Hawaii is famed the world over for its saltwater angling, particularly of the pelagic/deep-sea variety. One long-standing option for fishing charters on Maui is Finest Kind Sportfishing. No charter can guarantee bites, but those going into a half-or full-day fishing trip with Finest Kind with the right expectations often have a blast. That said, the quality of the company’s trips can be a bit all over the place depending on a given crew.
Captain Dave Hudson established Finest Kind back in 1972, and still owns and operates the business with a team of captains and deckhands. Charters aboard the 37-foot Finest Kind (the “queen of the fleet”) fishing boat as well as the Reef Hooker and Exact II Bertram 35s leave from Lahaina Harbor in West Maui.
A maximum of six passengers are accommodated. Both private and shared fishing trips of four-, six-, eight-, or 10-hour duration are available, though the company’s sometimes resistant to four-hour trips. That’s not unique necessarily to Finest Kind, given fishing boats have to travel a fair distance offshore from Lahaina to get to the deep water favored by big bluewater gamefish.
Speaking of gamefish, some of the world’s most sought-after are targeted by Finest Kind Sportfishing. That includes the fleet, flashy, and super-tasty ono (aka wahoo) as well as the gorgeous mahi-mahi (dolphinfish or dorado). Yellowfin tuna are often caught as well.
And then there are the mighty billfish, including spearfish and marlin. Striped marlin are a thrill on the line, but nothing beats the excitement of hooking a blue marlin, one of the world’s biggest and most magnificent bony fish. There’s no more legendary saltwater gamefish (aside perhaps from its close relative the black marlin). Huge blue marlin—“granders”—may exceed a half-ton, though most you’d have the luck of tangling with are much smaller.
Good fishing, of course, isn’t guaranteed, though Finest Kind highlights the experience of its guides in seeking out the best spots and conditions. There’s a strong potential for landing nothing at all during hours out at sea, which is important to know before booking a charter. And, on occasion, certain of the company’s crews aren’t the most engaged when it comes to switching baits or tactics, which can be disappointing. So it’s best if you treat the experience as a chance to get offshore and enjoy some on-the-water scenery. Great sunrises are more reliable than gamefish, and winter trips may include glimpses of the humpback whales that winter off Maui.
Many clients have awesome experiences with Finest Kind, and often the captain and crew work admirably hard to try to find fish. Sometimes crew members are somewhat unsociable, though. On shared charters, too, folks may get unequal times on the rods. Again, it all depends on the given crew and, of course, what the fish and waters are doing on that particular day.
A day out on the open sea with Finest Kind Sportfishing can be an unforgettable highlight of your Maui trip, even if you don’t actually catch anything. Maybe you’ll luck out with some biting yellowfin—perhaps even a marlin. Others may find the experience lacking, depending on the crew. Temper your expectations, and you’ve got a decent chance at some first-rate Hawaiian deep-sea fishing!
Another thing to know before signing on to a fishing trip: As is standard on Maui charters, you’re not guaranteed fish to take home, even if you land something yourself. But often Finest Kind Sportfishing provides filets for clients to take home for dinner.