The highly prized sport fish bonefish is found on shallow, clear flats in tropical waters including the islands throughout the Pacific Ocean.
The only tourist fisheries in this part of the world are in the Cook Islands and New Caledonia, where the shy, elusive fish are targeted with a fly rod. But the sport is so highly regarded among fly fishermen that people will travel the globe in search of bonefish.
The sport of saltwater fly fishing started in Florida in the 1960s and today, fly fishing for bonefish - and their monster cousin the tarpon - is a huge tourist industry.
Figures from the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) show that fishing is America's most popular outdoor leisure activity. It's pretty popular in the United Kingdom also, where recreational fishing - freshwater and saltwater - is worth nearly $11 billion a year.
But the bonefish is the most valuable character. The IGFA estimates the population in Florida at between 291,000 and 317,000 bonefish, and each individual fish has an estimated annual economic value of $71,764.
No wonder the Americans recognise the economic value of their bonefish and look after them.
And we could be doing the same in this country with some of our fish that are similarly regarded by sporting fishermen. All we need is the vision and the political will.
Let's look at what some of our high-tourism-potential fish species are currently worth to the country. Let's think about kahawai, kingfish and broadbill swordfish.
These species could be bigger than our trout fishing which is recognised internationally for its value. The tourist value is a fortunate byproduct of the management of our trout fisheries, which do enjoy a special non-commercial status.
Kahawai are worth anything from 80c to $1.30 a kilo at the wharf, which is what the industry gets for the tonnes and tonnes of kahawai they catch in huge purse seine nets which can scoop up whole schools. Kingfish and broadbill are not worth much more.
But think how much these fish could be worth to the country if visiting fishermen caught them? It happens now. They come from Japan and California and Australia to catch kings, and we haven't scratched the surface of the potential for kahawai on saltfly tackle.
Broadbill are undoubtedly the number one fish in the world to catch on rod and reel; the ultimate prize. And they are fast disappearing in the northern hemisphere because the white-fleshed steaks from a broadbill command high prices in restaurants in places like New York.
The average size of the broadbill caught commercially in the US is about 20kg, yet they don't start breeding until they reach 30kg so that doesn't bode well for their fish stocks.
But it is still not too late for broadbill in this country. They are found all around the coast along the edge of the deepwater drop-offs and canyons, and sport fishermen target them using light-sticks on the trace while drifting large squid or fish baits. But they catch only a handful compared to the commercial harvest.
Huge numbers are caught on deep droppers and long lines set at night off the Northland coast.
We should be thinking seriously about it right now, before it is too late. With some forward thinking we could have our own lucrative tourist fishery in the future.
• More fishing action can be found on Rheem Outdoors with Geoff, 6.30am Saturdays, TV3.
Bite times are 1:50am and 2:10pm tomorrow and 2:35am and 3pm on Sunday. These are based on the moon phase and position, not tides, and apply to the whole country.
Tip of the week
Try a trout fly rod and smelt fly when fishing for kahawai. They give the tackle, and the angler, a good workout.