What Types of Fish Can You Fish for in Tonga?(c) tongapocketguide.com
What Types of Fish Can You Fish for in Tonga?

Fishing in Tonga: The Types of Fish in Tonga

(c) tongapocketguide.com

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

  1. Blue Marlin
  2. Black Marlin
  3. Pacific Sailfish
  4. Yellowfin Tuna
  5. Skipjack Tuna
  6. Dogtooth Tuna
  7. Wahoo
  8. Mahimahi
  9. Barracuda
  10. Giant Trevally
  11. Spanish Mackeral
  12. Kawakawa
  13. Coral Trout

We go through some of the most popular and most targeted catches in the guide below.

What Types of Fish Can You Fish for in Tonga?(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

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.

What Types of Fish Can You Fish for in Tonga?(c) Pixabay

Giant Trevally

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.

What Types of Fish Can You Fish for in Tonga?(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism


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.

Girl Woman Tourist Holding Fish Wahoo Mandatory Credit To NiuePocketGuide.com Small(c) tongapocketguide.com


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)!

As we mentioned, wahoo is available to catch all year round, but the peak months are from August to November.

What Types of Fish Can You Fish for in Tonga?(c) Tchami on Wikipedia

Dogtooth Tuna

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.

If you’re looking for the best months to target them, make it between July and January.

What Types of Fish Can You Fish for in Tonga?© TongaPocketGuide.com

Yellowfin Tuna

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:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Guide to Fishing in Tonga.


Laura (Lola) S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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