Bottom Fishing in Maui
Maui is sometimes written off by deep sea purists for being “too shallow”. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as they say, and that’s certainly the case here. The bottom fishing Maui has right on its doorstep is better than pretty much anywhere else in the “Aloha State”.
The sheltered waters in the southwest of the island are full of colorful coral reefs that make the perfect home many species of Snapper, Triggerfish, Wrasse, and more. Head to more remote spots, and you could be in with a chance of bagging the “Deep Seven”. These are the biggest and tastiest bottom fish in the whole of Hawaii, and they put up some serious fight, too.
What to Expect from a Bottom Fishing Trip
You won’t need more than a half day trip to enjoy awesome bottom fishing around Maui. Hard-fighting Reef Triggerfish, Amberjack, Gray Snapper, and more can be found within swimming distance of shore. We mean this literally, as many locals swim out to spearfish these same locations for dinner. Ciguatoxin is widespread across Hawaii’s reefs, though, so we really don’t recommend eating these fish.
Head past these spots and you could be dropping lines almost a thousand feet down for the deepest bottom-dwellers in Hawaii. These are the infamous “Deep Seven”, made up of various Snappers, Rusty Jobfish, and Hawaiian Grouper. Fishing for these guys is serious business, and strict laws are in place to try and reduce over-fishing. These fish can grow to monster sizes, but the smaller ones are much safer to eat.
If you’re planning on fishing the deeper reefs around Maui, you’ll need electric reels and a lot of line. Luckily, most bottom fishing charter boats have this equipment as standard. Cut Squid is the go-to bait for these trips, with several pounds of lead to help your hooks on their way into the abyss. Even at the shallowest reefs, huge Amberjack and Barracuda will wreak havoc on lighter gear, so heavy reels and wire or monofilament leaders can be essential.
Need to Know
We have mentioned it already, but it’s worth repeating - ciguatoxin is very common on Hawaii’s reefs. Your captain should be able to advise you on what is and isn’t safe to eat. Amberjack and Barracuda are infamous for their high chance of ciguatera poisoning, but any large reef fish is likely to have some levels of the toxin.
Seasonal closures are commonplace for Maui’s “Deep Seven” bottom fish. These change year on year but you can rely on them being off the cards for much of summer. All other species are available year-round, so there will be plenty of action whenever you visit. Your catch will be split between you and the crew at the end of the trip. This is standard procedure in Hawaii, but you’ll usually be heading home with more fish than you’ll know what to do with, anyway.
Top Targeted Bottom Fishing Species in Maui
- Size 5 to 20lbs
- Food Value Excellent
- Game Qualities Good
- Habitats Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck