Honolulu, Hawaii Fishing Guide
Millions of people visit Hawaii every year, and for many of them, fishing in Honolulu will top the agenda. This area is famous for its fishing, and deep sea fishing Honolulu waters is a particularly big draw.
So, what can an angler expect when they’re headed here? Our Fishing in Honolulu Guide will help.
Where to Fish: Best Honolulu Fishing Spots
While most people interested in fishing in Honolulu will likely sign up for a fishing charter to get out offshore, some will also opt to fish the protected inshore waters, like:
- Ke’ehi Lagoon
- The flats of Waikiki
- Wailupe Beach
Note, however, that there are many Marine Life Conservation Districts where fishing may not be allowed; before setting out, especially if you’re unfamiliar with these waters, it’s a good idea to check out the Hawaii Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation’s Where Can I Fish page.
If you head out on a charter or head boat, or rent a boat in Honolulu and try fishing on your own, you may well have bigger game in mind. One of the big advantages of deep sea fishing Honolulu waters is that the deep water — and the pelagic species that hunt in it — are just a few miles from land. In many cases, a boat will set out its lines minutes after leaving the harbor, eliminating the long runs that most anglers on the mainland U.S. have to make.
What to Fish for in Honolulu: Top Species List
There are virtually countless species in the waters here, but close to shore, bonefish are a main target of anglers. Giant trevally and snappers are regular catches, as well. But again, most fishermen will head outside the harbors in pursuit of pelagic species including:
- Marlin (black, blue, and striped)
- Tuna (yellowfin and bigeye)
When is the best time to go fishing in Honolulu?
Well, this is Hawaii, people – the fish do bite year-round! That said, different species will become more or less prevalent depending on the season.
Fishing from shore or close to it, the fish aren’t as migratory as those found in open water and they tend to bite year-round. They may, however, shift their locations a bit with the seasons.
- The bonefish that some anglers like to pursue, for example, tend to be found very shallow up on flats for most of the warm weather months.
- But during the winter, the slight dip in temperature can cause these fish to move to deeper holes and channels.
Deep sea fishing
Pelagics can be caught here all seasons of the year as well, but as a general rule of thumb, these big predators are present in the best numbers through the summer. The fishing for some, like blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, and wahoo, peaks at this time.
But some other species, like black marlin and bigeye tuna, may actually show up in bigger numbers during the winter or early spring months.
Ready to go fishing in Honolulu?
Anglers fishing the shallows will likely be trying their hand with baits, or possibly sight-casting for those bonefish. But offshore it’s an entirely different game.
- Trolling and live-baiting rule the roost and often, anglers will do both on the very same day.
- When blue marlin are the target, for example, it’s popular to first troll small lures to catch skipjack tuna. This is a very small species of tuna that most anglers don’t consider a desirable fish to eat, but that’s not the point — when one gets reeled up, it gets armed with a much larger hook attached to a much larger rod and reel, then goes right back over the side as live bait to tempt those marlin.
- At other times, trolling is employed from start to finish, though obviously with much larger lures.
- Tuna, marlin, mahi-mahi, and wahoo will all strike at lures being towed along behind the boat, and if equipped for it, some boats will also use the “green stick” technique of towing lures dangled from a large mainline.
All of these tactics, naturally, require lots of gear and lots of know-how. And since most people visiting Honolulu can’t pack all that stuff into their luggage, hiring a fishing charter is the norm.
Added bonus: you have the local knowledge of the professional captain on your side. And with that sort of advantage, there’s a good chance that fishing in Honolulu will be one of the most amazing angling experiences you’ll ever enjoy.
With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites ranging from BoatU.S. Magazine to BDOutdoors.com. Rudow is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk, he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.