Slide-bait Fishing - Hawaiian Style

Shore casting has always been a popular way to fish on the Hawaiian Islands among the locals and visitors. Fishermen here established a distinctive way of going after the giant trevally, or ulua as it is called in the islands. This is the most sought after shoreline game fish in Hawaii. One of the strongest fighters in the ocean, the average weight of this fish is around 25 pounds. Hawaii fishermen are after the trophy sized game which could be over fifty pounds.

In catching the ulua, the method used is called “slide-baiting.” If you want to go out and try this method, double check in the mirror to see if you’re an expert fisherman. You want to equip yourself with rods that are up to 14 feet long. Be prepared with open-faced reels, local shore casters fish for ulua mainly at night and under the right moon. The moon phase plays an important role in deciding where to fish. Although these fish will bite at any time, overnight fishing during the right moon phase is the most productive way to catch the kind of game you want.

Experts in this area of fishing use reels filled with #60-80 fishing line as a standard when slide-baiting. Nevertheless, there are many different factors to consider when selecting the proper setup and deciding where you will be fishing. Casting baits from a nice, sandy beach has a totally different setup than slide-baiting off the side of a cliff. Make sure you are also strong, because when one of these fish are hooked you have to struggle and fight for a few minutes or longer, depending on the size of the fish. Sandy bottom spots with no underwater places to hide are ideal because you can just let the fish tire itself out. However, a rocky shoreline can present problems when you’re reeling it in. Fish like to swim and hide into caves and more fish are lost due to cut lines on jagged rocks than anything else.

The big advantage to this style of fishing is that you are able to use large one to two pound baits of whole octopus or live fish. Most local fishermen will run more than one pole at a time, the more poles means greater odds, usually three is the average. Another plus with this system is that you are able to slide multiple baits without recasting. Be aware that the action while fishing for ulua can be very slow to keep yourself occupied yet focused on the task at hand. Even the most persistent and knowledgeable fishermen may catch only a dozen of these fish in a year. This style of fishing hasn’t changed very much over the years except for the introduction of stronger more durable materials used in today’s rods.