The Poti marara

Our local speed boat – 100% Polynesian

The "Poti marara" © made their living off the sea and its rich natural resources, Polynesians have forever been linked to this vast blue. Having fully explored the extents of off-shore fishing, the Polynesians have had to venture out into the open ocean for better fishing opportunities. Along these lines, their fishing habits had to evolve. Thus, the invention of the “poti marara” literaly translated from Maori « the boat that catches flying fish ».  The Poti marara is characterized as the typical Polynesian fishing boat.

The elevated cockpit © G.LeBacon - Tahiti TourismeInvented in 1958 by the fisherman Deane Leonard, this boat was designed for better performance in speed and maneuverability. Its characteristic V-shape, made of plywood or polyester, it is perfectly adapted to big waves and extreme conditions. It measures from 16 to 26ft in length and boasts a powerful outboard motor ranging from 30 to 100 HP. The boat features the cockpit in the front, offering an elevated position to the skipper – thus a better fishing vantage point. The key feature of the Poti marara is its unconventional bar which can be compared to a large “joy stick”. This ingenious system allows the skipper to maneuver the boat and at the same time keep his other hand free to handle a fishing tool like a net or harpoon.

Mahi Mahi © Guy MarcovaldiOriginally, this boat was specially designed to fish the marara (flying fish). These quick and agile fish skim the surface and one requires speed to catch them.  Over the years, it has evolved and been utilized to fish larger species such as skipjack, tuna or mahi-mahi (Dolphinfish). The Poti marara is particularly suitable for Mahi-Mahi fishing. This winged fish swims along the water surface and can be easily spotted with its bright reflective colors. Mahi-Mahi fishing requires incredible skill and concentration. First, the fisherman has to spot the fish. He then takes pursuit and finally anticipates the animal’s path. During the chase, the fisherman has to choose the perfect moment to spear the prey with his free hand, during the whole time, expertly maneuvering his poti marara.  A bit like a polo player with his horse once he aims for the ball.

This fishing method can only be applied on a Poti marara and requires years of skill and practice. This is why few Mahi-Mahi fishermen are considered experts in this unique fishing style.The "Poti marara" © C.Durocher - Tahiti Tourisme

Today, the Poti marara is widespread in the Polynesian fishing arena. An amazing little boat – zippy and agile- that can be used with many different fishing methods such as downrigger tracking. Only found in French Polynesia you will be lucky to spot them in the early mornings, zipping along at top speed on the lagoon or in the open sea.

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