If you’re a fishing enthusiast looking for an unforgettable saltwater fishing experience, look no further than Hilo, Hawaii. With its crystal-clear waters, diverse marine life, and stunning scenery, Hilo is a top destination for anglers from around the world. But with so many fishing options and factors to consider, planning a successful fishing trip can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of saltwater fishing in Hilo, Hawaii. From the best fishing spots and gear to local regulations and expert tips, this guide has everything you need to know to make the most of your Hilo fishing adventure. So pack your bags, grab your fishing gear, and get ready for an unforgettable experience on the waters of Hilo, Hawaii.
Best Saltwater Fishing Spots in Hilo Hawaii
Hilo, Hawaii is a great destination for saltwater fishing. Here are some of the best saltwater fishing spots in Hilo Hawaii:
- Hilo Bay: This is the most popular fishing spot in Hilo Hawaii, and it’s a great place to catch a variety of fish species, including yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, and billfish. You can fish from the shore or book a fishing charter.
- Wailoa River: This is a great spot for freshwater and saltwater fishing. It’s home to various fish species such as rainbow trout, bonefish, and peacock bass.
- Alakahi Stream: This stream is located in the Hilo area and is popular for catching tilapia, a freshwater fish that can also survive in saltwater.
- Hilo Breakwall: This is another popular spot for shore fishing in Hilo Hawaii. The breakwall is a long stretch of concrete that extends from the Hilo Harbor, and it’s a great place to catch fish like yellowtail, amberjack, and trevally.
- Richardson’s Ocean Park: This is a great spot for family fishing. The park has picnic areas and a shallow lagoon, where you can catch fish like bonefish, mullet, and small reef fish.
Types of Saltwater Fish in Hilo Hawaii
Hilo, Hawaii is a great destination for saltwater fishing, with a variety of fish species that you can catch. Here are some of the most common saltwater fish found in Hilo Hawaii:
- Mahi-Mahi: Mahi-mahi is a popular fish species to catch in Hilo Hawaii. It is a fast-swimming fish with a distinctive blue-green color and is known for its firm white flesh and sweet flavor.
- Yellowfin Tuna: Yellowfin tuna is a prized fish species for sportfishing in Hilo Hawaii. It is a large and powerful fish that can reach up to 300 pounds, and it is known for its mild flavor and firm texture.
- Ono: Ono, also known as wahoo, is another popular fish species to catch in Hilo Hawaii. It is a fast-swimming fish that can reach up to 100 pounds, and it is known for its firm, mild-flavored white meat.
- Marlin: Marlin is a prized game fish species that can be caught in Hilo Hawaii. Blue marlin and striped marlin are the most common species caught in the area. These fish can reach up to 1,000 pounds and are known for their strong fighting ability.
- Trevally: Trevally, also known as ulua, is a popular fish species to catch from shore or on a charter boat in Hilo Hawaii. It is a strong and aggressive fish that can reach up to 100 pounds, and it is known for its firm, flavorful meat.
Other fish species that can be found in Hilo Hawaii include skipjack tuna, mackerel, barracuda, and various reef fish.
Best Time of Year for Saltwater Fishing in Hilo Hawaii
The best time of year for saltwater fishing in Hilo Hawaii depends on the species of fish you are targeting. Here are some general guidelines to help you plan your fishing trip:
- Mahi-Mahi: Mahi-mahi is typically abundant in Hilo Hawaii from May to October. This is when the waters are warm, and the mahi-mahi are most active.
- Tuna: Yellowfin tuna is typically abundant in Hilo Hawaii throughout the year, but the best months to catch them are from June to October. Bigeye tuna, on the other hand, is more abundant in the colder months, from December to March.
- Ono: Ono can be caught year-round in Hilo Hawaii, but the best months are from June to September.
- Marlin: The peak season for marlin fishing in Hilo Hawaii is from May to September. This is when the waters are warm, and the marlin are abundant.
- Trevally: Trevally can be caught year-round in Hilo Hawaii, but the best months are from April to October.
