Common Maui game fish

The following Maui game fish can be caught on deep sea sport fishing trips off Maui Hawaii.

The Maui sport fishing boats usually don’t target any one particular species, but some captains have their “preferences”. Be sure to ask when you contact me. I’ll try and recommend an appropriate captain.


blue marlinPacific Blue Marlin
(100 – 1,000 + lbs. More common in the summer)
Arguable the most prized of Maui game fish, Pacific blue marlin weighing nearly 2,000 pounds have been caught in Hawaiian waters, but the more common size is between 80 and 300 pounds. Blue marlin are elusive. A very good captain fishing nearly 300 days a year will only catch 70-100 blue marlin in that year. Virtually all blue marlin over 300 pounds are female. June July and August are considered the three best months for blue marlin fishing in Hawaii, which is why three of Maui’s biggest fishing tournaments – the Spring Shootout, the Lahaina Jackpot, and the Halloween Shootout – are held in the spring and in the fall, respectively. But they can still be caught throughout the year. Blue marlin weighing in excess of 1,000 pounds have been caught in every single month of the year.

A number of Maui sport fishing boats encourage catch-and-release on marlin. If this is your intention, be sure to contact me so I can put you with the proper vessel.



striped marlinStriped Marlin
(35-120 lbs. Year round, though most common Dec-May)
Winter is the time in Hawaii for these acrobatic schooling marlin. The average size of these Maui fish is relatively small, but they’re fun to catch! Multiple hookups are common while trolling, you can literally have every lure in the water get hit during a “rat attack” (that’s what captains call it when a school of striped marlin attack en masse). Striped marlin are caught sport fishing with artificial lures, live and dead bait, and fly fishing.



spearfishHebi (Pacific Short-nosed Spearfish)
(20-40 lbs. Year round, though most abundant June – October)
The Pacific short-nosed spearfish is a small, aggressive marlin that is relatively common in Hawaiian waters compared to other oceans. They are caught trolling and live baiting, but can also be caught with light tackle and fly gear challenging the best salt water anglers.



mahi mahi (dorado)Mahi-mahi (dolphin fish, or dorado)
(10 – 60 lbs. Year round, though most abundant from May-September)
Mahi Mahi are one of the most abundant Maui game fish going. They don’t live more than about 4 years, but they reproduce quickly and prolifically. While they’re alive, a mahi mahi’s skin color ranges from an iridescent golden yellow to brilliant green to silvery blue. They lose a lot of their color fairly quickly after death. The distinctions between the males and females is seen most clearly in the shape of the head, with the male/bull having a particularly large, bulbous forehead. “Mahi mahi” means strong in Hawaiian, and this fish can live up to its name, putting on a great show when hooked. Mahi are structure oriented, often congregating around any manner of marine debris, as well as “FADs” (Fish Aggregation Devices). On a Maui sport fishing trip they’re most often hooked trolling with either live bait or artificial lures.



ono (wahoo)Ono (Wahoo)
(15 – 60 lbs. Year round, though most abundant May-October)
The Ono is a long, streamlined fish averaging about 4-6 feet in length, with intimidating looking, razor sharp teeth. They can swim at speeds up to 50 miles per hour and hit both lures and bait with lightening fast strikes making them one of our favorite fish to hook up to. Ono tend to be solitary, though they can occur in loose-knit groups of two or three fish, though this usually occurs if there is an abundance of prey nearby rather than any possible schooling tendencies. Their diet consists essentially of other fish and squid. “Ono” means delicious in Hawaiian. The meat is firm white with a light, slightly sweet flavour.



ahi tunaAhi (Yellowfin Tuna)
(30 – 300 lbs. Year round)
You could catch 4-5 separate species of tuna off Maui, but the only one that consistently gets bigger than 30 or so pounds is the yellowfin tuna or ahi. Ahi over 100 pounds are generally caught in the summer months, but like all our other game fish, they may be caught year-round. Ahi are caught trolling lures and with live bait. The word “Ahi” means fire in Hawaiian, and no, that’s not for the color of their ruby red flesh. Early Hawaiians used to fish from outrigger canoes with rope lines. When an ahi struck, the line would run out so fast the side of the canoe would sometimes smoke from the friction!

SEE ALSO:
Hawaii’s inshore reef fish & bottom fish