Hawaii Kayak Fishing
Kayak fishing in Hawaii is not much different than anywhere else in the world... or is it? The warm water and variety of nearshore gamefish make Hawaii an excellent place for to pursue this fast growing sport, something I wish I started a long time ago!
My love affair with kayak fishing started when my wife and daughters suggested I look at a kayak to divert my attention from getting a boat! I've fished since I was a kid, from the shore and from boats, and at no time have I been as hooked on fishing since the fall of 2005 when we started kayak fishing!
In less than a year, we went from trolling for fish like papio (bluefin trevally), uku (grey snapper), and other predatory reef fish to pelagics like mahimahi, ahi, and giant barracuda. While catching all of these might seem quite ordinary fare, kayak fishing offers a whole new dimension to the sport and increases the excitement to an already exhilarating activity!
(If you're interested, here's how I've set up my Fishing Kayak.)
This barracuda took a frozen opelu (mackerel) and gave me the fight of my life!
The easily towed kayak, combined with the deeper waters in which we're fishing, allows for the use of lighter tackle than would generally be preferred to keep the fish from cutting the line on rocks.
For those with the right partner, Tandem Kayak Fishing could offer a great kayak fishing option!
An 11# White Ulua (trevally) taken on 10# test line with a seven foot rod and Penn 4400 light spinner is a pretty exciting experience... especially from a kayak!
Nothing really prepares you for the first time you get a gamefish strike while trolling on a kayak... for me it was this mahimahi out near Kaena Point!
First Mahi - Day of Bliss
"Paddling for hours atop a glassy ocean in silence, except for the sounds of my paddle blades entering and exiting the water, puts me into an almost meditative state.
For now all my thoughts are focused simply on absorbing the beauty that surrounds me--the dark blue, seemingly endless depths of ocean on which I glide, the rocky coast and towering mountain range which seperates the windward and leeward shores. I can think of nowhere else I would rather be than right here, right now.
Suddenly, my reel begins to scream as the spool empties. I secure my paddle, remove the fishing rod from its holder then set the hook just before a mahi begins a series of airborne acrobatics. The line remains taught as the fish begins to pull my kayak. I start to laugh as fishing was never so good! I've fished from the shore, and from a boat and while both were exciting neither could rival the moment I was now experiencing.
As the mahi pulls my kayak along at a fast clip, my thoughts go back to the the memories long imprinted on my mind since boyhood by Spencer Tracy in the "Old Man And The Sea." The mahi jumps clear out of the water a few times in its attempt to throw the hook and all I can do is thank God that I am in such a moment. This is absolutely awesome!"
My fishing partner and brother-in-law, Ed Kawasaki, is the consummate waterman well skilled in fishing, diving, and surfing.
Having grown up on the island of Hawaii where fishing is much more productive than the over-fished waters of Oahu, Ed didn't expect too much excitement when we started kayak fishing. But the sentiment has changed and both of us are equally hooked on this newly found pastime. One thing's for sure--if this guy gets excited about the fishing, it's got to be great.
Believe me, it is!
Ed Kawasaki brings back a bull mahi and its mate, too! That's the best day any of us has had to date!
The West Side is really good to Ed! Here he goes, again!
Daniel Siu displays his 14# Kawakawa which started us all believing that we really could catch pelagics from our kayaks!
Mike Ichiyama fights a mahimahi on a very windy day out over on Oahu's North Shore.
Check out our Hawaii Fishing Tales for more kayak fishing and other fishing action!
Big Time Yak Fishing In Kona!
As you might already know, Kona, Hawaii, is one of the gamefish capitals of the world. The calm and deep waters make it the best fishing grounds and our buddy Steve Heusser and wife, Cindy, take kayak fishing to an extreme down there!
Using a headcam, Steve catches footage of the two of them and friends boating really impressive fish! If you want to see some of the big time action that's going down in Kona and other parts of the Big Island order one of Steve's videos from his website ScreamnReelVideosand prepare for some real kayak sportfishing!
Getting Started In Kayak Fishing
Getting started in kayak fishing is extremely easy from getting the equipment to learning some satisfactory techniques. Of course, like any on-the-water activity, common sense is key to assure the level of your involvement matches your ability and knowledge. Be sure to get acquainted with the water conditions of any spot you're considering because a kayak will take you as far out as you'd like and offshore conditions can be quite different than conditions close to the beach.
