Go Deep Sea Fishing

By Hawaii.com Team

Fishing on Maui at sunset. Photo: Mitchel Shapiro Photography.

Hawaii’s corner of the vast Pacific Ocean is a hands-down winner when it comes to catching trophy fish like Pacific Blue Marlin or Striped Marlin. But no matter what you snag on a trip out to sea with a charter fishing company, expect to learn plenty about Hawaiian-style fishing. Jim Rizzuto, author of “Modern Hawaiian Gamefishing,” puts it this way: “The more you know about big game fishing in the rest of the world, the more you will be surprised by the methods Hawaii’s anglers use to establish more billfish and tuna records than any other band of fishermen in any other marine locale.”

Charter fishing boats set out from Lahaina, Ma’alaea Harbor and Mala Wharf daily in pursuit of mahimahi (dolphin fish), ono (wahoo), ahi (yellow-fin tuna), ulua (jack crevalle), kawa kawa (bonito) and the sportfisher’s dream, Pacific Blue Marlin. (Many companies participate in tag-and-release programs for marlin.)

Many sport fishing boats troll for fish. In other words, they drag a food-chain array of lures or live bait behind the boat. When a fish takes a lure, everyone springs into action. The crew gets the angler set up, the extra lines are reeled in to get them out of the way and everyone waits to see just what is at the end of the line.

Some companies offer shallow water bottom fishing, which is done by drifting in 60-180 feet of water with either spinning or small open-face reels. The catch is usually smaller varieties of reef fish. Unless, of course, you get lucky.

Although fish can be caught between the islands, many captains prefer to work the deep shelves located beyond Lanai and Kaho’olawe. If a captain has a charter with experienced rough water boaters, he may elect to fish the waters on the northern and eastern coast of Maui or off Molokai.

Typically, boats are chartered on a private or share basis. Most companies require at least four people to share a trip. Charters can be arranged for bottom fishing and light line tackle fishing.

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