9 Biggest Fish in Hawaii – Titans of the Pacific

9 Biggest Fish in Hawaii - Titans of the Pacific

Throughout my years as an angler, I’ve battled many fish in the open waters. One such battle happened in Hawaii’s deep blues. I was chasing shadows when I hooked onto a behemoth I’ll never forget the elusive Marlin. Hours into the stand-off, I was worn out, but as I reeled in the beast, I was awestruck by the creature’s sheer power and beauty.

That encounter sparked a fascination with Hawaii’s marine life that has persisted for years. Hawaii, a tropical paradise and angler’s haven is home to some of the biggest and most breathtaking fish species. Let’s dive beneath the waves and uncover the 9 biggest fish that inhabit Hawaii’s waters.

1. Pacific Blue Marlin (Makaira nigricans)

The Pacific Blue Marlin is one of the largest and most iconic fish in Hawaii’s waters. They’re renowned for their strength and size, with males reaching up to 14 feet long and females a whopping 16 feet.

A Majestic Sportfish

When you mention fishing in Hawaii, the first image that likely comes to mind is the Pacific Blue Marlin. With their towering dorsal fins and long, spear-like upper jaws, they’re an iconic symbol of deep-sea sportfishing. Their strength and tenacity make them a highly sought-after trophy fish for anglers.

Curious about record-breaking catches? Learn more about the biggest blue marlin ever recorded and discover the fascinating world of ocean giants in the article.

Conservation Efforts

Despite their popularity in sportfishing, measures are in place to protect the Pacific Blue Marlin population from overfishing. Catch-and-release is promoted, and commercial fishing is regulated to ensure the species’ longevity. Indeed, the thrill of the catch is only enhanced by knowing these spectacular creatures can live to fight another day.

2. Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares)

Yellowfin Tuna (1)

The Yellowfin Tuna is a sight to behold. As one of the largest tuna species, they can reach lengths up to 8 feet and weigh over 400 pounds.

The High-Speed Hunter

Yellowfin Tuna are impressive hunters. Their streamlined bodies and powerful tails allow them to reach speeds up to 50 mph. This speed, coupled with their razor-sharp vision, makes them an apex predator of the open ocean.

Culinary Star

Apart from their size and speed, Yellowfin Tuna, also known as ‘Ahi’, are highly prized in culinary circles. Their firm, richly flavored meat is a cornerstone of traditional Hawaiian poke bowls and high-end sashimi dishes.

3. Shortfin Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus)

Swimming with speed and precision, the Shortfin Mako Shark is the cheetah of the ocean. They can grow up to 12 feet long and are one of the largest predatory sharks in Hawaii.

Record-Breaking Speeds

The Shortfin Mako Shark holds the title for the fastest shark, clocking in at 45 mph. Their slender, torpedo-shaped bodies and crescent tail provide the perfect architecture for speed, making them formidable hunters.

Mako and Humans: A Tense Relationship

Despite their impressive speed and size, Makos face threats from human activities. They’re often caught for their meat and fins, and sportfishing puts additional pressure on their populations. Conservation efforts are paramount to ensure their survival.

4. Broadbill Swordfish (Xiphias gladius)

Broadbill Swordfish (Xiphias gladius)

Next up is the Broadbill Swordfish, an ocean gladiator renowned for its elongated, sword-like bill. They can grow up to 15 feet long, making them one of the largest predatory fish in Hawaiian waters.

Dive into the realm of incredible world records for broadbill swordfish and explore the remarkable aquatic feats highlighted in the article 9 Biggest Fish in Hawaii.

The Night Hunter

Unlike most species, the Broadbill Swordfish is primarily a nocturnal hunter. As the sun sets, they ascend from the deep ocean, using their ‘sword’ to slash at schools of fish, stunning or injuring their prey.

Fished for Ages

Historically, the Broadbill Swordfish has been a highly sought-after species. Ancient cultures revered them, and today they continue to play a vital role in commercial and recreational fishing. However, strict regulations are in place to prevent overfishing.

5. Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)

Tiger Sharks, the ‘wastebaskets of the sea,’ are impressive creatures. Named for their distinctive tiger-like stripes, they can grow up to 14 feet long.

Fearless Feeders

Tiger Sharks aren’t picky eaters. From fish to other sharks and even inanimate objects, they’ll consume almost anything, earning them their ‘wastebasket’ nickname.

