“May you live a long and fulfilling life” – the warm welcome of the South Pacific
I had the privilege of heading back to the Cook Islands for 6 nights after being away for almost two years. One of the 15 islands which make up the Cook Islands, Aitutaki is renowned for big bonefish and an idyllic island lifestyle – it’s the perfect location for a honeymooning couple or sun loving family. My wife and I had several terrific days of fishing but also relaxing in the sun – snorkeling, paddling and having a wonderful time relaxing. It was our late honeymoon!
I’ve been fortunate to have gone annually to this Pacific Island since 2006 and even went twice a year at times. As a kiwi from New Zealand it was all too easy flying to the Cooks on any of the numerous daily flights. From the US, Air New Zealand operates weekly flights (Saturdays) out of Los Angeles that land in Rarotonga (the main island of the Cooks) on a Sunday. A great opportunity I took once was the free stop over in Rarotonga when flying Air New Zealand to the US. You have to stay a week but who wouldn’t want to when you’re in paradise?
The fishing is not necessarily easy. But beginners can be successful with Itu and his brothers fishing the “milk” where feeding schools can be targeted drifting flies on sinking lines. However, having an accurate 40-50-foot cast in the wind will yield results for the angler stalking the flats – good size bonefish, blue fin trevallies and GTs. The current all tackle length world record bonefish was landed in 2016 by an angler fishing with Itu. (71 cm is the world record. But I KNOW there are much larger ones there.)
There are many other species available for the adventurous angler too. Emperor wrasse, triggers, spangled emperor, tuna around the FADS and I’ve seen some massive milkfish – although only know of one capture. An 8 or 9wt with a floating line or an intermediate sink tip – will get most of the fishing done. Of course for XXL GTs – bring your 12wt and A game!
It was -3 degrees Fahrenheit this morning in Montana. The thermometer reads 80 degrees on Aitutaki with sunshine. We can’t wait to get back!