When it comes to big game fishing, you can’t beat Kona. Get adrenaline pumping just thinking of the various kinds of Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and more that you have the chance of catching!
What makes it even better is having a great climate and a tropical paradise to revel in, no matter what your fishing results are.
We’ve gone ahead and found the top rated Kona deep sea fishing charters to ensure you have the best chance for success!
Best Kona Fishing Charters
|3/4 Day Fishing Charter From Kona||Kona Sport-Fishing Large Group Private Charter - 6 Hours||Three-quarter Day Sport Fishing Charter From Kona|
|Departure Point:||275 Kealakehe Pkwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740||74-425 Kealakehe Pkwy #1, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740||Honokohau Marina|
|Departure Time:||Morning (call for exact time)||6:30 am||7:00 am|
|Duration:||6 hours||6 hours||6 hours|
|Includes:||All necessary equipment to fish, cooler with ice||Cooler with ice for your beverages and food, knowledgeable captain and crew, all fishing equipment||Beverages, breakfast, snacks, professional guide, private tour, bottled water|
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Big Island Deep Sea Fishing Charters
- Kona 3/4 Day Fishing Charter
- Kona Sport-Fishing Large Group Private Charter
- Three-quarter Day Sport Fishing Charter From Kona
- Big Island Full Day Sport Fishing Charter
- 1/2 Day Kona Sportfishing Charter
Kona Fishing Charter Reviews
- Duration: 6 hours
- Departure: 275 Kealakehe Pkwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
- Departure Time: Morning
- Includes: All necessary equipment to fish, cooler with ice
Let’s start things off on the right foot with the Kona ¾ Day Fishing Charter! This is an absolutely wonderful tour from before you even step onto the boat. They will ask you what kind of fishing you’re looking to do as well as anything else you’d like to experience during the trip, and they will do everything within reason to make sure you’re happy!
This private fishing charter is for up to 4 anglers, which makes it great for small groups, families, or couples. Speaking of kids, even if you’re traveling with younger people or with no experience, the guides do an excellent job of keeping everyone safe and having fun.
Using only IGFA-certified tackle, your catches will actually be official! The 40’ Bertram sport fishing boat is comfortable and easy to move around. On this charter Captain Shawn will ensure you have plenty of laughs and will target Blue Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin, and more.
For tour prices, transportation and availability:
- Duration: 6 hours
- Departure: 74-425 Kealakehe Pkwy #1, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
- Departure Time: 6:30 am
- Includes: Private tour, cooler with ice for your beverages and food, knowledgeable captain and crew, all fishing equipment
Wake up at the crack of dawn to partake in the Kona Sport-Fishing Large Group Private Charter! This 6-hour tour is one of the best ways to start out the day, with the ocean breeze in your hair and the perfect climate for hanging out on the water. Whether you’re a complete noob or seasoned veteran at fishing, you’re in good hands.
Start out by sailing out of the marina and get ready for a simultaneously fun-and-relaxing first half of your day out on the ocean. The captain and crew are very knowledgeable and experienced, making for a fantastic charter that will help you snap Yellowfin, Ono, Spearfish, or Striped Marlin.
If you’d like to bring the entire family but not everyone is a fisherman, there’s no need to worry. You can always kick your feet up in the shade or bask in the sun and enjoy some drinks or food if you choose to bring some along.
There is a cooler with ice for any refreshments you’d like to store. Are you planning on bringing kids along for the ride? Don’t worry, they won’t get bored either. Many times there are dolphins playing around the boat, and what kid doesn’t love that?
For tour prices, transportation and availability:
- Duration: 6 hours
- Departure: Honokohau Marina
- Departure Time: 7:00 am
- Includes: Local taxes, beverages, breakfast, snacks, professional guide, private tour, bottled water
If you’re looking for a slightly more budget-friendly option, then you have to check out the Three-Quarter Day Sport Fishing Charter. One of the things that really stood out to us on this trip was the fact that they’ve taken everything into consideration to make sure you and the rest of your group is comfortable.
They include a delicious breakfast served on-board to start your morning off right, as well as complimentary beverages and snacks during the entire charter.
Before you go, they’ll work with you in planning your custom charter to ensure you experience exactly what you have in mind. The captain and crew are very friendly and accommodating, and will update you on ocean conditions and recent fish catches so you can prepare for what to expect out on the water. Afterward, enjoy a delicious Continental breakfast and cup of coffee or fresh juice!
