Few things are as rewarding as getting some exercise while gathering dinner—spearfishing is a great way to do both. The peacefulness and lack of distractions are amazing—just you, the ocean, and the fish. The Big Island is one of the best places to soak in this unique experience. Here are the top seven fish to spearfish on the Big Island.
Kumu (White Saddle Goatfish)
A member of the goatfish family, Kumu is a personal favorite. Kumu can be quite tame, especially those that are a foot long or less. The bigger ones, though, will need a little bit of stalking on your part to hit. Usually found alone or in small groups, Kumu are an easy fish to headshot. Try to keep your approach at a 45 degree angle. They will sit and watch you for a second, giving you a shot to take them out. You can usually find this fish swimming between and under rocks and reef. Usually a bottom fish, although the bigger ones can be found patrolling the top of reefs.
Kole Tang (Spotted Sturgeonfish)
A member of the tang family, Yellow Eye Kole are a local favorite. Every fisherman will tell you about the Kole's amazing taste and the wonderful sauce it produces when fried in oil. This fish will most likely be the most abundant you will find. Mostly found in schools around the reef, Kole can be easy pickings. Almost any approach will work, just keep your eye on the target. It can be easy to become confused when they're schooling.
Manini (Convict Tang)
Another member of the Tang family, Manini are another easy fish to land. They can be found in small groups or large schools around the reef and boulders. Any approach will work on this fish as well. In fact some might stick around for the second shot, if you miss the first time. At night this is a great fish to hunt. Manini sleep in holes, small caves, and under rock formations. Easy pickings for the amateur night diver.
A member of the sergeant fish family, Kupipi are solitary fish. They are usually found chasing other reef fish away from their territory. Others would pass this fish by in favor of "better" game, but let me tell you this is a delicious fish. It will turn a golden color when pan fried. If you're hungry, and want a easy hit, this one will usually let you take it. At 9 inch on average, you can't go wrong with Kupipi.
Kala (Bluespine Unicornfish)
This fish is both a tang and a sergeant fish. Kala are my favorite big fishes. They can be very tame in certain areas of the island. In areas where they are not, I would recommend a sneaky approach. Try to wait for them to be out of your view. For example, if they go behind a rock, head them off on the other side. You'll have the element of surprise. With this approach, the fish will show its head first, allowing you a head shot from the side.
Commonly known as the striped mullet, the 'Ama'ama can be very elusive. But to a spearfisher, we can go right to them. This constantly migrating fish can be normally found in brackish water. Bays, river mouths, and rivers are usually your best bet for the striped mullet. Mullet can be very docile when making a slow approach. They are also a great fish to hit at night. They sleep swim, so to speak, and are therefore very easy to swim up and hit after the sun goes down.
Uhu (Bullethead Parrotfish)
The parrot fish is probably the most sought after reef fish. With its large size and great taste you'll soon see why. With its vibrant colors this fish makes a great trophy. In fact, when you land your first Uhu, you'll probably take a picture. Usually found grazing on coral, there are several possible approaches to this fish. The first approach is luck. Sometimes the water is so murky you can just swim up on them. The second approach is to stalk them a little. When they're not looking, you make your move and head them off, just like with Kalas. The third and most common approach is the night dive. Uhu like to sleep in caves and under overhangs. They are a very easy fish for their size.
Also check out 7 Beaches to Spearfish on the Big Island