My second guided day. This day I was invited to fish with Itu and Rua (brothers) together with a clear target. A Giant Trevally on the fly. I can tell you in front, that was the best guided day I had so far. Each, Itu or Rua, has the ability to spot fish far away and in a very good count. But having four eagle eyes on board was awesome. No fish did escape from our vision. Casting and hooking all of them was a different topic but you will see later.
As I said the goal of this day was to hook a GT. I was prepared like a Nike running shoe. Pick up was similar to my first guided day. 8:30 the guys picked me up and we started to the first spot, a reef located east of Aitutaki. I think it was the reef between Mangere and Papau. I never did reef fishing before nor did I ever cast with a 12 weight rod under real situations so I didn’t knew what awaited me before. The only thing I knew was that I want a GT at the end of my line, and preferably a big one.
The first GT. Itu positioned the boat 50 to 60 meters away from the reef, going there to close would be too dangerous for the corals and the boat. And anyway they could spot fish also at this distance. In case a fish would have been out of casting distance I would have walked there, but that was never needed. Itu was poling the boat along the reef, me at the tip of the boat ready to follow his instructions. And then, …., there wasn’t this relaxed instructions as I knew from bone fishing, “Get ready”, blablabla “Geeeeeeeeet”….. Rua went into the water holding the boat, the waves and the current were too much to hold the boat in place just with the pole. Of course I didn’t saw the fish. They are not so complicated to spot like bonefish, more because of their size, but due to the high amount of corals and other obstacles you see too much things that redirects your vision. The GT also didn’t move, hiding behind a coral. Then I saw him, a silver gray massive appearance behind a coral just 20 meters away. Still no movement of the fish. The energy on the boat was fully loaded. I made a long cast to the left side of the corals just meters next to the fish. I fished with a black deceiver with a 6/0 Gamakatsu hook at the end of the 130 lb fluoro carbon leader. Itu told me to move the fly fast until the fish is attracted and once he move to the fly to slow only. And immediately once the fly moved the GT was attracted, fired towards the fly and immediately turned away just a few inches away from the fly. I tell you, my heart was close to stop in that moment. It was not a huge GT but definitely a good sized one. I tried one more cast but the fish didn’t responded anymore and swam away. I certainly expected a different outcome for my first GT encounter. So we continued looking for another one. Luckily it didn’t take long.
Just about 100 meters further on the same reef we came across of a so called feeding frenzy. A pack of bluefin trevallies surrounded a coral, feeding on anything that was there. It was not hard to see with all that splashing water. It was the same procedure as before, Rua went into the water to hold the boat and Itu assisted me with instructions. I cast the fly aside of the pack and stripped the fly fast, simulating an escaping baitfish. Here exactly it happened what I thought that should happen. Immediately once the fly touched the water literally all fish turned their attention towards the fly and within a blink a competition was started. Two strips later a big punch went through line and rod and I hammered the hook into the fishes jaws by a strong strip strike. Fish on!!! What I didn’t know at that time, there was a GT also within the pack of bluefins. And exactly that GT took my fly and once he felt the hook all hell was let loose. Because of my own stupidness I forgot to wear hand gloves on my line hand. The loose line the GT took slipped within a second through my fingers and burned them. At least he was quick on the reel and the fight began. It was not a big GT so the fight was easy to control on a 12 weight rod but nevertheless he was able to take line from a complete tightened drag. A few times the GT crossed some coral that thankfully didn’t cut the line or made big damage to fly line or leader. It was not a big one, honestly more a smaller one, but just my 2 cents, I got my first GT. That fish made my day.
Time for a big one? Later that day on a reef, located south of Aitutaki and we still on the chase for GTs. The sun was burning down, no clouds, the recipe for perfect sight fishing. Itu and Rua once more spotted a fish. I couldn’t see the fish but that wasn’t special. What made the situation special was that Itu gave his instructions very nervous. They spotted a reel big one. Still I couldn’t see the fish and that made me now also nervous. I received all instructions needed to spot the fish but it was for me sheer impossible to spot him. Itu pointed with the rod towards the fish. Now I saw the fish. I was looking for a silver gray appearance but what appeared as the fish was looking like a black coral. What was that? The GT was black, good that’s not unusual, but his size was much more mind blowing. He had the size of a entrance door, extremely huge. I cast and the fly landed right in the buck hole ready to be taken by the GT of a life time. I started stripping according to Itu’s instructions and??? The GT moved around the coral, had a short look on what came across and swam slowly away. Not spooked or nervous, he moved away like he knew what’s going on with no fear that we could harm him. To be honest now knowing how hard these fish can fight, I actually doubt that I would have had a chance to land such a monster. That fish looked to me like a 1,5m GT.
That day we came across of 3-4 more GTs in various sizes that had also no real interest in being hooked. Either they spooked after they discovered that a fly is nothing to eat or they literally had no interest. If the GTs don’t want, lets see what’s going on with the bones. We had enough time to get one or other bonefish. We fished a spot south of the motu Rapota, located south of the atoll. This spot is known for its big bones. And the bones were there. We spotted plenty of them, unfortunately the wind also raised what made casting slightly difficult but still handleable. More troubles I had with feeling the bite of the bones when the boat was drifting towards them. It was hard to handle stripping the fly with the correct speed and prevent slack in the fly line. Nevertheless I landed a smaller bone and had 3 very nice hook ups of really big bones but managed to land only one. One fish I lost immediately after the take when the line got stuck on a part of the boat. The second snapped the leader on the half way to New Zealand. But all good things are three and the third bonefish at that spot was a pretty descent 9 pounder. What a fish at the end of a very exciting day.
Next Chapter: Getting there