Fishing in Hawaii

Hawaii is home to a rich and abundant ecosystem, which produces excellent near shore and offshore fishing year round. Hawaii anglers and visitors have many different fishing styles available to them including: offshore trolling, surf fishing, spearfishing, and bottom fishing. What you can catch vary depending on the method of fishing. In this post I will go over the basics of each type of fishing and what kind of fish you can catch.

Shore Fishing

Shore fishing technique is while standing on land, whether it be a beach or rocks, and casting your line into the water.  Anglers typically use a longer fishing pole(between 7″-9′) in order to cast your bait far enough into the ocean. The longer a fishing pole will make it significantly east to cast long distances. most shore fisherman typically use dead bait such as squid or live bait such as oama (juvenile goatfish). Once your bait is in the water keep casting until you land a bite. Some common catches while shore fishing are listed below:

  • barracuda (kaku)
  • blue-striped snapper (ta’ape)
  • bluefin trevally (omilu)
  • flagtail (aholehole)
  • goatfish (moana)
  • ladyfish (awa’awa)
  • leatherback (lai)
  • Pacific threadfin (moi)
  • red-tailed snapper (to’au)
  • rockmover wrasse (hinelea)
  • rudderfish (nenuenue)
  • squirrelfish (menpachi)
  • snapper (wa’a nui)
  • trevally (jacks)
  • triggerfish (hate)
  • trumpetfish (nunu)
  • unicorn fish (kala)


Offshore Trolling

Hawaii is the the home to modern offshore sport fishing as we know it. Many of the sport-fishing techniques that are currently being used all round the world were developed in Hawaii. Offshore Trolling requires a skilled captain/mate and a significant amount of fishing equipment to produce trophy fish. If you have never fished in the waters of Hawaii I recommend that you start off going on a charter boat to learn about the methods and techniques used to tackle large game fishing . Trolling is one of the most popular offshore fishing methods, this entails pulling a spread of baits between six to ten knots. We troll with 5-6 lines in the water at anyone time keeping the lures just below the surface of the water.

Some of the highly sought after species you can catch while trolling are below:

  • Striped Marlin
  • Hebi (Pacific Short-nosed Spearfish)
  • Mahi-mahi (dolphin fish, or dorado)
  • Ono (Wahoo)
  • Ahi (Yellowfin Tuna)


Bottom Fishing

Bottom fishing produces fish similar to shore fishing but you will encounter more species and larger ones at that. Anglers will drift over 60-180 feet of water with  30-50 pound monofilament line with a weight to get the bait to the bottom of the ocean floor. Once the bait has hit the floor you just have to wait to feel a bite and then start to crank it up!

While you never know what you will catch bottom fishing, here are some of the common fish that you can expect to catch:

  • Ta’ape (Blueline Snapper)
  • Hawaiian Hogfish
  • Yellow Spot Travally (Papa Ulua)
  • Ulua / Papio
  • Kahala (Amberjack)
  • Barracuda
  • Aweoweo (Hawaiian Bigeye)

Either way, if you are able to get out and fish you will have a great time and most likely catch some delicious fish to eat for a fresh catch dinner!

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