Deep-Sea Fishing in Kauai

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Deep-Sea Fishing

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Simply step aboard and cast your line for mahimahi, ahi, ono, and marlin. That's about how quickly the fishing—mostly trolling with lures—begins on Kauai. The water gets deep quickly here, so there's less cruising time to fishing grounds. Of course, your captain may elect to cruise to a hot location where he's had good luck lately.

There are oodles of charter fishermen around; most depart from Nawiliwili Harbor in Lihue, and most use lures instead of live bait. Inquire about each boat's "fish policy," that is, what happens to the fish if any are caught. Some boats keep all; others will give you enough for a meal or two, even doing the cleaning themselves. On shared charters, ask about the maximum passenger count and about the fishing rotation; you'll want to make sure everyone gets a fair shot at reeling in the big one. Another option is to book a private charter. Shared and private charters run four, six, and eight hours in length.

Boats and Charters

Captain Don's Sport Fishing & Ocean Adventure. Captain Don is very flexible and treats everyone like family—he'll stop to snorkel or whale watch if that's what the group (four to six) wants. Saltwater fly-fishermen (bring your own gear) are welcome. He'll even fish for bait and let you keep part of whatever you catch. The June Louise is a 34-foot twin diesel. Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor, off Nawiliwili Rd., Nawiliwili, HI, 96766. 808/639–3012. www.captaindonsfishing.com. From $145 (shared); from $595 (private).

Hana Paa. The advantage with Hana Paa is that it takes fewer people (minimum two, maximum four for a nonprivate excursion), but you pay for it. Charters can accommodate up to six people. The company's fish policy is flexible, and the boat is roomy. The Maka Hou II is a 38-foot Bertram. Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor, off Nawiliwili Rd., Nawiliwili, HI, 96766. 808/823–6031 or 866/776–3474. www.fishkauai.com. From $310 (shared); from $600 (private).

Kai Bear. The father of this father-and-son duo has it figured out: He lets the son run the business and do all the work. Or so he says. Fish policy: Share the catch. Trips run from a four-hour, shared charter (six fishermen max) up to an eight-hour, keep-all-the-fish-you-want exclusive. What's particularly nice about this company are the boats: the 38-foot Bertram Kai Bear and the 42-foot Bertram Grander. Very roomy. Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor, off Nawiliwili Rd., Nawiliwili, HI, 96766. 808/652–4556. www.kaibear.com. From $189.

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