Deep-Sea Fishing in Honolulu and Oahu
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Fishing isn't just a sport in Hawaii, it's a way of life. A number of charter boats with experienced crews can take you on a sportfishing adventure throughout the year. Sure, the bigger yellowfin tuna (ahi) are generally caught in summer, and the coveted spearfish are more frequent in winter, but you can still hook them any day of the year. You can also find dolphinfish (mahimahi), wahoo (ono), skip jacks, and the king—Pacific blue marlin—ripe for the picking on any given day. The largest marlin ever caught, weighing in at 1,805 pounds, was reeled in along Oahu's coast.
When choosing a fishing boat in the Islands, keep in mind the immensity of the surrounding ocean. Look for veteran captains who have decades of experience. Better yet, find those who care about Hawaii's fragile marine environment. Many captains now tag and release their catches to preserve the state's fishing grounds.
The general rule for the catch is an even split with the crew. Unfortunately, there are no "freeze-and-ship" providers in the state, so unless you plan to eat the fish while you're here, you'll probably want to leave it with the boat. Most boats do offer mounting services for trophy fish; ask your captain.
Besides the gift of fish, a gratuity of 10% to 20% is standard, but use your own discretion depending on how you felt about the overall experience.
Boats and Charters
Hawaii Fishing Charters. Based out of Ko Olina resort, Captain Jim and his crew try to bring the full Hawaiian experience to their fishing trips. While most fishing boats head straight out to the open ocean, Captain Jim trolls along the leeward coast, giving visitors a nice sense of the island while stalking the fish. Your cheapest option will be a shared charter, and prices increase from there. The company also offers a private overnighter to Molokai's Penguin Banks, reputed to be some of Hawaii's best fishing grounds, for up to four people. Ko Olina Resort and Marina, 92 Aliinui Dr., Kapolei, HI, 96707. 808/208–2512. www.hawaiifishingcharters.net. From $375.
Maggie Joe Sport Fishing. The oldest sportfishing company on Oahu boasts landing one of the largest marlins every caught out of Kewalo Basin. With a fleet of three boats including the 53-foot custom Maggie Joe (which can hold up to 15 anglers and has air-conditioned cabins, hot showers, and cutting-edge fishing equipment) they can offer a variety of off-shore fishing packages including night shark fishing. A marine taxidermist can mount the monster you reel in. Half-day exclusive on the 41-foot Sea Hawk or the 38-foot Ruckus can accommodate up to six people and are the cheapest option. Charters on the larger Maggie Joe can start at ¾-day or a full day (but not a half-day). Kewalo Basin, 1025 Ala Moana Blvd., Ala Moana, Honolulu, HI, 96813. 808/591–8888 or 877/806–3474. www.maggiejoe.com. Half-day charters from $850.
Magic Sportfishing. This 50-foot Pacifica fishing yacht, aptly named Magic, boasts a slew of sportfishing records, including some of largest marlins caught in local tournaments and the most mahimahi hooked during a one-day charter. This yacht is very comfortable, with twin diesel engines that provide a smooth ride, air-conditioning, and a cozy seating area. The boat can accommodate up to six passengers and offers both shared and full charters. Kewalo Basin Harbor, 1025 Ala Moana Blvd., Ala Moana, Honolulu, HI, 96813. 808/596–2998 or 808/286–2998. www.magicsportfishing.com. From $200 per person for shared charter; from $975 for a private charter.
Sashimi Fun Fishing. With a glass-bottomed boat, speed boat, and two 65-foot fishing vessels, Sashimi Fun Fishing offers a variety of water activities. Choose a shark hunt, rock 'n' roll blues cruise, or traditional deep sea fishing. Or, for those who aren't quite ready to troll for big game in the open-ocean swells, you can take a trip that combines a dinner cruise with fishing and music. The boat keeps close enough to shore so that while you're hooking reef fish, you can still see Oahu. The cruise includes a local barbecue dinner or you can cook what you catch. Rates can include hotel transportation. Kewalo Basin Harbor, 1125 Ala Moana Blvd., Ala Moana, Honolulu, HI, 96814. 808/955–3474. www.808955fish.com. From $63 per person for shared trips.
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