Sunday, 21 October 2012

Aitutaki Bonefish ,Itu's Bones dvd, Fly fishing for Bonefish, Aitutaki Bonefish Flies,trophy bonefish,Fly fishing guides Aitutaki , fly fishing the cook islands

I hope you all liked the information and the photo of that huge 20lb + trout in last weeks newsletter (not the blog). Remember to sign up for Stu's newsletter - for news from the shop and vice, comps, prizes and fun.
This weeks blog is about the Aitutaki and the big bonefish, that many of my clients have been to and more are asking about. 
All these post and news letters take time and effort, so feel free to shop with Stu's Fly Shop and support the passion.

Over 10 yrs ago I travelled to Raratonga. After a busy guiding season in NZ, it was time to escape the winter.
The cook islands were looking promising after a lot of research, the word bonefish and an image kept creeping into my head.
So a plan was hatched, new saltwater tying material arrived in the post along with good saltwater hooks I was slightly getting pumped up!

Realizing fly orders need filled, a pile of trout fly tying materials were packed as there was lots of trout fly orders for the following season.

Sitting in the sun at a resort, loving the heat of the sun on my skin. 
Getting plenty strange looks as thousands of small brown pogo nymphs came from my vice.

As soon as a majority of my tying work was finished, out came the big boy hooks and the sparkly stuff!

Before long a figure was sneaking around the shores of Raratonga armed with a Sage 9 wgt, dreaming of grey torpedos.
With the help of some wonderful locals, pointing me in the correct direction, I would cast all sorts of saltwater flies into the water and catch quite a few different species of fish, some I never did learn the name of. 
Before long realization kicked in, Raratonga was not the place to target Bonefish, the name Aitutaki Kept coming up, so I cut my stay short on Raro and was soon on a small plane to  Aitutaki.
Bonefish are bottom feeders - carp are known as the freshwater bonefish !

Aitutaki was instantly like finding a small piece of heaven, friendly locals, good food, bikes to hire and fishing. 
After a phone call to the only guide on the island - who gave me the feeling he was very busy and could not guide me. But soon he came to his senses and realized he was not busy and was just had the old island lazy disease.
His wife must overheard the conversation and may even hit him on the head with a coconut to make him realize money was to be made..

For the next 6 days I enlisted his sevices and loved every fun minute of it.
Fishing hard and casting like a demon hoping to connect with a grey torpedo. Eventually after 3 days my first Aitutaki bone fish of around 7lbs came to my hands. Lost 5 others into coral where they all managed to bust me off or hang me up.
All up in the 7 days I landed 3 bones and lost 5. Looking back in my diary I sighted only 12 bonefish in all that time and I had perfect sight fishing weather..
On nearly everyday guided in the main lagoon, we encountered relatives of my casual guide. They were out netting fish, mainly targeting bonefish as it was a local tradition and the bones were a sought after pickled fish delicacy.

It was during my time of 13 days in total on the island I started to develop my bonefish shrimp and some other saltwater baitfish patterns. An old copy of Dick Browns bonefish book was also read every night and used as reference.
From which I learned if you have a bonefish heading into the coral, take the drag off and they will slow down and most of the time will stop.
Then gradually apply tension and try and steer them into the next blistering run away from the coral.
This technique I actually learned and practiced many years later on many bonefishing & fly design trips to Christmas islands, if only it had been applied on the Aitutaki bones, lost into the coral!

In the last 4yrs the Aitutaki bonefish fishery has changed dramatically.
A great DVD called Itu's Bones has been made featuring the new highly trained bonefish guides, the turn around with the fishery and it's history, not to mention the breath taking tropical views the island.
If you are thinking of heading that way I recommend you get a copy of it.

You now need a fishing license, the new guides are all kitted out and now are nearly fully booked every day. 
From all the reports coming back from my clients who have been heading over, it is turning into a great fishery and a huge new tourist revenue for the island.

The fishing

Like one of my friends who had just returned said "people still go to Aitutaki think they will catch lots of bones and fall over them and it will be easy, just like big trout in New Zealand". It's not a numbers game in Aitutaki, it's fishery is all about quality and beauty.
There is a big chance that you may catch one of the biggest bonefish of you fly fishing life. 
There is also a chance that you may catch a record breaking bonefish. 
Some bonefish have been found years ago in the nets at 20+ lb. 
The chances are you will catch one in 3-5 days fishing and will definitely see some big bones.
There are also plenty other species to fish for from the shore or a hired kayak. 
One day when I was wading in the lagoon a huge black shadow similar to the size of a mini cooper car headed out of the lagoon towards the channel, a huge trevally! So you never know.

