Tuamotu/Tikehau: Fishing in the Lagoon

So we went fishing in the Tikehau lagoon. You take the boat to the middle of the lagoon and then use just a fishing line and a hook. For bait, you use hermit crabs that are dragged out of their shells and stuck on the hook (brutal – and my heart breaks for them!). After about 2 hours of fishing, all we got was just one small striped fish that was consequently also used as bait. Almost ready to go, I felt that my fishing line got stuck on the bottom. I kept pulling it up until a massive fish head appeared. It was the Titan Triggerfish, a species of reef fish that are found around coral atolls. Usually triggerfish are colorful and small, but this one is – well – Titan! They grow up to 75 cm (30 in) long and are the largest of triggerfish in the world, with massive head that is half of their body size. They use their massive teeth to crush and eat coral, tubeworms, sea urchins, and crustaceans. They are like alpha-males of the lagoon fish and are quite aggressive with their teeth and the giant trigger dorsal spike that gets erect and threatening. Long story short – this fat and awesome specimen of the Titan Triggerfish tasted absolutely delicious, white and flaky, and the cheeks were massive too! Occasionally, triggerfish are known to be toxic, but apparently this one seemed to be ok. So far at least….