The Maui fishing charters industry experiences ebbs and flows, with new fishing opportunities emerging, and other Maui fishing charter companies cruising towards the horizon in search of new adventures. Below is my current take on the state of deep sea sport fishing in Maui Hawaii for 2015. Bear in mind this list is subjective. Not everyone’s idea of the perfect Maui fishing charter is the same. Catch rates fluctuate from year to year. Captains and crews move from boat to boat. Contact me and I’ll suggest the best Maui fishing charter for you!
Best Maui fishing charters
Best value for private sport fishing charters:
At $1,100.00 for an 8 hour Maui fishing charter, Hinatea Sportfishing is a superb value. This 41′ Hatteras is one of the more comfortable and spacious sport fishing boats on Maui. A typical 8 hour sport fishing charter n Maui usually runs round $1200.00.
Hinatea is fully outfitted for tournament level sport fishing, with a tuna tower, roomy salon, spacious deck, and of course top of the line equipment. Some people have suggested that the Hatteras design itself is a factor in her success; Fish apparently are attracted to the wake she generates – a sort of pied piper effect. Personally, I feel most of the credit lies with her hard working crew. They use live bait, dead bait, artificial lures. They’ll often fish with a downrigger, lighter tackle and live bait bringing in fish like ulua, uku, amberjack, barracuda. In short, they work hard to put a bend in your rod. Most importantly, day after day, the Hinatea team shares the ‘Aloha Spirit’. For these reasons they are currently #1 on my list for private Maui fishing charters.
If you’re the adventurous sort, the Action is another excellent value for private Maui fishing charters. Action’s private rates are only $1,099.00 for NINE hours. Their shared charters are reasonably priced too at only $209.00 per angler, but if the boat fills all six seats, this 35′ Blackfin can feel a little cramped. The Action departs daily at 0230hrs (yes, 2:30 in the morning) from West Maui’s Lahaina harbor. They’ll head farther offshore where the water may be rougher. It’s definitely not a charter for everyone. But in leaving early, the Action can reach some of the more desirable fishing spots before first light, and be in the ideal position for multiple hookups of mahi mahi, ono and ahi tuna, which happen more frequently at dawn.
LUCKEY STRIKE CHARTERS
The Luckey Strike II is another excellent choice for a shared Maui sportfishing charter. This spacious, 50′ Delta will not feel crowded with 6 anglers on board (the maximum number of anglers they’ll take on shared trip, though they may take additional riders along at a reduced rate). The crew are friendly and skilled. The gear is well maintained. The only drawback of Luckey Strike II is that you may get “bumped” should a private charter come along before they can reach the minimum 4 people, OR they simply may not reach the minimum, in which case the boat wont go. This is standard policy with boats that offer shared sportfishing.
START ME UP SPORTIFISHING
Start Me Up Sportfishing boasts the largest fleet of chartered fishing boats on Maui. They are your best choice for last minute charter openings. Boats include Start Me Up, Start Me Up Too, La Dat, Das It, Jun Ken Po, Cuz, and Action. Cuz and Action are specialty boats, while the others operate the company’s 4, 6 & 8 hour private and shared trolling trips. Other than Cuz (a 42′ Dorado) and Action (35′ Blackfin) all their boats are Bertrams, 38′ – 42′. All well outfitted. All well maintained.
Start Me Up Sportfishing, as a rule, does not “bump” share boat anglers for private charters, unless they don’t reach their minimum of 4 anglers, and this doesn’t happen very often. If you can only fish on a certain day and don’t want to risk getting “bumped”, the Start Me Up is your best choice.
FINEST KIND SPORTFISHING
The three sportfishing boats owned and operated by Finest Kind Sportfishing – Finest Kind, Reel Hooker and Exact – have been fishing off Maui for years and all have solid reputations. They’ve kept their costs down particularly low on their 4 and 6 hour shared trips (6 hour shared charter is only $175.00 per person) making them a solid buy when chartering for 1-4 anglers. And while they will not guarantee which boat you’ll be on for a shared trip, they do try and limit the number of anglers to allow for a more personalized experience; No guarantees there won’t be six though!
Maui’s top catch boats
Which boats catch the most gamefish off Maui Hawaii?
