Fly Fishing for Bonefish in Aitutaki

Tony Aitutaki Bonefishing Leave a Comment

Bonefish are among the world’s premier fly game fish and are highly sought after by anglers…

Fish with the Davey boys for the ellusive and powerful Bonefish in one of the world’s top Bonefishing destinations – Aitutaki!

Tony with 10.9lb bonefish, Aitutaki

Itu Davey has extensive knowledge of the amazing Aitutaki Lagoon and flats, he has an unbelievable ability to spot fish and guide you to hook up on fly or spinning rods with lures.

Itu comes from generations of fisherman with his father Richard Davey being a retired commercial Bone fisherman before the introduction of new government Protection and Regulation laws governing the Aitutaki Bonefish fishery.

The bonefish, also known as “phantom” or “grey ghost”, is probably pound for pound the strongest and fastest moving animal of any salt-water fish. In Aitutaki the Bonefish is known as the “Kiokio”.

In a 1996 article on fly fishing for Bonefish around the globe, titled “Picking through the Bones“, Garrett VeneKlasen wrote:

More so than any other flats species, bonefish prefer to reside in extremely shallow water.

Bonefish present themselves in a variety of conditions: they can be found cruising over clean-bottomed flats, “tailing” in shallow water, or “waking” through the turtle grass.

The more times a fish spends in shallow water, the greater the sight-fishing opportunities. In fact, “bone-hunting” is actually a more appropriate term than “bonefishing,” as an encounter with a bonefish almost always entails stalking as the angler tries to spot and entice the fish before being detected.

When it all goes as planned, the reward is that much-celebrated blistering run. Again, as with the stalk, the visual element adds an additional excitement to the fight, as the running bonefish often remains in sight throughout most of the battle.

Bonefish are of silvery appearance, with torpedo-shaped bodies and a conical snout. Bonefish primarily inhabit inshore shallows, often in water that is less than 1 foot deep.

Bonefish have deeply forked tails that provide immense power for chasing prey, and they possess a keen eyesight. Bonefish have a skittish nature and are a prized trophy by saltwater anglers.

Bonefish travel in small schools, prowling the sand flats. Fly fishermen patiently pole through these shallow flats stalking the elusive fish.

Bonefish are a premier saltwater fly fishing catch-and-release game fish. Bonefish are very seldom eaten and, once caught, should be carefully released.

Further Bonefishing tips courtesy Florida Marine Research Institute:

Because they inhabit very shallow water and are easily spooked, catching a bonefish takes skill and experience. Most anglers hire fishing guides to lead them to the best spots—which are usually very shallow areas that can be entered only by cutting off the boat engine and using a pole to push the boat in.

Poling also provides a good way to sneak up on these nervous fish, as does quietly wading in shallow flats. The more shallow the water, the more skittish the bonefish are likely to be.

Experienced guides sight-fish for bonefish by searching for their telltale silvery shapes in the shallows or watching for plumes of mud stirred up by these bottom-feeding fish.

A bonefish feeds with its head down and its tail protruding from the water—a behavior known as “tailing”—and this activity provides another clue to its whereabouts. Live shrimp and crabs make good bonefish bait, but bonefish also respond to flies and artificial lures.

Once hooked, a bonefish makes a mad dash for deeper water, often breaking the line on rocks or corals as it streaks across the bottom. Most anglers use 10-pound test line on bonefish. Although bonefish can be caught any time of day, tailing fish are most likely to be spotted in the early morning or evening.

The very large size of bonefish specimens found in Aitutaki makes this destination a world leader in catering to anglers looking for trophy fish.

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