Fiji is known the world over as one of the premier scuba diving and deep sea fishing. Diving under the surface reveals an underworld aquarium of green turtles, eels, dolphins, sharks and colorful coral where anglers can cast their lines in to catch huge tuna, marlin, mahi mahi and sail fish.
Anglers travel from around the world to sport fish in the waters around Fiji . There are numerous daily charters, both private and group, which takes beginners and experts on exciting deep sea fishing tours. Before booking, always take a look at the boat, fishing equipment and reviews online to ensure you’re going with a reputable company. There are plenty of spots to fish in Fiji, but Namotu Island is particularly good including the waters around Viti Levu, Suva and Taveuni. Sport fishing can be done all year around, but different fish peak in abundance at different times of year .
There are around 10 species of marlin around the world, and the blue, black and striped species are found in the waters around Fiji. Though each sub-species differs, the marlin has a long body, pointed bill and lareg dorsal fin. They are seriously quick swimmers and can speed through the waters at almost 50 miles an hour. Some of the sub-species grow up to 5 metres in length and have been known to weigh over half a ton. In Fiji, blue marlin can be fished all year round, but the main season is between February and March. Black and striped marlin are best fished for between August and September.
Marlin, also known as the sailfish. Photo Credit
Short billed spearfish are native to the Pacific Oceans and tend to stay close to the surface of the water making them particularly easy to catch. The biggest reach over 2 metres and weight in at around 30-50 kilos. They can be found in Fiji between May and October and the best season is in July and August.
Similar to marlin, Pacific sailfish have a distinctive large dorsal fin which resembles a sail. They also have an elongated, sharp snout. They tend to live in the colder oceans but come to Fiji between May and October, with the optimum season between June and August.
Wahoo are found in the tropical oceans such as the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean. It’s a highly prized and common sport fishing catch. They can reach up to 2 metres in length and weight around 80 kilos maximum. Wahoo are quick, reaching speeds up to 60 miles per hour. Instead of catch and release, wahoo are commonly eaten with a taste similar to that of mackerel. They are a challenging to catch as their quick speed and sharp teeth give them the edge. Wahoo come to the waters around Fiji between May and October and the best season is between June and August.
Found in the tropical oceans around the world, yellowfin tuna is highly prized for its meat. The largest reach a weight of almost 200 kilos, making them tough to catch. The name comes from their bright yellow fins and tail which are yellow. They are best fished for in March and August when they swim into the waters around the Fijian islands.
Mahi mahi is an odd looking fish with large colourful foreheads and a fin that runs all the way along the top of their body. They are strong fish and can be challenging, but rewarding, to catch. They are comparatively small compared to other fish, reaching around a metre in length and around 13 kilos. They are also quick, reaching speeds of over 50 miles an hour. Delicious on a barbeque, they are commonly eaten and no threatened. Mahi mahi can be caught all year round, but the best month is March.
Unlke the smaller mackerel species, Spanish mackerel grow fairly large reaching around two metres in length and up to 65 kilos. The delicious oily flesh is particularly good for health and they come to Fiji in abundance all year round making them ideal for sport fishing. The best time to catch them is in August and November.
These apex predators are also known as giant kingfish. The silvery colour and sleek body make them a particularly beautiful catch. The largest reach almost two metres and just under 100 kilos. They prefer to inhabit the reefs, bays and coves meaning you don’t have to travel far to catch them. They hunt in schools and can be fished for all year round, but best between January and April. Bluefin trevally are much smaller and as the name suggests are blue in colour. They are fished for at the same time.
Often referred to as white tuna, the dogfish tuna is commonly canned and eaten around the world. They are one of the smaller species of tuna, but still large reaching over 2 metres in length and weighing in at around 120 kilos. Interestingly, the dogfish tuna swims keeping their jaws open. They are found all year round but are best caught between January and April.
The Barracuda is commonly found here. Photo by Julia
The barracuda is long, slender and has a bullish behavior. They usually stay in shallow waters near to the surface in order to catch their prey which they do with their sharp teeth. The species can grow over a metre and a half and weigh around 50 kilos. Barracuda inhabit the waters around Fiji all year round, but are best caught between December and March.
The waters around the 300 or so islands around Fiji are home to 4,000 square miles of coral reef and more than 1,000 species of fish making it simply impossible to list them all on one article. The scuba diving is some of the best in the world and here are some of the highlights divers are likely to see.
The white-tip reef shark is part of the Carcharhinidae family. It’s a relatively small shark reaching one and a half metres in length. It’s got a slender body which makes it a quick species of shark and is recognizable by the white colouring on its dorsal fin.
The copper shark, which is often called the bronze whaler shark, is another species from the Carcharhinidae family. It’s found in the tropical waters throughout the world. Other than the sea, they can commonly be found in brackish waters, harbours and estuaries. It’s bigger than the white-tip reef shark and reaches over 3 metres in length. The name comes from the light bronze coloured fins, though the can often be hard to spot.
Turtles are one of the most magical marine creatures to see in Fiji and the large green turtle is no different. They are characterized by their dark green shells. Other than spotting them while diving, they also haul themselves up onto the beach each year to lay their eggs in the sand. Unfortunately, green turtles are a threatened species.
This reef shark is very similar to the white-tipped reef shark and is found around the shallow waters and coral reefs of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It reaches a length of around one and a half metres, and like the name suggests the shark has black tips on its dorsal fins.
The nurse shark is one of the most common species to see in Fiji, though they are threatened in some parts of the world. They are brown in colour and can reach up to 3 metres in length, but they are more commonly seen when they are a metre or so. They are relatively harmless, though they are known to bite on divers occasionally.
Tiger shark. Photo by Steven
The tiger shark’s name comes from its distinctive striped pattern on its body. Interestingly, as the shark matures, they lose the stripes meaning it is quite easy to estimate their age. They are found in the tropical waters around Fiji and can reach up to a staggering 5 metres in length. They are solitary creatures and hunt on small fish, turtles, and squid at night. The tiger shark is threatened. It is responsible for the second highest number of shark bites after the great white.
Bull sharks live in both freshwater and saltwater. They are particularly aggressive and territorial, but they don’t often bite divers and aren’t common in Fiji.
Spotted eagle rays are particularly graceful and many divers spot them around the Fijian waters. They are typically seen alone although sometimes swim in schools. The name comes from the white spots that cover the surface of their skin. They have the ability to breach the water, jumping more than a metre out of the water. The have a wingspan of up to 5 metres in length.
Reef manta rays aren’t as big as spotted eagle rays, reaching around 3 metres across their wingspan. They are elegant creatures which divers can see gliding around the coral reefs and shallow waters of Fiji. Snorkellers can also see the common reef manta ray.
Eagle rays are part of the Myliobatidae family and can reach an astonishing 9 metres in width. They are known for their long tails and are known to breach out of the water up to several metres. Unlike other rays, eagle rays feed from plankton which they filter. Scuba divers and snorkelers will most likely see the eagle ray.