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cook islands GT's

Printed From: The Fishing Website
Category: Destinations
Forum Name: Rarotonga/Aitutaki
Forum Description: Rarotonga/Aitutaki destination and travel info, advice and trip reports here
Printed Date: 06 Dec 2021 at 8:27am

Topic: cook islands GT's
Posted By: alan syme
Subject: cook islands GT's
Date Posted: 03 Sep 2012 at 7:27pm

GT fishing in the cook islands, south pacific.

i am lucky enough to live here and thought i would share a few photos with you to promote the fishing here.

rarotonga, the main island of the cooks is a 4 hour flight from auckland, nz, or 6 hours from sydney, aus.

cook islands has 15 islands and a whole heap of GT's.

the fish in these images are the smaller ones that got landed, there are plenty of massive ones around that i have hooked but been destroyed by hence no photos of them!

to be honest i have not had a high conversion rate of success as most hook ups end in bust offs. but it is still so much fun!

the GT being hand fed is wild and is one of 3 that regularly come into the main wharf together on the island of rarotonga, the tuna frame in the photo was from a 7kg yellowfin so that gives you an idea of scale/size.

the best options for a balance of reliable access and fishing are the islands of aitutaki and atiu in the southern group, aitutaki in particular has good charter options both inside and outside the lagoon.

based on the photos i have seen from oman, new caledonia, coral sea etc, the fish in these photos are small in comparison, most of the best terrain is real tiger country but the local GT's very readily hit poppers and stick baits and are abundant in numbers. 

there are some big fish here that have never seen a lure, some of the outer islands in the northern group only get visited by a ship 4 times a year. locals do not generally fish for or eat the GT's due to the high risk of ciguatera that is prevalent here. (they do eat them on occasion as by catch) 

the country is very safe, clean and relatively cheap. currency is nz dollar, all normal western amenities, banking, services, internet, food, medical products etc are available, access is easy and english is widely spoken.

Some useful websites:                                                                                 " rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -  

or google search rarotonga, atiu, aitutaki

Posted By: deacs
Date Posted: 03 Sep 2012 at 8:52pm
That looks awesome Alan, going over in september next year and can't wait, will be taking some fishing gear.
Will make sure i look this thread up closer to the time Thumbs Up

Posted By: Skoti
Date Posted: 04 Sep 2012 at 12:53am
Nice , hopefully will be going over next year . Haven't been to any of the outer islands but have been to Raro three times .
On another note , are you related to Ronald Syme , author of "the laggon is lonely now " ?
( One of my favorite books Smile )

COVID is no joke !
One former patient was so brain damaged after , he thought he won an election he lost by 7 million votes .

Posted By: BananaBoat
Date Posted: 04 Sep 2012 at 8:27am

What rod & reel are you using.

Is it all hard bait fishing... are you using livies as well

Posted By: hogdog
Date Posted: 04 Sep 2012 at 11:27am
Nice fish Alan, I tried to get hold of the guys number you gave me but had no luck, we did a day with Seafari but no luck had a good week, weather was better than NZ at the moment too

Posted By: Red Hunter
Date Posted: 04 Sep 2012 at 6:21pm
Wow mate , what a great report , some very nice GTs there , once those dam fish get into your blood , thats it , Thumbs Up

Posted By: alan syme
Date Posted: 04 Sep 2012 at 6:34pm
hogdog, pupuke was sick recently so probably why you could not get hold of him, never mind.

bananaboat, almost 99% of the gt fishing i do is on poppers or stickbaits. one of the fish in the photos was taken on bait at night time in the lagoon. in my opinion, can't beat the visuals, explosive strikes and adrenaline rush of popper or stick baits for gt's. my main gt gear is shimano caranax long cast popper rod and shimano saragosa 18000, soon to be upgraded to stella 18000, jig gear jigging master ocean god 400 and jigging master pe6.

skoti, yes i am related to ronald syme the author, not sure how but dad tells me i am (distant i guess). get to the outer islands, different world compared to raro and the fishing is way better that raro for all species, especially gt's.

red hunter, yep i am way addicted to gt's.

deacs, cheers.

Posted By: tightlines2
Date Posted: 05 Sep 2012 at 11:50pm
Go Mike on Black Pearl chartersClap, I'll be back Mike, and I want a GTSmile

Remember it's not the number of breaths you take that is important in life, but rather the number of times that life takes your breath away.

