Trophy Bonefishing in a South Pacific Paradise
This little-known island nation is one of the best-kept secrets in bonefishing, as the ones that patrol Aitutaki lagoon are arguably some of the largest bonefish in the world. In fact, the average bonefish in this fishery weighs four to six pounds. Double-digit bones are not at all uncommon and the world record length fish was landed here in 2016. 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 this incredible fishery and to share this experience with anglers from around the world. The island’s large lagoon offers many opportunities for fishing from a boat or wading the sandy flats for the bonefish, giant trevally, bluefin, 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 the crown jewel of South Pacific flyfishing and E2’s Way is one of the most highly-reputed guiding outfits out there.
There are a variety of accommodation options available on the island of Aitutaki.
Yellow Dog has extensive experience on the island and with our lodge partners. We look forward to ensuring you receive the best pricing and resort experience.
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.
Food and Beverages
The Cook Islands grows 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. Your resort can arrange for a lunch to be prepared for you, though you can also buy your own lunch at a local grocery store.
Typical Length of Stay
The typical length of stay is 5 nights, although trips of any length can be arranged.
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 of 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.
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.
How To get there
Air New Zealand offers non-stop flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) once a week (NZ19) 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 you travel to the Cook Islands from New Zealand, so keep that in mind if you book your own flights. The bonefishing takes place on Aitutaki and after you’ve landed in Rarotonga, you may choose to stay overnight or take one of the daily 50 minute flights to the small island of Aitutaki.
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 require a fishing license, which is $50 NZD for 1 week and $80 NZD for 2 weeks.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
“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. 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 hundred. 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 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 has some equipment on hand, 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 smaller bluefin trevally. We suggest bringing along an 11 wt. and/or a 12 wt. to have ready in the boat when giant trevally passes by. The guides may also have a spinning rod rigged with a popper for these occasions. As far as fishing lines go, we suggest that you bring a tropical WF Floating line WF Floating Intermediate tip, and perhaps a sinking line if fishing blue water or the milk. Typically a full floating line is used for GT fishing and bring at least 100lb fluorocarbon trace material if you expect to keep hold of one of these brutes.
Rates and Terms
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 NZD dollars. Trips of any length can be arranged, so please call Yellow Dog for details and custom package pricing.
Rates for booking in 2019 are listed below in $NZD
Full-day bonefishing charters (1-2 clients, 7-8 hours fishing- Single Guide)
3 days – $1,500 NZD
4 days – $2,000 NZD
5 days – $2,500 NZD
6 days – $3,000 NZD
An additional guide on the boat may be available at $100 NZD per day
Rates for 2020 are quoted at $600 NZD per day
- Fully guided fishing charter
- Hotel Transfers
- Drinking water on fishing days
- Some fishing tackle and flies may be available
- 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 the hotel
- Lunch on a fishing day
- Alcoholic beverages
- Additional non-angling activities on non-fishing days
- Gratuities for guides and hotel staff
- Personal items and phone calls
COOK ISLANDS CANCELLATION / REFUND POLICIES
Cancellation policies differ between each resort and hotel operation throughout the Cook Islands. Please be aware that Yellow Dog’s terms and conditions are in addition to any terms and conditions of the individual lodges and outfitters that we work with and represent. In instances where Yellow Dog’s general payment and cancellation terms are different from those of individual resorts or hotels, the terms of the resorts or hotels will take precedent and become the terms and conditions that apply to related trip packages. Cancellation and refund policies for all hotel, resort and lodging packages are set and determined by each individual operation.
While refunds and trip credits may be an option for cancellation with the hotels and resorts, please be aware that for guided fishing days, all deposits and payments are non-refundable. For all fishing packages, a non-refundable deposit of 50% per person is due within 10 days of booking, and final payment if due 90 days prior to arrival. In no event will the outfitter or Yellow Dog be responsible for any cancellation of services or operations due to inclement weather, any event of force majeure, airline delays or flight cancellations, or any other reason beyond the control of the outfitter. The outfitter will not refund payments in the event of poor weather, or if arrival flights are cancelled or airline connections are missed. Because of the outfitter’s no refund and no credit policy, Yellow Dog strongly recommends that anglers and guests purchase travel insurance and full coverage. If a cancelled package is resold by Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, then a full refund will be issued minus a $100.00 per person cancellation fee. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgment that registrant has read and accepts the deposit, cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses for these packages. Once again, Yellow Dog strongly recommends that anglers and guests purchase travel insurance for these Cook Islands packages. Be aware that package price is set based on New Zealand Dollar vs. US Dollar exchange rates at the time that trip invoice is generated. Final trip payments can vary based on exchange rate fluctuations from time of invoice to date of final payment. If not paying in full upon receipt of invoice, client agrees to pay the balance of the trip cost based on the exchange rate at the time final payment is due or submitted, whichever comes first.