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It should go without saying that I love the ocean. Deeply, passionately, fiercely, and, especially since moving to Hawaii, respectfully. I love to be on the ocean, in the ocean, near the ocean, thinking about the ocean…and so on.

But despite the heaps of time I spend on, in, or near the ocean, I’ve done very little fishing in my life. So when the opportunity arose to go deep sea fishing a few days ago, I was so all over it. It involved some of my favorite things… sun, new experiences, colorful fish, and being in a boat on the ocean. It was a no-brainer.

I was going as a photographer first and foremost. I didn’t actually expect to do any fishing. But, I multitasked! This Gypsy is officially a bottom-fisher (that sounds weird.) I even baited a hook for the first time in my life. (Please don’t laugh at me. It’s not easy to stab a hook through a living, squirming creature. That’s probably why I was able to bait my own hook so easily this time — thankfully, no squirmy worms were involved, just hacked-up strips of squid and fish.)

Maui Fun Charters is one of the few bottom fishing tour companies on the island and they only take out small groups, which for this inexperienced fishergypsy/photographer was essential. The business name says it all — Captain Monroe and crew want you to have fun, and do everything possible to ensure that happens.  (I imagine that being on a crowded Maui fishing boat packed with flailing fish and inexperienced tourists slinging deadly hooks would be something less than fun. Small tours are where it’s at.)

I arrived at Slip 97 at the Maalaea Harbor just as the sun was starting to rise over the boat masts, which was a beautiful sight. Do plan to arrive early… both for the view, and to snag yourself a parking spot (the fishing begins the moment you pull into the harbor. The parking spots go fast.)

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Once everyone was on board and we’d left the docks, Captain Monroe motored down the coast for several miles to find the perfect spot. There were a couple lines with artificial lures set up while we were trolling, and a young guest was stoked when one of them hooked a sparkly blue tuna.

With fancy schmancy modern technology that lets him see where the big fish are on a radar, catching at least something is practically guaranteed. In fact, I was told that they’ve never not caught anything… and usually, they catch a lot. During the ride back to the harbor, the crew fillets the fish and packs it on ice for each tour member to take back to their vacation rental with them (where, hopefully, they have an oven. Otherwise they’ll be eating sushi.) Simple. You hardly even have to get your hands dirty (except for squid slime when you’re baiting your hook. But that’s a minor detail.)

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Someone caught a big fish, which was cause for huge excitement. Reeling it in took forever (I would’ve given up halfway in), but the fisherman — and the net — won.

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I love meeting other local small business owners… especially when the businesses are family-run. Captain Monroe and his brother are the owners of Maui Fun Charters, and they were both born and raised on the island. That’s a level of local I’ll never achieve. I’m always a little jealous when I meet folks that were lucky enough to be born in Hawaii. What an amazing place to grow up!

If I’d been born and raised on Maui, I probably wouldn’t accidentally run over people with my surfboard, or bounce it off unsuspecting locals’ heads. I’d probably be a pro.

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The Marjorie Ann became a part of Maui Fun Charters in 2012, when she was purchased and shipped over from Maryland. She’s a 36′ Chesapeake Bay Deadrise style fishing boat with ample space and plenty of shade. The guys take visitors out on Maui whale watching adventures during the winter months, which I really hope to experience at some point. (Three weeks after moving to Hawaii last February, I was struck with a pretty extreme whale obsession. I possibly know way too many random facts about whales. In another month when the whales return home to Maui, you’ll likely start seeing a LOT of those random facts make their way into blog posts. Prepare yourselves.)

Did you know 50 people standing side-by-side would fit on a whale’s tongue?

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And now, what I’m sure you’ve all been wondering —

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Yes, I caught one 🙂 It was so beautiful! I can’t look at it without cringing a bit. But when you’re on a fishing charter with eight deep-sea-fishing dudes, you fish. End of story.