Bone fishing and The Cook Islands .
Aitutaki is known for bone fishing and can boast at being where the LARGEST Bonefish make their home.
On Aitutaki Island
Bone fish will congregate along the lagoon-side of the eastern islets and favor the clear waters around the sand flats
A respectable bonefish can weighs up to 8 – 9 kg and measures anywhere up 100 cm and longer
A bonefish’s colour can range anywhere from very silver sides and darker backs to green along it’s silver side. Some shading on the scales gives it subtle lines that can run down the flank and go from the tail to the gill area with it’s pectoral fins of the Bone fish predominantly shades of yellow.
Since bonefish live in shallow inshore water, fishing can be done by simply fishing from the shotre line or imesring yourself waist deep or from a boat. Bonefishing is mostly done for the sport, so the fish are catch and release, but they may also be eaten.
When on Aitutaki
Bone fishing tours can be arranged and a great place to base your self is at Ranginui’s Retreat on Aitutaki. Book in with Australian ex-pat Steve Scofield, owner operator, who lives on site and has a wealth of local knowledge on the area, bone fishing and other water sports in the area . Ranginui Retreat is based absolute beachfront and bone fish are all within view from you balcony ( true story )
A favourite local Aitutaki recipe
To prepare the bone fish for eating, begin by cutting the fish in half, length ways and then liberally seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper and then then bake in oven or over hot coals on the shore. Eat straight from the hot coals and wash down with a cold beer – doesn’t get any better.
Eating Habits of the bone fish
The Bone fish is a fish that will live in the open ocean and can then move into fresh water ( a little like a salmon or eel ) this habit is referred to as being amphidromous. The Bonefish prefers inshore warm tropical water and moves around shallow sandy flats whilst feeding mainly on the incoming tide. Youngsters and adults can live or school together but at other times they prefer to be solitary or paired off. They feed on worms and smaller fish (fry) crabs and prawns and have been seen to follow the likes of larger fish and also stingrays which may disturb some prey, of which the Bonefish are always eager to take advantage of .