Fishing in Palau


Fishing Style

Putting my back into it! My heavy PE#8 GT rig getting a workout in some gnarly shallow reef waters

Fishing is very popular in Palau, with the most popular methods among the locals being trolling and bottom fishing. Personally I prefer a more active and participatory fishing experience, so I focus on surface and near subsurface lure casting (hence Topwater Game) with the occasional jigging session to keep things interesting. The topwater style I use is mostly with poppers, sliders, stickbaits, minnows or spoons.
For those of us with short attention spans, topwater fishing cant be beat because the whole time you are fishing, you get to watch how your lure is working in/on the water and make adjustments as necessary. The added bonus is when the fish strikes your lure, it can be spectacular with huge splashes and sometime fish jumping out of the water as they take the lure!
My personal philosophy is to take only what I need to eat (and only particular well stocked species) and release the rest in good condition. I have seen many fisheries get destroyed by overfishing and refuse to contribute to it.  


Target Species?

My ultimate target when fishing is Giant Trevally/GT/Ulua/Orruk. There is a lot of buzz about this fish and thousand of tourists come here each year to catch them. I practice strict catch and release when fishing for GTs. They are a real natural asset of the islands and should be respected and preserved.
GT too good to catch just once

For more general fishing my favorite target is the Blue Finned Trevally.
BFT love poppers, taste great and fight hard - that why I like em

They are plentiful here, provide great sport and are excellent eating, especially as sashimi/sushi/carpaccio. BFT readily attack most lure types and are caught up to 8kg locally.
Another target fish that took my a while to get used to is Red Bass.
Red Bass - lures beware. This one caught on a prototype (Carpenter) stickbait by Iwasakisan of VARIVAS
In most parts of the world they are not eaten but here in Palau, they are a revered table fish. Red Bass are violent predators with line breaking power. I recently had a Red Bass break my 60lb (PE #6) line in open water with its powerful first run. They are dirty fighters and will take your lure straight behind the nearest rock or coral bommie. I never really had much respect for this fish until I caught them in shallow (<5m) water. Let me tell you, they are POWERFUL! A great sport fish normally encountered in the 5-10kg range but 15kg plus fish are out there if you can stop them!
Then there are the "others", the fish that we dont really plan to catch but make our day more interesting when they come along. These fish include, various coral trout species
Coronation Trout generally caught in deeper waters

One of the many variations of Coral Trout around the islands, this one from 1m of water

, barracuda, nannigai, various emporors
Long Nosed Emperor a great light jigging target, will also take poppers. This one captured (and released) on one of the Sara Guide Service boats.

, coral cod, mackeral, Dog Tooth Tuna and various trevally species.