Here's how I've set up my Fishing Kayak.
Joining a kayaking group can be one of the smartest moves you'll make as you'll be instantly surrounded with a collective expertise and a bunch of folks who share your interests. On Oahu, Hui Wa'a Kaukahiis a kayaking club that organizes some of the most exciting and creative kayaking excursions the island offers. Definitely a group of people you might want to hook up with!
Here are a few of resources that we've found helpful!
Okay, okay, this is not a must-have but this hatcam is a neat product I came across to allow videos while you're kayaking... or, better yet, fighting a fish from your kayak! If you've already got a camera, you can just get the hat/camera mount. If not, you can purchase the whole package for under $200. But be sure you have a chin strap to keep everything on your head!
Click to check out the HatCam!
Dennis Spike's video "Kayak Fishing Video," filmed in Southern California and Mexico, got us really excited about fishing for pelagics like mahimahi and, hopefully soon, ahi!
The books "Kayak Fishing" and "Sit-on-Top Kayaking" provide a lot of good general information that will cut your learning curve and minimize embarrassing or risky situations that are easily encountered as you take to the ocean on these ultra-small craft.
Lastly, a good kayak cart is a godsend when there's any distance between your car and the beach. I guarantee your 58 pound kayak will feel like a hundred pounds after you've been paddling for a few hours. I like the Scupper Pup a lot because it fits right into the kayak's drain holes and can be easily disassembled and stowed inside the kayak. Kayaks without drain holes, like the sit-insides, would require a different cart like the Kayak/Canoe Cart also shown.
Here are a few e-books that you can purchase, download, and start reading now! While they're not necessarily about kayak fishing per se but, rather, some great fishing info to expand your kayak fishing and other fishing experiences!
E-Books Available for Purchase & Immediate Download!
How To Make Wooden Lures
You can rent or purchase a kayak ready to add your fishing gear from two wonderful sources here on Oahu. On the windward side, Two Good Kayaks offers everything from tours to rentals and sales. The owner, Bob Twogood, is not only a kayak enthusiast but one of the island's foremost builders of custom kayaks for touring and racing. He and his staff offer some great kayak tours out to the islands in Kailua Bay and can give you some helpful tips for kayak fishing in the area!
In town, the folks to see are at Go Bananas Kayaks in the Kapahulu and Aiea areas on Oahu. John Enomoto (Kapahulu store) is the man to see as his love for kayak fishing and extended kayak tours along with his experience with sit-on-top kayaks will convince you that these relatively inexpensive craft can deliver as much satisfaction and adventure as any boat!
You can purchase or rent a kayak from any of a number of places in Hawaii, but I don't think you'd find anything close to the expertise and comprehensive offerings of Twogood Kayaks or Go Bananas.
When you're trolling on a kayak for four to five hours, your seat becomes a pretty important piece of equipment and there aren't any better seats around than those put out by Surf to Summit! Take a close look at their seats, especially the GTS Elite with built-in rod holders... these seats are the brainchild of guys who really fish their kayaks!
If you don't already have 'em, check out some thigh braces, too. If you've ever tried surfing into the beach, you know that your kayak will often go sidewards on you and often end up in a capsize. Thigh braces allow you to lean into the wave as you're being pushed sideways (whereas without them you'd fall out of the kayak) and avoid capsizing. Even waves of one- to two-feet can flip you, something that's pretty fun in most cases but disastrous when your $200 reel and rod gets smashed into the sand!
Back to top Kayak Fishing
Visit our other Kayak Fishing and Fishing Pages:
If you're just looking to explore Hawaii's awesome beaches without worrying about all that goes with kayak fishing, visit our page on Hawaii Kayaking... it's a world of recreation unto itself!
If you're looking for some Oahu kayak fishing, here are the two guides I know and recommend!
Extreme Kayak Fishing (aquahunters.com) Kayak fishing buddy, Isaac Brumaghim, shows the great kayak fishing opportunities on Oahu and the neighbor islands in his own website, aquahunters.com! Isaac offers kayak fishing tours and is a great kayak fishing guide!
Coastal Kayak Tours Kayak fishing buddy and another great guide, Dave, runs a highly personalized tour/kayak fishing outfit on Oahu's North Shore. Get a hold of him for some great kayak fishing... or simply to cruise the coast on a kayak!