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If you are a bonefish fanatic, you probably remember subscriber Steve Blake’s report in the July 2006 issue about a stopover trip he made to the island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. Blake lives part of the year in New Zealand, you’ll recall, and he likes to fly Air New Zealand on his way back to Los Angeles, at least in part because the company allows one free stopover. He’s taken advantage of that benefit several times by stopping over in Raratonga, where he gets a 40-minute flight over to Aitutaki.

In Blake’s 2006 report, he remarked positively on the number and size of the bonefish he caught in a special reserve that his guide, Jubilee Reu, had pushed local authorities to create. Reu, you may recall, told Blake he had helped a client take a 12-pounder there. Another guide told him of landing a 32-inch bonefish.

Well, the latest news from Aitutaki is not good at all. Blake says he just fished there again and, in the course of two days, saw maybe 15 bonefish and hooked one. “I had not contacted Reu before arriving, as I needed an island break regardless,” Blake writes. “Upon my arrival, Reu told me there were simply no more bonefish left, and he was correct. Jubilee says his efforts to establish an area where the locals were not allowed to net bonefish had not been supported locally. So, I ended up casting poppers for giant trevally. I had good success, but that does not take the sting out of what has happened to the bonefishing.”

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