Now that you’re all fueled and ready to go, you can check out seating on the fly bridge with the captain, which we highly recommend you do! Here you have an excellent chance of seeing dolphins and whales!
Once you reach the best spot, you’ll set out 5 lines according to the fish you’d like to catch. The captain will give very valuable tips and guidance on how to reel in the big game and have the best chance possible at getting it in the boat. It’s definitely a sport that requires a lot of strength and technique!
Throughout the trip, the crew will take HD photos as well as various GoPro videos that they give you for free. Moreover, when you arrive back to the harbor, they’ll clean and package your small game and provide you with an insulated, reusable tote bag.
Once again, going back to what we initially said about them being considerate and making you as comfortable as possible.
For tour prices, transportation and availability:
- Duration: 8 hours
- Departure: 74-380 Kealakehe Pkwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
- Departure Time: 7 am
- Includes: Local taxes, bottled water, coffee, and juice, breakfast, snacks, professional guide, private tour
We get it – there are people out there who simply can’t get enough of fishing or want to make the most of their time on the island. For those people who feel that 6 hours isn’t enough, there’s the Full Day Sport Fishing Charter. Considering this 8-hour charter will take you out for the entire day, it’s incredibly affordable, too!
Start off by meeting the captain and crew at the harbor where you’ll review your itinerary and be updated on ocean conditions and recent fish catches, which is typical for these high-quality charters. They’re also great at answering questions beforehand over the phone to make sure you’re all on the same page.
Once again, this is another excellent tour that caters to what you are interested in doing. If you want to just go out there and troll for massive marlin, then you’ll do that. If you want to start out by snagging some bait fish and then move on to reeling in some Ahi then you’ll do that.
However, they do a great job at making sure you don’t feel pressured to “lead the way”. You can be as involved as you want. If you don’t feel comfortable handling the equipment, then you don’t have to.
Or perhaps you have one snagged but you don’t feel like you can get it on the boat. The crew and captain have your back and will make sure you have the best chance possible at landing it.
For tour prices, transportation and availability:
- Duration: 4 hours
- Departure: 74-429 Kealakehe Parkway Slip G-2, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
- Departure Time: Varies
- Includes: All the gear necessary to land the fish of a lifetime
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you want a shorter charter that will fit in nicely with the rest of your plans for the day, we have it right here.
The ½ Day Kona Sportfishing Charter is definitely brief in comparison with the others, but is more than enough time to experience one of the best Kona fishing charters out there. No matter what your experience level is, you can feel confident that you’ll have a great time.
The experienced captain and crew are not only entertaining, but very informative. They make sure that you have the best chances at reeling in your specific target species. Marlin, Swordfish, Mahi-Mahi, Ahi Tuna, and more. All deep-sea fishing gear is provided, so all you have to bring is yourself, the right kind of clothing, and maybe a bit of upper body strength!
The private boat is in excellent condition and the small group is nice because it’s a more intimate, personalized experience with the opportunity for learning a lot. While they can’t guarantee you’ll catch a big one, you’ll almost certainly catch sight of various whales, dolphins, and/or sea turtles! Maybe even a whale shark!
As it’s only 4 hours, you’ll still be able to continue along with other adventures or relax after you get back to the harbor!
For tour prices, transportation and availability:
Big Island Travel Guide
The Big Island is the best Hawaiian island to visit by far. Why? Because it boasts active volcanoes, the world’s tallest mountain, 5 Marine Life Conservation Districts, and more wilderness and variety than any other island in the Hawaiian Archipelago.
Given its name, you won’t be surprised to learn that the Big Island is the largest island in the State of Hawaii. But this isn’t its official name. The Big Island is really the Island of Hawaii. However, calling it the Big Island helps to distinguish it from the state and avoid confusion.
It really is a big island. In fact, it’s the 3rd largest island in Polynesia. Only the two main islands of New Zealand are larger. You may think the island gained its name from the name of the state. In fact, the state was named after this island.
Although the Big Island now has the lowest population density of the four main islands in the Hawaiian archipelago, historically it was the most powerful. In 1795, Kamehameha the Great from Hawaii untied most of the islands under his rule and named his extended kingdom after his home island.
Today the low population density and many fascinating natural attractions on and around the Island of Hawaii make it the premiere Hawaiian destination for anyone who wishes to experience the full scope of Mother Nature’s variety, beauty, and majesty.
