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Fishing in Hawaii

Hawaii fishing charters can, and will, get you on some of the biggest fish in the sea. Marlin, Tuna, Swordfish, Spearfish, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo – this island chain has them all. You can target Billfish every day of the year in the Aloha State and still have better odds than peak season in most parts of the world.
But what if you’ve somehow had enough of the deep sea fishing Hawaii is famous for? Just hit the reefs instead! Battle Barracuda and Bonefish near to the shore or drop lines hundreds of feet down for the “Deep Seven.” Still not enough? Many inland lakes hold freshwater gamefish like Bass and Trout. Hawaiian fish are so varied it’s impossible to get bored!
And the best thing is that at the end of your charter you’re in Hawaii! Hit the beach, swim in the sea, or head to the mountains to explore lush, forgotten forests. It’s as much of a paradise off the water as on it, so bring the whole family along and enjoy the perfect ocean vacation.

Hawaii Fishing Seasons

With stable water temperatures and no other land for thousands of miles, there’s not really any reason for the fish to leave. There is no bad time to visit, but f you have a species in mind, you many want to time your trip with when they’re at their hottest.


Your best chance of finding Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin on the same day is in May and June. Blues and Blacks stick around longer, Stripes arrive much earlier, but this is when they overlap best. Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and Spearfish are all best in the spring and early summer.


Reef fish can be found year-round in Hawaii, but there are regulations on catching many of them. The “Deep Seven” are Hawaii’s top deep-water bottom fish, and are closed for harvest throughout much of the summer. Don’t worry, you’ll be too busy battling Billfish to care too much.


Freshwater seasons vary with the body of water you’re fishing in. Generally, Largemouth Bass spawn in spring. Just when the biggest ones move out of the shallows, Peacock Bass show up and stick around until the fall. Rainbow Trout are good pretty much all year round.

Hawaii Fishing Spots

Each island has its own unique personality. Some specialize in pro tournament action, while others offer much better freshwater or bottom fishing. You won’t be short of fish wherever you go, don’t you worry!

Big Island

Giving its name to the whole island chain, Hawaii Island is the perfect place to start, and not just for convenience. The town of Kailua-Kona is one of the best sportfishing spots on the planet. The south side of Big Island is sheltered from the strong trade winds which batter the state, and the seafloor drops a thousand feet within a mile of the shore. Add in a world-class sportfishing fleet, and you get the best deep sea fishing in Hawaii. Small wonder the IGFA all tackle Blue Marlin record was caught here.


Big Island’s Neighbor couldn’t be more different. Maui is one of the few places in Hawaii where the ocean floor isn’t more vertical than horizontal, and you can travel for up to an hour to find big Billfish. But what Maui lacks in Bluewaters, it more than makes up for in reefs. It has some of the best spearfishing Hawaii can give you, and is the perfect place to target the “Deep Seven.”


Known as “the Gathering Place,” Oahu was important long before tourists started flocking to Honolulu. These days, this island sees more visitors than all the others combined, and it’s easy to see why. Oahu’s big game bite may not quite rival Kona, but it’s still better than what most of the world can offer! Add in Honolulu’s famous beaches and bustling bars, and easy access to the mountains in the center, and you have a true island paradise.


Kauai sits out on the western edge of the chain, and has the fewest visitors of the four main islands. Known as the “Garden Isle,” it’s a land of lush vegetation and high mountains lost in clouds all year round. Kauai has a great Billfish bite and the reefs here are full of big, colorful fish. But Kauai’s trump card is its freshwater fishing. Largemouth Bass, Peacock Bass, and Rainbow Trout have all been successfully stocked here, making for the perfect mix of fresh and saltwater sportfishing.

Hawaii Fishing Techniques

Hawaiian anglers have always been ahead of the game. People were landing Marlin on lures here decades before anyone on the mainland took it seriously. Many of our signature setups and favorite lures were pioneered in this angling heaven. These days, captains use advanced trolling spreads and kites on the hunt for the biggest fish. Trolling skirted squid lures is a go-to tactic, but livewells and tuna tubes are also commonplace aboard bigger boats. Fly fishing Hawaii’s bluewaters is very popular, and experienced guides often offer “bait-and-switch” fly fishing as an option. The bottom fishing Hawaii specializes in really puts the “deep” in deep-dropping. Electric reels are a must on all but the shallowest reefs. You can fish pretty much any way you want in Hawaii and it will be bigger, deeper, and more exciting than anywhere else.