Best Bait for Saltwater Fishing in Hilo Hawaii
The best bait for saltwater fishing in Hilo Hawaii depends on the specific species of fish you are targeting. Here are some common baits that are effective for various types of fish in the area:
- Mahi-Mahi: Mahi-Mahi are attracted to brightly colored lures and baits, such as artificial squid, feather jigs, and trolling lures.
- Yellowfin Tuna: Live bait such as small tuna, mackerel, or squid is commonly used when targeting yellowfin tuna in Hilo Hawaii.
- Ono: Ono are known to be attracted to live bait such as small tuna, mackerel, or squid, as well as artificial lures such as trolling plugs and swimming baits.
- Ulua/Giant Trevally: For these powerful fish, live bait such as mullet, goatfish, or eels is often used, although they can also be caught using lures such as poppers or stick baits.
It’s always a good idea to check with local fishing guides or charter companies for more specific information on the best baits to use for different species of fish in Hilo Hawaii. Additionally, keep in mind that certain fishing techniques, such as fly fishing or jigging, may require specialized baits or lures.
Recommended Gear for Saltwater Fishing in Hilo Hawaii
Here are some recommended gear for saltwater fishing in Hilo Hawaii:
- Rod and Reel: Depending on the type of fish you are targeting, you’ll need a rod and reel that is appropriate for the size and strength of the fish. A medium to heavy-duty rod with a reel that can hold at least 200 yards of line is a good starting point.
- Line: The type of fishing line you use will depend on the type of fish you are targeting and the fishing technique you are using. For general saltwater fishing in Hilo Hawaii, a monofilament line with a strength of 20 to 40 pounds is a good choice.
- Hooks: Make sure to have a variety of hooks in different sizes, depending on the type of fish you are targeting. Circle hooks are a popular choice for saltwater fishing in Hilo Hawaii as they are less likely to cause harm to the fish and increase the chances of a successful catch.
- Lures/Baits: As mentioned earlier, the best lures and baits will depend on the type of fish you are targeting. Make sure to have a variety of options on hand, including live bait, artificial lures, and jigs.
- Fishing Line Cutter: A good quality fishing line cutter is essential for cutting line and removing hooks safely.
- Polarized Sunglasses: Polarized sunglasses will help you see into the water and spot fish more easily.
- Sun Protection: The sun in Hilo Hawaii can be intense, so make sure to wear sunscreen, a hat, and protective clothing.
- Cooler: A cooler with ice is essential for keeping your catch fresh.
- First Aid Kit: Always bring a basic first aid kit with you in case of injuries.
- Fishing License: Don’t forget to obtain a valid fishing license before heading out to fish in Hilo Hawaii.
Best Saltwater Fishing Charters in Hilo Hawaii
Here are some of the best saltwater fishing charters in Hilo Hawaii:
- Hilo Ocean Adventures: Hilo Ocean Adventures offers a variety of fishing charters for both novice and experienced anglers. They specialize in catching giant trevally, ono, mahi-mahi, and other big game fish.
- Kona Style Fishing Charters: Kona Style Fishing Charters offers private charters for up to six people, with a focus on big game fishing for tuna, marlin, and mahi-mahi. They provide all the necessary fishing gear and equipment, as well as snacks and drinks.
- Sea Wife II: Sea Wife II offers shared and private fishing charters, with a focus on catching mahi-mahi, ono, and other big game fish. They provide all the necessary gear and equipment, as well as drinks and snacks.
- Hilo Fish Company: Hilo Fish Company offers private fishing charters for up to four people, with a focus on catching giant trevally, ulua, and other big game fish. They provide all the necessary gear and equipment, as well as drinks and snacks.
- Mahiku Fishing: Mahiku Fishing offers private fishing charters for up to six people, with a focus on catching mahi-mahi, ono, and other big game fish. They provide all the necessary gear and equipment, as well as drinks and snacks.
Fishing Regulations in Hilo Hawaii
Here are some important fishing regulations to keep in mind when fishing in Hilo Hawaii:
- Fishing Licenses: All anglers who are 15 years or older must have a valid Hawaii State fishing license in order to fish in Hawaii’s waters. Licenses can be purchased online or from authorized vendors, such as sporting goods stores.
