Game fishing on Nias Island
Being an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, there’s a lot of good fishing to be had around Nias. If in doubt visit the local fish market and you will see rows of big game fish lined up every day. A short boat ride from the coast the sea reaches depths of hundreds of meters and the fishing here is world class. Locals using hand lines regularly reel in pelagic game fish such as Marlin, Spanish mackerel, Tuna, Mahi-Mahi (Dolphin fish), Wahoo, Giant Trevally and Sailfish. Surf charter boats visiting Nias also report similarly impressive results.
Sport fishing on Nias can easily be arranged if you are staying in one of the resorts in Telos or Asu Island, in fact it it often included in the package. Many guesthouses in Sorake also regularly arrange fishing trips using local boats. Keen fishermen can also arrange their own trips by using fishing boats, which are available for hire in every port and village along the coast. Sizes vary, from small Perahu boats that takes only 2-3 people, to larger boats which can take up to 10-20 passengers. Prices vary according to size and comfort. Be prepared to bargain, but be polite and respectful about it. Remember that most fishermen are struggling to feed their families.
A lot of fishing is also done from the shore, and you will see many local people fishing from piers and exposed rocks along the coastline. Fishing is one of the most popular pastime on Nias Island.
If you take your sport fishing seriously, you should probably bring your own gear. Otherwise there is a shop in Gunung Sitoli town where sport fishing gear is sold (Usaha Timur on Jalan Diponegoro no 138). If you just want to try fishing local style, you can use a hand line, which is available in every boat and for sale in every coastal village.
Where to find a boat and where to fish
Judging by the amount of fishing boats around the coast of Nias, there is fish in abundance pretty much anywhere. But both locals and visiting fishermen agree that the deep, open waters off the west, north and south coast are the most promising area for big game fish. Hinako Islands are the most western point of Nias, and on the other side of it lays the Indian Ocean and its open waters all the way to Africa. There are shallow reefs near the islands as well as drop-offs into the deep further out. There is often a strong current here, which attracts game fish. Close to the islands Giant trevally, Mackerel and Wahoo are often caught. Further out off the deep end there are sometimes large Tunas.
Good results have also been reported in the far south, particularly around “tanda keli”, a shallow area between Teluk Dalam and Batu Islands (Telos). This area has good variety of reef fish and sail fish is also regularly caught by fisherman here.
Most local fishermen are actually based on the east coast, but this has more to do with safe anchorage than fish abundance. The west coast is pounded by large waves for much of the year, and there are only a few locations where boats can launch safely.
Small perahu boats are available from almost every beach and coastal village, but they are not safe for offshore fishing and can only take a couple of people. Below is a list of the harbours and protected bays where you can find larger boats. All of these locations are easy to reach by car
The largest town on Nias Island. There is as a proper deep sea port and many different types of boats. Most fishing boats are based a few kilometres out of town near the beaches at Moavö and Bawödesolo (north) and Fodo (south).
Asi Walo is a beautiful lagoon that was used as port before the coastal road around North Nias was built. Today Asi Walo is a popular location for Sunday outings and is still used by local fishermen. This is a good place from which to explore the north eastern corner of Nias as well as the deep waters surrounding Sarangbaung Island.
Second largest town on Nias. There is a deep sea port with a large variety of boats here.
Surf area with many guesthouses who often arrange fishing trips from small boats. Ask at your guesthouse or just contact the boatmen directly. Most of the boats are pulled up just inside of the wave (in front of Raffiels Surf Camp). A larger speedboat can be hired from Raffiels Surf Camp.
Far South – Telos
Tello; the main village on Telo island.
Resorts on Telos (Batu Islands) all have boats and good equipment for sport fishing.
The main port on the west coast of Nias Island. This is also where the boats to Asu pick up passengers. Many different kind of boats are available here.
There are three surf camps on Asu who arranges fishing trips. Puri Asu Resort is known to arrange some of the best fishing trips on Nias. In the low season Mama Silvi’s Cottages (when the others are closed) is the best choise.
Large natural bay on the north-west coast of Nias. A number of smaller fishing boats available here, perfect for fishing trips to Wunga Island. Makmur at Afulu Retreat can help to arrange boats.
Lahewa is the largest (small) town in North Nias. It has a proper harbour protected by a large lagoon. Several commercial fishing vessels are based here and long-distance sailors often come to Lahewa to stock up on fuel and supplies. There are many choices of boats available for hire here.
A large village at north eastern tip of Nias Island. A river runs through the village and a number of fishing boats are moored here. This is a good place to explore the north eastern corner of Nias including the deep waters around Sarangbaung Island.