Giant Trevally Fishing

Giant Trevally Fishing

Giant Trevally

Giant Trevally
  • Size 20 to 50lbs
  • Food Value Good
  • Game Qualities Excellent
  • Habitats Nearshore, Offshore, Reef

(Caranx ignobilis)

Giant Trevally is the largest of the 18 species in the Caranx genus, which includes various Jacks and Trevallies and is classified under the family Carangidae, to which Amberjack also belong. All of these fish are notorious for their voracious feeding instincts and brutal fighting prowess, making them prime targets of big game and flats fishermen worldwide.

Once revered as gods by the Hawaiian tribes, GTs are known for employing intelligent hunting strategies, such as shadowing rays, seals and large sharks in order to ambush their prey. These powerful predators will eat just about any creature smaller than they are, including fish, mollusks and cephalopods, such as squid and octopus, crustaceans up to the size of lobsters, and are known to occasionally swallow juvenile turtles and dolphins.

Young fish often start their lives in brackish waters such as coastal lakes and rivers, lagoons, bays and estuaries, while adults will mostly be found in nearshore rocky areas and around reef drop-offs, invading the shallow flats and headlands in pursuit of food. Older fish are mostly solitary; when they are schooling, it will be for spawning purposes or, more seldom, for feeding.

How big

GTs are fast growers, reaching about 2ft at three years. They can grow up to about 5.5ft and 175lbs, but are rarely seen over 3ft and 50lbs (except in Hawaii).

One of the most majestic fish in the ocean, period. Captured with Oneta GT Madness off Kadavu, Fiji

When & Where

The species is widespread throughout the Indian and central Pacific oceans, west to Africa and east to Hawaii and the Pitcairn Islands, though there are recent evidences that the species may be crossing over the eastern Pacific barrier and expanding as far as Central America (which will make many anglers happy if true).

GT can be found along the east African coastline down to South Africa and including Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles, in the Persian Gulf, off the entire south and south eastern Asian coast up to, and excluding, China, but including the Maldives, Philippines, Malaysia and the Indonesian Archipelago and down to the norhern half of Australia and the northern tip of New Zealand. They are exquisitely popular game fish off Kenya, Oman, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Bali, the Maldives, Fiji, Christmas IslandAustralia and Hawaii.

As these fish aren't known to migrate far or move in large groups and are known to have regular core hunting grounds, in the fisheries listed above they can mostly be caught year-round, with peak fishing times varying depending on the water temperature and spawning habits, or being plain out random. For example, Hawaii, which offers the largest fish (common above 100lbs) is a very sporadic fishery, while the Seychelles and the Maldives offer the most cosistent year-round numbers.

How to catch

The most important part of catching a GT is finding one. As indicated above, the big fish will mostly be solitary, meaning that the flats offer the best chances of spotting them. They are not very discreet and tend to push a lot of water with their movement. If found in deeper water, chumming should be used to get them closer to the surface.

Being opportunistic and voracious feeders, GTs will respond to many different types of bait and lures. Based on the local supply, these can be mullet, herring, squid, anchovies, sauri, garfish, knuckleheads, bulletheads, konaheads in live or cut form, feathers, plastic jigs, drone spoons, rope lures, plastic fish/squid immitations, baitfish pattern flies etc. Many anglers like using poppers, as GTs are drawn to the surface noise they make.

This lady angler definitely brought her A-game to the table.


The trick is using rapid retreival motions which will mimic panicked prey swimming for its life. If casting to a school, this will isolate a few competitive fish which will race for the bait; luring a solitary fish is even better, as it will not stand down if the bait is well presented.

Once hooked, you should brace yourself for the fight of your life. GTs will run in erratic zigzag patterns and will often come straight towards you. Their pulling power can not be understated, so the heavier the tackle, the better (we're talking 100lbs test braided lines here). Also, being clever as they are, they will head towards any available bottom structure in an effort to cut the line, so it's essential to high stick when reeling them in - set the drag tight and hold the rod up to prevent them from succeeding at this.

Sunrise, sunset and nighttime are best, corresponding to baitfish movement.

Good to eat?

Their pinkish flesh is enjoyed as table fare, but ciguatera (fish poisoning) is common, especially with bigger fish. Most anglers practice catch and release, as the pleasure is mostly in boating these brutes.


GT is loosely and randomly regulated throughout its range. Possession limit in Queensland is 20 fish within the Carangidae family, in New South Wales it's 10 within the Trevally aggregate and in Western Australia it's 3 fish within the pelagic species aggregate. No size limits.

No bag limits elsewhere, or any other known seasonal, bag or size regulations. This is mostly a catch and release species.

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