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Jun 9, 2010 08:16 AM

Cook Your Catch in Oahu?

planning a fishing trip while in Oahu and was wondering if there are any restaurants that will cook your catch? we are staying in Punalu'u, but will have a car and will travel for food. thnx!

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  1. Make sure you go on a boat that allows you to keep your fish. Most Hawaii sportfishing boats keep and then sell the fish that YOU catch. Some will give you a filet for your efforts though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: baron45

      we get to keep 12 lbs of cleaned fillets. we will have a condo, so I can cook my own, but was hoping to find a restaurant as well.
      thnx for the info on keeping the catch. everywhere I've fished, I've kept my catch when I had a place to cook it or cook myself. when I can't take it all, I leave the rest for the Captain and crew.
      I do however catch and release sailfish and marlin. is that the policy in Hawaii?

      1. re: baron45

        That was my experience on Kauai, too. The crew expected to keep the fish you caught (they also expected a tip, even if they failed to find any fish) and if they decided to let you have a little bit of the fish you caught, they were being generous. The captain told us the crew make their living from selling the fish caught on the sportfishing boats. I think the captains ought to pay the crew enough to make a living. I've not done a lot of sportfishing, but when I have on the mainland, it is assumed you will keep your own catch, unless you decide you don't want to keep it. I found this policy in Hawaii off-putting. Not begruding the crew making a living, I just think they should get paid more so they don't live off sold fish and tips.

        1. re: mwest9

          Perhaps the captain can't afford the high wages. Hawaii living is exorbitant.

      2. You might try Pah Ke's in Kaneohe or similar places. Call and ask if they will prepare your fish for you. Chinese style varies and can include, steamed with black bean sauce, or with ginger, green onions and sesame oil, deep fried with sweet sour sauce, etc. Usually Chinese places are pretty accommodating, especially if you order other things off the menu besides the fresh fish you intend to bring in. Just a thought.

        1 Reply
        1. re: curiousgeo

          thnx for that info. we are fishing out of Waianae Boat Harbor. I plan to ask the Capt as well, but thought I'd check first with folks that know food.

        2. Most of the sportfishing boats cater to tourists who generally don't have either the room or the desire to keep their catch, and shipping it back to the mainland is a hassle with the cooler, the airlines, etc. it's not exactly something you take with you in your carry on luggage, and most hotels are not willing to keep your 60 pounds of swordfish in their freezer while you finish your vacation.

          2 Replies
          1. re: KaimukiMan

            Sure but a lot of fishing charters in other areas will (often for an additional fee) clean, fillet and package your catch and in some cases, cure, smoke and/or can it as you like. A lot of them will flash freeze it and pack it for shipping or in coolers to take home on the plane. I'd be surprised if I didn't get to keep my catch from a charter, although I'd understand if cleaning, packing, etc. was extra (but hopefully they'd tell me up front).

            1. re: akq

              I've fished in Cabo, Bermuda, Cancun, Costa Rica, Fla. Keys and Panhandle, California, Louisiana, and have always taken my catch.
              many places will cook it for you, so my question still stands...????
              if not, you're all invited to my condo as I turn water into wine and pass bread loaves and fish.

          2. Yes, in Hawai'i the catch belongs to the boat, not the fisherman. Don't know if it's law or custom, but that's the way it is. If you don't like it, you can always rent a kayak and see how you do on your own.

            I actually think this is a good thing; the income from selling fish defrays the owner's costs and keeps the cost of a day on the water down. Boats, fuel, parts, and labor are all more expensive on Hawai'i than most other places. I know a few charter captains, and none of them are getting rich.

            If you want, you can always negotiate a deal where you keep your catch. But expect to pay a significant premium. And if you end up with a couple hundred pounds of tuna, you'd better be prepared to figure out how to deal with it - you can't sell it unless you have a commercial fishing license.

            As far as cooking your catch, the best bet is to do it yourself. The state regulates the wholesale fish trade pretty heavily. I don't know the details of those regulations, but my guess is that a restaurant that cooks food brought in by private parties would be exposing itself to potential problems. You can always call and ask, though; even if it's against the rules you may find someone willing to play fast and loose.

            ETA: **of course** the crew expects a tip. They're tipped employees. And if they do their best to get you hooked up, they've earned that tip regardless of whether the fish cooperate. You shouldn't stiff the crew because you get skunked any more than you should stiff a waiter because you don't care for your entree.

            2 Replies
            1. re: alanbarnes

              interesting info, I'm finding charter prices in Oahu to be double for similar trips I've taken elsewhere (including Bermuda). as much as I love the experience, I may just put those $$$ elsewhere and fish where it's friendlier.

              1. re: edible complex

                Not a bad idea. The QPV of a charter out of anywhere on O'ahu is marginal. If you ever end up on the Big Island, though, give it another thought; charters are cheaper and the fishing is better out of Kona harbor.

                Speaking of the Big Island, check out Jim Rizzuto's books on fishing in Hawai'i. He's a great guy - a retired schoolteacher who lives near Waimea on the Big Island. I borrowed a rod and reel from him last time I was Kona side and gave the kayaking thing a shot.

                No luck, but there's always hope. Folks have hooked up with grander marlin a hundred yards from the harbor mouth. Nantucket sleigh ride, anyone?

            2. reply back from the charter:
              "We usually give our guest 15 to 20lbs of fillet. Ko Olina's J.W. Marriott Ihilani Hotel has restaurants that will cook your fish for you. They usually cook the fish a few different ways."

              4 Replies
              1. re: edible complex

                Good to know. Thanks for reporting back.

                1. re: edible complex

                  I like the Japanese restaurant at the Ihilani. The Naupaka Terrace not so much although it is good for breakfast/brunch a nice buffet with great items.

                  Naupaka Terrace Restaurant
                  4331 Kauai Beach Dr, Lihue, HI 96766

                  1. re: edible complex

                    Nephew is a chef at a top Southern Caalifornia hotel and has some guests who come every year to go fishing and have him cook it for them. Everything from sand dabs to swordfish. He won't touch it if it isn't guy left 30 pounds of iced fish in the trunk of his car while he took the kids to Legoland, wasn't happy with the choice of letting the kitchen dispose of it or taking it back.

                    1. re: MRMoggie

                      Hmm thanks for info! We took the kids last fall to Florida spent a few hundred dollars for a deep sea fishing fun trip . Whatever you caught you kept!! Pay a tip for the Crew to fillet it. Best fun was kids throwing the scraps to the pelicans lol

                      We wanted to do a similar trip in Hawaii but to have to leave the fish behind forget it!! Joy of fishing is cooking your fresh caught prize up at the condo especially if were spending $200 or so for a family of four !