big island fishing

Fishing in Hawaii - Opah

One of the best things about living in Hawaii is the abundance of tropical fish that call the waters around the island home. We’re not talking only about the reef fish that are found on the reefs and seen while snorkeling, we’re also talking about the delicious deep water fish that are found only in tropical waters, and that we are lucky enough to have available at local grocery stores. One such fish is the Moonfish, or Opah. This odd looking fish is downright tasty, and during a visit to the islands, if you see Opah on a menu while dining at one of our great restaurants, order it!

At first glance, Opah is just weird looking. It’s a flat fish that is mostly deep orange, with red-orange coloring on its fins and around the perimeter of its body. Its large eye is a little off putting and if you catch one while out at sea, it might not be the most exciting catch. In fact, it has a very low consumable weight, with only about 35% of the fish being suited for consumption. This makes it less than ideal for local fishing boats, but due to its high demand in local markets, it is not a prized catch.

Found mostly in deep waters, Opah are often caught while on the hunt for Yellowfin. Due to its propensity for deep water, it is almost required that a Full-Day Fishing Charter be taken, in order to reach the appropriate depths to find the fish. Out in these waters, Opah feeds largely on squid and krill, though it has been known to feed on smaller fish.

The fish itself is quite tasty, and lends well to a variety of cooking techniques. The firm, pinkish meat makes it great for sautéing, grilling, or smoking, and pairs well with a chilled white wine that leans to the sweet side. Simple seasoning and low and slow cooking help to enhance the flavor of the fish, and a nice grilled side like asparagus brings the entire dish together. Trust us, one bite of Opah and you’ll have a new favorite!

If the Moonfish is high on your list of trophy fish to catch while visiting Hawaii, consider a Full-Day Fishing Charter that takes you to the depths necessary to reel one in. These fish are a resident of Hawaiian waters, and if you’re lucky enough to catch one, you’ll have quite the story to share following your trip to the islands.

Due to the high volume of visitors traveling to Hawaii year round, our Big Island tours and Big Island Activities sell out quickly. In many cases, tours sell out weeks or months in advance. To ensure your spots on tour, we recommend reserving your tours today. Call our office or book online to take advantage of our low price guarantee today.