Bottom fishing on Maui is done with the boat stopped, sometimes anchored but usually drifting over favored locations known to support fish such as jacks, snapper, wrasse, goatfish, and more. Fish caught bottom fishing are generally smaller than what you’d catch sport fishing, usually weighing no more than 1-5 pounds. You can get lucky though and hook into much larger fish. You never know whats gonna bite down there!
While there are no guarantees in any kind of fishing (then it would be called “catching”), bottomfishing offers some of your best catch odds. This, plus the fact that the inshore waters tend to be calmer, the gear lighter, and the days shorter, is why I often recommend bottom fishing charters for families with school-aged children.
Since the boats work near shore waters rather than venturing too far offshore, Maui bottom fishing charters are typically shorter than deepsea sport fishing. 4 hours is often plenty of time.
Maui’s bottom fishing boats allow you to keep what you catch.
Many of the fish you’re going to catch are excellent eating. Others are better off thrown back. The crew will let you know. They’ll also filet up the fish you want, and either release or discard (in the case of invasive species) those you don’t.
More about bottom fishing on Maui
Maui’s most common form of recreational bottom fishing is known as “shallow water bottom fishing.” It is done by drifting in 60-180 feet of water and fishing with either spinning or small open face reels. Usually you’ll use dead bait; squid strips work well.
Most boats don’t have to travel too far to reach their favorite fishing spots. Charters leaving from Lahaina are generally within 10 minutes of some great areas. Charters out of Maalaea often travel a little farther, but their travel time is not wasted. If they have time, they will troll the surface with artificial lures on their way to/from their fishing spots so lucky guests might also get a taste of sportfishing!
“Deep water bottomfishing” is another method of bottom fishing on Maui, done while anchored in 500-900 feet of water. Obviously, this is not accomplished with a rod and reel! This is strictly a commercial style of fishing. It is done using hydraulic or very large electric pullers. The boats that do this go out for 3-5 days. Some trips, they do very well. Other trips, all they get is a wet ass, cold smelly hands, sleepless nights, and an near empty fish box! Unless you know someone here that fishes this way, you won’t be doing this on your vacation. These vessels catch deep water snappers, such as onaga (red) and opakapaka (pink), as well as hapu’u pu’u (butter fish) and other, lesser known species. You can, however, enjoy eating some of these delicate white fish at the better seafood restaurants, like the Waterfront Restaurant (my personal favorite) or Mama’s Fish House. …and NEVER turn down Onaga if one of the better restaurants offers it!!
If you have further questions about bottom fishing on Maui, contact me.