Interaction with Humans

While Tiger Sharks are one of the shark species most likely to bite humans, such incidents are relatively rare. Instead, we should appreciate these magnificent creatures from a safe distance and work toward their conservation.

Embark on a thrilling exploration of aquatic giants to discover the Biggest Fish Caught in Alaska, then dive deeper into the wonders of the ocean with the 9 Biggest Fish in Hawaii.

6. Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)

Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) Fish in Hawaii

The Whale Shark takes the crown as the largest fish, not just in Hawaii but the entire world. These gentle giants can grow up to a staggering 40 feet in length.

Gentle Giants

Despite their enormous size, Whale Sharks are remarkably gentle. They cruise the ocean’s open waters, feeding mostly on plankton and tiny fish. Their large mouths can open up to 5 feet wide, filtering enormous amounts of water for food.

Conservation Status

Regrettably, the Whale Shark is listed as endangered due to overfishing and accidental capture in fishing gear. It’s crucial to support initiatives aimed at protecting this magnificent species, ensuring future generations can marvel at their grace and size.

7. Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

Great White Sharks are probably the most recognized shark species worldwide. These formidable predators can reach lengths up to 20 feet.

Apex Predator

Known for their power and size, Great White Sharks are true apex predators. Despite their fearsome reputation, they’re key players in maintaining the health of our marine ecosystems by controlling populations of other marine animals.

Misunderstood Creature

Popular culture often portrays Great Whites as mindless killers, but they’re quite the opposite. They are intelligent, curious, and vital to our oceans. Conservation efforts and education are key to changing public perception about these crucial marine predators.

8. Great Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda)

With their torpedo-shaped bodies and razor-sharp teeth, Great Barracuda are formidable hunters. These striking fish can reach up to 6 feet in length.

The Silver Sprinter

The Great Barracuda is a sprinter of the ocean. They rely on their burst of speed to catch their prey, which includes fish, octopuses, and, occasionally, crustaceans.

An Underrated Beauty

Despite their somewhat menacing appearance, Great Barracudas are a sight to behold. Their shiny, silver bodies shimmer underwater, and watching them in action is an unforgettable experience.

9. Giant Trevally (Caranx ignobilis)

Giant Trevally (Caranx ignobilis) Fish in Hawaii

The Giant Trevally, known locally as ‘Ulua,’ is a prized catch for any angler. They can grow up to 5.5 feet long and weigh over 150 pounds.

The Powerful Predator

The Giant Trevally is a powerful and aggressive predator. They’re known for their spectacular hunting strategy where they often launch themselves out of the water to catch birds mid-flight!

A Fisherman’s Prize

Fishing for ‘Ulua’ is a popular sport in Hawaii. They’re revered not just for their size, but also for their fighting spirit, making landing one a significant achievement.

From the west coast to Paradise, explore the 8 Biggest fish in California and dive into the captivating realm of ocean behemoths in the article.


What is the biggest fish species found in Hawaii?

The biggest species is the Pacific Blue Marlin, which can grow up to 14 feet long and weigh up to 1,800 pounds.

What is the largest shark species in Hawaii?

The largest shark species in Hawaii is the Tiger Shark, which can grow up to 16 feet long.

What is the largest reef fish in Hawaii?

The Giant Trevally (Ulua), can grow up to 5.5 feet long and weigh up to 176 pounds.

What is the largest native freshwater fish in Hawaii?

The O’opu naked can grow up to 18 inches long.

Are there any large fish species endemic to Hawaii?

Yes, there are several, including the Hawaiian Grouper (Hapu’upu’u), which can grow up to 3 feet long.

What is the largest fish in Hawaii that is safe to eat?

The largest one that is safe to eat is the Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi), which can weigh up to 400 pounds. However, it’s important to note that larger species may contain higher levels of mercury.

What is the largest fish in Hawaii that can be caught from the shore?

The Giant Trevally (Ulua), can grow up to 5.5 feet long and weigh up to 176 pounds.

Final Words

The ocean is a world of giants, and Hawaii’s waters are home to a remarkable array of these enormous creatures. From the majesty of the Whale Shark to the swiftness of the Great Barracuda, these fish tell a story of a world beneath the waves, a world as fascinating as it is fragile. 

As we marvel at their size and beauty, let’s remember the role we play in their survival. Responsible fishing, conservation, and respect for these creatures will ensure that Hawaii’s waters remain a haven for these magnificent sea giants.

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