In the South Pacific ocean lies a huge system of tropical coral reefs from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG), past Australia and into the Pacific Islands such as New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands. These reef are home to a fish that’s on nearly every saltwater fishing bucket list, the Giant Trevally (GT).
GTs are angry predators that stalk these shallow coral reefs, eating and fighting other fish with a power and speed that is famous around the world, so much so that they have appeared on blue planet eating birds from the surface of the lagoon. Fishing for GTs is a highly technical, high endurance and action packed kind of fishing, full of insane surface strikes, fish that nearly pull the angler overboard, and a true battle between the fisher and the fish.
GTs are famously caught by casting surface lures close to coral reefs and working them slowly across the water. There’s two main types of surface lures to choose from – poppers which make a big splash and mimic a small predator eating tiny baitfish, and stickbaits which mimic a wounded fish swimming in the water. It’s a good idea to have a variety of lures when fishing for GTs because different lures work best on different days depending on the tides, the current and the conditions.
To be successful at GT fishing in places like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the gear must be up to the task. Many a GT has been lost to inferior gear, bent hooks, poor quality line, and poor quality lures, so it pays to get some good quality gear, particularly when taking a charter where you are paying by the day and every lost fish hurts all the more.
Rod – The rod must be strong enough to cast big lures all day and to fight a big fish when you hook up. The most popular rods are Japanese and purpose built for GT fishing, though there are some smaller brands in the USA, Australia and New Zealand that are also great. Ripple fisher and Carpenter are the two most famous brands, but also look at FCL, ASWB, CTS and Saltywater Tackle for some other options.
Reel – There’s only three reel options, a Shimano Stella or Daiwa Saltiga if you have the money, or a Penn Slammer if you don’t. Nothing else is up to the task.
Terminal Tackle – Look for BKK, Owner or Gamakatsu hooks and split rings. There’s also some less talked about brands that are very good, like Decoy and Shout that are great.
Lures – You’ll need a combination of poppers and stickbaits. Start with a good popper and a good sinking stickbait until you are confident in working floating stickbaits. One thing that is super important is to ensure your lures are good quality with through-wire connecting your line to the hooks (just in case the lure breaks). Some lure makers like IMS use multiple coats of epoxy resin to seal their lures and make them last longer. It is worth finding a lure maker you can trust when purchasing your lures.
Andrew (Slowrise Fishing -New Caledonia)