Pelagic Fish Species
The Kingdom of Tonga has a wide diversity of species to target for spearfisherman. Blue Water Explorer Ltd has an intimate knowledge of locations and species and can help plan your trip to “target” certain species. Some spearfisherman want to target certain species whilst others are happy with the “run of the catch”. Either way, below is a list of the more popular species that can be readily caught in the Kingdom of Tonga.
The Dog Tooth Tuna is a highly sought after game fish amongst spearfisherman and Tonga is an ideal destination to hunt these challenging species. Many of the regular dive sites host “Doggies” (as they are affectionately known). Average size is probably 15-20 kg but specimens to 50 kg are not rare and they have been speared up to 80 kg. Furthermore, world record sized dogtooth over 100 kg have been seen and it is only a matter of time before a MONSTER Dogtooth is landed in Tonga.
They can be found in reasonable schools of up to 30 fish but as they get larger they tend to be in smaller numbers (3-4 fish) or even solo. Doggies are found year round in Tonga. Blue Water Explorer have self-imposed limits of one Dogtooth tuna per day per diver in a bid to help preserve this desirable species.
Wahoo are another highly sought after game fish for spearfishes and can be found year round in the Kingdom of Tonga. They are typically found in the more open waters such as offshore reefs, sea mounts, offshore islands and the FADS. Average size is around 14-18 kg but larger specimens to 40 plus kg have been encountered and caught by line fisherman. It is only a matter of time before a world class wahoo is landed.
Mahi Mahi or Dolphin fish are another common fish in Tonga. Average size would be 10-12 kg with regular specimens being caught around 20 kg and they have been landed to 30 kg by line fisherman. Typical hotspots for Dolphin fish include the FADS and offshore open waters (often under the birds). Typically found in the top 5 meters or so these are often a great fish for the shallower diver/hunter and respond well to chum and burly.
They can be found year round with the better months being from May through to December.
Billfish (Blue, Black and Striped Marlin along with Spearfish and Sailfish) can all be found in the Kingdom of Tonga. Tonga has an international reputation for its Blue Marlin fishery and Blue Water Explorer has already encountered several 300 kg plus blue marlin. Rob Torelli has also led expeditions to Tonga previously to land World Record Black marlin and is familiar with what it takes to target billfish.
Sailfish grow XXL in Tonga and average around 50 kg. Blue Water Explorer has a few “hot spots” for sailfish and can assist divers wanting to target a “one off” billfish. A strict one billfish per trip policy applies. Tonga currently boasts the World Record of 95.5 kg for a sailfish (Line fishing) and spearfishing clients have landed them to 50 kg. It is only a matter of time before the World Record sailfish is speared in the Kingdom of Tonga.
Yellow fin Tuna are common in the Kingdom of Tonga and line fisherman regularly make catches them along with Big Eye Tuna often up to 90 kg. They are often seen by spearfisherman and small specimens to 20 kg have been taken to date so it is only a matter of targeting these tuna to get better results. Diving and exploring the sea mounts and FADS and applying some chumming would be a great place to start. Yellow fin are found year round but January though to April seem to be the hot months for them.
Giant Trevally quite commonin Tonga and can be found year round at most locations. They have been seen to 60 + kg and the average size seem to be 20 kg. A strong fighting fish the GT is a popular eating fish in Tonga and can be found both in schools and as a solo fish.