Hawaii has a history of micro-fishing, of a sort. During the Summer months, schools of ‘oama, juvenile goatfish, gather in the shallows along coastlines throughout the state. The easiest way to find ‘oama is to look for the people catching them: groups of people of all ages, standing quietly in the shallows with small hand poles, plucking the little fish from the schools with bits of shrimp and depositing them into buckets or bait-keepers. ‘Oama are a prized bait, used for catching the larger reef predators like jacks and barracuda, but they are also desirable as a food item by themselves.
But ‘oama are only the beginning when it comes to the micro-fishing opportunities in Hawaii.
One of the lessons that stuck with me from an oceanography class many, many years ago, was that tropical seas, with crystal clear water, are relatively devoid of life compared to the enormous biomass supported by the more turbid, higher latitude waters. However, what they lack in biomass, they make up for with incredible diversity, usually concentrated around the islands and atolls that dot the tropics like oases in the desert.
We are fortunate to have this variety at our doorstep in Hawaii. A morning trip to the right reef or tidepool can easily yield half a dozen or more exotic species on the end of your line. As far as I can tell, most micro-fishers to this point have been focused on freshwater, but if adding species to your list is a priority then a trip to a tropical saltwater destination should be a priority!
I have visited Florida several times and found the fishery there to be both remarkably healthy and very diverse. I imagine that the rest of the Caribbean is similar.
Hawaii is a bit farther for most US travelers, but the fishing is good, and the views are fantastic. So for any micro-fishers planning a trip to the Islands, send me an email and I will be happy to help you add some colorful sea-life to your Hawaiian vacation: