Maui Fishing Grounds
Maui, "No Ka Oi," translated loosely from Hawaiian, means "the Best," or "Number One." Yes, it’s a cliché, and sometimes locals on other islands get a little tired of the Maui folks bragging about their home. But there are some things that Maui can lay a claim to being the best in, and one could certainly argue that fishing is among them.
From a total experience standpoint, it is difficult to argue that Lahaina is the greatest fishing city in the world. While Kona boasts all the records about their legendary fishing, and everything you’ve heard about Kona is certainly true, Maui is the only place in the world to have posted two thousand pound Marlin in a single tournament; the Lahaina Jackpot Tournament, hosted by Lahaina Yacht Club every Halloween. So while Kona gets all the headlines, Maui quietly sits back and consistently provides anglers from the far reaches of the planet with great weather, great fishing conditions, and great fishing.
In addition to all of this fishing lore, what makes the experience so memorable truly is the scenery and the Maui way of life. The scenery is second to no other place in the islands. For example, when you leave from Lahaina harbor, just take a look around and take all of Pele’s beautiful creations in.
Ahead and just to the right is the private island of Lana’i only seven miles away, formerly a pineapple plantation and now home to the world famous Manele Bay Hotel and Challenge at Manele Golf Course. Off the port side just forward of the beam is the tiny island of Kahoolawe, once a bombing target for the military and now in the process of being cleaned up and returned to the state. Still a little further to the left is the islet of Molokini, with majestic Haleakala looming behind. Turn around and face Lahaina harbor, and you can look up the watershed canyons of West Maui and gain an understanding of why Maui is nicknamed the Valley Isle. And finally, off the starboard corner, just across the Pailolo Channel, you can see the East end of Molokai, with it’s immense cliffs and mountains standing as proud today as they did when King Kamehameha first unified these islands.
You’ll be cruising at 20 or so knots to the fishing grounds while looking at all these magnificent landmarks, and you’ll find it amazing just how quickly you will get lost in the moment. You’ll wake up quickly, of course, because the 30-45 minute run will soon change to an 8-9 knot plastic lure troll or slow live bait troll for large pelagic fish, and before long on most days, the fishing action will soon heat up.
Fishing the FADS on the West side of Lanai, trolling the Marlin alley along the South shore, hunting for birds off Kuia Shoals on Kahoolawe, or making a run up to the North shore of Molokai are all viable options for day trips out of Lahaina, giving the angler the most options for their fishing dollars. Combine this serenity and exceptional fishing production with a small harbor that only has about fifteen charter boats, the highest walk-up traffic in the state, and a way of life that is paralleled anywhere on Earth, and it becomes to understand why Lahaina’s charter fleet is able to charge on average the highest fishing charter prices in the state.
Fish Maui, and you may also return home thinking the phrase, "Maui, No Ka Oi."