Honolulu Trevally (Giant) Fishing Charters

Honolulu Trevally (Giant) Fishing Charters

Best Trevally (Giant) Fishing Charters in Honolulu

Top Trevally (Giant) Fishing Charters in Honolulu

Trevally (Giant) Fishing in Honolulu

Trevally (Giant)
  • Size 20 to 50lbs
  • Food Value Good
  • Game Qualities Excellent
  • Habitats Nearshore, Offshore, Reef

(Caranx ignobilis)

If any fish in the shallow waters of Honolulu can rival the excitement of deep sea fishing, it’s Ulua. Ulua is the local name for Giant Trevally (GT), but some anglers refer to all Trevally species by this name. A close second is Papio, a name for the same fish which only applies when he’s less than 20 lbs (or by some definitions, under or 10 or 15 lbs).

Ulua near the coast of Oahu can reach up to 100 lbs in size, sometimes even 180 lbs. Locals consider this fish to be hands-down the most exciting thing you can hook into from shore. Even Papio, though small by comparison, puts up a mean fight. He also tastes better, making this little guy a highly sought-after game fish in Honolulu.

How to catch Ulua and Papio

Fishermen in Honolulu and across Oahu have developed highly specialized techniques for catching Ulua and Papio. The most popular method is fishing from shore, using a technique known as slide-baiting.

Slide-baiting involves heavy tackle, such as stiff 12-14’ rods and trolling reels in 6/0-9/0. Anglers cast an unbaited line with a heavy sinker and a stopper into the water. At the end of the line is a hook, which tangles in the seafloor below to keep the line secured in place. Anglers then attach their bait (moray eel, octopus, or baitfish) to the line using a slide buckle and let the bait slide down the line. The stopper keeps the bait several feet above the sinker.

Another shore fishing method used to target Ulua is whipping—casting baits or lures and retrieving them quickly and erratically. Anglers usually use this technique over structures like reefs, with large plugs and poppers or whole baits. Locals recommend Oama (goatfish), Blennies, and squid as bait.

You can use the same method to catch Papio, using small plastic lures, feather jigs, stick baits, or diving crank baits. These fish are not terribly picky, so don’t fret over color and other nuances. Whatever you do, aim for a quick retrieve so you can get lots of attention from any fish nearby.

You can whip for Ulua using a 7-9’ rod and 15-20 lb test line. Try skimming your bait along the surface at high speed. Or try letting it sink a little before pulling it towards the top on your retrieve. Allowing your bait to fall somewhere mid-level before retrieving it could land you a Papio.

Yet another method to try is dunking, casting bait (shrimp, octopus, squid) on hooks and sinker rigs. You can dunk in channels and sandy-bottomed bays, even using a surfboard or kayak to reach deeper water before casting.

You can also target Ulua while fishing inshore aboard a boat. Anglers hook into this species while fishing with light tackle, fly fishing, jigging, and popping.

Where to Catch Ulua and Papio on Oahu

Some local spots for shore fishing near Honolulu include Bamboo Ridge, Diamond Head, The Waikiki end of Ala Moana Park, the Kakaako Waterfront Park, Ewa Beach Park, and the nearby Oneula Beach Park.

You can also fish from a series of piers at Pearl Harbor, Sand Harbor, and Wailua Bay. You might have luck fishing for Ulua and Papio at any of the above if your timing is right.

Heading to Ka’Ena Point near the north of Oahu will lead you to really big Ulua. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of local fishermen camping out in the area, often shore fishing for Ulua for days on end.

Ideal locations to slide-bait for Ulua are remote, rocky cliffs where you can reach water 100+ feet deep within a 60-100 yard cast. Be sure you are prepared to hoist the fish out of the water. This might mean bringing a gaff on a rope if you are fishing from a cliff that does not provide a clear path to the edge of the water.

For the best shore fishing on Oahu, befriend a few local anglers and ask for their recommendations—there are plenty of secret spots!

When to Fish

The peak season for Ulua fishing on Oahu is from April to July. You will see Papio near shore around the same time of year, though the exact months vary.

Many anglers will tell you that slide-baiting works best at night. You might even hook into a Yellowfin Tuna or Mahi Mahi while you’re at it! Using weighted flies trimmed with luminescent material or luminescent strips/worms will yield a variety of Panfish. 

If you’re more inclined to fish at daylight, aim for first or last light. As a general rule of thumb, fish moving tides for the best results.

Honolulu Trevally (Giant) Fishing Seasons

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Trevally (Giant) fishing in Honolulu varies slightly throughout the year. High season is May to September. Low season is January to March and November to December. There is no closed season.

Reviews of Fishing in Trevally (Giant) Fishing in Honolulu

3/4 day trip with capt Teoni and Brendan
Ronald M. fished with Pacific Sportfishing LLC on June 16, 2021
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Relax and enjoy the day. Fishing is fishing. Some days are great and some are not.
2 hour Trip at 6:15 am
Christine S. fished with Oahu Pelagic Sportfishing on May 27, 2021
Very Good Very Good Very Good Very Good Very Good
This is definitely a first time, small catch, family fun type of outing. Boat was great for a party of 4, unsure how it would be for more people. Please note, taking seasick meds with you is probably a good idea, even if you think you won't need them.
May fishing trip
Jamison B. fished with Pacific Sportfishing LLC on May 5, 2021
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Would been better if we caught some fish
Chilling with Ty and Mark
Christopher H. fished with Oahu Pelagic Sportfishing on April 11, 2021
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
2 hour trip is reasonable price to get out on water and catch reef fish.... big stuff you wanna go half day at least.
Sea Verse III, A Great, Relaxing and Friend-Making Trip
Rey T. fished with Sea Verse 3 on April 8, 2021
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Go with the attitude of fishing, instead of catching. If you catch something that is a plus.
Hats off to captain Rick
Daniel M. fished with Oahu Pelagic Sportfishing on February 15, 2021
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Make sure you use Oahu pelagic sport fishing and no one else top notch
Good day at sea
Donald H. fished with Pacific Sportfishing LLC on January 8, 2020
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
keep your fishing expectations to a minimum. The boat experience was good however.
July fishing trip
Micheal B. fished with Whipsaw Sport Fishing Inc. on July 14, 2019
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Take your seasick pills and dont get upset if you dont catch its fishing you dont always catch