Aitutaki Bonefish- rods, reels, lines & flies

Bonefish Rods-

You may get some strong wind, you may have to cast a slightly heavy fly to get down, you may have to control a big bone, you may break a rod.

For these reason I suggest to take at least 2x 9wgt rods and if you are heading out on a day trip/afternoon for whahoo or tuna, trevally take also 10wgt.

Saltwater Reel

Take a good sealed drag reel with you and a spare is always recommended. Yes they need have plenty of backing as big bones love taking people well into the backing.
Both reels should also have a spare spool with them, rigged with backing and another line on it, for quick changing if needed.

Saltwater fly lines have a stiffer core to cope with the tropical heat. 
So do not take your trout lines with you thinking they will do. They will not and will stick to the rod when casting. I know first hand of this money saving mistake.

Most of the fishing will be done with a floating line with a sinking tip. I would also recommend an intermediate line, especially if your fishing one of the 16 ft drop off areas that some bones like to cruse along. 
The intermediate line will also be good if its windy and will help keep your fly on the bottom better.

Take at least two of each fly lines, as fly lines getting cut on coral is quite normal. 
A trip in New Caledonia chasing bonefish one year, left me with two destroyed fly lines within 10 mins of each other, due to coral.

A selection of different weights and lengths will be needed. 15lb+ fluro carbon tippet has always worked for me on bigger fish and deeper water.
Heavier tippet for all the bigger fish you may encounter-  20- 30lb.

Aitutaki Bonefish Flies / Wahoo, Trevally,Tuna

Even very small bone fish can crush the best hooks.
Though you are going to have a much better chance if you have flies tied on good hooks with sharp points to help penetrate the hard mouths of  all saltwater fish. It's always best to take more than you think you will need. It's not unusual to lose 10 flies in a day for some people.
Remember if you are not used to saltwater fly fishing keep the rod down and strip strike - although its hard to remember after years of trout striking, where you raise the rod upwards.

Shrimp patterns - in a variety of sizes and weights - Pearl /Tan will be needed along with some worm, crab patterns. 

After years of trail and error a new range of little "come and eat me " saltwater flies have been released.
They all sit on the bottom and have plenty of movement due to the materials used. These are becoming hot favorites of the guides in Aitutaki, some of Stu's Superior Flies where also featured in the great DVD Itus Bones.

A selection of baitfish flies again in various sizes are always recommend for the other species. Although some of the big bones that my customers have landed have been taken on the Big eye baitfish fly. As big bones love eating other fish. 

I hope you found this informative, please feel free to share this information with your friends.

If you need more information or some equipment, Stu's Superior flies, lines, leaders, tippet for your trip please visit - 

Since these bone fishing trips I have also worked as a saltwater fly fishing guide for a season in Australia where more knowledge about saltwater flies and tackle was  experienced.

Have a great trip.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012



Yes - the new season is under way and happy fishermen and women have been in the shop.
The Red Hot Killer Nymphs are the number one choice for most, followed by NZ Tungsten Gold Bead Mayfly Nymphs in smaller sizes. The wee bit of bling on these seems to work early season on the Southland rivers.
Lots of different guides have been in for their season stock up and it's always good to catch up with them and find out how their bookings are. 
This is a time when most of the guides actually get a few days to fish, well the keen guides do.
For me that's a great thing to see guides who like me have fused their passion with their work still out there enjoying there passion.

A huge trout being released by my last client

Paul from Wanaka  

was through yesterday and had  managed a 3/4 day out playing. He had managed to land 5 brown trout between 3-5lb and was pretty happy about that on his first day of the season.
If you are over that way in Wanaka and looking for a friendly knowledgeable guide check his services out

He was pretty disappointed that I was out of my black Ninja Nymphs as he was after dozens of them as they were his go to fly of the day and last season. 
Which was great to hear that his clients had success with them, he was mainly fishing them of the back of a size 10 Mayfly Bomb connected by 5lb rio fluro plus tippet.
Hopefully I'll have the Ninjas back in stock soon.

