honolulu fishing spots

Find Honolulu Fishing Spots: Shore, Boat, Spearfishing →

Fishing has always played an integral part in Hawaiian culture, providing sustenance and contributing to the islands’ rich traditions. In Honolulu, the capital city of Hawaii, fishing enthusiasts can find a variety of fishing spots, each offering unique opportunities to catch a diverse range of fish species. In this article, we will explore the top locations for shore, boat, and spearfishing in Honolulu, as well as discuss tournaments, licenses, and regulations.

An Overview of Honolulu’s Fishing Spots

Fishing SpotTypeNotable Fish SpeciesLocation & AccessibilityTips & Regulations
Kaka’ako Waterfront ParkShoreTrevally, GoatfishBetween downtown Honolulu and Waikīkī, accessible by car or public transportationUse live bait such as small crabs or shrimp, and fish during early morning or late afternoon hours to avoid the crowds
Ala Moana Beach ParkShoreBonefish, MulletLocated just west of WaikīkīSight-casting techniques work best in the shallow, clear waters; use light tackle and keep a low profile
Magic IslandShoreBonefish, MulletMan-made peninsula within Ala Moana Beach ParkFish along the rocky shoreline or cast your line near the outer reef
Sand Island State Recreation AreaShoreGoatfish, TrevallyLocated near Honolulu HarborUse caution and heavier tackle due to strong currents
Diamond Head Beach ParkShoreGoatfish, TrevallyAlong the Diamond Head coastlineUse caution when navigating the rocky shoreline, and be prepared for snagged lines
Kewalo Basin HarborBoatMahi-mahi, Yellowfin Tuna, MarlinNear Ala Moana Beach ParkCharter prices range from $150 to $200 per person for a shared trip, or $600 to $800 for a private charter
Waikiki Yacht ClubBoatMahi-mahi, Yellowfin Tuna, MarlinAt the entrance to Ala Moana Beach ParkCharter prices similar to Kewalo Basin Harbor
Ala Wai Boat HarborBoatMahi-mahi, Yellowfin Tuna, MarlinAt the western end of WaikīkīCharter prices similar to Kewalo Basin Harbor and Waikiki Yacht Club
Hanauma Bay Nature PreserveSpearfishingVarious Reef FishOn the southeastern coast of Oahu, approximately 10 miles east of WaikīkīStrict regulations due to nature preserve status; review and follow all rules before spearfishing
Sharks CoveSpearfishingParrotfish, SurgeonfishLocated on the North Shore of OahuBe mindful of strong currents and powerful waves
Waimea BaySpearfishingTrevally, SnapperNorth Shore of OahuExercise caution and be aware of surroundings, especially during winter months when large swells are common

Shore Fishing: Cast Your Line Along the Beautiful Coastline

Shore fishing is a popular and accessible activity in Honolulu, with numerous locations lining the scenic coast. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, these spots provide excellent chances to reel in a catch while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.

Kaka’ako Waterfront Park

  • Location and accessibility: Situated between downtown Honolulu and Waikīkī, Kaka’ako Waterfront Park is easily reachable by car or public transportation.
  • Types of fish found: Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish, including trevally (papio), goatfish (moano), and wrasse (hinalea).
  • Tips for successful fishing: Using live bait, such as small crabs or shrimp, can increase your chances of catching fish at this location. It’s also advisable to fish during early morning or late afternoon hours to avoid the crowds.
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Ala Moana Beach Park

  • Location and accessibility: Located just west of Waikīkī, Ala Moana Beach Park is another easily accessible fishing spot.
  • Types of fish found: Common catches include bonefish (o’io), mullet (ama’ama), and various reef fish.
  • Tips for successful fishing: The shallow, clear waters at Ala Moana Beach Park make it ideal for sight-casting techniques. Be sure to use light tackle and keep a low profile to avoid spooking the fish.

Magic Island

  • Location and accessibility: Magic Island is a man-made peninsula within Ala Moana Beach Park, offering a unique fishing experience.
  • Types of fish found: Similar to Ala Moana Beach Park, expect to find bonefish, mullet, and reef fish.
  • Tips for successful fishing: Fish along the rocky shoreline or cast your line near the outer reef where larger fish tend to congregate.

