||During the summer and early fall when the
tradewinds are light and the Western seas are flat, this mildly protected anchorage offers
instant access to some of the best Ahi fishing anywhere: the famous Waianae Trolling
Alley. This pelagic species returns year after year in the summer along what seems
to be a migration path of nearshore deep water. Although everyone in Hawaii loves the
summertime for its Ahi production, especially the guys who host the famous Ahi Fever
Tournament, the Waianae Boys like it the best because they are fishing for the big guns at
daybreak and eating their harvest by noon. The water drops to a hundred fathoms only two
miles offshore, and by the time youre at FAD "Y" (see our FADS page for a
discussion on the Fish Aggregation Devices in Hawaii) only 4 1/2 miles offshore, you are
in water ranging from 300 to 600 fathoms. Youre also into some mighty large tuna.
|Your trip begins at Kewalo Basin aboard one
of the worthy Sportfishers at 6:00 am. The boat, heavy with fuel, provisions and
adrenaline, embarks on a daybreak journey that either keeps you nearshore along the 40
fathom line in pursuit of Ono and Shibi (smaller Ahi), or straight out towards the
offshore structures for bigger Ahi and Marlin. As you near FAD "BO" off the
coast near Barbers Point, you have trouble acknowledging that you are in full sight
of the shore but theres no reading from the depth sounder which gave up trying at
500 fathoms. You know the Marlin like deep water, but you just cant imagine fishing
in 6,000 feet of water while counting pineapple stocks up on the Wahiawa plains between
the two mountain ranges.
|In a little while, youll round the bend
at Barbers Point (named after Captain Barber who ran his ship aground in the 17th
Century), and start working up the Waianae Coast. If it had been windy in Honolulu and out
to this point, youll suddenly notice a drop in the breeze, calmer seas, and
youll begin to study the clear blue water a bit more as hunger pains tickle your
stomach for the first time. As the crew sends up a sandwich to the flying bridge that for
some reason tastes fifty times better at sea, youll notice the suns rays
shooting down into the water like lasers to the depths, and youll wonder just how
far down it is that you can see. Take time at this point to look North and gaze at the
unspoiled beauty of the Waianae mountains. The sight of these green, tree-covered
mountains will make you ponder the plight of the ancient Polynesians who used these very
landmarks, instead of a GPS, to calculate their positions and determine where the fish
As you continue along up the coast, passing Maile point, Black Rock, keep looking into the
valleys towards the Kole Kole Pass. Imagine the terror inflicted upon the Pearl Harbor
fleet that fateful day in 1941, and consider just how fortunate you are to be there in a
time of peace. Youll again have trouble computing the serenity of fishing for tuna
as thoughts of Americas entry into World War II leap to the forefront of your mind.
Of course, when the reels go off and your buddies tell you to wake up, youll
remember why youre aboard, and the excitement of the fish will remind you just why
it is you work hard; its for moments like these.
After spending the day fishing in these calm waters, youll take refuge in
the knowledge that you dont have to go back to civilization tonight. You have found
a way to forget it all, a Nirvana of sorts, and as the day winds down into evening, you
decide the skipper and crew have become your new best friends. While anchored in the
peaceful setting, youll find yourself staring back into Makua as the setting sun
drops below the Western sea lighting up the now-golden valley for one last time, and
youll wait in anticipation of the next days fishing and wonder if the crew is
pulling your leg about offering to swim with the dolphins in the morning.
The dark summer sky of the tropics is a sight to behold,
and Makua is definitely a place to study the stars. Take a star chart if you think of it,
or use the time to test your skippers knowledge of the night sky (The Big Dipper,
the Little Dipper, and Cassiopeia are some of the more recognizable constellations
youll see). After a hot shower, a great meal, and an evening of conversation,
youll retire to the berth and go to sleep feeling like one of the early voyagers who
spent time in this very place, and whats more, chances are youll be thinking
about the very same things they were.
||Day breaks, and the look of Makua is different
than what you saw the night before. The colors are deeper and greener, and the contours of
the valley somehow seem different. Sure enough, as promised, the dolphins are there in the
morning, frolicking near the beach by the handful of people who know they come every day
and like to join in their play. Theres no noise of traffic, no buildings or concrete
to look at, and most of the time, no other boats around to interrupt the magic of the
moment. Just the smell of the coffee and eventual growl of the diesels that fires up a new
days anticipation of Ahi.
You raise the anchor
and set the fishing lines while still within a four-iron of the beach, and you again stand
mystified that youre trolling for giant pelagics only a mile from the shore. As the
sun rises from the tips of the mountains, you think to yourself you have been here before.
Later on at home, you watch a rerun of the classic 1965 James Michener movie
"Hawaii" (the version with Julie Andrews, much of which was filmed here), and
suddenly it all becomes as clear as the morning sky. You realize youve found heaven
on earth, only thirty miles from Honolulu, in a place called Makua.
|Going to Makua
Dont plan on any kind of trip to this location if you are on a
limited time schedule or are visiting in the winter or early spring months. While the
Marlin fishing can be excellent year round at the FADS and in the deeper waters
within 10 - 15 miles from shore, the swells and conditions in the winter are just too
unpredictable for a safe nights stay in the bay on any given evening.
Pokai Bay is the nearest real refuge and has a breakwater
(Makua is an open bight), but it can have a tremendous surge pumping in and out, and it
may be difficult for your skipper to obtain berthing on short notice. Most of the charter
boats wont run to Makua in anything but the best weather, and August is probably the
best month to go, followed by September, July, June, and October. Bottom fishing can also
be done at night, but the bottom is sand where youll anchor, so the fish may not be
all that abundant, colorful, or varied.
After your trip aboard, youll probably want to go
back to the area by land and visit the caves, the cemetary, the beach, and just spend some
time looking up into this enormous cavern of a valley. There are some amazing views and
things to see up here, so pack a lunch and a few containers of water, and youll be
one to go home with a great memory of fishing the Waianae Coast and a hike into the valley
that made you feel as though you were cared for.