Aitutaki Flyfishing, Chapter 11

The tackle
I received already a lot of questions regarding gear and tackle, what to bring to Aitutaki. So what do you need to buy to be prepared. I was, for almost all aspects, perfectly equipped so I’m very happy to share my success recipe in terms of fly tackle.

Bonefish For bonefish the tackle is very straight forward and easy to copy. I was fishing with a custom built 8 weight Sage ONE (Sage ONE 890-4) that worked absolutely perfect. I bought the ONE already last year and built it up for Bonefish and it was the perfect choice. I would say, always depending on your skills, any 7 to 9 weight rod will do the job. On calmer days a 7 weight will be fine, on rougher days you are best equipped with at least an 8 or even 9 weight rods.

In terms of reel, I was equipped with Nautilus reels and in case for bonefish it was the Nautilus NV-G8 with the Giga spool that helps picking up a lot line with each spool turn. Take care that you do have enough backing on the reel. As an absolute minimum I would suggest is 250 meters. I had no bonefish that took that more than 200 meters of line but we saw bones that will take it with a blink of an eye. If you do have a reel not constructed to hold that much backing, use Gelspun backing that comes with a smaller diameter by even a higher breaking strength. I was using a 50lbs backing. Take care that your line is saltwater resistant and even in case it, is rinse it every day with sweet water.

Aitutaki Flies

For the lines I received a clear recommendation from Itu in advance. RIO General Purpose Tropical F/I matching to your bonefish rod! That’s the saltwater line from RIO with the clear intermediate tip. This line is really essential and you should not head for Aitutaki without it. The clear intermediate tip helps to bring and keep the fly down even on deeper flats and shores. I didn’t use any other line for bonefish than this one there. This line is an absolute must because of its technical features like tropical core, AgentX and XS technologies for ultimate performance on the flats. And it casts like a dream. In case you want to drift fish for bonefish you should bring the RIO Leviathan 26ft Sink Tip fly line in 300 or 350grains, depending on your rod. While drift fishing you really fish deep inside the lagoon and you need a line that allows you to fish the fly very deep. You can also use this line for clouser fishing for smaller trevallies inside the lagoon by DIY fishing.

RIO General Purpose Tropical F/I WF8/I
Aitutaki Flies
Leviathan 26ft Sink Tip 350grain
Aitutaki Flies

For leader and tippets bring 20lb and 16lbs of Fluorocarbon, like the RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater tippet. The leader never let me alone except when I made mistakes by tying knots or the line got stuck somewhere on the boat.

Summary Bonefish:
Rod: Sage ONE 890
Reel: Nautilus NV-G8
Line: RIO General Purpose Tropical WF8F/I
Leader: RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater tippet 20 + 16lbs

Aitutaki Flies
Aitutaki Flies

Giant Trevally
Here it becomes a little bit more complicated. Especially for the rods I can’t provide you a 100% recipe. I was using a custom built 12 weight Sage Xi3. That rod performed pretty well although it felt a little bit heavy on the tip. In the range of 20m the rod felt really comfortable and cast accurate but above range it was harder and harder to cast accurate. But that might be also due to the fact that I finished the rod short to the trip so there was no time left to do some practice casts.
And I’m also not the strongest although I’m used to cast heavier tackle for the pikes. But a 12 weight rod is a different league. To cast the GT flies a 10 weight would have been the better choice since the GTs were also very spooky but in that rocky area you wouldn’t have a chance to land a bigger one. A stiff and durable 11 weight rod could be a compromise but really good equipped for GTs you are only with a 12 weight. If you seriously want a GT, bring the 12 weight stuff. You anyway do only sight casting.

Your choice for the fly reel should be the biggest and strongest you can get. The most important feature to a fly reel fishing for GT is that it has a smooth and ultra strong drag. It is not so important that it loads many hundred meters of backing. That#s an extra feature but not the essential. If it loads 200 meters you are fine. The all important thing is strength and durability. I heard from stories of fragmented reels during a fight. If you are not sure your reel will survive the fight with a GT, buy a new one. My choice was a Nautilus Monster with the G-10 spool. As backing I was using 80lbs of Gelspun backing, 300 meters of it. As I said tons of backing is not everything. A GT that takes 200 meters of backing is almost lost. There are so many corals there, that no backing in the world would not survive.