Sand Island State Recreation Area

  • Location and accessibility: Located near Honolulu Harbor, Sand Island offers a more secluded fishing experience.
  • Types of fish found: Anglers can catch goatfish, trevally, and various reef fish species.
  • Tips for successful fishing: Sand Island is known for its strong currents, so use caution and heavier tackle when fishing in this area.

Diamond Head Beach Park

  • Location and accessibility: Situated along the iconic Diamond Head coastline, this beach park provides a scenic backdrop for fishing.
  • Types of fish found: Expect to catch goatfish, trevally, and wrasse.
  • Tips for successful fishing: Diamond Head Beach Park is known for its rocky shoreline, so use caution when navigating the area and be prepared for snagged lines.

Boat Fishing: Set Sail for Deep-Sea Adventure

For anglers seeking a more adventurous fishing experience in Honolulu, there are several boat fishing spots where you can embark on a deep-sea fishing excursion.

Kewalo Basin Harbor

  • Location and accessibility: Located near Ala Moana Beach Park, Kewalo Basin Harbor is a convenient starting point for boat fishing trips.
  • Types of fish found: Offshore fishing in this area can yield catches such as mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna (ahi), and marlin.
  • Charter options and prices: Numerous charter companies operate from Kewalo Basin Harbor, with prices ranging from $150 to $200 per person for a shared trip, or $600 to $800 for a private charter.

Waikiki Yacht Club

  • Location and accessibility: The Waikiki Yacht Club is another popular departure point for fishing charters, located at the entrance to Ala Moana Beach Park.
  • Types of fish found: Similar to Kewalo Basin Harbor, anglers can expect to catch mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna, and marlin.
  • Charter options and prices: Prices for fishing charters from the Waikiki Yacht Club are comparable to those at Kewalo Basin Harbor, with options for both shared and private trips.
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Ala Wai Boat Harbor

  • Location and accessibility: Situated at the western end of Waikīkī, Ala Wai Boat Harbor offers easy access to prime fishing spots.
  • Types of fish found: Anglers can target mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna, and marlin, among other deep-sea species.
  • Charter options and prices: Fishing charter prices at Ala Wai Boat Harbor are similar to those at Kewalo Basin Harbor and Waikiki Yacht Club.

Spearfishing: Dive into an Underwater Hunting Adventure

Spearfishing is a thrilling and challenging way to catch fish in Honolulu, requiring skill, patience, and a keen awareness of the marine environment. Below are some popular spearfishing spots around the island.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

  • Location and accessibility: Hanauma Bay is located on the southeastern coast of Oahu, approximately 10 miles east of Waikīkī.
  • Types of fish found: A diverse range of reef fish can be found in the crystal-clear waters of Hanauma Bay.
  • Regulations for spearfishing: Due to its status as a nature preserve, spearfishing in Hanauma Bay is strictly regulated. Be sure to review and follow all rules and regulations before embarking on a spearfishing adventure here.

Sharks Cove

  • Location and accessibility: Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Sharks Cove offers a more challenging spearfishing experience.
  • Types of fish found: Anglers can hunt for parrotfish, surgeonfish, and other reef species in the cove’s rugged underwater terrain.
  • Regulations for spearfishing: Spearfishing is allowed at Sharks Cove, but be mindful of the area’s strong currents and powerful waves.

Waimea Bay

  • Location and accessibility: Waimea Bay is another popular North Shore spearfishing location, known for its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life.
  • Types of fish found: In addition to various reef fish, Waimea Bay also offers opportunities to spear larger species such as trevally and snapper.
  • Regulations for spearfishing: Spearfishing is permitted at Waimea Bay, but always exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially during the winter months when large swells are common.

Fishing Tournaments and Events: Join the Competitive Spirit

For those looking to put their fishing skills to the test or simply enjoy the camaraderie of fellow anglers, Honolulu hosts various fishing tournaments and events throughout the year.

Annual Honolulu Fishing Tournaments

  1. Ahi Fever Fishing Tournament: Held annually in June, the Ahi Fever Fishing Tournament attracts anglers from all over, competing to catch the largest yellowfin tuna.
  2. Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series: This tournament series takes place from June to September, with several events focusing on the pursuit of the prized Pacific blue marlin.

