The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Tonga 🎣© Blue Water Retreat - Tonga Ministry of Tourism
The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Tonga 🎣

The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Tonga 🎣

© Blue Water Retreat – Tonga Ministry of Tourism

Fishing in Tonga: When to Go, Where to Go and What to Catch

Trolling for wahoo, poppin’ for giant trevally, spearfishing for dogtooth tuna or enjoying a spot of reef fishing, there’s a fishing adventure for just about everyone in the islands of Tonga. Tonga might not be the most-visited South Pacific nation, but anglers in the know choose to come to this epic fishing destination where there are some whoppers to be had all year round! So start planning a fishing holiday in The Kingdom with this complete guide to fishing in Tonga.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fishing in Tonga

Before we jump into the thick of this ultimate guide to fishing in Tonga, here are a few commonly asked questions about fishing in Tonga.

Is the Fishing Good in Tonga?

The fishing is exceptional in Tonga, especially for those looking for uncrowded fishing grounds and exciting pelagic species to target. Trolling for mahimahi, billfish and yellowfin tuna, spearfishing for dogtooth tuna, and popping for giant trevally are all types of fishing that Tonga is good for.

What Fish are in Tonga?

Fish species you can find for fishing in Tonga include blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin, Pacific sailfish, mahimahi (dolphinfish), yellowfin tuna, dogtooth tuna, wahoo, coral trout and much more. We list all of the highlights in our guide, Fishing in Tonga: The Types of Fish in Tonga.

Are There Fishing Charters in Tonga?

Yes, there are fishing charters in Tonga. What’s more, there are only a few fishing charters in Tonga, keeping the waters uncrowded for fishing all year round. See your options in the 5 Best Fishing Charters in Tonga.

The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Tonga 🎣©

The Best Places for Fishing in Tonga

Fishing is a way of life for many communities in Tonga, so the fishing all around the country is excellent. For visitors, however, you will need to go fishing with a fishing charter to maximise the fun and make sure you are abiding by fishing regulations. Fishing charters are limited to just three island groups in Tonga: ‘Eua, Vava’u and Ha’apai.


Vava’u is Tonga’s most popular fishing destination, particularly for its Marlin fishing. There is a range of fishing charters available in this group of islands, which tend to cater to the avid sports angler. Trolling, jigging and casting are the main specialities here. Although the island group has an international airport, it’s typically one of the most expensive islands to get to. Check out some of the offerings in The Best Fishing Charters in Vava’u, as well as more experiences to complement your trip in the 50 Best Things to Do in Vava’u.


Eua is just a short flight or a cheap ferry ride from Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, and offers a limited but quality choice of operators, from all-inclusive multi-day fishing holidays to more down-to-earth bareboat spearfishing experiences with local fishermen. ‘Eua is particularly good for its spearfishing thanks to drop-offs just metres from shore, but sports fishing is also available. Check out your options for charters in the 5 Best Fishing Charters in Tonga, as well as more experiences on the island in the 50 Best Things to Do on ‘Eua.


This central island group in Tonga is a little more expensive to get to but is arguably worth it to experience these tranquil South Pacific islands’ beautiful beaches and clear turquoise waters. Ha’apai has a very limited selection of operators who offer fishing charters. What’s more, they are very seasonal, typically operating for a couple of months before the whale season kicks in. Check out your options for charters in the 5 Best Fishing Charters in Tonga, as well as more experiences in the islands in the 50 Best Things to Do in Ha’apai.

To compare island groups on other factors than fishing, check out The Best Islands to Visit in Tonga.

The Complete Guide to Fishing in Tonga(c) Blue Water Retreat - Tonga Ministry of Tourism

Game Fish Species in Tonga

Tonga’s waters are home to most game fish species that are found in the South Pacific. The list includes:

  • Blue Marlin
  • Black Marlin
  • Pacific Sailfish
  • Yellowfin Tuna
  • Skipjack Tuna
  • Dogtooth Tuna
  • Wahoo
  • Mahimahi
  • Barracuda
  • Giant Trevally
  • Spanish Mackeral
  • Kawakawa
  • Coral Trout.

