The second most common question I hear from prospective clients starts with
“Can I sportfish if…”
(for the record, the first most common question relates to Maui’s fish policy – what happens to the fish you catch –but that’s another post). So I’m going to take a stab at addressing some of the more common concerns people have. If I haven’t covered your question, feel free to reach out.
I’ve never sport fished before, will the crew teach me?
Rest assured, the captain and crew are very comfortable talking beginners through their first time reeling in a large gamefish. In fact, the majority of clients FishMaui works with have never sportfished before. You will not be expected to help with baiting/setting lines, gaffing, etc. The crew does that. You pull back and reel, pull back and reel, taking up slack whenever you can. On some charters you might be invited to catch some live bait on the way out. They’ll show you how to do that too.
What’s the minimum age allowed on a sport fishing charter?
While there is some variation from boat to boat, most trolling boats prefer not to take kids under the age of 10 sport fishing. Please read my article on Maui fishing with kids.
How old is “too old” to sport fish?
If you don’t suffer from back problems or balance issues, then you’ll probably be just fine. I took my 92 year old step-father out a few weeks back and he managed to land a nice uku despite his grumbling about the early hour. But he’s spent the better part of 75 years on the water, owns his own boat, and is in remarkable physical shape for a man his age. Just bear in mind that seas can pick up quickly and without warning, so it’s important for each individual to make an honest assessment of their own abilities and limitations BEFORE you book a sport fishing charter on Maui.
Can women sport fish?
Absolutely!! You don’t need 15′ biceps to reel in a 400lb marlin. The key is form, feel, and patience. Lots of patience. The crew will be right beside you, talking you through the moves, encouraging you as you gain on the fish, reminding you to reel when you’re suddenly struck dumb at the sight of a huge fish breaking water waaaay too far away from the boat. In fact, women often make better first time offshore anglers than men. It’s simple…
- Women listen more.
- They’re often more patient.
- They don’t try to out-muscle the fish.
I’m pregnant. Can I go sport fishing? Or maybe just watch?
A fishing charter is not recommended for pregnant women. A charter captain probably wont allow it if they’re made aware of your condition. The risks are simply too high. Weather conditions can change on a dime out here, and even a 50′ boat will rock and roll. Decks can get slippery. Seasickness is commonly reported. My advice: Drop your partner off at the boat in the morning, and take a leisurely sunrise walk on the beach. Cherish the solitude.
Can you accommodate a wheelchair?
Lahaina and Ma’alaea harbor are not wheelchair accessible. Unless the client can be safely lifted from dock to deck, then it’s probably not going to happen. Even if we are able to find a captain willing to take out a wheelchair-bound client, there are other considerations: the head (marine toilet), usually located a few steps below decks down through a narrow passageway, is not accessible. Unpredictable weather conditions can make for an unsafe ride, even if your wheelchair is lashed to the boat.
How about other physical handicaps?
Short answer, yes. I have had anglers who were blind, deaf, and missing limbs. As always, each individual needs to make an honest assessment of their own abilities and limitations. I also recommend booking a sport fishing charter privately for a more personalized fishing experience.
What if I get seasick?
You might. If you’re unsure, take precautions. Read Avoiding seasickness on your Maui fishing trip.