Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of fish do you catch?
The Kona waters are teeming with fish, large and small. The largest are the Marlins and they range from a few hundred pounds to over a thousand pounds. We also have some smaller fish that put up a great fight. These include Shortbill Spearshish, Dorado (call Mahi Mahi in Hawaii), Wahoo (Ono) and Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi). There is some seasonality to the fishing in Kona, so talk with Captain Ryan and he’ll make a plan that will give you the best chance of catching your target species. See our Fish We Catch page for more info.

What should I bring?
We recommend lotion (not spray) sunscreen, towels, lunch and any alcohol you’d like to bring. We’ll provide water and ice. Many bring hats, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing, too.

Do I need a fishing license?
No. Hawaii does not require a fishing license for offshore recreational fishing.

What about rookies and kids?
Tropical Sun Sportfishing is family-friendly. We have hosted tens of professional-level fishermen, hundreds of recreational fishermen and hundreds of people who have never been ocean fishing before. Captain Ryan takes great care to make sure that everyone has a good time, and when the fish strike, he’ll do his best to help you land your fish. For those who do not want to fish, the boat has an air-conditioned interior, satellite TV and WI-FI.

What about seasickness?
The Kona waters are famously calm, being on the leeward side of the Big Island. We seldom have to cancel a charter due to poor weather or rough seas. That said if you have experienced seasickness before you might want to take an over-the-counter remedy prior to coming aboard. Another recommendation is to avoid heavy drinking the night before your charter and to avoid heavy consumption while on the boat. Staying hydrated while onboard also helps.

Do we get to keep the fish?
We have a catch-and-release policy for all billfish that come to the boat healthy enough for release. For other fish, we are happy to cut you some fillets for your use while on the island. This is at the captain’s discretion, however, as a large fish might become unsellable if it is cut. Most charter boats in Kona keep the catch, as this is part of the income of the captain and crew. If you are intent on catching something for your dinner, let Captain Ryan know.

How early do I need to book a charter for Kona fishing?
As soon as possible, if you need a specific day. We often have our high season bookings, for specific days in July and August, several months to a year in advance. Tropical Sun is one of the highest-rated boats in the Kona fleet, so to avoid disappointment, book early.

What are some of the bonuses of fishing in Kona?
The Kona waters are a popular spot for dolphins (year-round) and whales of various species (mostly in the winter). There is a good chance of unexpected wildlife encounters in the Kona waters.