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06-02-2013, 01:17 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-02-2013, 08:36 AM by bombora.)
Atu-what? It's a tiny atoll, one of the Cook Islands.
Always wanted to catch a bonefish on a homemade jig. Got two. Probably the smallest bonefish on the atoll, as it's gaining a rep as home of some of the world's biggest bones. But got them in front of our bungalow, and without guided help (a bunch of Kiwi fly fishos had booked out the atoll's three guides for the entire week). I was a very happy little chappy!! Eeven if they were very small. They each took a little 1/10th jig, tied with bucktail.
Light spin rods longer then 7'6" are rare as hens teeth in Sydney tackle shops, but found an 8'3" squid jig spin rod from Shimano and it was a perfect flats spin outfit combined with a 2500 Daiwa spin reel filled with 160 yards of 8 pound powerpro braid and 10 pound flouro leader. Realtively heavy for bonefishing, I believe, but on Aitutaki the bones grow to 15 piunds and more and 10 pounders are relatively common.
Glad of the outfit's relative heaviness as spinning the little, five foot deep channel which runs in front of our bungalow one morning I got a slamming hit on a 1/8th modified Cobra headed bucktail. This fish ran, and ran, and ran. The reel had 160 yards of the powerpro over some mono backing. Within a minute the backing knot clunked through the guides! A long long fight over the flats and finally had a solid trevally, of maybe eight or nine pounds at my feet. Unsure of exact species, maybe a Goldspot Trevally. No one was around, as I'd hooked it during a rain shower. So had to run to bungalow for quick pic (my GF was at breakfast bar) and then release.
Apart from the bones, it was pretty much the only fished released as the local cleaning ladies and guys who work at the place we stayed soon cottoned on that a provider of free fish meals was staying amongst them!!! Got a bunch more smaller trevally of various species and a mixed bag of small reef fish, as the sandflats sit next to various reef outcrops and shallow coral rubble flats.
Unseasonally cold water apparently had the flats fishing very very slow, and we battled constant 30 knots plus wind all week, with tiny windows of less wind. It was too windy, and the current in the little channels too strong to use lighter heads, like Keith's magical tin heads. But Keith's jig heads were perfect for over the coral rubble flats (sorry Keith no pics, it always seemed to rain when I was on them).
The bigger trevally
Closeup of the bigger trevally and the jig which fooled him.
An average sized trevally
.....which became lunch for the cleaning lady
A big smile and a little bonefish. Ticked off bucket list
A nice fly fisho who'd been with a guide earlier in the week had been told red, orange or pink eyes on his flies were key to the bones, so was lucky I had a few jigs with the right coloured eyes.
A long, squid spin rod was perfect for the fishing
Meanwhile my girlfriend relaxed (in between howling wind and rain, and camera duties) and we had a ball doing fun stuff. Actually only sneaked in the odd fish!

06-02-2013, 02:22 AM,
RE: Aitutaki
Dang that is a TRUE tropical paradise, what Hawaii was like over a century ago. Even during my time, there were wild places which are now wall to wall subdivision housing tracts and hotel resorts.

Did you get to walk those endless flats outside the channel? Right outside from where you're standing looks good for bonies. And those outer breakers should have all kinds of reef predators around the inside edge.

Nice trevallys, we don't have that exact species here but similar elongated body omilu are the hardest fighting of our local jacks. The big one must have pushed the limits of your light gear - lucky you had smooth terrain to fight it - even if theres only one coral head or rock an omilu would beeline and wrap it.

06-02-2013, 03:37 AM,
RE: Aitutaki
Keith that big flat is actually littered with small coral heads. Was just lucky the bigger trevally ran across the one bit of it which is relatively clean. In fact the massive atoll lagoon is so full of coral heads no boats can be hired to tourists cause it's too dangerous.
The big flat is usually home to bones but the water was too cool at first, then had one to two foot of wind chop over it _ impossible to fish really _ cause of the wind. The pics are from the few brief moments of relatively calm.
Just added up, I got seven reef species and two trevally species (baby GTs and positively ID'd gold spots) on your jigs over the coral rubble. Now I'm saving to take the remaining ones to New Caledonia _ much closer, and cheaper.
06-02-2013, 07:22 AM,
RE: Aitutaki
Wonderful photographs...and certainly looks like paradise...!!..

06-02-2013, 01:48 PM,
RE: Aitutaki
"littered with small coral heads", oh boy. You have heavier gear, yes? My tuff mono leaders generally vary between 15 - 40# test depending on how badly I don't want to lose targeted species. Sometimes partner Gero is steady at I think at around 120# fluoro leader and 100# Power Pro main.

I actually have very little use in the ocean for the TROUT head I sent you.

Do you have Peter Dunn-Rankin's book "Fishing the Reefs"? If not, PM me.
06-02-2013, 04:51 PM,
RE: Aitutaki
I know where my favorite spot would be..... Thanks for sharing.
>>>------------> Make It Count!!! <><
06-02-2013, 06:03 PM,
RE: Aitutaki
Good Lord the stuff dreams are made of . I so need some of that . Thanks
Toad Frog Baits a nonprofit hobby . Dedicated to spending money when I shouldn't
Fish Forever Work Whenever ! The worst day fishing is better than the best day working.
06-02-2013, 07:04 PM,
RE: Aitutaki
I might not can make it there ... Thanx for sharein
JSC _________
On The Choctawhatchee
06-02-2013, 07:49 PM,
RE: Aitutaki
Suffering post-paradise blues this morning.
Mate reckons the trevally (jacks in the US) are small Giant Trevally. I'm not sure of that, they seem a longer body shape and less blunt head.
Yeah I took a heavier outfit and some poppers in case trully big GTs turned up, but didn't see any.
They get GTs to 60 pounds plus raiding the outer flats which can only be reached by boat! The fly fisho who I had talked to said they had GTs eat five and six pound bones they were fighting in one gulp!!!
The hammock was a rather nice place to scan the flats and channel for passing fish!
06-02-2013, 08:08 PM,
RE: Aitutaki
Well, your bonies would have made fine live bait for cruisers, then. GTs here are not shy of nearshore waters if there is food available.

Looked up Cook Islands fish species, very similar to Hawaii. I agree that your jacks are too elongated for GT juvies, and Aitutaki does have omilu aka Bluefin trevally. Maybe, in a sandy environment, the blue colors are more muted? You might have also caught Hawaii available reef species black tail snapper, peacock grouper, and various goat fishes, among others. Did you eat any of your catch?

I imagine you had a great time playing tourist with your gal, but guess you'd like to return solo for some serious water adventuring.

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