One of the best things about being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is the abundance of fresh (and delicious) fish you’ll find in Hawaiian waters. While not many people think of fishing on their Maui vacation, it can be a great way to eat a truly local meal while learning more about fishing in the process.
Types of Fish (Hawaiian Name, Average Weight, Seasonality)
- Pacific Blue Marlin (Kajiki): 80 – 300 lbs; June – August
- Striped Marlin (Nairagi): 35 – 120 lbs; December – May
- Black Marlin (A’u): 200 – 400 lbs; year-round
- Pacific Short-Nosed Spearfish (Hebi): 20 – 40 lbs; June – October
- Broadbill Swordfish (Mekajiki): 100 – 300 lbs; January – May
- Mahimahi (Dolphin Fish, Dorado): 10 – 60 lbs; May – September
- Wahoo (Ono): 15 – 60 lbs; May – October
- Moonfish (Opah): 60 – 200 lbs; April – August
- Sickle Pomfret (Monchong): 4 – 25 lbs; undefined seasonal trends
- Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi): 30 – 300 lbs; May – September
- Bigeye Tuna (Shibi): 2 – 200 lbs; October – April
- Albacore Tuna (Tombo Ahi): 40 – 80 lbs; April – October
- Skipjack Tuna (Aku): 4 – 30 lbs; April – September
- Wavyback Bonita (Kawakawa): 3 – 20 lbs; year-round
- Long-Tail Red Snapper (Onaga): 1 – 18 lbs; October – March
- Pink Snapper (Opakapaka): 1 – 18 lbs; October – February
- Blue-Green Snapper (Uku): 4 – 18 lbs; May – July
- Sea Bass (Hapu`upu`u): 5 – 10 lbs; October – December, February – April
- Amberjack (Kahala): 15 – 75 lbs; February – April
- Giant Trevally (Ulua): 15 – 100 lbs; November – January
- Boat Charter: If you’re interested in a Maui bottom fishing boat charter, there are several options on Maui. Take a look at the amenities offered on each boat, including experience, gear, availability, location, etc. and you’ll find that the Marjorie Ann with Maui Fun Charters is one of the best possible trips.
- Spearfishing: While Hawaiians have been free-diving and spearfishing for centuries, this is a relatively new area as far as tours are concerned. You’ll get the chance to target some of Hawaii’s invasive species, including the Bluestripe Snapper (Ta’ape), Blacktail Snapper (To’au), and Peacock Grouper (Roi), among others like the Many Bar Goatfish (Moana), Blue Goatfish (Moana Kali), Orange Spine Unicorn (Umaumulei), Omilu, Milkfish (Awa), Ulua (Giant Trevally), and Gray Snapper (Uku). Free-diving instructions are usually given before being taken out to fish in order to practice holding your breath and learn special fishing techniques involved in spearfishing. The two companies currently offering spearfishing tours are Maui Spearfishing Academy and Spearfish Maui.
- Shore and Reef Fishing: For a low key alternative, shore fishing from the beach is a popular option. While there isn’t any freshwater fishing on Maui, Hawaii also doesn’t require any salt water fishing licenses. Mostly done by whipping (casting lures and baits and reeling them in) or dunking (baitcasting with lead weights or bobbers), you can simply rent gear and go out alone or hire a shore fishing guide to show you the ropes.
- Net Fishing: While lay net fishing is currently banned in Maui County, throw net fishing is still widely used by many native Hawaiians. As a guest of the Travaasa Resort in Hana, you’ll be given special instructions and a chance to practice at the beautiful Hana Bay.
To see specific regulations by area for Maui County, please visit the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources.
- Kahului Harbor
- Kaho`olawe Island Reserve
- Kaunakakai Harbor, Moloka`i
- Manele Harbor, Lana`i
From expert fisherman to beginners, fishing on Maui can be a fun activity for the whole family. You might even catch some dinner in the process!
Many of the photos provided by local photographer Natalie Brown.