hawaii tuna fishing

Hawaii Tuna Fishing: Techniques, Locations, Tips & Charters

Hawaii is a fishing paradise, and not only for beach-goers and surfers. Tuna fishing is a popular activity among locals and tourists alike, offering an exciting and rewarding experience. In this article, we’ll dive into the types of tuna you can catch in Hawaii and the techniques used in this year-round fishing adventure.

A Bounty of Tuna Species in Hawaiian Waters

Hawaii is home to a variety of tuna species, making it an ideal destination for anglers. Here are some of the most commonly found tuna species in the region:

1. Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi)

Yellowfin Tuna, locally known as Ahi, is one of the most sought-after species in Hawaii. These tuna can grow up to 400 pounds and are known for their delicious flavor, making them a top choice for anglers and seafood lovers. Yellowfin Tuna are abundant throughout the year, but the peak season is usually between May and September.

2. Bigeye Tuna

Bigeye Tuna shares many similarities with Yellowfin Tuna, including size and taste. However, they have larger eyes and a more torpedo-shaped body. Bigeye Tuna are most commonly found in deeper waters, and their peak season in Hawaii is typically from April to November.

3. Skipjack Tuna

Skipjack Tuna, sometimes referred to as aku, are smaller than Yellowfin and Bigeye Tuna but are still a popular catch in Hawaii. They can weigh up to 40 pounds and have a strong, distinct flavor. Skipjack Tuna are abundant year-round, making them a reliable target for anglers.

Mastering Tuna Fishing Techniques in Hawaii

To increase your chances of catching these prized tuna species, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the various fishing techniques used in Hawaii. Here are some of the most popular methods:

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1. Trolling

Trolling is a widely-used technique for tuna fishing in Hawaii. It involves dragging lures or baited hooks behind a moving boat. Trolling at different speeds and depths can help you target specific tuna species. For example, Yellowfin Tuna are often found closer to the surface, while Bigeye Tuna prefer deeper waters.

2. Spinning

Spinning is another popular technique for catching tuna in Hawaiian waters. Anglers use a spinning reel and a lightweight rod to cast lures or bait. This method allows for greater casting distance and precision, making it ideal for targeting tuna schools near the surface.

3. Jigging

Jigging is a technique that involves dropping a weighted lure vertically into the water and then repeatedly lifting and lowering the rod to create an enticing movement. This method is particularly effective for targeting tuna species that prefer deeper waters, such as Bigeye Tuna. Jigging requires skill and patience but can be highly rewarding when done correctly.

4. Using Live Bait

Using live bait is another effective technique for catching tuna in Hawaii. Anglers often use small mackerel, sardines, or squid to entice the tuna to bite. Live bait can be used in conjunction with other techniques, such as trolling or spinning, to increase your chances of hooking these powerful predators.

Discover the Best Locations for Tuna Fishing in Hawaii

Hawaii’s diverse fishing grounds make it an ideal destination for tuna fishing. Some of the top locations for catching tuna in the Aloha State include:

1. Kailua-Kona

Located on the Big Island, Kailua-Kona is a world-renowned fishing destination. Its deep, nutrient-rich waters attract a variety of pelagic fish, including tuna. Kailua-Kona hosts several fishing tournaments throughout the year, making it a prime spot for both experienced and novice anglers.

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2. Hilo

Hilo, also on the Big Island, offers excellent tuna fishing opportunities. The waters surrounding Hilo are teeming with tuna, particularly during peak seasons. The calm seas and stunning scenery make Hilo a popular choice for anglers seeking a relaxing and fruitful fishing trip.

3. Honolulu

As the capital city of Hawaii, Honolulu offers a variety of fishing opportunities for anglers. The warm, deep waters around Oahu are home to an abundance of tuna species. With numerous fishing charters available, Honolulu is a convenient location for those looking to experience the thrill of tuna fishing.

4. Haleiwa

Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Haleiwa is another popular tuna fishing destination. Known for its laid-back atmosphere and beautiful beaches, Haleiwa also boasts excellent fishing grounds for tuna and other big pelagic predators.

Embark on a Tuna Fishing Adventure with Hawaiian Charters

Hawaii offers a plethora of fishing charters and tours to help you reel in the tuna of your dreams. These charters cater to anglers of all skill levels and often target multiple species, including Mahi Mahi, Marlin, and Wahoo. Here’s what you can expect when booking a tuna fishing charter in Hawaii:

1. Inclusions

Most fishing charters provide all necessary equipment, including rods, reels, tackle, and fishing licenses. This allows you to focus on enjoying your fishing adventure without worrying about logistics.

2. Catch Limits and Sharing Policies

Some charters have specific catch limits or sharing policies, allowing customers to keep a certain amount of their catch. Be sure to inquire about these policies when booking your charter.

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3. Family-Friendly Adventures

Many Hawaiian fishing charters are family-friendly, offering a fun and educational experience for children. Tuna fishing can be an enjoyable activity for the whole family, creating lasting memories and bonding opportunities.

4. Expert Guidance

Experienced fishing guides and captains can assist anglers of all skill levels in successfully catching tuna in Hawaiian waters. Their local knowledge and expertise can greatly enhance your fishing experience and increase your chances of a successful catch.


Tuna fishing in Hawaii provides an exciting and rewarding experience for both locals and tourists. With multiple species available year-round, various techniques to try, and numerous fishing charters to choose from, tuna fishing in Hawaii offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a first-time fisherman, there’s no better place to experience the thrill of reeling in a massive tuna than the beautiful waters of Hawaii.