Ask Capt. Charlie


Frequently Asked Questions of Captain Charlie

What happens to the fish?

One of the biggest differences between our boats and others is our fish disposition policy. We will fillet your catch for you to enjoy for dinner while you are here on Maui. A lot of boats in Lahaina Harbor will charge you to fillet your catch or even worse make you buy the fish from them. One thing we don't get involved with is shipping fish to the mainland. If you want to ship your fish home, you are on your own. There is no canning, processing or packaging of fish in Hawaii. Make sure you understand what the fish policy is before booking any charter in Hawaii. There are some boats that have a policy of all fish are the property of the boat.

Talk to us, and talk to your skipper, so you’ll know what to expect. You are the customer, and whatever you would like to see done with the fish is something you should have a say in. One issue that sometimes offends some anglers is the issue of selling fish, especially Billfish. We acknowledge that Hawaii seems behind the times with its "catch, kill, and sell" mentality, and many ask why things don’t change. However, it is an extremely detailed philosophical issue with roots dating back to ancient days, and the people of Hawaii are reluctant to change in their ways.

That said, we will agree to your request of releasing Billfish (and in fact support the whole concept.)

If you request all Billfish be released and/or would like to take home some "table fish" to eat or share with friends, our skippers ask that you acknowledge the crew is partially paid from the sale of fish and request that some form of compensation that you feel is fair, at least be considered for any hard working crew.

What do you think about boats leaving as early as 2:00AM or 3:00AM?
This type of fishing charter is not for the faint of heart. The boats run for several hours, in the dark, in order to get that ‘first light bite’ that can produce great catches of mahi mahi, tuna and the occasional marlin.

What is included with my fishing charter?
Full , 3/4 or 1/2 day fishing charters include all bait, tackle and ice. The captain and crew will provide everything needed to catch any gamefish. However, if you have a favorite lure or rod you would like to bring, most skippers will certainly oblige.

May I/we smoke?
Yes you may smoke aboard. We just ask that you smoke outside the cabin to be courteous to others on board.

May I/we drink?
Assuming we are taking about alcoholic beverages. Yes, but we do ask that you keep it to moderation for your safety and the safety of others. One note: plan ahead, buy your alcoholic beverages the night before your trip.

What should I bring?
Bring enough food and drinks to keep satisfied for length of your trip. We have plenty of ice and coolers. We also recommend sunglasses, hat, light jacket or long sleeve shirt and sunscreen.


Do I need a fishing license?
There are no fishing licenses required for recreational sportfishing in Hawaiian waters.

How many people can go on the fishing charter?
Most of our charter boats are licensed to take up to a maximum of six chartered passengers plus the captain and crew. This is standard throughout the world for big game fishing. Trolling more than 6 lines at a time can sometimes cause the loss of that  one big Marlin "bite of the day." We do have a couple of boats that can take more than six for combination bottom fishing and sportfishing trips.




What Not To Bring on the Boat - i.e. Bananas  

Are you superstitious? No? Well believe it when we say when it comes to many fishing Captains that they are as bad or worse than baseball players when it comes to special routines they practice or items they carry or forbid. One major item they forbid and that you should NEVER EVER bring on a boat is a banana! No bananas, no banana pudding, banana sandwiches, banana splits, banana drinks, banana boat suntan lotion, no banana anything. It may be an old wives tale, but it's a fact that bananas are bad luck on a fishing boat. History tells us that this tale originated as early as the 17th century from banana laden cargo boats that ran aground, lost crew members to sickness and disease, or became lost at sea. Further investigation indicated that the bananas were also prone carry to the deadly tarantula spider!



What if I'm on a Cruise Ship?
NCL cruise ship passengers in Kahului are able to do a fishing charter on the morning of their second day on Maui, but this will require a rental car and the drive time is about 40 minutes. Lahaina cruise ship passengers are able to do a charter on the morning of your first or second day and the boat leaves from the same harbor where your tender arrives in Lahaina. Another fishing option may be in the port of Kona on the Big Island.



Some of my family don't like fishing, but I want to bring them. What should I do?
Taking people out fishing who would rather be doing something else is most common mistake people make.
LEAVE THEM ON THE ISLAND! Offshore fishing requires patience and a desire to participate in the sport. If you take them out and they get sick and want to go home early, then guess what, you just spent your money for only a few hours of fishing. If you had let them stay home you could have fished all day.

