Go with the "Finest Kind" out of Lahaina. They will treat you right. I went out with them in February and really had a good time. They consistantly were the boat with the most fish day after day while I was there. On the trip I was on, we caught 1 blue marlin, 2 striped marlin and one spearfish. We also caught one mahi-mahi. These guys will do what it takes to get you into fish.
Marlin Mischief is a beautiful boat out of Lahaina. http://www.tombarefoot.com/maui/marlin_mischief.html If marlin is what you are after, beware of the boats that are fishing for the kinds of fish that are marketable to the local restaurants. Generally, the boat keeps the catch then sells it to the restaurants. Mahi is the fish of choice for the local dining establishments not marlin.
You have the right idea to ask for recommended guides. They are not all the same. If you want to fish from Maui make sure you go on a day long trip, not a half day. We made that mistake, was more of a whale watching trip than fishing. I found out later that you need to cruise further out to get to the better fishing & deeper waters (although some fish are caught close in).
The best fishing is off the coast of Kona, Hawaii. I'm not sure if its worth flying to Kona from Maui for a day or not but it may be. I fish from Oahu once a year with Local Hawaii friends but havent caught a Marlin yet! Usually off season, Feb and March when we go. I really want to fish Kona in the summer months one of these years.
Good luck, -Steve
I too recommend "Finest Kind" out of Lahaina (sp?)
For my wife and I it was 3 yrs ago. Ahi and 265# Blue Marlin. Good guys. I liked the owner too (he was our skipper).
Expensive to fish over there. Don't make the mistake of paying a little less and having a lousy day.
Good Luck! Post Pics!!
BTW, if you snorkel and feel safe on a bit of a swim, there is some awesome beach access at Makena to the "five caves" area. We drove down to the beach and I swam out with the turtles and whales...unforgetable experience. e-mail me if you wish.
Contact Kim Miyaki on the Ho'okela out of Lahaina. He and his 1st mate "Chicken Neck" are a hoot and they can really put you into fish. One of the unique things he does is to take you out fishing for your live bait the night before. It actually turns out to be a "social gathering" of all the local skippers and friends. Quite the fun time. By the way, Kim is a graduate of Oregon State and understand how we fish here, so there's plenty to talk about. Tell him "Aloha" from Sunny if you talk to him. Check out his site. You won't be disapointed. I think full day charters run about $700.
Thanks for all the responses guys! One more question, how far in advance should we book the trip. Is it something that we can book while we're there, or should we call ahead a few months? Thanks again!!