Species Spotlight: Giant Trevally
Name: Giant Trevally
Also known as: GT’S, Gangsters of the flats, lowly trevally, barrier trevally, giant kingfish or ulua.
Scientific Name: Caranx ignobilis
Description: The take from a GT is so violent it can quite literally take you off your feet. As a predator, they are perfectly built for speed. They have a streamlined body with a huge head profile and largemouth to engulf its prey. They are normally a silvery colour with occasional dark spots, but males tend to be darker and nearly black once they mature. As GT’s grow larger they also start to fill out so you do not find many fish over 130 cm mark. Giant Trevally that reach the magical 100 cm mark are considered the ultimate prize by many anglers. However, fish of this length can vary in weight by as much as 20lb.
One thing everyone loves about the GT’s is their fighting powers. These fish produce alarming and brutal runs. They will do anything they can to reach coral heads or reefs to cut your line. Many anglers have turned to jelly after watching their fly or lure being chased down, close to their feet or boat, only to be hit hard and then left with a gruelling battle.
Average Size: The largest known GT was an impressive 170 cm fish which weighed a coleus 176 lb. However, GT’s that are more commonly interacted with anglers tend to be in the mid 40lb to 60lb range.
Where to catch: The Giant Trevally is widely distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, ranging along the coasts of three continents and many hundreds of smaller islands and archipelagos. Some of the top destinations to catch Giant Trevally on either fly, popper or jigging are Oman, the Seychelles, Maldives, Christmas Island, Hawaii, Australia and even Japan.
Fishing Methods: There are three main sporting methods to fish for GT’S first is fly fishing. This is done wading saltwater flats looking for feeding GT’S, these fish may either be patrolling the edges of the flats or following Rays and Sharks. Once you spot these fish it’s all about speed, get yourself in a good casting position, once you have made your cast you have to strip the fly like you do not want the GT to catch up with your fly, as believe me he will! No matter how hard you can strip they can swim much much faster.
The other method of fly fishing for Giant trevally in deeper water is to switch and tease them. Basically, a guide uses a popper rod with a large surface popper but with no hooks. When the GT’S come to the surface and try to hit the lure, you then cast your fly towards the fish. The popper is then quickly pulled out of the water so now all the GT can see is your fly.
The second method which has grown in popularity over these last few years with anglers all over the world is popper fishing. This method uses very powerful rods and reels with extremely strong reliable drags. The reels are loaded with braid to aid long distance casting. These are cast to the horizon or to structure around islands and reefs. The angler then works the lures back towards them with different techniques which all give the lures a different action. The lures are trying to mimic a wounded fish struggling on the surface.
The last method is speed jigging which is designed to fish deeper water. Metal weighted jigs are lowered down to the required depth before it is reeled up at a fast pace and jerky movements with the rod. Once the jig is too high in the water the jig is dropped down again to start the complete process. Again, this takes are fast and very powerful.