The deepsea sport fishing boats with regularly overflowing fish boxes are often those that leave in the middle of the night, and are able to reach locations farther offshore just before dawn. While no Maui fishing charter can be guaranteed (fishing is fishing after all) anglers booking these deepsea fishing charters when the bite is on usually return to Lahaina harbor TIRED.
My two favorite early morning departures are Die Hard Sportfishing, the Action Sportfishing. One caveat: these Maui fishing charters are not for the feint of heart. Action and Die Hard often stay out longer and fish rougher water in search of fish. Seasickness is pretty common so take precautions.
Which Maui sportfishing boats catch the BIGGEST fish?
This changes from year to year. A captain might get lucky one year and bring in a grander. The following year there may be only a handful over 300lbs. The Jun Ken Po, operated by Start Me Up Sportfishing brought in a 1058lb. blue marlin as recently as June 4th of this year.
Maui sport fishing boats including Hinatea, Finest Kind Charters, Luckey Strike, and others in the Start Me Up fleet, have all had respectable marlin counts. The captains on Piper and Rascal out of Maalaea harbor are also skilled marlin hunters and should not be overlooked for a chance at the big ones!
Maui fishing charters for groups of 7 or more.
I sometimes get calls from clients who have arrived on Maui with a group of 8-10 people hoping to enjoy a leisurely day of fishing on Maui (weddings mostly, sometimes Maui family reunions). Newsflash: If you’ve waited until you get to Maui to make these plans chances are you’re too late.
There are only 3 charter boats that will focus on fishing which are licensed to carry more than 6 passengers. One focuses on sportfishing charters (Luckey Strike II), one on bottom fishing (Hokua) and the third (Strike Zone) is a bit of a chameleon, offering “combo” trips which can lean in any direction upon request.
Out of the three Luckey Strike II takes the lead for sport fishing. As of this writing, an 8 hour trip on Luckey Strike II costs roughly half that of Strike Zone for a party of 8. Combine that with their crew’s fishing skill and the owners’ friendly flexible, easy-going attitudes it’s no wonder that Luckey Strike has a very high repeat customer rate.
As your guest count increases however, Strike Zone begins to look more attractive. Their crew is skilled at managing groups of over 2o, their vessel well outfitted, and they include a light snack.
Not to be outdone, Hokua is a hidden gem. They are one of the few fishing boats licensed to put people in the water, so a charter combining a bit of light fishing and a bit of snorkeling is possible.
Best 1/2 day Maui sport fishing charters
Luckey Strike’s sister ship, the Reel Luckey, is my choice for top Maui sportfishing trip under 8 hours. Logic dictates that the longer you fish for the better your odds. But Reel Luckey bucks the odds by focusing on gamefish in shallower waters. They’ve no need to drive farther offshore so run only 4, 5 & 6 hour fishing charters. Using live bait caught at the start of a charter, Reel Luckey trolls in select spots along the Lahaina coast. They target mahi mahi and ono on the surface, while simultaneously running a downrigger as much as 150 below the surface to bring in travally, amberjack, rainbow runner, barracuda, and shark. … You never know what’s gonna bite down there! Private charters only.
The luxurious sportfishing yachts of Ma’alaea, Maui.
For those staying down south in Kihei, Wailea or Makena Maui, your most convenient fishing options will be the boats out of Maalaea harbor. There are three dedicated sport fishing boats running charters from here, but only Rascal Charters offers shared sportfishing trips. Captain Kevin Hogan is a seasoned sportfishing veteran and has been operating the Rascal now since the late-nineties. Supply and demand suggests you book Rascal well in advance!
While the Rascal is certainly a lovely 42′ Bertram, complete with AC cabin, and a full complement of professional gear, the other two boats out of Maalaea are definitely higher end yachts. The 48′ Cabo Piper and the 52′ Buddy Davis Excellence cater to Maui’s most elite clientele. In terms of service and style, these two are only surpassed by one other Maui sport fishing boat: the Jayhawk out of Lahaina harbor which will run you a cool $700.00 per hour plus taxes and fees. Bell’s ‘n Whistles aside, all of the captains operating these Maui fishing charters have an equal chance of hooking up to gamefish for you.
When booking your Maui fishing charters you will be asked to provide a credit card number to hold the reservation. In most cases your card is not charged until the day of the charter. You will have between 48-72 hours to cancel without penalty.