Fishing Workshops and Expos

  1. Hawaii Fishing & Seafood Festival: Held annually in October, this festival celebrates Hawaii’s fishing and seafood heritage, featuring educational workshops, demonstrations, and exhibits.
  2. Pacific Island Fisheries Group workshops: This organization offers a variety of workshops and seminars aimed at promoting sustainable fishing practices and educating the public about Hawaii’s marine resources.
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Fishing Licenses and Regulations: Know the Rules

To ensure the sustainability and conservation of Hawaii’s marine resources, anglers must adhere to specific fishing regulations and, in some cases, obtain licenses.

License requirements for residents and non-residents

  • Freshwater fishing in Hawaii requires a license for both residents and non-residents.
  • Saltwater fishing does not require a license for recreational anglers, but commercial fishermen must obtain a commercial marine license.

Fishing seasons and restrictions

  • Fishing season restrictions may apply to certain fish species, such as the seasonal closure for catching ama’ama (mullet) from December through March.
  • Review the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources website for up-to-date information on fishing seasons and restrictions.

Size and bag limits for various fish species

  • Hawaii has size and bag limits for several fish species to ensure their sustainable management.
  • For example, the minimum size limit for yellowfin tuna (ahi) is 3 pounds, and there is a bag limit of 20 fish per person, per day.
  • Consult the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources website for specific size and bag limit information for various fish species.

Regulated fishing areas

  1. Waikīkī Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD): Permits knives, shark billy, bang stick, powerhead, and CO2 injector. Taking or injuring marine life is prohibited, as is possessing devices for taking marine life and altering geological features.
  2. Ala Wai Canal: Allows legal size fish with one line/rod and a maximum of 2 hooks. Crabs are allowed with a maximum of 10 nets, 2 feet in diameter.
  3. Honolulu Harbor and Kapālama Canal: Contact the Division of Aquatic Resources for specific regulations.
  4. Waikīkī-Diamond Head State Fisheries Management Area (SFMA): Consult the Division of Aquatic Resources for regulations and restrictions.

Fishing Tips and Techniques: Increase Your Chances of Success

  • Best baits and lures: Live bait, such as small crabs or shrimp, can be highly effective for catching various fish species in Honolulu. Lures that mimic local prey species are also a good option.
  • Recommended fishing gear and tackle: Light tackle and gear are generally suitable for shore fishing in Honolulu. For offshore fishing, heavier tackle and specialized equipment may be necessary, depending on the target species.
  • Tips for fishing success: Fishing during early morning or late afternoon hours can increase your chances of success, as can paying attention to local knowledge and conditions, such as tides and currents.

Fishing Safety and Conservation: Protect Yourself and Hawaii’s Marine Life

Fishing in Honolulu can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience, but it’s essential to prioritize safety and practice responsible fishing to protect the island’s unique marine ecosystem.

Safety tips for fishing in Honolulu

  • Wear appropriate footwear to avoid slipping on wet, rocky surfaces.
  • Be aware of tides and currents, and never turn your back on the ocean.
  • Carry a well-stocked first aid kit and know how to use it in case of injuries.
  • Stay informed about local weather conditions, and avoid fishing during storms or high surf.

Ethical fishing practices and catch-and-release

  • Practice catch-and-release to help maintain healthy fish populations, especially for species with strict size or bag limits.
  • Use proper handling techniques when releasing fish, such as wetting your hands before touching them to minimize damage to their slime coating.
  • Use circle hooks to reduce the chances of deep hooking, making it easier to release fish unharmed.

Environmental conservation and protecting Hawaii’s marine life

  • Observe protected areas, such as Marine Life Conservation Districts and State Fisheries Management Areas, and adhere to their specific regulations.
  • Dispose of fishing line, hooks, and other waste responsibly to prevent harm to marine life and maintain the cleanliness of the environment.
  • Support local organizations and initiatives that promote sustainable fishing practices and marine conservation.

Conclusion: Experience the Rich Fishing Culture of Honolulu

Honolulu offers an abundance of fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels, from shore fishing along idyllic coastlines to deep-sea adventures in pursuit of prized game fish. By exploring the diverse fishing spots in Honolulu and following responsible fishing practices, anglers can immerse themselves in the island’s rich fishing culture while contributing to the sustainability of Hawaii’s precious marine resources. So grab your gear, head to one of these top fishing spots, and cast your line for an unforgettable angling experience in paradise.