Need to Know

You don’t need a license aboard Hawaii fishing charters, and all the equipment is normally included in the price. You will almost always split the catch with the crew at the end of your trip, and larger fish normally stay with the boat. Always remember that Billfish can be kept and even sold by charter boats in Hawaii. Some captains are strictly catch-and-release, but most aren’t. If you want to make sure your fish are released safely, talk to the captain before the trip. Releasing fish isn’t normally an issue, but they will need to know ahead of time.
Based on 19486 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Hawaii Fishing Seasons


Bigeye Tuna make for a delicious feast for offshore anglers in January. Head out and bag one for dinner, then visit the Oahu Fringe Festival to soak up the local arts scene.


The Maui Whale Festival gathers 20,000 visitors each year to celebrate these majestic creatures. More into fish than mammals? Shortbill Spearfish and Bigeye Tuna are both on fire.


Honolulu Festival manages to combine an all-out party with a genuine display of ethnic and economic solidarity. It’s worth visiting if you can tear yourself away from the Striped Marlin bite.


Black and Striped Marlin, Spearfish, Bigeye Tuna, Ono (Wahoo), and Mahi Mahi are all amazing in April. On the other end of the scale, this is one of the best months for Hawaii Bass fishing.


Blue Marlin arrive in a big way in May, joining their Black and Striped cousins for a month of incredible Billfishing. Shortbill Spearfish are also around, so you could be in with a Super Grand Slam!


The Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series starts in style with the Kona Kickoff and the Firecracker Open. Off the water, the Maui Film Festival is a great place to relax after a hard day at sea.


Tournament fever burns strong, with the Kona Throw Down and Skins Marlin Derby, not to mention the Blue Marlin World Cup. Check out the Honolulu Ukulele Festival if you get the time.


The Kona Shootout Big Game Tournament and Big Island Marlin Tournament give the pro teams no rest in August. Ahi (Yellowfin Tuna) are on fire, and make for the best Tuna fishing Hawaii sees all year.


Tournament season draws to a close with Kona’s It’s a Wrap Tournament. The whole state comes alive in an explosion of color during the month-long Aloha Festivals.

Want to see Hawaii through the eyes of the locals? Visit the Hawaii International Film Festival to watch locally-made documentaries about island life. Afterward, head offshore for late-season Mahi Mahi action.

The fishing tournaments may be over, but the surfers are just getting started. The Vans Triple Crown tournament series kicks off on Oahu’s breathtaking North Shore.


The Vans Triple Crown draws to a close, just as the Honolulu City Lights festival brings the town to life in a spectacle of seasonal cheer. Bigeye Tuna are firmly back on the menu by December.

Hawaii Fishing Calendar

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Reviews of Fishing in Hawaii

Half day trip
Dennis R. fished with Kona Cowboy Sportfishing on January 22, 2020
Don’t expect to catch anything so if you do it’ll be a great bonus. Fish don’t always cooperate with anglers so go with the flow and enjoy your time out on the ocean.
Good day at sea
Donald H. fished with Pacific Sportfishing LLC on January 8, 2020
keep your fishing expectations to a minimum. The boat experience was good however.
Best Charter!
Shawn S. fished with Kona Cowboy Sportfishing on December 4, 2019
Call Captain Shawn on the Kona Cowboy to book your charter. I have never met a more enthusiastic captain that showed how much he loves to fish.
6 hour fishing trip with Captain Harry and 1st mate Tyler was very enjoyable for our family of four
Randall M. fished with C Lure Charters on October 3, 2019
Be certain to ask as many questions of the Captain prior to your departure regarding the number and ages of any children that you may consider taking on your charter and the amount & type of provisions/snacks that will be provided depending on the length of your trip. People that may be sensitive to motion sickness should certainly bring medication because the first mile or so out of the harbor we experienced some ruff water but eventually smoothed out once we were further out to sea.
3/4 day trip with Captain Jim And "Fish"
Gene M. fished with Go Get 'Em Sportfishing on July 29, 2019
Enjoy the ride. Keep expectations low, no stress and hope for the magic. When it happens, everyone wins!
July fishing trip
Micheal B. fished with Whipsaw Sport Fishing Inc. on July 14, 2019
Take your seasick pills and dont get upset if you dont catch its fishing you dont always catch
First choice
Linda C. fished with Bite Me Sportfishing - Bite Me 4 on July 14, 2019
Sit back and enjoy the adventure. The catch cannot be guaranteed, but the memories can
June fishing trip
Michael D. fished with Hawaii Ocean Adventure Tours on June 20, 2019
Be prepared to have fun and enjoy the experience

Top Fishing Techniques in Hawaii

Top Targeted Species in Hawaii