Any internet search about fishing in Samoa will reveal images of massive mahi mahi, huge tuna, impressive sailfish and a wide array of other fish species that some anglers can only dream of landing.
If you’re looking for a tropical Pacific holiday that involves wrestling a monster fish until it’s on deck or catching species you’ve never had the opportunity to see before, then Samoa is the place for you.
The beauty of Samoa is that the fish are big and around for every month of the year. Whether your holiday works best in the rainy season or dry, a fishing charter can be booked whenever it suits your itinerary.
If you like to throw a line out but are not keen on taking a boat or have limited time, then don’t worry - the fish are everywhere, including in the lagoons and rocky outcrops.
The real question is, what can’t you catch? You can expect to be able to target masimasi, Spanish mackerel, marlin, albacore, wahoo, sailfish, giant trevally, dolphin fish (mahi-mahi), barracuda, dogtooth tuna and yellow-fin tuna.
And you don’t necessarily have to go far - sports anglers will find they are very happy in Marlin Alley, which is conveniently located just beyond the reef from Apia.
Samoa has several fishing charters owned by keen fishing experts who can show you how it’s done. A number of resorts also offer fishing charters using their own boat.
Fishing charters can be a few hours or a whole day, depending on your preference. It usually involves fishing from the boat, but ask about spearfishing and diving too.
For the more experienced anglers, there is an opportunity to take yourself fishing by hiring a boat. Le Vasa Resort rents aluminium boats, canoes for traditional Samoan-style fishing and, if you prefer to stay on solid land, they’ll provide rods, lures, and bait - plus a bucket of six local beers - so you can cast from shore while sipping a cold one.
For more information on fishing in Samoa, try the Samoa International Game Fishing Association in Apia. This organization is very active and runs regular tournaments.
If you join a charter, you may learn more about Samoa from your skipper than just how to catch the fish that swim below.
As you cruise past the islands on your way to the fishing grounds, take the opportunity to listen to information that they may impart about their village, their traditions and their way of life.
Find out how to cook your fish of the day in a traditional way as well, and you may come away with a far richer cultural experience than you bargained for.
But how do the locals do it? For a truly authentic fishing experience, try to join a local fishing crew and learn how to pull the catch of the day into an outrigger canoe.
If you happen to be on Savai’i when you decide to put a rod in from the shore, be sure to check first with the local villagers, as nearby villages often own the fishing rights around the coast.