Fish

Giant Trevally

posted: 05/15/12
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Giant Trevally
Credits: Wayne Levin/Getty Images |

Think of the giant trevally as the Mr. T of the oceans, a burly, aquatic intimidator, that's so voracious and powerful, it doesn't have anything to fear besides sharks and humans. Known to anglers as the "GT," the giant trevally ranges in color from silver to jet black and grows to as much as 5.5 feet long and 175 pounds.

One Tough Customer

The GT, or Caranx ignobilis, is basically a big hunk of muscle. It has a steep, blunt head, thick shoulders, and muscle-studded midsections, with outsized, paddlelike pectoral and tail fins. But unlike Mr. T's jewelry, the GT's physique isn't just for show. This fish is a powerful swimmer, capable of handling the strong currents in deepwater environments and the pounding swells along the edges of reefs.

The GT will eat just about any small fish found in tropical waters, but it's particularly partial to species of fusiliers from the Lutjanidae family. It's even been known to eat juvenile turtles and dolphins. It's a blitz-and-bump predator, which means that it rushes up on its prey and stuns or kills it with a body slam. It then gobbles down the prey in a single bite, since its fellow pack members aren't above stealing. GTs will even attack and eat smaller members of its own species.

Catching the Muscle-bound GT

Giant trevally are found around reefs in the warmer waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, from Africa in the East to the Hawaiian Islands in the West, and from Australia in the South to as far north as Japan. It's known to venture into shallow bays, lagoons and estuaries as well.

To sport fishermen, the GT is a prized catch, in part because when your mates snap a photo of you struggling to wrap your arms around the fish, it looks pretty darn impressive. How do you catch one? Western Angler, an Australian fishing Web site, recommends using braided line with a mono trace if you're going after big GTs. You're also going to need a rugged spin stick that can put the brakes on quickly, or else it's likely to snap like a twig.

Why You Should Throw It Back

Giant trevally is sought after for food. But catches have declined by 84 percent in the course of the last century, which implies the population is only getting smaller. If that's not enough to make you throw the fish back, remember that the Hawaiians once revered the giant trevally as a god.

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