To say that fish play a large role in Moloka‘i’s culture would be a big understatement. The southern coast of the island is ringed with dozens of fishponds, and seemingly every third house you pass has long bunches of fishing nets drying in the yard. The Penguin Banks between Moloka‘i and O‘ahu are considered to be some of the most fertile fishing grounds in the state, although even if you stay near shore the chances of hauling in a fresh catch are still good. The earlier you depart, the better your chances for success.

Sportfishing rod on the open ocean.

Blue water game fish off Moloka‘i include mahimahi, ono, ahi, and marlin. Photo © project1photography/123rf.

The best place in Kaunakakai for buying fishing accessories, Moloka‘i Fish and Dive (61 Ala Malama Ave., 808/553-5926, 7:30am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 8am-2pm Sun.) also operates its own charter service offering both half-day ($500) as well as full-day trips ($650) aboard the 38-foot Delta cruiser The Coral Queen.

Not only is owner and captain Mike Holmes of Fun Hogs Fishing (808/567-6789 or 808/336-0047) an accomplished waterman and avid canoe racer, but he also runs one of the best operations for deep-sea fishing available for visitors. Aboard the 27-foot AHI, Holmes can take guests trolling for blue water game fish such as mahimahi, ono, ahi, and marlin. Four-hour charters run $450, while a full-day, eight-hour charter can be booked for $600. Fun Hogs can also arrange seasonal whale-watching trips for $70/adult, private snorkeling charters, or any other sort of outing provided there are six passengers or fewer.

Based out of Kaunakakai, Captain Joe Reich of Alyce C. Sportfishing (808/558-8377) similarly offers half-day, three-quarter-day, and full-day charters aboard his 31-foot cruiser. A knowledgeable fisher who will go wherever the fish are biting, Captain Joe’s goal is to send you home with as much fresh fish as you can possibly make use of.

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.