Salty Saturdays - Mike Wilkinson in Aitutaki
By Mike Wilkinson
I have dreamed of travelling to Aitutaki for years now, ever since hearing good mates narrate stories of their adventures chasing bonefish. This trip was about more than just catching a bonefish for me but I’m not lying it was pretty much top of the checklist of things to do! Nik and I haven’t been away on a real holiday together in some 15 odd years so a good balance of time chilling together, fishing and seeing the Island life was in order.
With limited time chasing the bones and a windy week, I went with a guide… Bonefish E2’s way are a superb bunch of guys with a great service that has all the options. If your heading over, look them up, they are well worth it and man can they spot bones!
For my first trip over, I learnt heaps… I tied some 200+ flies and probably used 20. Simon had said just tie gotchas in a range of weights and range of rubber and no rubber legs, I took this advise but got bored and tied a range of other flies. While walking the flats you don’t get a chance to change flies so I ended up just wondering around with the standard gotcha either striping super slow for bones or a fast strip for anything else that was about.
For a guy who’s only really fished for trout, the number of fly caught species in one place was a buzz, I think I added another 15 species caught on fly… not even 100% what a few of them even were. Probably my most memorable time was when I got Nik to flick the fly rod for the first time around the coral and she hooked her first fish, a wee Trev, she ended up catching 4 species! I took a couple of rods over, I was fishing the Scott Meridian 8# on the flats with the Airflo Flatsmaster sink tip line along with my Hatch 7+ reel, a good strong smooth drag to do the donkey work. Nik was throwing the Airflo Bandit 9# (my backup rod) somewhat over gunned for the wee reefies she was hooking into, I’m thinking a nice wee 6# setup to play with next time around the bombies?
I even tried some off shore fishing with Quentin and Zane, a day out with Itu and the guys fishing the FAD’s. Not something I’ve ever done but was lucky enough to pull a good Tuna on a jig… I still have a couple of bruises to remind me! Aitutaki has plenty of options for fishing fly and more, the one thing me missed out on was night GT fishing with poppers, it was too windy but then if you achieve everything in the first trip there’s nothing to go back for right?
We both enjoyed the relaxed pace on Aitutaki, the people are fantastic the fishing is fantastic… we will be back!!