- Size and Bag Limits: Hawaii has size and bag limits for many species of fish, which means that there are limits to how many fish you can catch and keep, as well as minimum and maximum size requirements. Make sure to check the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources website for the most up-to-date regulations on size and bag limits.
- Prohibited Species: There are several species of fish that are prohibited from being caught in Hawaii’s waters, including some types of sharks, rays, and endangered species. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the prohibited species list before you start fishing.
- Gear Restrictions: Some areas in Hawaii have gear restrictions, such as restrictions on the type of bait or lures that can be used, or restrictions on the size and type of fishing gear that can be used.
- Protected Areas: Hawaii has several marine protected areas where fishing is prohibited or restricted. Make sure to check for any protected areas in the location where you plan to fish.
Where to Stay When Saltwater Fishing in Hilo Hawaii
Hilo, Hawaii has a range of accommodation options available for those interested in saltwater fishing. Here are some suggestions for places to stay when saltwater fishing in Hilo:
- Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo – a DoubleTree by Hilton: This hotel is located on the shore of Hilo Bay, offering stunning ocean views and easy access to fishing spots. The hotel also offers fishing packages that include accommodations, a fishing excursion, and equipment rentals.
- Hilo Hawaiian Hotel: This hotel is located near the Hilo Bay area and offers comfortable accommodations with amenities such as a swimming pool and on-site dining options. It is also a short drive from several popular fishing spots in the area.
- The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls: This unique bed and breakfast is located in a tranquil rainforest setting, just a short drive from Hilo Bay. It offers comfortable rooms and a peaceful atmosphere, making it a great option for those looking to relax after a day of fishing.
- Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel: This budget-friendly hotel is located in the heart of downtown Hilo, making it a convenient option for those who want to be close to shops and restaurants. It is also just a short drive from several popular fishing spots.
- Vacation Rentals: Hilo has a range of vacation rental options available, including apartments, cottages, and houses. These can be a great option for those who want more space and privacy, as well as the ability to cook their own meals. Websites like Airbnb and VRBO have many listings for vacation rentals in the Hilo area.
Expert Tips and Tricks for Successful Saltwater Fishing in Hilo Hawaii
Here are some expert tips and tricks for successful saltwater fishing in Hilo, Hawaii:
- Research fishing spots: Before heading out to fish, do some research on the best fishing spots in the Hilo area. Talk to locals, check fishing reports, and look for areas with underwater structure and good currents.
- Use the right gear: Make sure to use gear that is appropriate for the type of fish you are targeting and the conditions you will be fishing in. This includes choosing the right rod, reel, line, and lures or bait.
- Pay attention to the tides: Saltwater fishing in Hilo is heavily influenced by tides, which can impact fish behavior and feeding patterns. Check tide charts and plan your fishing trips accordingly.
- Be patient: Successful saltwater fishing in Hilo requires patience and persistence. It may take some time to find the right spot and get a bite, so be prepared to wait it out.
- Respect fishing regulations: Make sure to follow all fishing regulations and guidelines in Hilo, including bag limits, size limits, and closed seasons. This helps ensure the sustainability of fish populations and the long-term health of the marine ecosystem.
- Hire a local guide: Consider hiring a local fishing guide who knows the area and can provide valuable insights and tips for successful fishing. They can also help with equipment rental and provide access to prime fishing spots.
- Be prepared for the elements: Saltwater fishing in Hilo can be challenging, with strong currents and changing weather conditions. Make sure to bring appropriate clothing and gear, such as sunscreen, a hat, and a rain jacket, to stay comfortable and safe on the water.
Hilo, Hawaii offers some of the best saltwater fishing experiences in the world, with a variety of fish species and prime fishing locations. By using the right gear, being patient, respecting fishing regulations, and hiring a local guide, you can increase your chances of having a successful fishing trip. Make sure to also pay attention to the tides, and be prepared for the elements with appropriate clothing and gear. With these tips and tricks, you can make the most of your saltwater fishing adventure in Hilo, Hawaii.