Fly Fishing the Cook Islands

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by Tom Arroll, May 11, 2006.

  1. Tom Arroll

    Tom Arroll Member

    Jun 6, 2005
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    Seattle, WA
    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 a 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 nice bonefish while blind casting. The fish stripped my line in quick fashion and broke me off on a coral head (crap!). 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 small 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 20-40 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.

    Cheers:beer2: ,


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  2. Willie Bodger

    Willie Bodger Still, nothing clever to say...

    Feb 3, 2005
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    Lynnwood, WA
    Cool, sounds like a nice time. Relaxing, beautiful place. And I've never seen an outboard on a hobie before, that's hilarious...


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