For DIY fishing Aitutaki offers a big spectrum of possibilities depending where you stay. I can fully recommend Ootu Beach, close to the Airport. Don’t you will not recognize the Airport at all. The advantage there is that you have 3 very good flats directly infront of your house and the reef directly in the back. Everything reachable within 5 min walk and the home flat just 20meters away. But be carefull. DIY fishing for bonefish is not as easy as it might look. Firstly there were a lot of fisherman who tried their luck already, secondly you also have a lot of swimmers and surfers around. The last is less a problem than it might look. The bones are used to it.
The Bonefish License, intruduced together with the bonefish protecting program is essential. You should absolutely go and buy one. It will be checked, at least this was told to me. I was never checked in all the time. Although it is not very cheap I fully support the initiative because it helps to defend the program to those who would like to have the netting back. You can get it in the city center next to the ANZ bank. A full month costs 150 NZD, the week somehow 50 NZD. Its also a nice souvenir in case the bones are not biting.
For bonefish> the best places to fish are on the Ootu Beach flat. It holds a good amount of bonefish and with a little bit of a training you can spot them but they are very spooky. Butch Leone told me once that catching there a bonefish, and you made everything correct. The fly must be perfect, the cast too, and also the retrieve. I went two, three times there and hooked only once a bonefish but lost him on a not properly set hook. What you also can see there is puffer fish but they are even more hard. The best time to go there is somewhere in the middle of low tide to high tide. When low tide the flat gets almost dry. Even at high tide the water gets at its maximum only up to the waist, at the deepest places.
The other option is at the tip of Ootu beach. There is a very huge flat, unfortunately most of the time a little bit murky. In the morning at low tide you can see the bones there tailing which is very awesome. But it is also very bumpy which means that you have to take care when wading and you need a very good presentation so that the bonefish can see the fly. The murky water is on the other side an advantage, you can get closer to them before they see you. Wade slowly and silent. You also can do blind casting for bonefish with casting into the deeper parts. That produces the most fish. A New Zealand fisherman caught every day his bonefish there with this technique. There is also a very high amount of other fish there like the stripped or yellowfin trevallies, goatfish and many more.
Always where wading boots to prevent of stonefish!!!!
I also heard that on the flat of the lagoon resort, that there are pretty good bonefish to catch. This I never tried because for me the best in terms of DIY fishing was the reef. The fishing at the reef directly next to the airport was for me the a real joy. Firstly you are alone. There is nobody swimming and very rarely somebody walking. The best time to go there was in the evening during low tide. Almost every cast was a fish, sometimes smaller fish that were not bigger than the fly itself, sometimes also bigger fish e.g. bluefin trevallies. I never had really big fish but a 40cm bluefin trevally is really a good fight on a 8 weight rod. There is no special place, just wade out to the reef during low tide and cast in direction to the reef or also next to corals. I never went directly onto the reef because I didn’t want to damage it and anyway there was plenty of fish in between. Basically you can fish the reef all around Aitutaki but some parts are shallower than others.
You should stay away from the reef during high tide. The water is much higher and you can get in trouble by the current. There is a pretty strong current between the reef and the shore. Not like a river but in combination with wind and waves you can fall and injure on the corals. An absolutely nogo are the channels. Here you have the strongest current and every year people die swimming or fishing there, especially during the tide changes when water is pushed through there. Never take a risk there, and better go together there and take care of each other. There is nobody who will hear you in case you need help. Also always have good pliers with you, some fish take the fly really deep and some even have spines that might hurt you. Hand gloves wouldn’t be a bad idea.
I unfortunately do not have many pictures since wading with a DSLR is not a good idea.
Next Chapter: Day 6