For more information on the most popular fish to target in Tonga, take a look at What Types of Fish Can You Fish for in Tonga?

The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Tonga 🎣©

The Fishing Seasons in Tonga

Tonga has warm air and sea temperatures all year round. With that, most game species are found in Tonga’s waters all year round! There isn’t really a bad time to go fishing in Tonga, but if you are targeting a specific species and perhaps the largest fish of that species possible, then there are certainly better seasons than others.

Peak Months for Game Fish

  • Blue Marlin – June to December
  • Black Marlin – June to September
  • Pacific Sailfish – June to March
  • Wahoo – August to November
  • Mahimahi – June to February
  • Yellowfin Tuna – August to February
  • Skipjack Tuna – May to January
  • Dogtooth Tuna – July to January
  • Barracuda – June to September
  • Giant Trevally – July to March
  • Spanish Mackeral – July to October
  • Kawakawa – July to March
  • Coral Trout – July to October and January to April.

For a more in-depth article on the fishing seasons, check out The Best Time for Fishing in Tonga. Plus, for more factors to consider when choosing a season to visit, check out The Best Time to Visit Tonga.

The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Tonga 🎣©

Fishing Techniques and Specialities

A standard fishing charter in Tonga usually involves trolling the bluewater for game species. However, if you’re looking for something else, most fishing charters in Tonga have the set-up, whether it’s jigging, casting or popping. Some fishing techniques like spearfishing are more specialised and have dedicated charters for this.


Spearfishing is an exciting way to fish in Tonga, with amazing spearfishing grounds and charters in ‘Eua. There are options for fully guided trips with all of the gear or bareboat experiences, taking you to FADs and local hotspots around the islands. Check out The Complete Guide to Spearfishing in Tonga for more information on the subject.

Giant Trevally Fishing

GTs or giant trevally often favour the rougher terrain of the shores or reefs, compared to many other game fish that favour the open ocean. For this reason, they are best caught in Tonga casting with poppers. There are specialised fishing tours for this, such as Poppin’ Tonga in Vava’u, while other charters typically have casting lines to allow you to give it a go. [Update: Poppin’ Tonga is temporarily closed. We will update this article when they have reopened with their new boat]. 

The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Tonga 🎣© Tonga Ministry of Tourism

4 More Tips for Fishing in Tonga

For your first time visiting Tonga with the idea of reeling in the big ones, there are a few things you need to know. We’ve put together this quick list of fishing tips for Tonga in order to help you plan your fishing trip and set the right expectations.

1. Want to Keep the Catch? Ask First

Different charters have different policies when it comes to keeping the catch. While some are happy to let you take the catch to cook back at your accommodation, others may have a “catch stays with the boat” policy, some of the catch might be donated to a local village, while species like billfish are often “catch and release”. If you want to keep the catch, ask your chosen charter provider before heading out to avoid disappointment.

2. Check Out a Fishing Tournament

Looking to get in on a fishing tournament? Check out the Tonga International Billfish Tournament in Vava’u in July run by the Vava’u Sport Fishing Club. The Nuku’alofa Fishing Club also has monthly competitions.

3. If You Have Your Own Gear, Look Out for Bareboat Charters

Some charters, particularly in Vava’u and ‘Eua, offer “bareboat” charters where you’ll get the skipper, boat and maybe some bait if you bring your own fishing gear. Bareboat options are typically cheaper than normal fishing charters, so it’s a good way to save money if you have your own gear.

4. You’ll Get Over the Bluewater Syndrome Quickly

Spearfishers, you might not be used to how clear the water is in Tonga, which rarely goes less than 30 m (100 ft). This makes it a little challenging to understand how close you are to the pelagics to get a good shot, but you get used to this after a couple of days at the most. Get more advice on spearfishing in The Complete Guide to Spearfishing in Tonga.

More About Fishing in Tonga

That’s it for the complete guide to fishing in Tonga. For more tips on planning the ultimate fishing getaway, check out some of our other guides:

Finally, inspire yourself with more experiences with the 101 Best Things to Do in Tonga: The Ultimate List. Plus, get even more tips in The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga.


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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