Spearfishing In Hawaii: Cost, Places and What to Catch

All You Need to Know About Spearfishing In Hawaii

Hawaii is the closest you can get to paradise on earth. The natural beauty and astonishing landscapes just take your breath away. But nature wasn’t just generous on land. Underwater, the seas and lagoons are teeming with wonders and amazing marine life.

But there’s a lot to know, many islands to choose from, plenty of fish up for grabs, and of course lots of local laws and regulations that you need to be aware of and follow.

It’s enough to make a lesser man or woman feel overwhelmed. Luckily you’re not a lesser man or woman and we’re here to chart your path and guide you through the Hawaiian islands and all they have to offer.

Spearfishing Places In Hawaii

Hawaii is a collection of about 15 islands if not more. It depends on whom you ask. The officials there will say they’re only 15 while the locals will swear up and down that there are more islands than anybody cares to count. While some of those islands are large enough to be seen from ISS, others won’t even show on a large map.

Now, the exact number of the islands in Hawaii doesn’t really matter much to us spearos. What really matters is which of these places should we go spearfishing. And that’s the question we’re going to answer right here and now.

Waioli Beach

Let’s get something out of the way first. When you go spearfishing in Hawaii, you’re looking for more than just a full bag of exotic fishes. No siree bob. The whole Hawaiian experience is all about savoring the natural beauty both above and underwater.

And that’s one of the reasons Waioli Beach should definitely be at the top of your list. It has some vantage points and opens up on the Kona side giving you an unfettered view of Hanalei Bay. When you get tired of spearfishing (as if that’s possible) you can take a break and watch the surfers.

Keaukaha Beach

The Keaukaha beach is more of lava deposits than your average sandy beach. What’s more, there’s more freshwater there from the adjacent springs than saltwater. You know what this means. You’ll be getting loads of freshwater fish and go home every evening with a loaded bag.

The water here is deliciously cold which means a wetsuit is a must to dive. But it also means you refresh yourself every time you dive since the Hawaiian sun is notoriously merciless. And did we mention that you can also dive here at night? This is one of those spots where you can dive any time you like. What more can one ask out of a spearfishing hotspot?

Honomalino Beach

If you find yourself in Hawaii, to be precise near Kailua-Kona, and you only have one day to spend on these blessed islands, then Honomalino Beach should be your ultimate destination. Why? Because it simply has everything you ever wanted from a spearfishing spot.

Clear water, plenty of fish, and beautiful surroundings. Best of all, the fish here are not the skittish type. They are kind of gullible and trusting. That means you won’t be wasting hours trying to get close to the fish you want. Spearos rarely go home disappointed after a few hours in these waters.

Maninis Beach

If regular sandy beaches with rows of tanning beachgoers don’t appeal to you, then you’ll enjoy Maninis Beach. This is a beach that’s half coral reefs, half lava rocks. Of course, you know what that means. Plenty of exotic fish that lurk in the coves, reefs, and hiding places around here. All you need to do is choose which fish to spear.

Visibility is great here even when the sun is in. You got the sandy channel that charts a course in the middle of the beach to thank for this great visibility.

Spearfishing Hawaii Types Of Fish

Now that we covered the best places to go spearfishing in Hawaii, it’s time to get down to business. We need to know what type of fish we can expect to find there, how to go after them, and what are the best times to catch those elusive ones.

One thing about Hawaii is that it has some unique fish species that you wouldn’t find anywhere else this side of Pacific. I mean you could try to look for them in the vast watery expanse, but why waste your time when Hawaii has all the fish you might need and then some. Here are the best fish types to keep an eye out for.

Spotted Surgeonfish

Known among the locals as Kole Tang, this is one of the easiest fish to spot around these shores. The fish is distinguished with yellow circles around the eyes, and blue spots all over their shimmering brown body. When they’re not swimming in large schools, you can pick one and spear it with relative ease.


The Hawaiians call it Uhu and it has to do with the turquoise colors that give this fish its distinct look. Even its mouth is blue. So you won’t have trouble spotting one and making it the target of your spear. The Uhu fish is almost tame and even inquisitive. In most cases, you won’t have to chase the fish as it will come checking you out of its own.

Convict Tang

Another member of the Tang family. It’s known in these parts as Manini. Most of these fish we have talked about so far can be found in Honomalino Beach. The only problem with catching this fish is the depth of the water. You’ll have to go down about 90 feet to find the Manini swimming in groups. Nighttime is usually the best time to catch them. You’ll find them sleeping under rocks.


This local delicacy is usually found in abundance during spring and summer time. The reefs and shores are their favorite grounds and they’re relatively each to find and spear. You can spot a Kumu fish with its bright pink colors. They also make for great gifts to your local friends.

Striped Marlin

Hawaiians have a name for the Striped Marlin. They call it Nairagi. And for a good reason. The royal blue stripes give this fish a regal look and make it stand out among all the Marlins in the Hawaiian waters. You can’t miss the dorsal fin even if the blue hues escape your notice. You just have to be prepared with a trusty spear since these fish weigh in the vicinity of 150 pounds.

Blackspot Sergeant

Another popular fish that the locals call Kupipi. You might be tempted to think it was named after an obscure ancient deity. For one thing, it prefers to have the area all to itself. No other fish dare enter its turf. So while going after the Kupipi is fun, it also means you won’t have other targets in sight if you fail to catch this solitary fish.

Hawaii Spearfishing Cost

Now let’s talk about money. Traveling and accommodation aside, the cost of spearfishing in Hawaii comes down to zero. That means you won’t need to apply for licenses or get permits to go spearing some fish in Hawaii. How come?

Well, as we mentioned at the beginning of this guide, spearfishing is an ancient practice among Hawaiians that goes back for centuries. As such, spearfishing is considered a right rather than a hobby. As long as you keep your spearfishing within the realm of recreational activities rather than a commercial practice, then you don’t owe the authorities any money.

That said, and since you’re here in the land of spearfishing, you might want to invest in a few classes from the Hawaiian experts. They’ll teach you all you need to know about how to dive, how to approach your fish, how to pick your target, and the best times to go spearfishing in the different locations we listed above.

Hawaii Spearfishing Guide

Before we cover the different types of spearfishing you can enjoy in Hawaii it’s worth taking a minute to discuss the various rules and regulations. Just like anywhere else that regulates spearfishing, in Hawaii you have to place a flag in the area where you go diving. This is for your own protection as well as the safety of other beachgoers and divers in the area.

You need to stick to the area where you have placed the flag. In general, you’re not allowed to resurface more than 100 feet from your flag. In addition, there are regulated and unregulated areas in Hawaii. The regulated areas have rules for fish size and your bag limit.

With that out of the way, let’s discuss your various options to enjoy spearfishing in Hawaii and what each has to offer.

Shore Spearfishing

You can jump head first into the water from the beach. That doesn’t mean that you won’t get to the deep waters from the beach. You can pick a headland that leads you directly to 80-feet of depth. Shore spearfishing is popular since it allows you to choose your best spot without having to use a boat to get there.

Deep Water Spearfishing

Here you need a boat to reach a spot that is both deep and has clear water. The idea is you use chum (pieces of fish in the water) to attract big fish such as tuna, wahoo, and marlin. Needless to say this type of spearfishing is only for the pros. You could go all day without finding a single fish. So it’s not recommended for novice spearos.

Boat Spearfishing

You can take a boat to one of the many small islands that dot the Hawaiian waters and enjoy unfettered access to a plethora of fish there. The reefs are another good spot to find various species of fish that you don’t usually find near the shore.

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