Week 5: Cook Islands by Andrew Ettingshausen
I have been to most of the Pacific Islands in the South Pacific, but for some reason I had never managed to get to the Cook Islands. By chance, as I was attending the Sydney boat show, I bumped into the manager for Cook Islands Tourism. Then and there she put a proposal to me to come across to Rarotonga & Aitutaki to experience their amazing island, brilliant culture and game fishing.
The course was set in motion and a year later I arrived in sunny Rarotonga, packing five rods a bag of tackle and the excitement of fishing new waters. The deep canyons and sea mounts of this area of the Pacific boasts large numbers of sport fish like blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo & mahi mahi. These were all target species when I headed out of Rarotonga with my guide & skipper, Captain Moko. As soon as our big trailer boat left the sanctuary of the harbor, baits of flying fish were thrown over the side and our trolling run had begun.
The water is so deep! Within 100 metres off the shore, 200 meters of water sat beneath the boat. It wasn't long before we spotted birds diving, and that was our first signal of a predator lurking close by. The birds changed direction and as they came closer to the boat, our portside rigger bent hard as a large Wahoo devoured our bait. These fish are one of the fastest on the planet. And in no time, 200 meters of line had peeled from the spool. The Wahoo put up a spirited fight but 5 minutes later he laid boat side, the flying fish bait torn apart hanging from the corner of his mouth. It was a nice way to start and later the fish topped the scales at 18 kg.
Onward bound we battled a large swell but another sighting of birds got our attention and we headed further out to sea to check out what they were so interested in. As we got close a marauding school of large mahi mahi (dolphin fish) sent baitfish flying in their pursuit of a meal. Captian Moko swung the boat hard and lined up the pack of hungry predators. Three big fish broke away from the school and raced in to crash tackle our baits. A double hook up occurred and the battle was on to see who could bring these acrobatic fish to the boat. Captain Moko won the day winding in a fish that weighed 19kg with it's little brother of 17 kg caught by me. What a great way to kick start our trip to the Cook Islands!
Over the next week we caught a load of different species with my 23 kg Wahoo caught on Aitutaki Island, winning the trophy in the Gary Parlour fishing tournament over the weekend while we were there.
Enjoy your Fishing
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