Posted By: bonefish
Date Posted: 24 Oct 2012 at 3:17am
Just returned to the UK having had 2 weeks after the elusive Bonefish of the Island.

The fishing was hard the Bonefish noted for their absents on the flats.
Even Itu couldn’t find them and resorted to putting a small weight onto the fly lines and dragging the fly along the bottom of what he called the milk the deeper water in the centre of the lagoon.

We did managed to pick up a couple in 6-8lb range using this method, and I had a much bigger fish according to Itu, but after a unstoppable run of about 175meters my backing for some unknown reason had looped itself under the rest of the backing on the reel. In over 30 years of fly fishing and 12 years of chasing Bones all over the world I have never had this happen to me before, the 20lb leader just snapped like cotton when everything seized up.
My fishing buddy did manage to get a GT on a popping rod that went 15 kilo but he was well cuffed as it was the first GT he had caught.

We had 2 days with Itu and 2 days with Butch Leone.
What a character that guy is his fishing platform is not as bad as it looks and is in fact quite comfortable. Butch only wades the flats and is a purest when it comes to fly fishing for Bones and during the 2 days we had with him he managed to find us just 2 Bones and both of those were beyond our casting distance .

We also had a couple of days out with Mike on the Black Pearl although he is mainly a lure and bait fishing man it is well worth while taking your 12 weight out with you as he is quite willing to let you have a crack at Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Yellow Fin Tuna and the Giant Trevally,On the fly.

In all it was a good trip even if it was a bit short on fish it was made up for by the beauty of the island and the friendliness of the people.

We stayed at Ranginui's Retreat which is right on the beach but at 100$nz at night 2 sharing is very basic a bed a microwave a 2 ring hob and a shower. You will need to cater about a 100nz a day for food, unless you are going full board. A beer a main course and a sweet at the Boat Shed will set you back about 50bucks.
If you require any more info let me know.

Posted By: AndyK-22
Date Posted: 24 Oct 2012 at 8:56am
Beautiful stuff!!! 

Can't wait till I get there and experience it myself

Posted By: KingySlayer
Date Posted: 09 Nov 2012 at 9:35pm
Hey Alan we are booked in for the Main Island of Raro in October for my sisters wedding so that means when we ant at that we will be trying to hunt down some GTs. Basically wanting some inside info into whos who over there in the GT world. What in your knowledge/experience is the best boat or boats to charter? Looking for a starting point here as we have 12 months but we all know that will go fast. Cheers Alan


Posted By: alan syme
Date Posted: 12 Nov 2012 at 6:10pm
hi kingislayer,

almost all the charter boats here fish via trolling for mainly for tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi and then also a bit of marlin. 

not many are interested, set up, have the equipment or suitable boats for catching gts consistently. aitutaki has several operators that do it.

bring your own gear, poppers/stickbaits, rods and reels as it is more than likely that the charter you go with will not have them, or the gear may or may not be up to the task of landing a decent gt.

pupuke robati runs a centre console 8m boat that has plenty of casting space, this guy knows alot about fishing and knows heaps about gts, he has fished in new calendoia etc for them and is up to date with techniques etc required. he does not have a website but his phone number is +68275783, or when you get here ask for him, everyone knows him. he is a fisherman for a job and takes charters also so he spends 7 days a week on the water and has done so for many years.

other good options for gts in my opinion are bluewater adventures, kyle mathieson

hope this helps,

see you

Posted By: KingySlayer
Date Posted: 13 Nov 2012 at 7:36am
Cheers for that Alan. So we have found out the wedding is being help in Rarotonga and looks like we will be staying in the "MURI" area of Raro. So from reading above our best bet is to some how get over to Atutaki and chase some GTs that way? We will be bring a load of our own gear. But was thinking only gear for the GTs as I am not sure on the Jigging there? Wouldnt mind giving a Doggy a crack.

I know this is all a bit vague as its early stages yet but just want to get an idea and lock this in to give chasing some amazing fish a crack.

Thanks Alan


Posted By: alan syme
Date Posted: 13 Nov 2012 at 8:00pm
there is dogtooth present also in raro and aitutaki, but they are not a consistent catch but can be jigged for.

on the island of aitutaki gts are much more plentiful than the island of rarotonga.

Posted By: KingySlayer
Date Posted: 13 Nov 2012 at 9:33pm
So your recommendations is to travel to Aitutaki if we can?