 How should I choose a boat?
Choosing a boat that is right for you depends on the type of boat you like, the gear you want to use, and what you want to do with the fish that is caught.  Another big consideration is the fish catching record of the boat. There are always a few boats in any harbor with equipment that is in need of repair and will fail when  you need it the most. Our reels are rebuilt often and the line is replaced after a long battle with a big fish. We have provided a photos and information about each of our boasts so that you can choose the one that appeals to you most.  Some anglers like rugged macho fishing with no luxuries, while others enjoy a bit of comfort and amenities as well.  If you have a question about a particular boat, please feel free to e-mail Capt. Charlie and he'll get the answer for you.

What are share boat or made-up trips?
Share boat trips are for anglers who don’t have the inclination to book a private charter and would like to go fishing without paying some $600.00 or so. The advantage, of course, is lower cost, but there are several disadvantages. First, share trips generally do not go unless the boat is able to get four or more passengers to go along. So, if you are on a tight schedule, there is a possibility the trip might not happen on the day you wanted to go fishing. It’s also difficult to go on the specific boat you wanted because private charters tend to take priority. Second, when fishing is slow, there are times when only one or two fish are hooked up. With rotational watches on the rods, it may mean you won’t get to fight the giant Marlin or big Ahi that strikes the lures, and you may feel a little bit left out if this happens. Still, a day on the water and witnessing the catching of a big fish firsthand is pretty exciting, too. Third, personalities at sea tend to differ greatly. Some people may become ill and want to go home just as the bite picks up or maybe have a little too much to drink, creating a tension on board between those who want to stay out and those who want to go home.

What is the difference between a full day, 3/4 day and 1/2 day fishing trip?

Full Day Charter (8hrs)
The full day charters are always the most productive and highly recommended by Capt. Charlie. This sport fishing trip takes you to the deep waters and buoys (FAD's) located outside the islands. You will have the most chance of catching because of the amount of time of the trip. This is the most popular trip for Pacific Blue Marlin. Many people return again and again to go and catch their trophy fish. You will fish for Marlin, Mahi-mahi, Ono and Ahi (Yellowfin Tuna.

3/4 Day Charter (6hrs)
This sport fishing trip takes you to deep waters behind Lanai or Molokai. Weather conditions and fish location will make our choice as to where we will be fishing each day. This trip is also very productive at times when the fishing is closer in. You will be fishing for Marlin, Mahi-mahi, Ono and Ahi (Yellowfin Tuna.)

1/2 Day Charter (4hrs)
This fishing trip is concentrated in the sheltered waters of  Maui, Molokai and Lanai.  This four hour trip is more productive in the spring and summer. You will fish mainly for Mahi-mahi, Ono and Ahi (Yellowfin Tuna.)  When the fish are inside at some times of the year this can be a good trip even though you only will be out for four hours.

Do I need to bring tackle?
All of Maui Sport Fishing boats provide tackle, bait, ice and coolers to keep your beverages. However, if you have a favorite lure or rod you would like to bring, most skippers will certainly oblige.

What should I wear?
Dress as though you were going to work in the garden on a hot summer day. T-shirts and shorts, a light baseball type hat, polarized sunglasses, and preferably deck type shoes are perfect for your day on the water.

Is there a bathroom on the boat?
Yes. We have a comfortable and clean heads (bathrooms) on the boats.

What if I want to have my fish mounted?
Maui Sport Fishing boats will be happy to start the process of having your trophy mounted. Most saltwater species of fish, including blue marlin, are not mounted using the skin of the fish. The mounts are made of a fiberglass replica mold using some parts of the fish. The size is determined by measurements taken from the fish. Your fish may be mounted by both taking measurements of the fish at the time of the catch, and then releasing your fish, or by taking the measurements on the dock. Be sure and let the captain know of your intentions in advance of catching your fish so he can take the appropriate actions.

What if we don't catch any fish?
It is a simple fact of life that all fishing places, no matter how good or how many stories have been written about them, sometimes don't produce fish on a given day. Some people feel there should be a guarantee in chartering a boat, however, what customers are paying for is the opportunity to be on a boat with an opportunity to catch a large fish and the story of a lifetime. We believe our angling customers should enjoy the beautiful scenery, the color of the water and the sky, the camaraderie with the crew, and the good fortune they have for being on the water in Hawaii with the opportunity to catch a record fish at any moment. However it is very seldom that anyone gets upset over failing to catch any fish if the crew did everything they possibly could to catch fish. If the crew shows us a good time and gives us a chance to catch fish, that's all we ask for.

