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Welcome to Dream Vacations, a lifestyle column on travelling to amazing destinations with practical advice and my revelations about locales from years of personal experience. Vacationing in Hawaii regularly can be an eye-opener and an education for seafood and non-seafood lovers. You are surrounded by some of the best ocean fishing waters in the world. Why not take advantage of it and do a little fishing while you are there?


General Fishing Tips

If you are like me, fishing is probably not one of your first thoughts when going on vacation. However, after visiting Hawaii for many years and seeing many locals shoreline fishing, cliff-side fishing, fishing on charters, diving for fish, and selling their catch in markets and witnessing countless local menus with tons of seafood, you start to develop an appreciation for just how much bounty the sea can provide.

As with any State in the US, there are some general rules and regulations you should be aware of:

  • For recreational saltwater fishing, there is no license required – GREAT NEWS!
  • There are, however, restricted areas and species that you need to be aware of before you go fishing.
  • Private property for shoreline fishing is off-limits.
  • Look for ‘No Pole or No Shoreline Fishing’ signs before you decide to cast off.
  • Dependent on the time of year, be sure you are not catching restricted species for specific areas, sizes or times of the year. Check restrictions here.
  • Here is a great video from a local fisherman on the rules, tips and ethics of fishing in Hawaii.
  • Avoid spearfishing or inland fishing, except as part of a Tour.

If you plan on ocean shoreline fishing, you should bring appropriate tackle, but the major islands all have fishing gear stores to get supplied. You can even rent fishing gear!


Edible Hawaiian Seafood

Here are some of the best seafood in Hawaii to try.

  1. Ahi – yellowfin tuna, great grilled or raw.
  2. Aku – skipjack tuna, smaller than yellowfin but has a more distinct flavour.
  3. Hapu’upu’u – essentially Hawaiian sea bass, mild and often steamed; a local delicacy.
  4. Kona Crab – a sand crab with a short regulated season, taste them when you see them.
  5. Nairagi – often served raw; it’s a striped marlin.
  6. Monchong – an oily fish that is delicious when grilled or broiled.
  7. Mahimahi – known internationally for its delicate flavor.
  8. Onaga – is red snapper and served at festive occasions generally.
  9. Uku – another snapper served several ways in soups, grilled, or as sushi.
  10. Opah – this moonfish has three different colored meats and lends well to different cooking styles.
  11. Ono – a low fat fish, you have to be careful when cooking that it doesn’t dry out.
  12. Shellfish – these include opihi, leho, pipipi, puho`okani and `olepe, which can be collected from tidal pools, however, can be dangerous because of rogue waves.
  13. Others – the ocean is Hawaii’s breadbasket, there are hundreds if not thousands of edible creatures lurking in the waters including sea urchins, crabs, squid, sharks and even plant-based seaweeds.


Alternatives to Fishing for Your Dinner

Fishing, spearfishing, shoreline fishing, diving or beachside foraging for your dinner may not be your thing. If that’s the case, many (if not all) local restaurants offer some sort of seafood option. Maybe it’s time to be adventurous and try something new? Another option is to visit a local grocery store’s seafood section or the famous Honolulu Fish Market & Auction for a large selection of Hawaiian seafood and delicacies.

What is your favourite Hawaiian seafood specialty? Need a resort or hotel that has a full kitchen to start preparing these fanciful feasts? Find the best resorts in Hawaii on our home page.


Tags: Hawaii, seafood, local food, food specialty, fish, family vacation