Shoreline fishing is one of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to experience Hawaii. While it’s not necessary to obtain a license for saltwater fishing, regulations do apply to certain seasons, areas, species, and sizes of fish. Keeping those in mind, let’s focus on some of the best spots around the state, where the waters teem with a’u (blue marlin), hebi (shortbill spearfish), mahimahi (dolphin fish), moana (goatfish), ono (wahoo), opah (moonfish), and opakapaka (pink snapper).
Big Island Fishing
- Head to Ka Lae (also known as South Point), the southernmost point of the U.S., to fish from a high rocky cliff, where ulua (giant trevally) can reach over 100 pounds. You may also run across mahimahi, ahi (tuna), and onaga (red snapper).
- In the Hilo area, Onekahakaha Beach Park is a favorite fishing spot among locals. Perfect for those with family members who’d like other ways to amuse themselves, the park offers beautiful scenery, a sheltered sandy lagoon with calm conditions for swimming, and tide pools with sea turtles, plus lifeguards, picnic tables, restrooms, and showers.
- On the famed Kohala Coast, Spencer Beach Park has abundant fish, including white tip and black tip sharks. It also features a white sand beach with shade, an offshore reef that makes for good snorkeling, and the same amenities as Onekahakaha.
- Hanalei Pier, on Kauai’s north shore, provides one of the most breathtaking views in the state, particularly at sunset. Amberjack, bigeye scad, and ulua are plentiful in this location, especially in the summer.
- On the east side of the island, Kapaa Beach Park presents both sandy and rocky opportunities to find wrasse and other surf fish. Easy to access with lots of parking, it also offers spectacular sunrises, picnic tables, bathrooms, and showers.
- A great destination for shark enthusiasts, Waimea Pier tends to be a hammerhead hangout. A black sand beach surrounds the pier, which features a unique view of the island of Niihau and another nice vantage point for viewing sunset. The adjacent park also has restrooms and picnic tables.
- Maui’s west coast is home to Black Rock, a favorite of cliff jumpers and snorkelers. Its huge variety of sea life, including mackerel, perch, and trigger fish, means that it’s also popular with anglers.
- Bigeye scad, mackerel scad, squirrelfish, and ulua can be found in the easily-accessed Kamaole Beach Park, in the heart of Kihei. If you’re new to this spot, you may want to start with the reef between Kamaole I and Kamaole II beach parks and branch out from there.
- Near the island’s southernmost accessible point, Makena State Park boasts the Puu Olai cinder cone, the site of the last volcanic eruption on Maui. A white sand beach and views of the neighbor islands of Kahoolawe and Lanai make for an especially scenic location to reel in your catch.
- Situated between Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach, Bamboo Ridge provides another option for those who want to try their luck with ulua. To find this spot, park in the lot for Halona Blowhole and walk past the Japanese fisherman’s monument to the rocky point beyond.
- Ewa Beach Park, on Oahu’s south side, has a reputation for small but consistent catches. If for some reason they’re not biting there, try Oneula Beach Park right next door.
- On the renowned North Shore, Waialua Bay Pier is home to lots of goatfish and papio (baby ulua), making it a beginner-friendly setting. Live bait may be best at this location within Haleiwa Alii Beach Park, where you might also run across barracuda and giant sea bass.