Last Day Fly Fishing Anaa Atoll

by | Dec 12, 2018 | fly fishing Anaa Atoll | 2 comments


These trips go so fast its ridiculous.  The better they are the faster the go.  And this has been a dandy here at Anaa Atoll with some of my best friends.  Today was the last day and I fished with Scott Smith.  Another of my past fly shop employees.

blacktip shark
Scott Smith Photo

Scott and I get fishing a few times each year.  He was my partner on my first ever trip to St. Brandon’s Atoll in 2017.  He lives in Jackson Hole and is the owner of Grand Teton Fly Fishing.  He continues to guide however not as much as he used to.  He’s become an amazing photographer as you can see from the blacktip shark pic.

bonefishing at Anaa Atoll
Scott Smith Photo

Though the reef has been exceptional the last few days Scott’s been enjoying a couple hours on the flats each morning to start the day.  I’ve only walked the flats once and it was for an hour with Tim on Day 3 so I was all about a morning flats tour.  Unfortunately, it looks like no bonefish at Anaa Atoll for me.  We walked a magnificent looking flat for two hours but I never saw a bonefish and Scott got a cast but didn’t get him.

Scott Smith Photo

There was a little excitement however.  As always, I dragged along my 12-weight just incase a GT came through.  Instead it was an eager bluefin trevally.  I hooked him and during the battle a blacktip shark started honing in to eat him.  It’s a bummer when we anglers put a beautiful gamefish on the spot like this but there’s a trick.  Loosen your drag all the way and let your fish get away.  It worked and meanwhile my guide and I chased the shark away.  Then we landed this beautiful bluefin.

Scott Smith Photo

Next for us was to the reef.  We anchored our boat in the atoll then made the usual cut through the palm forest to the reef.  I was eager to get there hoping for a shot at an even bigger Napoleon today.


Scott jumped up to the plate and hooked up first.  While I was hoping to watch him tangle with a mighty bohar this fish took off out to sea.  I knew then it was a trevally. 


With all the sharks around and coral to break a leader I yelled for Scotty to tighten up and get him in before a shark showed up.  He laid the heat and a few minutes later it was Scotts turn to hold a nice bluefin trevally.


We worked the reef hard but it wasn’t like yesterday morning.  Again, when snappers are on they’re on but when they’re not they’re not.  Scott managed this handsome little bohar but the bohars were few and far between. 

Scott Smith Photo

Often when you’re stripping your big fly through the corals you see all kinds of smaller fish that try to eat it but they can’t fit it in their small mouths.  Scott and I both put on small flies to catch a few.  Here’s what we came up with.

sergeant major fish

A species of Sergeant Major.  New one for my list!

whitespotted surgeonfish

Scott caught this gorgeous little thing.  I believe it’s a whitespotted surgeonfish (Acanthurus guttatus).


This is may be the one-spot snapper.  There are many species similar.  Working on it.  Scott caught several of these while I could never close the deal.


Scott and I also caught a number of the wrasses I showed on the blog the other day.  I had three excellent shots at small Napoleons and hooked and lost two.  The other spooked.  I also saw a giant but he was 80 feet out and by the time I got my fly there he was out of sight.  I thought he might find my fly but he didn’t.  My best fish this afternoon was this one last hefty bohar.


We reeled it in late today.  The guides never told us it was time to go and I was so focused I didn’t realize it was already 5 PM.  Scott and I were last back in and when we got there a few of the locals showed up and played some music and drank beers with us all night.

The food here this week has been spectacular.  Every night has been some sort of fresh seafood.  It’s a tradition to crush a heap of lobsters on the last night and they did not disappoint.  I devoured three tails all for myself!


Its been a great week here at Anaa Atoll.  While the bonefishing on the flats was slow this place has a healthy reef fishery.  Honestly, I can find great bonefishing throughout the world but its hard to find places where the snapper, grouper, trevally, triggerfish, parrots, wrasses and more thrive.  This place has it and I also believe the bonefishing will improve because of recent awareness.


It’s a long trip home followed by a week of editing pics and writing.  It will be nice to be home for almost three weeks after this epic two months of travel.  I will follow up in a few days with a more highlights, mainly as to how many new species I was able to add to my list this fall.  There’s a very good chance I’m over the 400 species on a fly mark!

Be sure to keep track of my upcoming 2019 speaking schedule and catch me along the way!

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  1. Mark Cooper

    great pics throughout this trip THANKS Jeff

  2. Jeff

    thanks Mark. See you soon at the show!

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!