What about food and drink?
Bring all of your food and drink aboard with you. You will need to purchase these items the day before because the stores aren't usually open that early in the morning. (Except Safeway in Lahaina) Cans are better than glass for drinks (glass is dangerous on boats.) For a charter boat to serve food would require a special State License which would add to the cost of the fishing trip. All our boats will have coolers to keep your food and drinks.

What about Seasickness?
We advise our customers who are unsure about Seasickness to take a seasick pill the night before the charter and another one hour before the charter. Be sure to read the labels. Certain pills have warnings and not all people should take them. Most people think Bonine® is the best pill form, over the counter remedy.  Highly recommended! Don't let a doctor or pharmacist talk you into any other kind of pill form. There are no others that are "just like Bonine®". There's little to no side effect. The biggest mistake people make with pill form remedies is that they take their first dose either right before or right after stepping on the boat. That's too late! It is highly recommended taking one dose of Bonine® the night before your trip and another dose in the morning when you wake up. Always check with your Doctor first.


What kind of sunscreen should I bring?
You will also want to bring your own sunscreen. We recommend a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher as the Hawaiian sun is very strong, especially on the water.  Also, a tip from Captain Charlie: Tanning oil on a boat is very dangerous and should be saved for the beach. Nobody wants to try to hold on to something and find themselves in the drink because there was oil left on that part of the boat from another passenger.

What address should I use in my GPS to find the harbor?
Lahaina Harbor: 648 Wharf St. Lahaina, Hi.96761

Ma'alaea Harbor: 390 Ma'alaea Boat Harbor Rd. Ma'alaea, Hi. 96763

What about tipping?
We are in the service business and our goal is to exceed our customers expectations. If you feel your Captain and crew has done a good job for you on your fishing charter, tipping is always appreciated. Consider this: You go out to a nice restaurant and have a good meal and friendly waiter. Do you leave them a gratuity? You get in a cab and drive into town. Do you tip the driver? A bell boy takes your bags to your room. Do you give him a little something? These people spend 5 to 15 minutes with you. It amazes me to watch people have a great time catching fish or not catching fish; seeing whales, dolphins, manta rays, green sea turtles and other wonderful wildlife while the Captain and crew spend 4 ,6, or 8 HOURS with them answering questions and trying their hardest to catch them the fish of a lifetime. After all this time spent, many people walk away without leaving them a dime! The Captain and crew are no different than a good waiter at a restaurant. They rely on gratuities, fish money and basic wages to survive. PLEASE don't just walk off with a hearty handshake. There is no gratuity built into the cost of your trip so be respectful and generous if you've had a good time! Like restaurants, tipping should be considered only when service is good or exceptional. If the boat is clean, and in good condition, and the crew are courteous, friendly and place you in a position which gives the appearance you are about catch fish at any given moment should be your guide as opposed to the final result. We recommend tipping in the range of 15 to 20 percent of the charter rate if you feel the service received was appropriate.

What do I need to bring for the charter?


  • Sunscreen

  • Sunglasses

  • Hats

  • Light Jacket

  • Most boats in Hawaii do not supply food, so bring anything you want to eat while fishing.

  • Drinks (Alcohol is OK, but no bottles.
    Cans only. You will need to purchase the night before.)


  • Bananas (They are bad luck!)

  • Coolers (We have coolers full of ice)

What is the cancellation policy?
There is a 72 hour cancellation policy. Should you fail to cancel outside 72 HOURS of your scheduled charter, your card will be charged the full amount of the charter.

This cancellation policy is set by the charter provider.
Cancellation Service Fee: No (0%) Cancellation Service Fee is applied for cancellations made outside of the above cancellation policy set by the charter provider.

  • If the captain cancels due to stormy weather and dangerous conditions, there is no charge for the day(s) and a full refund for the day(s) in question will be given. If availability allows it, the angler may choose to reschedule the charter.

  • If the captain suggests canceling the charter due to inclement weather and the angler insists on going, no refund shall be given even if the boat only spends a short time at sea.

  • Note: there are no cancellations due to rain, since the rain in Hawaii usually consists of localized squalls that come and go.


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