Aitutaki Flies

For the lines it becomes easy again. Bring RIO Leviathan 550grain or the new RIO GT 550grain. That’s the line you need for fighting big GTs. It does have the ultra strong cores of 70lbs breaking strength, a saltwater coating perfectly fitting for the tropic temperatures and casts like nothing with its very aggressive front taper that casts also big GT flies with ease. I bought that line especially because if its high breaking strength and the chance to land a GT even if he tries to cut you off. 70lbs is not everything but better than the competitor fly lines with a lower breaking strength. You just need that line for GT, no other fly line. Bring at least a second or even a third one with you to be ready in case a GT was able to destroy one. Don’t think the line is weak until you have hooked a GT ;)

RIO Leviathan 550grain
Aitutaki Flies

For Leader the choice is to buy 100lbs and 130lbs of leader. For 100lbs I was using the RIO Fluoroflex saltwater tippet. For the 130lbs leader you are very limited in companies that offer such a line. I found one at Seaguar with the Seaguar Premium leaders.

Summary Giant Trevally:
Rod: Sage Xi3 1290
Reel: Nautilus Monster
Line: RIO Leviathan or RIO GT 550 grain floating
Leader: Seaguar Premier 130lbs and RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater tippet 100lbs

Aitutaki Flies
Aitutaki Flies
Aitutaki Flies

DIY reef fishing
Close to your accommodation there will be a reef, no matter where you will stay. That’s the good news. The next good news is that I also do have a clear recommendation for this kind of fishing, btw. it is ultra funny. A stiff and fast 8 weight rod, like your bonefish rod. I brought along a Sage METHOD 890, my new baby. Your bonefish rod would perform also. Also your bonefish reel will do a good job.

Aitutaki Flies

As a line I can fully recommend the RIO Tropical Outbound short WF8F or a line size that fits to your rod. With its front loaded taper it will cut through the wind like literally the hot knife through the butter. Especially with heavy wind this line safes your day. Even with really heavy wind I went out and was able to fish. On calmer days you are able to cast into your backing with almost no effort. Learnt he double haul and casting becomes a new dimension for you. It is also available in different sinking rates but the full floating one worked perfectly for me. Also with its color it is easy to see on the reef.

Aitutaki Flies

For the leader you are fine with a straight 20lbs or 16lbs Fluorocarbon leader like the RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater Tippet. Unless you meet a Barracuda you are save with this tippet size. You also might encounter a GT but then the tippet size is your least problem. You can bring your 12 weight rod with you in case you want to be prepared.

Summary DIY reef fishing:
Rod: Sage Method/One 890
Reel: Nautilus NV-G8
Line: RIO Tropical Outbound Short WF8
Leader: RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater tippet 20 + 16lbs

Aitutaki Flies
Aitutaki Flies

Blue water offshore fishing
For this kind of fishing you are ready with your GT gear but with two amendments. Your line choice should be either the RIO Leviathan 550grain in case the fish comes to the surface or if they stay deep you should bring the RIO Leviathan 26ft Sink Tip 500grain fly line. Unfortunately I never had the chance to fish it because the sea was too rough (See Chapter 19 later) but I already had the pleasure to fish the same line as with 400 grains in Cuba for Tarpons and the line is really nice to cast. It is an essential line when you have to bring the fly deep quickly. Also with its 70lbs of breaking strength it provides the safeness you need when hooking up some really strong fish. And of course it is a tropical line that brings the advantages of a saltwater line in the south pacific. The second thing you need is a 80lbs of Fluorocarbon leader.

RIO Leviathan 26ft Sink Tip 500grain
Aitutaki Flies

Summary Blue water offshore fishing:
Rod: Sage Xi3 1290
Reel: Nautilus Monster
Line: RIO Leviathan or RIO GT 550 grain floating or RIO Leviathan 26ft Sink Tip 500grain
Leader: RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater tippet 80 or 100lbs

Next Chapter: Dos and Don’ts

greets
Philipp

2 thoughts on “Aitutaki Flyfishing, Chapter 11

  1. Hallo!
    Toller Blog! Eine Frage: stellen die lokalen Guides auf den Cook Islands das “Terminal tackle” (Fliegen, Leader) zur Verfügung, oder muss man es selbst mitbringen?

    LG

    • Hi Dominik

      Tackle and Flies can be offered by the guides. Please make sure when contacting the guides that they still have tackle available and ready for you. In general I would recommend that you bring your own tackle since I wouldn’t put all my trust in somebody else tackle.

      greets
      Philipp

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