrence. Marlins are best targeted between June and December.
As for sailfish, they average at around 40-50 kg (88-110 lbs) with the world record being set in Tonga for 95.5 kg (210 lbs)! There’s a good opportunity to catch Pacific Sailfish all year round, with the best months being between June and February.
Best time: July to March
Giant trevally or GTs are frequent in Tonga’s waters for most of the year, making them a popular fish to target. Not only do they put up a fight, but they’re a good fish to target if you want to try alternative fishing methods, like casting or spearfishing.
GTs are popular for eating in Tonga and can feed a fair few people as 50 kg (110 lbs) GTs have been caught in Tonga. Usually, they are around 20 to 25 kg (44 to 55 lbs).
For targeting giant trevally, you’re best islands are Ha’apai and Vava’u – see The Best Fishing Charters in Vava’u.
Other trevally species (albeit smaller species) also frequent Tonga’s waters, including black trevally, purple trevally, big-eye trevally and more.
Best time: June to February
Mahimahi or dolphinfish are another popular species in Tonga, mainly because they’re good for eating but, also, well, they’re an interesting-looking fish!
The average size of a mahimahi in Tonga is around 10 to 12 kg (22 to 26 lbs) but has been up to 30 kg (66 lbs).
They can be caught for most of the year, making them a popular fish to target, whether you’re trolling or spearfishing.
Best time: August to November
An open-water fish that is available to catch in Tonga all year round, wahoos are a fun fish to catch on trolling fishing tours, as well as spearfishing. They’re named after the incredible speeds they can move.
The average size of a wahoo caught in Tonga is 14 to 18 kg (30 to 39 lbs) but some have been caught weighing more than 50 kg (110 lbs)!
Best time: July to January
A rewarding catch for the spearfisherman, dogtooth tuna are found year-round in Tonga’s waters. Affectionately known as “doggies”, dogtooth tuna provide a tough challenge for spearfishing, so be sure to hit one of the spearfishing operators up if you want to take on a doggie! See The Complete Guide to Spearfishing in Tonga for more advice.
The average size of a dogtooth tuna in Tonga is from 15 to 20 kg (33 to 44 lbs) but up to 80 kg (176 lbs) monsters have been caught.
Best time: August to February
Yellowfin tuna is a Tongan fishing favourite, not only because they are available to catch for most of the year but because they always put up a fight whether they’re big or small. The best time to target yellowfin tuna is from August to February but there are always some hanging about throughout the year. Plus, head on a charter at dusk or dawn to increase your chances of reeling in these eating favourites.
Typical weights of yellowfins are between 7 and 23 kg (15 and 50 lbs) but they have been weighed up to 80 kg (176 lbs)!
More About Fishing Species in Tonga
Now that you know the most popular types of fish in Tonga to catch on fishing charters, take a look at more advice to help achieve the perfect fishing excursion:
- 5 Best Fishing Charters in Tonga
- 5 Best Fishing Resorts & Lodges in Tonga
- How to Choose the Best Fishing Tour in Tonga
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Guide to Fishing in Tonga.