If you’re in the mood to kick back, relax, and try to catch the big one, you cannot go wrong with a trip to the Waimea State Recreation Pier. Set right along the coast of South Shore Kauai, this pier is perfect for pole fishing and crabbing any time of the day. It’s truly at its best right before sunrise and near sunset, however, especially since that’s the optimal time to enjoy phenomenal views.
On top of that, the morning and evening hours often see the most bites, making it a little bit easier to reel in catch after catch. You’re limited to two poles per person, although that’s plenty enough to land dinner for the next couple of nights. You’re not allowed to use spears or fishing nets to bring in your catches, so get used to sitting and waiting patiently for a bite. Don’t leave your fishing poles unattended either at Waimea State Recreation Pier or you could end up in hot water.
You’ll want to use a strong saltwater rod, at least a 15-pound line, and handcrafted lures from island vendors, like Hawaiian Sea Lures. Don’t forget the tasty bait as well. Cut squid, shrimp, and Aku belly work well, although you can definitely get by with anchovies or even bits of cheese. What works one day might not work another, so be sure to chat with the locals to see what the fish seem to prefer at the moment.
While fishing at Waimea State Recreation Pier, you’re likely to reel up Ahi, Uku, Hapuu, Lehi, Ulaula, Kala, and many other saltwater fish species. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a chance to see the legendary Moi fish, which was once reserved for royalty. Since the river empties out nearby, don’t be surprised to see small hammerhead sharks come up on the lines as well.
If you love fresh crab, don’t miss the chance to bring up a couple in your own trap. You can buy traps at the big box stores on the island, like Walmart. You’ll also want a can of tuna, chicken leg, or other stinky treats to put in the traps.
Once you lower your baited trap over the side of Waimea State Recreation Pier and down to the bottom of the water, the crabs will crawl all over the bait. Then, you just have to slowly pull them up and put them in your bucket. Just watch your fingers around the crabs because they’ll firmly latch on and refuse to let go.
While fishing and crabbing at Waimea State Recreation Pier, you should always pay close attention to regulations. To abide by local laws, you’ll need to accurately identify your fish and crab species, compare their sizes to the minimum limits, and avoid taking more than your daily allowance. If you’re unsure what you’re looking at or if it’s a keeper, just ask the nearby fishermen to weigh in.
As you chat up nearby fishermen, you’re likely to make new friends and learn a whole lot about fishing in Hawaiian waters. Don’t forget to ask about their favorite ways to cook their catches, so you can honor the fish and crab by turning them into tasty meals. If you’re feeling up to it, you can even invite your newfound friends over to a nearby park to share a meal.
-Want to go for brackish fish instead? Head over to Lucy Wright Park, which sits just to the east of the pier.
-Want to avoid getting pinched by crabs? Of course you do! All you have to do is grab them by the back legs, so they can’t catch your fingers in their powerful pincers.
-Get your fishing license before you hit the pier or risk getting hit with a hefty fine.
-If you’d like a comfy fishing experience, bring a chair, towel, cooler, and plenty of food and drinks. With that move, you can easily spend hours on the pier trying to reel in the big one.