Yes, you can find a charter who will let you flyfish from his boat! Don't expect them to know what needs to happen however. I got lucky and was given contact details for Don Jones, a young charter captain who's been out in Kauai for about 15 years. Knows the Islands waters inside out and backwards, has a great boat and loves light tackle. Most importantly he isn't afraid to try something new and doesn't have a hang-up about the number of dead fish in the ice-box!
We had spoken on the phone before the trip and when I arrived we chatted a bit about the techniqes - bait and switch with teasers, chumming, anchoring a mahi or wahoo to attract the school within range etc. He had taken a few fly guys out before - one chap turned up with a trout rod and spent two hours subduing a three pound skipjack tuna
There were also a few horror stories at the dock about large flies embedded in ears and such like but we quickly established a raport and headed out into bright sunshine and 10 - 20 mph trade winds and 15 ft+ swell.
The State has placed a number of buoys which act as fish magnets at strategic drop off points. On Kauai these are within 5 miles of shore so very little time running before the first rod started to screem then another two. Fifteen minutes later we had four skipjacks up to 6lb each in the boat which we would later use as "bait". The Tuna were there but couldn't be enticed to the surface for a shot with the fly rod although a small yellow fin did oblige to a trolled bucktail deceiver. After a few hours we headed West to another buoy and had our first Mahi strike very quuickly. The next couple of hours were textbook
Using conventional gear we trolled the dead skipjack - Mahi absolutely love taking bites out of fresh Tuna. Get a hook-up and haul it in close to the transom. And here come its pals - 5, 10, 15 at one point there must have been at least 25 "electric blue arrows" homing in on their distressed cousin. A short roll cast with a Trey Combes bucktail Sea Habit in Flying Fish colors and Wham! My first experience with Mahi Mahi and I hope not my last. These guys were all around 15 to 17lb and they do not give up. We did catch the odd glimpse of much bigger singles but they were playing it smart. I was using a 13wt rod and definitely didn't feel over gunned - particularly when you factor in the wind and swell.
A nice Mahi Mahi
My second day out was a replay of the first but the sea was even rougher and we had a close encounter with a Wahoo which made short work of the 300lb leader on the conventional gear. Needless to say, I will be giving Don a call on my trip next year - they pulled in a small marlin the week I was there!