Posted By: bonefish
Date Posted: 03 Dec 2012 at 10:05pm
Hi Alan we had a great time on Aitutaki IMHO the most beautifal island on the planet.
I have a mate who is thinking of going but he only fishes flys for the GT's. Mike is a great guy but mainly fishes bait or lures and whilst we caught a GT on a popper with E2 he is a bonefish guide any suggestions would be helpful.

Posted By: herby
Date Posted: 07 Dec 2012 at 6:06pm
I got back from Atiu last monday, LOTS of trevally there (we speared at least four different species including GT to 30kg) they were in very shallow, as in less than a metre.... or out waaaaay deep (30+m). 
Got out to Takutea island one day and were totally blown away by what was there. Lot of GTs and bluefin, but sharks were an issue.
Atiu = 10/10 as a place to visit.

Posted By: herby
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2013 at 5:23pm" rel="nofollow -

Posted By: Mullins
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2013 at 8:03pm
But did you land the yellowfin? Or the shark, for that matter?

Posted By: herby
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2013 at 9:02pm
You'll have to wait for the full version.

Posted By: alan syme
Date Posted: 09 Apr 2013 at 10:05pm
hi guys,

sorry for delay on just checked this thread again after a long time....

kingyslayer, yes aitutaki is good for gts.

bonefish, e2 will happily guide for gts if thats what the customer wants instead of bonefish, via fly or popper.

herby, glad you liked it, aitu is an awesome place, i love it. you are very lucky to make it out to takutea, i have been trying for 3 years and have not managed it yet! too good.

Posted By: ancient mariner
Date Posted: 05 May 2013 at 7:03pm
Hi guys

Just got back from the Cooks, spent week in Raro then week in Aitutaki.
For fishing recommend the latter, and the place in pristine!

Fished on Foxy Lady with Jason, think he is cousin of Mark's (Black Pearl)
$180 for 1/2 day, only myself fishing!
Anyways mainly chasing YF tuna, but no luck, yet end of day had half dozen casts into reef and got nice GT (approx. 20-25kg)
Was stoked as with that, and would highly recommend Jason!

As far as accommodation goes, would suggest Samade, east of the airport, Ned will look after ya!
Puffy's is the place to eat, 2 large fish and chip meals, and 4 double bourbons was $42!
Her fish was amazing.

Now is the time to head there, they recently landed a 440kg blue!

Posted By: Peter. C.
Date Posted: 28 May 2013 at 1:11pm
I saw those GT's being fed at the wharf in March, really impressive fish. Can only imagine what it must be like to be connected to oneCool

Posted By: herby
Date Posted: 10 Jun 2013 at 2:38pm

Posted By: Dnasurfer
Date Posted: 10 Aug 2019 at 6:56am
went fishing in rarotonga- which was fantastic- managed to get a Wahoo as it was in season, on the Blue Marlin Charters
i saw Gts in the harbour (akura) and Mauri Lagoon (outside mooring Cafe) but note to the Wise- these things are ppls pets, so poppers and top water stickballs won't work as they get feed the good stuff from the locals.
If u are that keen , a decent Assist Hook 12/0 With some generous size tuna chunks would be the go- u have to burley up a lot but they will come.
Bait, u can get at the Ocean fish shop - (off cuts are around $15 a kg) which is mostly tuna.
Happy fishing

Posted By: Fishb8
Date Posted: 15 Jul 2021 at 10:48am
Hi Alan

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken

Posted By: Fishb8
Date Posted: 15 Jul 2021 at 10:57am
Hi Alan
Off to Raro for our 5th time in 2 weeks, for 2 weeks. Staying at Sunset Palms, Arorangi.
  Going to take a trout rod and a 15kg travel spin rod. Have a Stella 400 with 30 lb Tasline. Going to take a couple of poppers and a bunch of small spinners. Have caught bluefin trevs off the reef edge. 
Might try the harbour.
Went out with Pupuke (and Moko) on our first trip to Raro and got 2 x Wahoo as in above photo. Both just alongside the runway and we had to manoeuvre around a cruise ship!
Any tips for maybe a charter. Is Pupuke still fishing?
Also went out with a guy in a small outrigger boat with 50 HP Honda from near the Black Rock area and jigged a 15 kg doggie.
Any tips?

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken

Posted By: Legacy
Date Posted: 15 Jul 2021 at 1:52pm
Corey Fisher , really good guy , Reelaxing fishing charters , check out his Facebook page .

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