Airports & Entry
Most visitors come to the Island of Hawaii by air. You can fly directly from the mainland US and Canada to Hilo International Airport (ITO) in the east or Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport (KOA) in the west.
Alternatively, you can fly to Daniel K. Inouye Honolulu International Airport (HNL) in Oahu and then take a short half-hour connecting flight to the Big Island. Most direct flights are from large cities on the western seaboard. However, there are also direct flights to KOA from Tokyo.
Although only 185,000 people live on the island, KOA saw 4 million and ITO 1.4 million passengers in the immediate each year pre-COVID. The vast majority of these are tourists.
If you intend to explore the whole island, it’s a good idea to arrange to arrive at one airport and depart at the other. This enables you to tour the whole island with no need to backtrack. However, many visitors stick to one of the main resorts, such as Kailua-Kona.
Before choosing your arrival airport, consider where you are going to stay. This will depend upon what you most want to see on the Big Island. It makes sense to arrive at the airport closest to your hotel.
KOA is a modern airport with 3 terminals, only 2 used for international travellers. ITO is much smaller with a single large terminal. Both airports offer a limited range of shops and restaurants focused on tourism. For example, there are gift shops, lei stands, and newsstands. Opening hours are arranged around flight arrival and departure times.
Eight major car rental companies operate out of both airports: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty. All the rental agencies have rental bases that are reached by a shuttle bus from the airports.
It is advisable to book vehicle rental in advance to save time and ensure you get the vehicle you want. If you plan to pick up at one airport and drop at the other, you must tell them in advance to avoid extra charges.
If you don’t want to hire a vehicle, you can take a taxi into Kailua for around $25. There is a much cheaper option — The Hele-On Bus operated by the Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency. However, they only operate a limited service.
Traveling in the time of Covid
Like many other destinations worldwide, tours and visitor attractions in the Island of Hawaii have adopted special procedures.
Wearing a mask in mandatory in many locations. You will be expected to supply your own mask and wear it when you enter public buildings.
Keep your distance from other visitors who are not in your family group or bubble. You will be expected to keep your distance inside minibuses and other vehicles and when seated in restaurants.
At the time of writing, the State of Hawaii welcomes visitors but requires pre-travel testing for Covid-19. You can obtain the most up-to-date information directly from the State of Hawaii Portal.
Eco-Tourism and Sustainability in the Big Island
The Hawaiian Archipelago offers many areas of outstanding natural beauty and protected wildlife areas you can explore. In order to maintain this wonderful place for future generations, many of the local tour companies operate eco-friendly tours.
When considering the tours we review on the World Travel Guides website, note that there are often eco-friendly options that empower you to become a more sustainable traveler. This is especially true around the islands of Hawaii. Take care of our world and it will take care of our children.
It’s always best to be prepared. Here are 5 tips to help you make the most of your stay on the Big Island.
Tip #1: If you want to see whales, go in winter
During the summer, humpback whales feed and congregate around Alaska. In winter, they migrate south to mate and calve. From mid-December to mid-April, there are an abundance of whale sightings around the Big Island.
Between 10 and 12 thousand whales congregate in these tropical waters. Whales are often visible at a distance from the beaches and will circle any small boats that approach their pods. Winter is the best time to whale watch in Hawaii.
Tip #2: Take your time to appreciate all that the Island of Hawaii has to offer
Perhaps you only want to see the whales or surf in the sunshine, but there’s a lot more to see and do on the Big Island.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, experience a traditional luau, and visit Hulihe’e Royal Palace in historic Kailua-Kona. See the information on Nightlife and Attractions below.
Tip #3: Book Big Island tours in advance, especially during winter
The Big Island is a popular destination for tourists, so tours quickly sell out. Book in advance to avoid disappointment. You wouldn’t be able to forgive yourself if you went all that way only to miss your opportunity to whale watch because the tours were full.
Since many tours offer free refunds up to 24 hours before the activity begins, you’re not taking a risk if you book before you go. Just check the refund policy of each tour before you book.
Tip #4: Take summer clothes and raincoats
Because the Big Island is tropical, you need to pack summer clothes. However, don’t forget it also rains a lot on the island.
Light raincoats are an excellent idea. If you intend to visit the observatories on Mauna Kea, you will definitely need a jacket.
And if you plan to visit a plush Martini lounge or attend a luau, you should bring something a bit smarter for those special occasions.
