Specimen Hunting on two atolls...
LODGE/LOCATION: Aitutaki & Manuae, Cook Islands
METHODS USED: Fly, Spin
SPECIES: Bonefish, GT, Trevally, Milkfish, Triggerfish and Bluewater species
EQUIPMENT HIRE: No
WADE FISHING: Yes
BOATS USED: Yes
We all witnessed potential world records out on the Cook Island flats during our last visit. There are Bonefish of astonishing sizes, and with the Aitutaki lagoon already established as a premier Bonefishing venue, we now have one more added attraction to fire up any specimen Bonefish hunter. Manuae atoll, a place only few are fortunate enough to encounter. Go back to nature, with tented camping, eat good food cooked on open fires, exchange fishing tales, relax under the stars and anticipate what the next day might bring. Last time, we barely scratched the surface of what this place can produce, so for January 2018 we have a 5 day trip with 4 nights planned. This will undoubtedly give us better chance to connect with many species, both inshore and bluewater, whatever takes your fancy. Prepare to be tested. And be rewarded with fish of dreams.
An unofficial world record Bonefish was quietly released here…
Both Atolls have huge Bluefin Trevally populations as well as others that can show up at any time. The GTs around Aitutaki have seen people and flies and they can be hooked, but are most often lost in and amongst the coral. However, around Manuae they do not see people for months at a time and it is all about timing, being in the right place at the right time to make that perfect cast.
Bluewater or Flats fishing, the Cook Islands will spoil you
The drop off here is immediate. Outside that reef edge the same GTs cruise that you will see inside the reef too. Added to this, Dogtooth Tuna and so many other blue water species can be hooked within very short distance of the reef.
The flats within the atoll, a lagoon, a creek and sandbanks, all contain Bonefish, Trigger fish and Trevally species. In one area there were two schools of Milkfish. We were not there long enough and we didn’t expect to see these, so next time with the right flies and a little luck, we may be the first to catch Milkfish from this atoll. Everything here is large. We saw no shark or barracuda, so predators are few.
The allure of white sand, makes spotting big fish very easy...
With Bonefish average size being close to double figure mark, you have a very strong chance to catch your personal best in the Cook Islands. This is the reason for your journey, but don’t ignore the other species. Enjoy everything that these beautiful atolls offer and bear in mind that our 2017 trip produced a few definite doubles.
Blue Water fishing – Fly Fishing, Trolling, Popping or Jigging
With drop off being so close and such huge depth of Pacific Ocean, we would be crazy to ignore the fishing possibilities outside the reef edge.
The opportunity here for multi methods fishing is excellent. Blue Water fishing is very productive and days can be mixed, with all of the above methods for a variety of species with popping for Large GTs being a huge attraction.
HUGE Triggers on the flats
Tricky Triggers are there and they can be caught. They are certainly worth the effort and time spent chasing them. We have learnt such a lot in our short time that we will return with confidence and specific fly patterns, to conquer more species and even larger specimens.
Accommodation and food
We have now found the best fisherman’s watering hole and accommodation for our return trip. The food and drinks on Aitutaki are not cheap, so they are now included in the cost and you will not be disappointed. A mix of Fresh Seafood and a Thai influence on the menu, with a fine selection of beers and spirits……
Internal flights, 13 nights total, with 4 days/3 nights at Manuae
Four days guided fishing Aitutaki, Accommodation, All meals and some drinks inc
Transfers, boat crossing to atoll, camping facilities, fishing license
DIY fishing on extra days on Aituatki, cultural evening
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