The day I was waiting for the whole trip. The day started as usually with a call from Itu what and where to fish. Itu said something like that the conditions were rough but possible to went outside of the reef. We agreed to went outside of the reef to fish for tuna and mahi mahi. Sushi time!! Screaming reel and fresh sushi with soy sauce were already in my mind but it came completely different. See what happened
Itu picked me up with his car and we drove to the Aitutaki harbor. A small comment to the driving on Aitutaki. There is a speed limit of 40 km/h everywhere on the island. This is OK when you are riding a moped but driving in a car, even more as a passenger waiting to start fishing this is really a pain in the ass. We in Europe drive on such roads 3 times fast if not even more. So the time passed slowly till we reached the harbor. I coudln’t await it. Itus brand new boat, a 30 feet aluminium offshore boat, was waiting for us, Shaka prepared it in the meantime. A very impressive boat completely made out of aluminium All boats are build on Aitutaki on behalf of the customers at least for those you can afford one.
Mistake #1 Looking outside on the open sea gave me confidence that the sea isn’t that rough as I feared. The waves didn’t seemed to be very high at least I couldn’t see any white crest waves. That should become a piece of cake, I thought. Also the boat gave me confidence that there is nothing to fear outside. Uhhh bad. The first ride through the channel outside to the open sea and maybe the first hundred meter also weren’t very thrilling. BUT, then the waves started. Not very thrilling waves but just big, up and down. I would say at least 3-4 meters. Itu was laughing but I started to get green. Immediately!! That wasn’t funny but I didn’t wanted to spoil the day so I was smiling. I want a tuna. I tried to orient on the islands to have a horizon to prevent of getting sea sick. It didn’t worked at all.
Shaka was preparing two trawling rods to have maybe a by catch on the way to the FADs. FADs, I explained them in the previous chapter, I thought this must be something very impressive. But in fact it isn’t. It were just a anchored buoys, maybe 10 of them tied together to a buoy chain. We reached the first FAD, trawling 2 times around it with no success. Itu explained that there is no catch guarantee even at the FADs. Sometimes they are there, sometimes they are at another FAD or completely gone. That’s like fishing usually sounds. So we headed for FAD #2. To coming back to my more and more worse becoming sea sickness. When riding against or with the waves it was more or less not a problem due it was just going up and down. But waves from the sides really made it worse.
Mistake #2 On the second FAD we anchored directly at the FAD. Ufff, from now on it was over with me. The boat was tossed about by the waves. The boat was big and would stand this waves without any troubles but in my current situation that was too much. I tried to look promising but Itu and Shaka knew already that it is just a matter of time till this buddy will start vomiting . Shaka started to chum. And what a surprise, it didn’t take long and the first fish appeared at the back of the boat. It was a some bigger kind of needle fish. Itu told me the name but I couldn’t remember it. I had other things in mind. They were actually pretty huge, up to 1 meter I would say. And a lot of them. Itu advised me to fish for them to distract me from my sea sickness. So I did. Fishing for them was quite funny, They immediately went for the fly, a small yellow clouser, but hooking them was the challenge. Every cast there was one on but I got only one to the boat. in 15 minutes. A nice fight on the 8 weight rod but I didn’t had much fun with this fish, all my mind was not to vomit. Also the hint to drink sips of salt water didn’t cure me. 30 minutes later I canceled the trip in the hope that in the inner lagoon we can make the day.
Mistake #3 On the way back, still having a trawling rod out for a by catch. And? We had two hook ups. One, we assumed it to be a wahoo but cut the line. And another one, a Barracuda, we were able to land, roughly the size of a meter. What a boring fishery. You just wait that something grabs the bait, then you fight it with a broomstick. There was literally no bend in the rod when reeling in the barracuda. Really not exciting. And the smell of a barracuda, just bad. Absolutely the most disgusting fish I ever caught. It smells like a rotten fish. And I had all the smell on my hand gloves, shirt and still feeling very bad. Luckily we were already close to the reef where the waves became smaller. Inside the lagoon I was really happy to wash the smell away. A barracuda went on my list of wanted catches to the absolute bottom somewhere between roach and bleak.
Totally crap day? NO!!. Already a lot of time past today but still we had some time for fishing. Inside the lagoon we anchored the big boat and went wading at the flat directly in front of the harbor. I wouldn’t have thought that you can have there an excellent fishery but we had. I rigged up the bonefish rod and we started wade fishing. The discipline a lot of people are complaining about Itu that he isn’t able to do. The following pictures will proof that we had great success. Basically there isn’t much a difference in sight fishing from boat than from wading except the big advantage of the higher sight and casting position. But you can also get much closer to the fish when wading. To cut a long story short, we immediately went into a feeding bonefish and caught him, and a second, and……. I really felt more comfortable in fishing when wading because the more direct contact to the fly. There is no boat that is drifting towards the fly or away from it. You exactly know your stripping speed that you can steer with nothing that interferes you. That resulted in a much higher rate of cast and caught fish. I really liked it and it is a true personal gain experienced such a fishing. The essence of bone fishing.
So bad the day started so good it ended. I really enjoyed wade fishing with Itu although he was wading in chest waders due to an injury.We had a lot fun with the bones and caught in the left few hours 4 more bone fish all in the region of 5 to 7lbs. We also saw some good size trevallies who where far to fast for us. It seems they were on the hunt for something. Since the rod where ready they were gone.
Now you would expect a sorrowful final because of the last day. NO. That was not the last day fishing :)) Stay tuned.
Next chapter: Day 8