Tip #5: Buy traditional local craft souvenirs
If you want to take home something unique, check out the Volcano Art Center inside Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
Over 200 local Hawaiian artists contribute to this store, so you can find and original arts and crafts that will make a unique souvenir of your visit to the Island of Hawai’i.
Restaurants & Eating Out
The Big Island not only has a unique ecosystem with plants not found in the other 49 States, but it also boasts an uninterrupted cultural history.
That means during your stay you have the unique opportunity to taste genuine Polynesian food untainted by European colonial influences.
Because the Big Island is surrounded by abundant marine life, it’s no surprise many restaurants feature seafood on their menus. A popular dish is Opakapaka, which is crimson snapper either steamed, baked or grilled.
Monchong is a deep-water fish marinaded and grilled. Raw tuna is a favorite with the locals and is found in traditional foods like Poke.
Poke is like Japanese Sashimi but with the raw fish served in hearty chunks rather than thin slices.
Something unique to the Hawaiian Islands is luau food cooked in an earth oven called an imu. A tasty example of luau food is Laulau, made with pork, chicken, or fish.
The selected meat is wrapped in taro leaves and then cooked inside the imu for hours until it grows soft with a smoky taste. Delicious!
While many North Americans might consider either bread or potato to be their staple food during meals, on Maui taro is the staple root crop.
Taro is most often consumed as Poi, a thick paste that is either baked or steamed. Poi is slightly sour due to fermentation during its preparation.
And for dessert, why not try some Banana-Apple Fruit, Breadfruit, or Kulolo. Banana-Apple is a common fruit eaten cold or hot. Breadfruit is melon-sized and is served boiled, deep-fried, baked, or steamed.
Kulolo is steamed taro pudding. Yes! Taro is a versatile root.
Nightlife & Entertainment
This Big Island can’t offer the same nightlife and entertainments as Honolulu, but the large quantity of tourists passing through ensure that there are plenty of night spots where you can let your hair down.
Much like the resorts and hotels, the nightlife tends to be clustered along short sections of the east coast and the west coast. On the eastern side, most of the nightlife is found in Hilo. There you will find low key establishments frequented by locals and visitors alike. This is the best area for a quiet night and meeting friends.
On the west coast, the nightlife focuses on Kailua-Kona. There you will find a much larger range of options, from relaxed bars to elegant cocktail bars and lively nightclubs. The beach bars on this side of the island are the best place to witness an amazing sunset while you’re sipping a delicious cocktail.
But while you are in Hawaii, you really should attend at least one traditional luau. That’s a special Hawaiian evening party where you can hear local songs, watch amazing traditional performances, and eat luau foods.
If you go to an organised luau, you can expect a lei greeting, watch the Imu Ceremony (cooking a pig in an earth oven), join in a Hula Dance, and maybe play some traditional games. The highlight is a show by Polynesian performers who re-enact traditional sagas to educate and entertain you about the mythical origins of the Hawaiian Islands.
One of the most popular luaus is the Island Breeze Luau held in an historically significant location — the grounds of King Kamehameha’s Palace in Kailua-Kona. This king was responsible for unifying most of the State of Hawaii into a single kingdom. This luau pulls out all the stops, with an outrigger boat landing, a royal procession, and a fire knife dance.
The easiest and simplest way to get around the Big Island is to rent a car. There are vehicle rental facilities at both international airports. With your own car, you can go where you want to go when you want to go there.
The Hele-On Bus operated by the Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency is an option. However, because of the Island of Hawaii’s relatively low population density and large area, the public bus services are relatively infrequent and don’t go everywhere.
When driving around the island, bear in mind that the speed limits are lower than in the mainland US. Typical speed limits between settlements are 45 mph or 55 mph. When planning your journey, take the lower speed limit and the winding roads into account.
Note there are some locations you cannot reach with a rental car. Your rental contract will most likely forbid you from taking your car to the Green Sand Beach or to the top of Mauna Kea.
If you choose not to hire a car, your best option is to take guided tours to visit the attractions you are interested in seeing. Many guided tours have the option of a hotel pick up, and some tours take you to those locations forbidden to rented vehicles.
Of course, you could also take taxis to visit attractions around the Big Island. This is the most expensive option and not a great choice. The relatively large size of the island and slow journey times means that you’ll pay much more than if you hired a car.
Most visitors to the Big Island stay in one of the resorts. Many of these are clustered on the east coast and the west coast near the international airports.
