Fishing in Samoa: When to Go, Where to Go and What to Catch
Trolling for yellowfin tuna, casting for GTs, shore casting or even net casting from a traditional outrigger canoe: your favourite to your next favourite types of fishing are covered in Samoa! The year-round warm waters attract some of the most sought game fish in the South Pacific. While there are many enthusiastic local and expat fishing guides eager to take you out on the water, Samoa is also one of the rare South Pacific islands where you can enjoy a spot of independent fishing if you bring your own rod – as long as you seek permission first.
So, here we are; the ultimate guide to fishing in Samoa. This is your complete fishing bible, so let’s get to it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fishing in Samoa
Before we jump into the thick of this Samoa fishing guide, here are a few commonly asked questions about fishing in Samoa.
What Fish Can You Catch in Samoa?
In Samoa, you can catch yellowfin tuna, mahimahi, wahoo, blue marlin, Pacific sailfish, giant trevally, Spanish mackerel, Pacific barracuda and much much more.
Where Can I Go Fishing in Samoa?
You can go fishing from shore in Samoa as long as you seek permission from villagers who own fishing rights (ask at your beach fale or resort). Otherwise, you can go fishing outside of the reefs with fishing charters available on Upolu and Savai’i – see the 7 Best Fishing Charters in Samoa for suggestions.
What is the Traditional Fishing in Samoa?
Traditional fishing in Samoa are techniques such as throwing a net (kili), casting (fai ‘ofe) and sling spearfishing (tuli a’au), which are often done from outrigger canoes known as paopao. There are also traditional communal fishing efforts, such as “lau” where bigeye scad are driven toward shore with branches and coconut leaves, as well as palolo fishing with nets and buckets during the annual Palolo Rising event.
How Do You Say Fish in Samoan?
The Samoan word for “fish” is “i’a“. Learn more about the local language and pronunciation in What is the Samoa Language?
The Best Places for Fishing in Samoa
Fishing is a way of life for many communities in Samoa, so the fishing all around the country is excellent. For visitors, however, fishing with a fishing charter is the most practical way to maximise the fun. Fishing charters can be found from Samoa’s two main islands: Upolu and Savai’i.
Fishing in Upolu
Upolu is Samoa’s most populated and developed island, as well as your arrival destination thanks to the Faleolo International Airport. Here, you have the most options when it comes to fishing charters between charters from the Apia Marina in the capital to several resorts offering their own. Most charters from Upolu offer trolling trips, but those from Apia can also do jigging, popping and liveaboard tours, while Le Vasa Resort on the west coast also offers traditional Samoan and shore fishing. Learn more about planning a trip to Samoa’s main island in The Complete Travel Guide to Upolu.
Fishing in Savai’i
Life is much more traditional on Samoa’s largest island, with paopao (outrigger canoes) of the local fishermen lining the shores. That’s not to say that there aren’t more modern means to reel in the Pacific pelagics that are so abundant beyond the reefs, with three resorts/lodges offering their own fishing charters to guests and non-guests alike. Most of these charters focus on trolling. Learn more about visiting Samoa’s other island in The Complete Travel Guide to Savai’i.
Game Fish Species in Samoa
Samoa’s waters are home to most game fish species that are found in the South Pacific. The list includes:
- Yellowfin Tuna
- Dogtooth Tuna
- Blue Marlin
- Black Marlin
- Pacific Sailfish
- Giant Trevally
- Spanish Mackerel
- Pacific Barracuda
For more information on the most popular fish to target in Samoa, take a look at our guide, The Types of Fish in Samoa.
The Fishing Seasons in Samoa
Samoa has warm air and sea temperatures all year round. With that, most game species are found in Samoa’s waters all year round! There isn’t really a bad time to go fishing in Samoa, 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
- Yellowfin Tuna – November to May
- Dogtooth Tuna – September to November
- Wahoo – September to November
- Mahimahi – September to November
- Blue Marlin – November to May
- Black Marlin – September to November
- Pacific Sailfish – September to November
- Giant Trevally – January to April.
For a more in-depth look at the fishing seasons and the best time for a fishing holiday in Samoa, check out our full guide, The Best Time of Year for Fishing in Samoa.
Fishing Techniques and Specialities
From a relaxing troll on fishing charters, also known as “Champagne fishing”, to more gruelling net casting from outrigger canoes, there are plenty of exciting fishing techniques to try in Samoa.
Fishing Charters – Trolling, Jigging and Popping
An ideal technique for all experience levels and offering a high chance of reeling in something fun, trolling is where lines are baited and drawn through the water. This is the fishing technique that most charters use and provides an opportunity to catch blue marlin, Pacific sailfish, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, mahimahi and Spanish mackerel.
Specialised fishing charters, such as Troppo Fishing Adventures based at the Apia Marina, also offer alternative techniques like jigging, using a weighted lure and attracting the fish with a vertical jerky motion, which can be used to catch giant trevally and dogtooth tuna. Another technique is popping, using a lure with a hollow nose that skims across the water, used in spin or fly fishing. You might use poppers to catch giant trevally, bluefin trevally, Spanish mackerel, barracuda or yellowfin tuna.
Traditional Samoan Fishing
Other than persuading a friendly local to take you out fishing, one of the only real options for trying the more challenging yet fulfilling traditional Samoan techniques is with Le Vasa Resort based on the west coast of Upolu. Not only do they hire fishing paopao (canoes) but they also have rods and kili (casting nets) for hire. Alternatively, some of the beach fales on Savai’i have paopao for hire (usually free for guests) so ask permission to take your rod out there – see “Fishing Restrictions in Samoa” below.
Land-Based Fishing (Shore Fishing)
With your own gear and permission from your accommodation or the local village, shore fishing is a viable option in Samoa. If you don’t have your own gear, Le Vasa Resort has casting rods, lures and bait for hire (they also do “Bucket o’ Beer and Bucket o’ Bait” offers should you want to make a day of it). Be vigilant, however, about ciguatera fish poisoning when catching reef fish, which you may just want to catch and release – learn more in our Samoa Safety Tips.
Learn more about the charters offering the fishing techniques stated above in the 7 Best Fishing Charters in Samoa.
Fishing Restrictions in Samoa
Go on a fishing charter beyond the reefs and your chosen operator will keep you right when it comes to fishing restrictions. When it comes to dropping a line in yourself, perhaps from shore or anywhere along the reef, well, that’s when things become more complicated.
In Samoa, there are village fisheries by-laws in accordance with the national Fisheries Legislation. These by-laws are not only different from village to village but give villagers fishing rights to reefs. By-laws may include the restriction of the sizes of fish and shellfish, bans on certain types of fishing gear and methods, and allocation of fish quotas among other things. That’s why, although many villagers are happy for you to drop a line, it’s important to seek permission as well as inquire about any fishing regulations there may be.
Some areas have signboards along the roadside and beaches to inform where village by-laws apply. Marine reserves (strictly no fishing permitted) are easiest to identify with poles sticking out of the water and circling a portion of the lagoon.
More About Fishing in Samoa
Well, that’s everything we can think of that you might need to know about fishing in Samoa. Although we’ve pointed you in the direction of these additional guides already, here’s a quick reminder of our other fishing content:
- 7 Best Fishing Charters in Samoa
- Fishing in Samoa: The Types of Fish in Samoa
- The Best Time of Year for Fishing in Samoa
Finally, discover more awesome experiences in the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List.