Captain Don’s Sportsfishing

Captain Don's Sportfishing – Experience the Magic of Fishing Off the Shores of Kauai
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

With a trip out onto the ocean with Captain Don’s Sportfishing, you can go head to head with the most powerful marine life around, including marlin, tuna, and mahi-mahi. The captain will provide all the gear and sage advice plus take you to all the best fishing spots off the shores of Kauai.  

- The Local Expert Team

If you’ve always wanted to go fishing out in the open ocean, you definitely need to go on a trip with Captain Don’s Sportfishing. They have both private and shared charters available for guests who want to spend half, three-quarters, or the full day out on the water. On their private charters, they can accommodate up to six guests, while their shared charters don’t hit the water unless they have at least four onboard.

Once you book your spot with Captain Don’s Sportfishing, you’ll need to show up at their boat at either 6 am or 11 am to start your trip. Captain Don’s 39-foot Hatteras boat, lovingly dubbed the Happy Ryder, sits docked at the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor.

Built for a full range of 700 miles, this boat has all the safety gear and electronics you need to have a great day out on the water. Beyond that, its build exceeds the U.S. Coast Guard requirements. On top of that, your captain has a 100-ton master’s license plus training in life-saving and first aid techniques. So, you know safety is a top priority.

Before you leave for the dock, dress for the weather and bring all the beer, food, and drinks you’d like to enjoy throughout the day. The charter crew of Captain Don’s Sportfishing will provide and prepare all your fishing gear, including lures and bait. They also have sodas and ice if you run out plus rain jackets if the weather takes a nasty turn.

Upon boarding the boat, you’ll get a quick tour of the vessel, including a look at where the restroom is, plus a rundown of what to expect. Then, Captain Don’s Sportfishing will navigate the boat to all the top fishing spots and let you plunk your line down in the water.

As you spend time at each spot on the Captain Don’s Sportfishing charter, you’ll have a chance to pull up many different kinds of fish, including marlin, tuna, grouper, red snapper, and mahi-mahi. You might even get a chance to go head to head with a shark if they’re feeling rather froggy that day. The type of fish that bite your bait greatly depends on the month, weather, tackle, and sheer luck.

Expect to spend time tiring out the fish and bringing them closer and closer to the boat before you land them. The crew of Captain Don’s Sportfishing will help you reel in your catch, if need be, giving you a chance to renew your strength before diving back into the fight.

Although you might not want to stop the fight, take a moment to gulp down a beverage and have a quick snack before getting back to reeling your heart out. Don’t worry about missing out on the fun, most deep ocean catches take a very long time to wear out and reel into net range. Once you land your catch, you’ll get to admire its sheer strength and learn about what you brought on board.

After that, the charter crew decides how to divvy up the fish. With Captain Don’s Sportfishing, expect all catches above 25 pounds to remain on the boat, so they can send them to the market. This helps reduce waste and ensures the charter can recoup its costs.

All catches under 25 pounds get cleaned and fileted before they’re split up between all the guests. If you’re on a private charter, you can keep as much fish as you can eat during your visit to the island. When on a group trip, you’re likely to walk away with several different types of fish, depending on what’s biting that day.

Insider Tips:
-If you’re planning on bringing any kids under age 10, consider booking a private trip. Whenever that’s not possible, call the captain to discuss your plans.
-Is seasickness a problem for you? If so, you can get prepared by taking motion sickness medication ahead of time. You’ll also want to avoid going inside the boat’s cabin if possible and just keep your eyes on the horizon whenever you can.
-Want to experience even more oceanside fun? Ask about their whale watching experiences and Napali Coast tours.