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Top Fishing Charters in Kailua-Kona


Fishing in Kailua-Kona

Kona Fishing is quite possibly the best in the world when it comes to Big Game. The sheer number of trophy pelagics that can be found here is staggering. On any given day, you may encounter Blue and Striped Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi), Wahoo (Ono), and Shortbilled Spearfish. And when we say on any given day, we mean it. The thing which makes Kona such a dream location is that all these species are present all year round. 
 
Kona Marlin Fishing produces an average of two granders per year, where most top locations are proud to get one. The island chain’s only problem is the strong trade winds which can make the afternoons unfishable. Not so in Kona, though! Big Island’s mountains shield it from the worst of the winds, making for calm waters pretty much all the time. This makes it arguably the best Hawaiian island for fishing. The best of the best for big game sport fishing? Sign us up!

Known For

The thing that makes Kona sport fishing so productive is the fact that the sea floor drops so deep so quickly. Within ten minutes of leaving the dock you are fishing in 100 fathoms of water. This makes half day trips a viable option, and a very common one. Compare this to the mainland, where you need to travel 30 miles or more for even a glimpse of Billfish, and you start to see what all the buzz is about.
 
Kona fishing charters usually start trolling as soon as they leave the dock, with spots like Kaiwi Point allowing for what can only be called inshore Marlin fishing. It isn’t all just blind luck, though. Most local charter captains have been honing their skills for decades, and their boats are loaded with a serious amount of equipment. Fighting chairs, Tuna tubes, and custom tackle come as standard in this part of the world
 
If you are thinking of wintering in Hawaii this year, then lucky you! Striped Marlin peak in the depths of winter, as do Bigeye Tuna. February can be a particularly rewarding time to fish, with Striped Marlin, Shortbilled Spearfish, and Mahi Mahi all in their prime. The best time to target Blue Marlin in Kona is during the summer months of July and August. This is also peak time for Ahi and Ono, making for nothing short of an angler’s dream. 
 
Unsurprisingly, the start of summer also kicks off tournament season. If you are thinking of signing up to a Kona fishing Tournament like the Kona Throwdown, you should expect some serious competition. Anglers from across the globe fly in to compete, and the prizes in some can be life-changing. Just deciding which one to take part in can be hard enough, with over a dozen Billfishing tournaments over the course of the summer.

Rules & Regulations

You do not need a license to fish in Hawaii, even when striking out on your own. All billfish can be kept, although most Kona charter boats prefer to tag and release. The sale of Billfish is also allowed in Hawaii, so some captains may want to keep even healthy fish to sell. The wisest policy is to talk to your captain before the charter, and agree on what will happen to your catch.

Types of Fishing

Unsurprisingly for a remote island chain, fishing has always been a massive part of the local culture. Many of the techniques used worldwide were first pioneered here. Jet head lures were created by a Kona angler drilling holes in some metal to tempt in Tuna. The world laughed when Hawaiians started making lures for Marlin, thinking live bait the only option. Nowadays, targeting Billfish on lures or flies is all the rage, and nowhere will you find it mastered better than in Kona.
 
The most common method of big game fishing in Kona is using a wide trolling spread of artificials. This allows you to vary your lures if you don’t mind what you catch, or focus on one species to really draw them in. Specialist Marlin, Ahi, and Ono lures are discussed at length in the Kona fishing scene, and you will usually find plenty of each onboard. Using live Skipjack is also a common option, although smaller, pre-caught bait is very rare.
 
Heavy tackle is the go-to option for Billfish on most charters, and somewhere in the 80 to 130-pound range is the most common. The best Kona fishing charters will have a range of light and fly tackle available too, though. Bait and switch is very common here for ambitious record-setters - Kona has produced IGFA records for Spearfish on tackle as light as four pounds in recent years!
 

Kailua-Kona Fishing Seasons

The year kicks off in a fury of breaching Striped Marlin and hard-fighting Mahi. It This makes fishing Kona in January irresistible to many, and it's not surprising this is peak high season.

Spearfish start to hit their hit their prime and White Marlin and Mahi are on top form, too. If there is a better way to ward off the winter blues than trolling offshore in a sunny 75 degrees, no-one has told us!

In most top sport fishing destinations, March is a slow month, but not in Kona. The big winter three are still at their best, and tourist high season is tapering off, leaving the best fishing grounds open.

April sees the transition from winter species to summer species, with Striped Marlin slowing down and big Ono taking their place. The thing that makes Kona so special, though, is that you never know what you will hook!

There must be some important event beneath the waves in May. Blue and White Marlin, Spearfish, Ahi, Ono, and Mahi Mahi all come together in big numbers this time of year. Enough said.

June marks the start of tournament season, with four different Billfishing tournaments taking place in one month. It's not very surprising, with six top pelagic species waiting in force just out of port.

There's only one fish on everyone's mind in July: Blue Marlin. This is the best time of year, and one of the best places in the world to target them. There are also big Ahi and Ono if you somehow get bored of Billfish.

Blue Marlin, Ahi, and Ono are all on top form, so get out there! Skipjack Tuna are also around in big numbers this time of year, making it perfect for those who prefer live bait.

The summer madness starts to wind down in September, and tournaments season draws to a close. This can still be a great time for Blue Marlin, though, and you won't be fighting for space to target them.

October is one of the cheapest times to visit Hawaii, and Kona always has great fishing! If you fancy some time on dry land, you can visit Kona's Food and Wine Festival to taste some local delicacies.

There may not be the same number of Billfish around in November, but Bigeye Tuna arrive in force. These are some of the tastiest fish out there, so you will find you have lots of new friends if you bag one!

Dream of spending the winter fishing in shorts? Kona is the place for you. December is peak season for Bigeye Tuna, making both the perfect present and the best dinner. Happy Holidays indeed!

Kailua-Kona Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Kailua-Kona

"Pure awesome sauce! "

Leonard Scimeca fished with Game Plan Sportfishing on April 4, 2018

Pack a lunch and sun screen. Be prepared to truly enjoy the ocean and it’s beauty

"Full day charter"

Deann Minnillo fished with Anxious Sportfishing on March 12, 2017

Know goin in that certain times of year are better than others. Enjoy the adventure!
Kailua-Kona
4.23
Based on 6595 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Top Fishing Techniques in Kailua-Kona

  1. 1 Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Kailua-Kona

Marlin (Blue)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Wahoo

Tuna (Yellowfin)