• Published:April 25, 2013
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When there's no surf, you might as well go fishing.

Hawaii native Stephen Koehne grew up playing in the ocean. But for this young man, it's more than just a hobby. He makes his living as a professional surfer, travelling the world and riding the best waves.
Like many surfers, Stephen also loves to fish and he's making a name for himself out in Hawaii as a burgeoning tuna fisherman. In this interview, Stephen talks about how he got into fishing, why he enjoys the sport and the pursuit of big-game fish.

Growing up in Hawaii, you have some incredible fishing opportunities. How often do you guys go fishing?

The fishing out here can be really good some seasons, and if it is, I just go as much as I can when I'm home and not traveling for surfing. I would say if it's been biting good, I fish maybe three times a week.

What are your favorite types of fish to catch?

I catch all types of pelagic fish, but I sort of target yellowfin tuna the most so that is my favorite fish to catch. They fight the hardest and sometimes are in piles so you can get multiple strikes at one time which is the best thing ever when you're fishing.

Do most of your fellow surfers fish?

A couple of my friends I surf with here also fish but only one other friend of mine that is also a pro surfer, Kamalei Alexander, fishes like I do.
"If I could fish for any species in the world it would be for yellowfin tuna here in Hawaii."
What came first for you, surfing or fishing?

I've been surfing since I was a little kid and I used to fish for bass and other freshwater fish, but I didn't start deep-sea trolling until about four or five years ago when I bought my Jetski and started fishing off of that. I bought my boat after I caught my first yellowfin tuna on my Jetski, a 170-pounder.

If you could fish for any species anywhere in the world, what would it be?

If I could fish for any species in the world it would be for yellowfin tuna here in Hawaii. From what I've heard they are one of the hardest fighting fish in the world pound-for-pound. But I wouldn't mind trying to go fish for bluefin tuna maybe once in my life after watching Wicked Tuna on TV!

So what kind of boat do you run?

I own a 20-foot Force Marine single hull boat powered by twin Honda 50-hp outboards.

When you travel on your surfing trips do you find room for a fishing rod in your bag?

When I was younger I used to travel with a Penn 9/0 and a rod in my board bag. Places like Tahiti and New Caledonia.

Stephen Koehne Surfing/Fishing Promo from stephen koehne on Vimeo.

Do you do much spearfishing?

I used to do a little bit of spearfishing along the inside reefs and then I tried to get gear for deeper diving, but I have a problem equalizing my ears and don't think that I was made to dive. Once I started fishing heavily offshore, I stopped doing much diving.

What's the most memorable fish you've ever caught?

I caught my most memorable fish last year. It was a 251-pound tuna and the biggest of any fish I've caught so far.

That's a nice fish, congratulations. So do you have more footage of you fishing in Hawaii?

People can see more of me on some of my sponsors websites such as Reef Apparel (reef.com) and I'll be trying to document more of my fishing with video clips over the summer.