The capture of a giant trevally weighing more than 100lb requires thorough preparation, tremendous physical exertion and a large measure of luck.
The mightY giant trevally (GT) is a rather common fish that can be found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. However, the fact that it can grow to more than 60kg and that it responds to a wide variety of cast and retrieved lures has seen a devoted army of anglers emerge who wander the world to do battle with ‘car bonnet sized’ GTs.
Once these monarchs of the reef edges reach 30kg plus they become legitimate gamefish capable of destroying tackle and anglers! It is for this reason that a whole ‘GT industry’ has developed that has spawned specialist tackle, techniques, knots, apparel, fishing forums, travel agents and fishing destinations to cater for kamikaze anglers that want to try to drag a large GT away from its reefy lair.
I must admit to being one of these kamikaze GT addicts! I have chased them far and wide, including on the Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea, Northern Australia, Ningaloo Reef, Papua New Guinea, the Maldives, Fiji, Vanuatu and Timor-Leste. In these wanderings I have caught my fill of big GTs, however that truly impressive fish of more than 100lb (45kg) proved elusive. I encountered numerous fish this size in my travels… but every time I hooked one something went wrong or I was just plain smashed! So it was that the landing of a genuine hundred-pounder became a goal that I was struggling to achieve!
That is until my recent trip to Oneta Resort on Fiji’s remote Ono Island. In the preceding week we had landed a stack of large GTs to 38kg. On one day we were busted off by eight specimens that could each have been over 100lbs. Surely my time was close! Yes, it was. It was the day after the full moon. The seas were heaving onto the outside edge of the Great Astrolabe Reef. We bashed out through the reef pass and headed to the first major point in the reef, directly in front of the Oneta Resort. Piero Piva was on the helm, and he daringly darted the boat in to the impact zone so that I could get a cast to hit the right spot. Piero would yell “Cast now!”, then “Hang on!” as we raced to get over incoming swells.
On my second cast my Halco Haymaker was engulfed by a GT of dramatic proportions… only it fell off the hooks after a surging run! I refocused and fired a long cast in and worked the popper down the back of a large breaker. On again! This time the hooks held and the fish arced out towards deep water – only it had to pass over 50m of bomboras before it got there! The fish buried into the reef and locked me in tight. Luckily I had tied on a heavy wire trace and I survived the reefing. The fish finally made it to deep water but was immovable – at this stage all on board were calling it for a large shark – including me.
Twenty minutes later my body was surging with lactic acid and I was on the edge of collapse from fighting the ridiculous drag setting that I had applied to my Stella 18000 reel. Inch by inch the fish came to the surface. I finally saw that silver flash in the deep and had the feeling my goal was close to being achieved. It took three people to drag the beast on board– a GT of well over 100lb! We had weighed a 38kg fish the day before and this fish dwarfed it – I had no hesitation calling it over 100lb, just how far over 100lb it was though, I’m not game to say!
Only on inspection of my tackle did I realise how lucky I had been. Both trebles had opened, the wire shockleader was shredded, the wire clip had opened and my leader was completely scuffed. That’s what it takes to land a huge GT on a shallow reef – sore arms and an ocean-full of luck!