Travel Blog #166 – Bottom Fishing with Maui Fun Charters

Jul 17, 2018 | Activity Information

Of all of the different fishing trips that we offer I think it is fair to say that as a general rule of thumb, the bottom fishing charters that we have generally catch a larger volume of fish then our deep sea sport fishing charters. Generally the fish are much smaller, but for many of our clients the fun comes from simply putting some time in reeling in some fish. Maui Fun Charters recently upgraded to a larger boat, so we thought it would be a good idea to go check it out.

Their new boat was immaculate! As soon as we were in sight of the slip I could see their 36 2010 Chesapeake Bay Dead Rise. From the outside it looked amazing but after talking with Captain Kelly I found out that the beauty of this boat was much more then skin deep. Inside her lives a top of the line 550hp caterpillar C9 motor (which contains more than enough power to get her anywhere she wants to go, as fast as she wants to get there). As soon as we were all on board Captain Kelly went over some last minute safety details before he turned over the motor and began to pull the boat out of the slip and towards the mouth of the harbor.

Our plan for the day was to journey down the southern coastline of Maui towards some offshore underwater pinnacles that are known to behot-spotsfor bottom fishing. Itdidn’ttake long for us to get there. Once we arrived Captain Kelly and his deck hand handed out fishing poles to everyone on board. The poles were all pre-rigged with multi-hook bottom fishing rigs and conventional reels. As they handed the poles out Captain Kelly gave everyone a brief tutorial on how to properly use the equipment. He explained to us that we was going to use his fish finder to position the boat directly over the pinnacle and to wait until his signal to drop our lines. It took a minute or two for him to finish positioning the boat. Once we were in the right spot Kelly threw his arm in the air and shouted Drop!!!

As soon as we heard his command we all simultaneously dropped our lines. Within seconds our rigs disappeared deep into the ocean. In less then a minute we could feel our weights hit the bottom. From here we followed Captain Kellys instructions and lifted our baits a couple cranks off of the bottom. The next minute or two was spent jigging the tip of the rod up and down until the eventually ashock wavecame up the line indicating that a fish has grabbed onto my bait. As soon as I felt the strike I began to reel in the line. I tried to keep constant tension on the line while at the same time not pulling too hard. Too much tension can pull the hook out of the fish’s mouth, too little can make it easier for the fish to spit the hook back out. Within about a minute I had brought my catch up to the surface. Once it got l close enough to the surface to see the color of it I knew exactly what it was. The yellowish orange shade and presence of stripes on the side was a dead give away that it was a Taape. These fish are an invasive species to the Hawaiian Islands. It was introduced to the islands as an alternate food source, but within a few years it was clear that this introduction was a mistake. Theydidn’tgrow as large in the Hawaiian waters as they do in their home waters in the south pacific. This made them a much less desirable source of food then was initially intended. Also, these fish provided competition or the limited food resources that were previously utilized solely by the endemic Hawaiian fish. Their invasive nature allowed me to feel no remorse as I hooked the flapping Taape onto a live bait hook and threw it back in the ocean. The fisherman that was next to me also caught a Taape and following suit with my strategy he hooked it through the spine and sent it back into the depths. Within about three minutes a massive strike hit his pole, bending it almost in half. It was apparent from speed that the line was coming off his reel that there was a large creature on the end of his rig. It took about fifteen minutes to battle the creature to the surface. I had a feeling that it was either a large Ulua (Giant Trevally) or some sort of shark. Once the creature got within sight of the surface it became apparent that it was a shark. The man who was reeling it in was able to get it close enough to the boat for my cameraman to get some good underwater footage of it with his monopod mounted Gopro Camera. Captain Kelly was able to successfully release the shark without loosing the rig.

After the excitement of the shark had calmed down we decided to fish for a bit more before we eventually decided to head back towards the harbor. Everyone on the boat had each caught multiple Taapes. Eradicating invasive species and having fun doing it….. It was a great morning to say the least.