I guess this photo answers the question about what you really need to catch a fish like this. Niue is a small island in the South Pacific where there are almost no beaches and the sea bottom slopes down very steeply. This means the big fish, and whales too, swim by closely and you don't have to paddle far to catch one. This photo was taken by the late Glenn Jowitt in 1982.
When Captain Cook arrived in 1774, he was chased off
and later named the place Savage Island.
The canoes or vaka are small and lightly built so that they can be carried down steep cliffs to be launched. They are well suited for paddling in strong winds with their low ends to maintain better control. The hulls are dugout and can be as thin as 1/4" (6mm) thick.