Fish Profile: Trevally

If you like a scrap on light tackle and enjoy a succulent feed this coastal pelagic species is hard to beat. They belong to the same family as kingfish and jack mackerels, are streamlined in shape and metallic green to blue in colour. A black mark over the gill plate makes it easily identifiable.

Juvenile trevally have a narrower shape and quite obvious vertical bands of green through to yellow along each flank.

Trevally grow to around 70cm, but are more common in the 40-50cm range.


A species that prefers warmer waters, the trevally is most common around the northern coasts of the North Island. Their range extends about much of the North Island and as far south as the Top of the South.

They can be found over a range of habitat, from open waters offshore where they are often seen working the surface in large schools, around prominent reefs down to 80 metres, through to the shallow waters of inshore estuaries and harbours.

Targeting Trevally.

Trevally feed on a wide range of small marine creatures, including small shellfish. They are best targeted with small fresh cut baits or shellfish and hooks in the 2-5/0 range. They can be caught on most rigs, but more commonly on ledger or flasher rigs. They will take small jigs bounced along the bottom, or lures cast into the school when they are surface feeding.

Food Quality.

Often underrated, the trevally is actually superb eating and very popular as sashimi. It is best eaten fresh and benefits from a quick kill, bleeding and being chilled immediately. The flesh cooks up white and succulent and will suit any cooking method.

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