It's spring and sometimes the young lambs don't make it to the barbie.
This one was eaten by some feral pests.

The weather here in Athol has actually been pretty settled and the main Mataura river has been mainly running clear. Snow has fallen on the mountains and some days it's cold. But already the birds are looking for nesting materials and spring is on its way.

Non Spooky Trout And Spooky!

Most of the trout at the start of the season will let you have a few casts over them, some trout that I was guiding some clients onto who were not so accurate let us try up to 20 times before they were hooked or not. 
Though it was interesting to see some trout after 3 attempts learn pretty quickly. 
Already I hear some of the larger wise trout on some rivers that have not been caught are moving off just after one fly drift past them - I love that stuff it just amazes me, that some how they know the season has opened, and seem to remember from previous seasons.

Check out these unique NZ Fishing Note books - a great gift

The Office

The days have been long in the office, busy working on some new cool stuff that soon you will get to know about.
I'm twitching to get on the vice but the paper work comes first - well so my accountant keeps telling me.

Great customer feedback - photos and comments.

Some of the biggest Bonefish have been caught on my designs!

Your flies are awesome.
Have a great season and will see you when I'm down poaching your Area!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers Deano - pro NZ fly fishing Guide

The Waters Of Greenstone - new NZ DVD

Just in is a new DVD The Waters Of Greenstone and it's pretty cool that Stu's Fly Shop is on it. Check out one of the trailers.

ORETI RIVER - Vandal / Criminal Angler - Anglers

Well the much publicized Oreti river has been getting it's usual pounding at the start of the season and there is nothing wrong with that - it's a great river. 

I was told the other day already people thinking it's their river and letting down the tyre of a vehicle that was parked on the top bridge - I'm not sure if this person was camped there all night, that's beside the point.. 

Things like this are not good for NZ, so if you saw anything please report the culprit to the police, fingers have been pointed but no evidence, there was a few people around that day at the top bridge, someone knows something - we are fishermen not vandals - come on guys! Lucky the guy had a spare.


Remember to sign up for the newsletter and like us - on facebook - doing so, you will be receiving some great new special offers, shop news and our new competition news!
Ela (the fake blondie) is in charge of that side of things, so send her your feedback and photos.
We love all the cool photos and soon will be using them, so watch out for your mug shot appearing !

Huge deals on fly tying material!


Yes I'm over stocked with fly tying material so - it's at the moment all 1/2 price what is in stock, dubbing, foam etc.

Sage fly rod & Reel Deals- SALE

I have also got to move some models of Sage rods and Lamson reels so check out the clearance section on the site for some great deals.
Simms boots and waders are also getting cleared out and are heavily discounted all the ones in stock - I have limited stock so contact me soon - or check the clearance section on the site.

Gift vouchers - great gift

It's that time to think about gift vouchers for a Xmas gift - so if you want to give someone the coolest looking gift voucher possible - click here


If you have the book the trout diaries - read it again and get your juices flowing. 
The author will be through to sign books in the shop, so if you do not have a copy of  this book - if you get one from me it will be signed - and may be worth $$$$$ in the future ?

Eddie with one of his big browns before he fell in! 

Eddie the Shower King!

The last time I guided Eddie he fell over in the middle of the river and went right under. What was strange he just fell over it was a flat sand bottom. 
Being professional I did not laugh as I could see his man pride was hurt ! :) He made me promise not to tell anyone - especially his father back at the shop. Being myself - I have never told anyone!

After some years he returned to be guided again and lucky for us we picked the right day and he caught and lost some lovely big browns. 
He also nearly fell in again, but he is a fun guy so having to carry an extra towel with me when I guide him is now just part of my job. Oh and he is not old! He is just a wobbly kind of guy! :) - I sure hope he will not read this - or his friends :) :)

Here is a few photos of the days guiding the other day we got most of the fish on size 12 NZ grey Realistic Mayfly Nymphs off a size 8 bomb as the water was deep and we need a heavy bomb to get the smaller nymph down.

Australia - High Country outfitters in Jindbyne NSW

are stockiest of my flies and their orders are getting bigger and bigger. 
Which is awesome as they have supported me right from the start as they know quality.
If you are in their area check out their shop and services. So if you know or are a cool fly shop that wants to stock my Superior fly range contact me or Ela. 

Well best get to the shop and get my open flags out! 


Stu & Ela