Maori Seaperch caught with purple BFP Swimbait

Fish Species Highlight – Maori Sea Perch

The Maori Sea Perch is a species of snapper native to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. In Vanuatu, we’re very lucky to have one of the prettier snappers as by-catch! These beauties not only look good but also put up a great fight on light to medium tackle; plus they taste great! Let’s learn more about this pretty and feisty species.


The Maori Sea Perch (Lutjanus rivulatus) are also known as the Blubberlip snapper, Maori Bream, Maori Snapper, Yellowfin Snapper, or the Blue-spotted Sea Perch. This tropical lutjanid or snapper species is a very welcome by-catch when fishing in the tropical waters of Vanuatu.

Lucky anglers are given a thrilling fight followed by awesome photo opportunities after successfully landing them. They are easily identified by their bright yellow dorsal, anal, and caudal fins. Blue lines create intricate fingerprint-like patterns on their heads and faces.

Like most snappers, they are great-tasting fish; and definitely a must-try if you get one to the boat.


Maori Sea Perch can be found in the Indo-Pacific region in East Africa, Japan, Australia, and other South Pacific islands. Particularly, the reef systems around our very own Trees and Fishes resort are home to a number of them. In fact,  a multitude of reef species flock our healthy reefs – offering us greater chances of hooking them up.

They are found from 50 – 100m depths around underwater structures such as coral reef, wrecks, bommies and boulders. They also scavenge around inshore sand flats but are also seen in shallower bays, flats and reef.


For maximum pleasure, light to medium tackle is best when targeting Maori Sea Perch. These bad boys are aggressive predators and are very territorial when around reef structure. Live-baiting and bottom-fishing with crabs, squid, or fresh cut bait can be very effective.

Using artificial lures like medium-sized top water plugs and poppers are great for a visual take when fishing shallower structure. Soft plastics rigged on jigheads are very versatile as you can control the depth of where you fish to pinpoint specific targeted structure.

The takes are fast and angry; requiring anglers to use quick reflexes and pull the fish away from line damaging structure as fast as possible. Usually solitary when adults, juveniles do group together at times. So when a fish is successfully landed try to get the formalities done as fast as possible and cast to the same area to try to catch another.

As mentioned earlier, the bigger specimens of up to 50cm in length are solitary so it is rare to catch more than a couple per day and location.

Contact our booking and reservations team to find out when is the best time to visit Ocean Blue Fishing Adventures and Trees and Fishes Resort to hook up to these pretty and feisty snapper species. The guides and crew know the reef like the back of their hands and can bring you to places where you can have the best chances of landing one.

If you are looking for a true sport fishing company that offers you more than just a Vanuatu fishing adventure, look no further than Ocean Blue Fishing.

Call us now at (AU) 1300 564 616 or at (INTL) +61 436 020322 or you may also contact us through our website at

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Fish Species Highlight – Maori Sea Perch

John is originally from the Philippines. John has extensive guiding experience throughout Asia and...Learn more

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