The accommodation on the east side is centered on Hilo. This is the best place to stay if you’re interested in the beautiful scenery around the Big Island. It is near River State Park, where you will find the famous Rainbow Falls, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, with active volcanoes and rainforests. It is also the best base camp for visiting the summit of Mauna Kea via Saddle Road.
On the west coast, most of the accommodation is found in Kailua-Kona. This is the best location for cultural attractions and beaches. Most of the boat tours, snorkeling tours, and whale-watching tours sail from Kailua-Kona.
If you plan to see everything interesting on the Island of Hawaii, it’s a good idea to split your time between Hilo and Kailua-Kona. I would recommend that you visit Hilo first, since visiting the waterfalls and the volcanoes involves a lot of walking. Then, when you go to the west coast, you can relax on the beaches and boat cruises.
Although the Big Island is small compared to a continent, you will still find several distinctly different climate zones due to the island’s unique geography. The two important factors are the side of the island and the elevation above sea level.
The island can be divided into two sides. The north and east coasts are relatively wet with higher levels of rainfall. The west and south are dry, with very little rainfall. This is because the prevailing wind hits the eastern coast, which is the windward side. As the air hits the island, it is forced up into the tall mountains. This upward movement causes the air to lose its moisture as precipitation.
At the top of the mountains, it’s much cooler than down below. On average, it is around 300F cooler at the top of the mountains than on the coast. You might need to wear shorts and a T-shirt on the beach but a heavy coat and sweater at the top of Mauna Kea.
There are two seasons called winter and summer. In reality, in winter the temperature doesn’t often fall below 650F, and in summer the temperature doesn’t usually rise above 900F. The water on the beaches has an even narrower temperature range between 770F and 830F. The real difference between the two seasons is the level of rainfall.
The dry season is between April and October. The wet season is between November and March, which is winter on the Big Island. However, the west coast sees little rain even during the rainy season. So, if you want to sunbathe, the west coast is best for you.
The Big Island boasts both natural beauty and a rich cultural history. There are many fascinating attractions and activities to enjoy.
As mentioned above, the island is easily divided into an east and a west side. The major natural attractions are to the east. The major cultural attractions, boat tours, and best beaches to the west.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The Island of Hawaii is volcanic in origin. It was created by lava flows from five separate shield volcanoes, two of which are still active. And you can visit these active volcanoes inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The park covers an area of 21 square miles and growing. It’s growing because the volcanoes are spilling lava into the see and expanding the size of the island. The Halema’uma’u Crater is said to be home to Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire. Steam constantly rises from this crater, making it a popular attraction for visitors. One fascinating exhibit is the Thurston Lava Tube which is 20 feet high and 500 feet long.
There are many beautiful valleys on the east coast of the Big Island. Waipio Valley is a popular hiking spot. It is the site of Hiilawe Falls, which boasts a drop of 1,200 feet.
The valley is difficult to access because of steep cliffs inland and the proximity of the sea to the east. It can be reached by road, but this road is one of those the car hire companies do not allow rental vehicles to use. Most visitors get there on foot.
This dormant volcano is not only Hawaii’s tallest mountain, but it is also the world’s tallest. While Everest boasts a higher elevation at the summit, the height from the base of Everest to the top is less than the same distance at Mauna Kea.
This mountain is also where you will find the Mauna Kea Observatory. This is probably the best place in the world to go stargazing. The visitor’s Information Station sits at an altitude of 9,200 feet above sea level. If you reach the summit, that’s 13,800 feet above sea level.
Just like Waipio Valley, car hire companies often do not let their vehicles use the road that leads up Mauna Kea. Therefore, to visit this mountain it is easiest to take a stargazing tour.
Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
This is a fantastic place to learn about ancient Hawaiian traditions. It features a palace complex and a restored temple complete with replica idols carved to replace those destroyed when the islands were converted to Christianity.
There are many things to see in this park, including the royal fishpond, the Keoua Stone, rock carvings, and the landing place of the royal canoes.
This is the best example of a traditional temple on the island. It was built by Kamehameha I in honor of the god Lona. The temple has been fully restored to its former glory so that visitors can appreciate the complexity and unique nature of the indigenous religion.
Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park
If you’re interested in Hawaii’s modern history, this is an essential spot to visit. It’s the location of Captain Cook’s landing and death in 1779. There you will find the Captain James Cook Monument.
This park also encloses Kealakekua Bay, which is one of the Island of Hawaii’s 5 Marine Life Conservation Districts. With its thriving coral and bright tropical fishes, this is a wonderful location for snorkeling and scuba diving.