Giant Trevally (called “Ulua” in Hawaiian; “GT” in Australia) have been an obsession of mine since childhood. Growing up in Hawaii they were the ultimate near shore gamefish. They are the largest member of the Jack family and are the kings of the reefs where they live. You see them on bumper stickers a lot down there for whatever reason. However, despite several close encounters, I was not able to finally land one until age 34.
Giant Trevally live in tropical reefs throughout the Pacific and Indian Ocean. They are pure muscle and a very, very tough adversary even on heavy tackle. They typically charge out of the reef, grab your lure, and then charge back in and brick you in the rocks.
I had one trip to the Republic of the Marshall Islands where every single Giant Trevally I hooked broke me off in the rocks. I was only using 50lb braided line and that was not enough to land a single one, even ones that I could see were only in the 10lb range. I never underestimated them after that and do not fish for them with less than 100lb braid.
Giant Trevally top out around 200lbs but fish that size are nearly impossible to land on sportfishing tackle because there is almost no way to keep them out of the reef. The hook will bend, the line or rod will snap, or something will give before a fish that size will. Anything over 100lbs is a real trophy.
If you are fishing for these using poppers or stickbaits, you need a very stout spinning or conventional setup capable of making long casts with these heavy lures. I would not go with less than 100lb braided line and a 200lb monofilament leader (poppers) or 100lb fluorocarbon leader (stickbaits). The only reel I would fish with is a Daiwa Saltiga. I would pair it with a high end rod from Japan made specifically for this type of fishing such as a Smith Komodo Dragon (poppers) or a Carpenter Coral Viper (stickbaits).
If you are fishing with bait from shore as is common in Hawaii most people use a conventional reel with a long rod for casting past the rocks. You need a reel that can hold a lot of line since you can’t chase the fish. I personally have not caught any this way.
Whatever tackle you use, make sure everything is in top condition. If there is any weakness in anything – hooks, split rings, lure, line, knots, rods, etc – you might as well not even both hooking them in the first place because the fight will be over immediately. Hyperwire split rings from Owner are a good choice when you need to use a split…