Trip Overview 

This little-known island nation is one of the best kept secrets in bonefishing, as the ones that patrol the Aitutaki lagoon are arguably some of the largest bonefish in the world.  In fact, the average bonefish in this fishery weighs seven to eight pounds.  Double digit bones are not at all uncommon.  Naturally, they are a challenge to catch, but fortunately, Itu (E2) and his brothers and cousins know the bonefish of Aitutaki like the backs of their hands and are said to have “the best eyes on the island.”  Itu is a second-generation bonefisherman and he founded E2's Way as a means to conserve an incredible fishery and share this experience with anglers from around the world.  The island’s large lagoon offers many opportunities for fishing from a boat or fishing from the sandy flats for not only bonefish, but also giant trevally, bluefin trevally, emperors, and the occasional milkfish.  Visitors to Aitutaki have a wide range of choices when it comes to accommodation, which makes this destination a very unique one.  This is truly a crown jewel of South Pacific flyfishing and E2’s Way is one of the most highly-reputed guiding outfits out there.  

Destination Quick Facts 

Location:  Aitutaki, Cook Islands (NZ)

Season:  Year Round

Capacity:  2 anglers per charter

Closest Major Air Hub:  Avarua, Rarotonga (RAR)

Target Species:  Bonefish, Giant Trevally, Emperors, Milkfish, and deepwater species

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO     888-777-5060     INTL 01-1-406-585-8667       info [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com

ACCOMMODATIONS

Lodging Details:
There are a variety of accommodation options available on the island of Aitutaki:

Aitutaki Village
Boutique accomodation offering 12 private bungalows in a tropical garden with a beautiful restaurant on the beach that overlooks the lagoon.  Each bungalow is fully air-conditioned and has insect screens in the windows as well as private verandas and ensuite bathrooms.  The restaurant offers terrific meals and can cater to special diets.  Wi-Fi and laundry services are also available.  Minimum of 3 night stay.

Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa
Enjoy luxurious beachfront accommodation and the added convenience of being able to be picked up by E2’s guides right outside your bungalow.  The rooms have fabulous outdoor showers, air-conditioning, private verandahs, Wi-Fi, hammocks, and daily room and laundry service.  The restaurant is spectacular and there are a wide range of complimentary activities available through the resort.  The spa offers a long list of treatments, which will ensure that all guests go home relaxed and rejuvenated.  Rates are custom and contingent upon the season. Please call the Yellow Dog office for more information on 888-777-5060.

Pacific Resort Aitutaki 
For a truly bespoke holiday retreat, we suggest the Pacific Resort in Aitutaki, located on the sunset side of the island (not on the lagoon).  It is also the only resort on the island that allows children.  The resort offers 27 luxuriously-appointed, air-conditioned rooms on the beach as well as a pool and two world-class restaurants.  Expect a very intimate experience with unrivalled service, dozens of fun activities (ukulele lessons and flower garland making included), and a spa to end all arguments.  Rates custom and contingent upon the season. Please call the Yellow Dog office for more information on 888-777-5060.

Matriki Beach Huts
Beachfront budget accommodation for the traveller who is not interested in the frills of the more luxurious resorts on the island.  There are several different, self-catering units (the beach huts, the garden villas, and the treehouse).  Linens, towels and bedding are provided in each, but only the garden villa has it’s own bathroom (the rest are shared).  Each hut is also equipped for cooking and offers free, filtered rainwater.  $79/night (single), $99/night (double), $129/night (triple).  

Food and Beverages
The Cook Islands produce a wide variety of exotic fruits and vegetables, with coconut being the main feature of most local dishes.  Visitors to Aitutaki enjoy South Pacific cuisine at its finest, including fresh local delicacies like Ika (raw fish marinated with lemon/line and coconut cream), Rukau (taro leaves cooked with coconut sauce and onion), and Puaka (suckling pig).  In general, there is a big emphasis on fresh ingredients and a lot of these come from the closest resource: the sea.  Most resorts can arrange for a lunch to be prepared for you if that is not included in your fishing package, though you can also buy your own lunch at a local grocery store.     

Typical Length of Stay
The typical length of stay is 3-7 nights, although trips of any length can be arranged.

Activities
For the non-angling guest, this destination is comparable to a trip to any of the more famous (and crowded) South Pacific resort islands, such as Tahiti, Bora Bora, Fiji or Hawaii.  The beaches on Aitutaki are exceptionally beautiful, the water is unbelievably blue, and the weather is nice almost every day of the year.  Relaxing on the beach may be the primary objective of most non-angling guests, but activities abound on the island.  Snorkeling and scuba diving are two very popular activities, given the many local reefs that teem with life and colorful corals.  Boat cruises are available through the lagoon and are quite popular among tourists to Aitutaki; many cruises stop at One Foot Island, where everyone can get a stamp on their passport.  Kayaking and paddle boarding are also available, and kite surfing can be organized if the conditions are right.  Most resorts offer at least one “Island Night” each week, in which traditional Polynesian dishes are served and local dance troupes perform different ritual dances—these are very fun and popular.  Hermit crab races are also a fun activity offered by several resorts. The local Aitutaki market opens from Mondays to Fridays (6:30am-2pm) and opens on Saturdays (6:30am-12pm).  You can find anything from sarongs to souvenirs, hats to bags and the freshest produce around.  Scooters are available for hire and are a fun way to get around the island.

Internet/Communications
This depends on your accommodation, but most resorts offer Wi-Fi and have television.  There are also a couple of hotspot areas on the island and Wi-Fi tickets can be purchased at certain stores and also at the Bluesky office in the main town Arutanga from Mondays-Fridays from 8am-8pm.

