The Tuamotu archipelagos counts 75 atolls. Some of them are known for their wealth in Bonefish that the local people call « Ioio ».
This archipelago, one of the furthest from modern life, has been away from touristic circuits, and by so, its resources in sport fishing are still unexplored. The local population, used to fishy waters, excels in every types of fishing but is not used to fly-fishing.
Tikehau’s atoll is rich of bonefish. On this atoll, every fishermen knows about the bonefish and talk about bringing back a big quantity of them in the traps that are called « parcs à poissons » (fish traps). This fish that is rarely eaten by the locals is mostly sold at the Papeete’s Market in Tahiti. Outside of those catches in the fish traps, you can meet the bonefish in different places of the lagoon where no one thinks of fishing it.
Nils RINALDI (fly fisherman and author of a blog on the subject: http://www.anadromousflyfishing.com) came to our island while we were in work for the opening of TIKEHAU FAFARUA LODGE Private Island. We helped him to explore the lagoon in search of the best " flats " by following the indications of our fisherman: Viriamu HARRYS, who knows perfectly the lagoon and its fishes. Nils was able to go back home with the satisfaction of a few catches and left us with some pictures and a video that is available to watch on his blog (http://www.anadromousflyfishing.com/index.php/bonefishing-in-french-polynesia.html). He also told us that he enjoyed fishing the “carangues bleues”, the barracuda and the “bec de cane”.
And this is how our interest in fly-fishing began and how we discovered the possibilities that our lagoon, in Tikehau, offers for fly-fishing.
A sustanibility project
It is really a process of sustainability that we want to create through a fly fishing guide training program.
The waters of Tikehau's lagoon have always been really fishy. Until the beginning of last century, the local population used the "rahui", a collective management of natural resources, forbidding fishing in certain part of the lagoon during certain periods, which was a perfectly stable use of the natural resources.
The transition to a western kind of living in the Polynesian society led to give up this collective management. Alongside, the establishment of a new economy has resulted in a commercial exploitation of this resource, regardless of its sustainabiity and its ippacts on th environment. Thus, everyone continued to take whatever fishes they needed to eat, but with the development of maritime transport and the setting up of air traffic since the middle of last century, some families have become professional fishermen and developed the use of modern"parcs à poissons", derived from the ancient fish traps, to supply markets in Tahiti.
Tikehau, which has been considered by Yves COUSTEAU, during his stay in French-Polynesia, as one of the most abounding in fish island on the planet, became one of the most important provider of fresh fish to Tahiti. Of course, this intense fishing has an effect on the number of fishes in the lagoon, and ultimately will not allow fishermen families to continue to live with.
At the same time, in recent years, tourism has mixed in the economy of the island, and more and more famiies are dependent on pensions and hotels on the island and therefore of tourism.
Training a fly-fishing guide
The idea of this project is to give young generations economical resources, based on their knowledge given by their ancestors, to enable them to live with this resource while promoting their rich natural environment. Pensions and hotels on the island need people who know this natural environment and that are able to show this world to visitors. This is both an added value to tourism of the island, where visitors are initiated by a native, and an opportunity for young people to have work and to remain on their home island. Fly fishing, as a spotive pratice, with the release of the catch, is a touristic activity without any impact on the environment.
We have therefore chosen to give to Faremata , the son of our fisherman, the possibility of training to become a fly-fishing guide for future visitors looking for sport fishing in Tkehau and thus develop a new activity in respect of the environment. It is this story that we propose you to follow, step by step, and that we will illustrate through stories, testimonials, pictures and videos as it unfolds.