Common Game Fish of Hawaii
The following game fish can be caught on sport fishing trips off Maui Hawaii.
The sportfishing boats usually don't target any one particular species, but some captains have their "preferences".
Be sure to ask whe you contact me with your Maui fishing questions.
Pacific Blue Marlin
(100 - 1,000 + lbs. More common in the summer)
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. Virtually all blue marlin over 300 pounds are female. June July and August are considered the three best months for blue marlin fishing in Hawaiian waters. However blue marlin weighing in excess of 1,000 pounds have been caught in every single month of the year, 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. Blue marlin are elusive. A very good captain fishing nearly 300 days a year will only catch 70-100 blue marlin in a 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.
(25-125 lbs. Year round)
Winter is the time in Hawaii for these acrobatic schooling Marlin. The average size of these fish in Hawaii 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"A "Rat Attack" is what captains call it when a school of striped marlin attack en mass.. Striped marlin are caught sport fishing with artificial lures, live and dead bait, and fly fishing.
Pacific Short-nosed Spearfish
(20-60 lbs. Year round)
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 (dolphin fish, or dorado)
(10 - 60 lbs. Year round)
Mahi Mahi are one of the most abundant game fish going. Though 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. Mahimahi (which means "strong" in Hawaiian) can put on quite a great show when they're hooked, marked by high jumps and tail walks. Mahi are structure oriented, often congregating around any manner of marine debris, as well as “FADs” (Fish Aggregation Devices)FADs are round, yellow surface buoys anchored in very deep water, which serve as an attractant to fish of various sizes. Like deer hitting a salt lick in the middle of a field, pelagic game fish will happen upon these FADs and feed on smaller fish which have gathered there.. On a Maui sport fishing trip they're most often hooked trolling with either live bait or artificial lures. Mahimahi is one of my favorite fish to cook, and my kids' favorite to eat!
(15 - 60 lbs. Not as common during the winter months)
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 (Yellowfin Tuna)
(30 - 300 lbs. Year round)
You may 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 FIREEarly 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 smoke from the friction) in Hawaiian.
See Also: Maui fishing seasons
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