FISHING

General information
“Strip… strip… slow… strip… STRIKE!”  If you obey these softly uttered instructions from this very patient team of guides, you’ll be sure to strike gold in Aitutaki.  Itu and his guides have an uncanny ability to direct anglers as if by remote control whenever the bonefish come into range, and all of them can see bonefish up to 30 meters away.  There are several different ways to fish for these fish within the 74 km2 lagoon.  Bonefish can be sight-fished from boats or by wading on the sandy flats and schools can be as small as three and as big as three thousand.  Sometimes, when the large schools of bonefish are not cruising the flats, they can be found in the “milk”—the deeper areas of the lagoon that are discolored because bonefish are feeding on the bottom and stirring up sediment.  While it may not be the most ‘pure’ form of fly-fishing, dragging flies along the bottom as the flats boat drifts with the wind can be a highly effective way to catch the finicky bonefish of Aitutaki.  Because these bonefish are exceptionally strong, bust-offs are common.  There are several coral heads throughout the flats and these bonefish are smart enough to know to that they can break you off by swimming around or alongside them.  The giant trevally also put up an incredible fight and it’s not uncommon to find bruises on your abdomen from where you were bracing the butt of the rod.  This highly productive fishery rewards the resolute and disciplined angler, but can even be forgiving to beginners.  Our best advice is to trust your guides, as nobody knows the bonefish of Aitutaki than the boys of the Davey clan. 

Boats and Equipment
E2’s Way provides Sage rods and reels, but those who wish to bring their own gear are advised to pack 9 foot, 8 wt. and 9 wt. rods for both bonefish and trevally.  We suggest bringing along an 11 wt. and/or a 12 wt. to have ready in the boat when a giant trevally passes by.  The guides will also have a spinning rod rigged with a popper for these occasions.  As far as fishing lines go, we suggest that you bring WF Floating line (for saltwater), WF Floating Intermediate tip, WF Intermediate line, fast-sink tips and sinking shooting heads/sink tips for Giant Trevally holes.  Again, all of this equipment is provided by E2’s Way.  They guide out of well-made flats boats and can also take guests outside of the coral atoll to chase deepwater species in boats that are well-suited for the job.  

TRAVEL DETAILS

How to get there
Air New Zealand offers non-stop flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) once a week and direct flights from Auckland (AKL) on six days of the week.  The flight to and from Rarotonga from Los Angeles is roughly ten hours and the flight to and from Rarotonga from Auckland is just under four hours.  Virgin Australia offers five flights per week from Auckland.  Note that you will cross the International Dateline when to you travel to the Cook Islands from New Zealand, so keep that in mind if you book your own flights.  From Rarotonga, you may choose to stay overnight or take one of the many daily 50 minute flights to the small island of Aitutaki. 

Documents Required
A valid passport and a return ticket will allow you a stay of up to 31 days.  Extensions may be granted on a monthly basis.  You must also have sufficient funds for your maintenance and confirmed booking/payments and contact information of the accredited accommodation you intend to stay at, as camping is not permitted in the Cook Islands.  All anglers will require a fishing licence, which is $50 NZD for 1 week and $80 NZD for 2 weeks.

Travel Arrangements
Yellow Dog offers a full in-house travel and reservations system, and we can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers, and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer.  Contact us at 888-777-5060 or travel [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services and trip insurace. 

RATES

PACKAGE RATES:
Remember that Yellow Dog's services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter. All prices listed below are per person, based on double occupancy, and quoted in US dollars. Trips of any length can be arranged, so please call Yellow Dog for details and custom package pricing.

Rates for 2016 are listed below are in $NZD

Full-day bonefishing charters (1-2 clients, 7-8 hours fishing)
3 days - $1,500 NZD
4 days - $2,000 NZD
5 days - $2,500 NZD
6 days - $3,000 NZD

Half-day bonefishing charter (1-2 clients, 4-5 hours fishing)
3 days - $1,350 NZD
4 days - $1,800 NZD
5 days - $2,250 NZD
6 days - $2,700 NZD

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Fully guided fishing charter
  • Hotel Transfers
  • Packed lunch and drinking water on fishing days
  • All fishing tackle and flies
  • Fishing permit for angler
  • 15% VAT tax and GST

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:

  • International airfare to Rarotonga and domestic airfare to Aitutaki
  • Accommodations in Rarotonga and Aitutaki
  • Transfers from the airport to hotel
  • All meals with the exception of lunch on fishing days
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Additional non-angling activities on non-fishing days
  • Gratuities for guides and hotel staff
  • Personal items and phone calls

 

OTHER INFO

Client Testimonials
“My wife and I spent the day with Itu chasing bones and GT's, he was everything we wanted in a guide and then some. He genuinely wants his clients to catch fish and he is darn good at making it happen! He is friendly, he knows where the fish are and he knows how to target them. He was able to pick out fish for us at 30m+ while wading and in choppy water. There are no better eyes on the island except perhaps for his brothers or cousin Ben. Thanks again Itu, apart from catching fish, your friendliness, professionalism and good nature really made a good trip just that much better. We'll be back!” – Caleb W., New Zealand

“I had three days fly fishing for Bones with Itu and it was simply superb. It was the first time I had fished for Bones on the flats and whilst I had a few initial problems on the first day these were soon overcome under Itu's guidance. I ended up landing half a dozen Bonefish plus a number of bust-offs, which really exceeded my expectations. I kept a heavy popper rod at the ready and on two occasions hooked large GT's cruising the flats. Landed one estimated at around 45kg and lost one a bit bigger. If you want to chase Bones at Aitutaki, Itu is your man.” –John and Jennie, New Zealand