GT capture makes history

A FISHING-resort manager has made the shocking catch of a Pacific species long believed to be found no farther east than Hawaii.

The recent capture on March 18 of a giant trevally off the Pacific coast of Panama is certain to stun fishery biologists and recreational fishermen alike.

In an exclusive report to Sport Fishing, Panama fishing-resort manager Olivier Charpentier shares a photo of his catch — leaving no doubt of its identity as a giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis)— that he caught on a popper off Montuosa Island (clearly visible in the background).

Historically, GT have been limited to the western Pacific, found as far east only as Hawaii. GT, one of the world’s most powerful nearshore game fishes, are also one of the post popular among anglers from Hawaii to Australia. They are known to reach weights in excess of 160 pounds.

Ross Robertson, Ph.D., and colleagues have termed the vast distance between Hawaii and islands far off the coast of Central America as the “eastern Pacific barrier,” noting that it presents a formidable open-water obstacle, discouraging transpacific migration of shore-bound species.

However, upon seeing the photo of Charpentier’s catch, William Smith-Vaniz, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts on carangids — the family of jacks and trevallies — agrees that “This fish is definitely a giant trevally.” Smith told Sport Fishing that a comprehensive search of all electronic fish-collection data bases would seem to confirm this as the first GT caught along the coast of Central America.

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