Fly Fishing the Cook Islands [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Fly Fishing the Cook Islands

05-11-2006, 02:43 PM
Hi All,

I recently returned from a trip with my wife to the Cook Islands, which are just west of Tahiti in the South Pacific. I did a little fly fishing so I figured I would share my trip report. We flew from SeaTac to LA where we caught a New Zealand Air flight to Tahiti and then to Rarotonga the most populated of the Cook Islands. We stayed in a beachfront bungalow for 4 days while on Rarotonga. We shared our beach with a bunch of chickens which seem to be everywhere on the Island. The weather on Raro was quite windy (35+ knots), with some rain so fishing and other water activities were not in the cards. We rented a scooter and toured the island and did a number of inland hikes. We were able to do some snorkeling and I attempted to fish a bit but it was fruitless due to the wind. We then took a prop plane to the Island of Aitutaki, which is relatively small in landmass but has a huge lagoon which is full of Bonefish and Trevaly! I had hooked up with a guide named Butch via the Internet prior to departing the states. Butch is an escapee from the US who has been living on Aitutaki on and off for about 7 years. Butch specializes in fly fishing and is one of only 2 fly fishing guides on the island. The weather was still crappy when we arrived on Aitutaki so Butch took me out on some flats close to the downtown for a fishing primer. We saw some bonefish and Trevaly and I hooked a bonefish while blind casting. The fish stripped my line in quick fashion and broke me off on a coral head. The weather finally calmed down and I was able to fish the small islands and flats in the main lagoon. Butch converted an old 16” Hobie Cat into a flats fishing boat, which worked out quite well. I fished with Butch for 3 days covering most of the islands in the main lagoon. When fishing reef areas I caught many Snapper, Potato Cod, and Trevaly. The flats and shallower channels held many large bonefish 24’-36’+ inches. The fish are generally much larger compared to those in the Caribbean. I spotted 30-50 fish/day in this size range and saw very few small ones. The most effective patterns for these fish were Clousers and Baitfish patters rather than typical bonefish flies like Crazy Charlie’s, Gotchas ect.. Although I had a number of follows and pickups I failed to land any of these beasts (boo hoo). There were also many Trevaly ranging from 12”- 45”+ which were more aggressive and easier to catch. In general the bonefish and larger Trevaly require considerable fishing effort to catch on the fly. I was amazed how fast these fish are. You have to be prepared and you are lucky to get one chance to cast to them and then they are gone. My wife and I had a great time and I highly recommend this destination.



PS; I would post more pics but the limit for this site is 5 pics:frown: .






05-11-2006, 02:53 PM
Sorry about that! Its 5 per post, so just "reply" and post 5 more :)

BTW I LOVE those pics

05-12-2006, 06:49 AM
Great report, thanks Wolfgang:smokin:

05-12-2006, 07:26 AM
And move to that island! Great report Wolfgang. More pics please!!! Are there any 'fish on your own' opportunities on that island as well as a place to sleep?


05-12-2006, 08:20 AM
Thanks Wolfgang for the report and the pics. Last night Before bed I was reading my South Pacific Island anchorage books. These are books written for people going sailing in the S. Pacific. They have drawings of each reef/atoll and their openings to the sea for just about every island you can imagine. They also describe the different bottom types, depths and amount of coral heads for each reef. I could not help but think that bonefish abound hidden under every drawing I studied last night. The Cook Islands have great promise as well as just about every other Island group in the South Pacific and the North Pacific.

Wolfgang you got me all excited with your pics, warm water, endless flats, southeast trades to keep one cool and endless types of fish to cast a fly at.

05-12-2006, 11:33 AM

There are many places that one can DYI on Aitutaki. One can rent kayaks or small row boats to go to the small islands where the best flats are. There is a pretty good flat and channel near the center of town where the shipping dock is. It was quite windy so I ended up mostly fishing with the guide who came at a very reasonable price. As for places to stay there are pretty good water front bungalows for about $70.00 US/day. I think there might be some cheaper "backpacker" places as well check the Lonely Planet Guide or similar. I saw a few people campling on church property but I am not sure what the deal was. There are lots of churches on the Cooks due to invasion of missionaries including 7th Day Adventists, Mormons, Jahovas, Catholics, Baihai's. Due to the prevalence of religion nothing is open or happens on Sundays FYI.







05-12-2006, 11:37 AM





05-12-2006, 03:23 PM
:smokin: cool boat

05-12-2006, 03:28 PM

You aren't kidding! I really do like that Robinson Carusoe chic and am going to try to find an old hobie looking for a new home on the bayside flats. I will carry the motor back and forth and leave the rig on a mooring.

Wolfgang, thanks for posting those awesome pics.

OC - you are going to have some serious good times!

05-12-2006, 04:03 PM
Thanks Juro, when I see pics like Wolfgang's I get real excited. You know there must be 2000 Atolls out there in the pacific and many of them no longer have any people living on them and have not for years. Just a few cruisers visit them in a given year. Lot of flats and hopefully lots of easy surf to make me feel young again.

That cat would be perfect for Cape Cod flats, get a trailer for it and a long shaft 3 HP outboard. Those cat's are lite enough you could drag it by yourself down to the water. Over on the bay side the sand is hard enough you could just back it down to the flats. You could steal one of those nice white flag poles from the yards of the rich along the beach front for your push pole.:devil:

Hope the weather back your way is perfect for stripa's this weekend and you all start hooking some big girls.