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Aitutaki Bonefish and Outer Reef Fishing

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    Posted: 01 Dec 2019 at 9:01pm
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I headed to Aitutaki last week for some R&R and to have a crack at catching a bonefish. I’d heard some great stories about how tough and strong bonefish are and given I could count the days I’ve spent flyfishing on one hand, was looking forward to the challenge.

Good mates Al Brown and Jeremy Coombes joined Marie and I on the trip and it was a real cracker. Norman Luxemburg had invited us to stay at the Pacific Resort for the few days and Donna Watson had helped organise the trip from this end. The full story will appear in the February issue of NZ Fishing News but here’s a sneak preview.

Our first day was a self-guided tour of Aitutaki by scooter - a heap of fun and such a great way to get around and see everything there is to see. We then moved to some offshore fishing with Black Pearl Charters and after putting a few football-size YFT in the bin, Al bagged a nice bull mahi-mahi at ~25kg. A bit later Jeremy caught and released a grumpy GT at a similar weight. Nice job lads!

John Donald from Catch fishing had lent me their new 5 piece popper/stickbait travel rod and it’s a ripper. It loads up brilliantly, fits in your suitcase and that one is going to sell well. We also had plenty of ammo in terms of Catch stickbaits and jigs so thanks John! Mike and Mere run Black Pearl charters and along with Leo, they are will really treat you to a great day out.

The bonefish were challenging and mainly because they’re damn hard to spot. Wading the flats requires experienced eyes to identify them and thankfully we had the expert guidance of Rua, Tia and Itu to help us. Without their eagle eyes, it would’ve been a real hit, and more likely miss, type of exercise. They have years of experience spotting these things and enabled even a complete newbie like me to catch and release my first bonefish on the flats.

Al and Jeremy both had good success and we enjoyed two full days of wading the flats and fishing from the boats around the edges of the flats and in the milky water of the deeper parts of the lagoon – the milky colour is a result of schools of bonefish feeding.

All up, Aitutaki excels across a range of fishing options. The bonefishing is now a world class fishery and produces some absolute stonkers. Rua caught one that he estimated was ~17lb the week before we arrived and once hooked, they are like a freight train, and can strip a 100m of line and backing in the blink of an eye. Apparently they have been clocked at over 60km/hr!

Bonefish used to be netted and eaten locally but it’s now is primarily a catch/release fishery and flourishing. We did some quick calcs and economically bonefishing now delivers about NZ$1,000 per bonefish caught and released. Or put another way, that’s 200 times more than when they were sold for about $5 each! It’s a great example of what some sensible direction can do to extract a far better economic benefit to a community – definitely something we can learn from here in New Zealand!

Outside the reef there’s a range of pelagic and reef species but mahimahi, tuna, and wahoo along with marlin are all found in the area. On the Friday before we left, Itu and Rua shot out for a quick morning fish, bagged a dozen yellowfin and a blue marlin and were home for morning tea!

A few pics here but keep an eye out for the February issue of NZ Fishing News...
 
Contact details:

Pacific Resort Aitutaki:  
P +682 31 720

Bonefishing E2’s Way: 
Itu & Kaleena  
Ph:   +682 31 686  

Black Pearl Charters: 
Mike and Mere  
P: +682 31125    





























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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote reel crayze Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2019 at 9:14pm
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Great read, thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote FishMan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2019 at 9:42am
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Good stuff Grant Looks like everybody had a great time. Looking forward to the article
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Grunta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2019 at 9:50am
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Thanks Craig - lots of laughs and some great fishing. This SWFing requires a bit of finesse though - some practice in order for me but definitely something I'm keen to do more of....
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Legacy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2019 at 1:22pm
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Great report
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Jofly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2019 at 8:37pm
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Looks fantastic!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Legacy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2019 at 8:45pm
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Looks like an awesome few days, hope you don’t mind a question, did anyone take an oversize rod tube and if they did was it easy enough with Air Rarotonga?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Grunta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2019 at 9:48pm
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Yes. One rod tube and OK on that occasion. Air Rarotonga are really great to deal with but still have the option to charge for extra bags. Air NZ definitely will depending on your ticket and air points status. I’m running good quality travel rods for those trips because a) the quality is excellent and b) it’s just so much easier than lugging rod tubes about. The 5 piece Catch stick/popper is perfect, I have a CD 3 piece spin pitch bait which doubles as a jig set and a Shimano backbone travel rod 8kg I think it is for soft baiting. Add the Maxcatch SWF set and it all fits in one bag with a few clothes and essentials. Great travel set up.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Legacy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 2019 at 6:55am
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Thank you. Looking forward to reading some reviews on the Catch stickbait/popper rod .
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Grunta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2019 at 10:13am
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Originally posted by Legacy Legacy wrote:

Thank you. Looking forward to reading some reviews on the Catch stickbait/popper rod .
My summary is that I'm going to buy one. It has quality components, loads well, casts for miles and has plenty of grunt. I have a classic Synit 2 piece which is a fantastic rod but not as convenient for travel. Ethan reviewed the Catch rod when he travelled to the Royal Pahang Billfish Challenge 2019 in Rompin - November issue of NZ Fishing News.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Legacy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2019 at 1:35pm
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Thank you ,huge convenience factor with a multi piece rod
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