A part of French Polynesia, Anaa Atoll sits in the south Pacific Ocean between Mexico and New Zealand.
Sure, “Tahiti” may conjure visions of an island paradise where nubile island maidens cavort ala Mutiny on the Bounty, but for angling enthusiasts, this part of French Polynesia offers visions of a very different sort of paradise — stunning, white-sand flats and rugged reefs teeming with game fish. Anaa Atoll, just over 200 miles east of Tahiti, offers the best of this idyllic fishery. Gavin Hodgson of flatsbag.com has provided SF with 19 images that offer a compelling visual tableau.
Bohar snapper — aka “red bass” in Australia — are a common catch of anglers fishing the reef. These toothy Indo-Pacific snapper are one of the most aggressive game fishes among all species of snapper.
Paradise: Crystal-clear sand flats, pristine islands and, beyond, a stunning reef system.
Most flyrodders here wade the white-sand flats for bonefish like this one.
Nothing lights up an angler’s face like seeing a bluefin trevally crush a fly just below the surface.
Tidal fluctuation is very slight. Sandbars appear and disappear each day.
The weekly flight from Tahiti flies into the small community Airport of Anaa.
The Napoleon wrasse, also known as a humphead wrasse, can grow upward of a few hundred pounds. Even relative babies like this one are known for breaking anglers off in the reef.
Fly fishing the reefs at Anaa Atoll will allow you to catch a mixed bag of fish, like this colorful Napoleon wrasse.
Distinct markings and vibrant colors help the wrasse blend in with the reef.
On occasion, Anaa flyfishers take some time to venture outside the reef for some vertical jigging , a productive tactic for targeting large reef predators, such as this hard-fighting dogtooth tuna.
Bohar snapper of trophy proportions wait on the reef for skiff anglers.
Anglers wander exposed reef, searching for big fish and covering the likely cuts where they might work.
A stunning coral trout, an impressive catch from Anna’s northern tip.
Waiting for the sun to emerge through the clouds, these anglers wade slowly looking for any signs of fish.
A blind cast produces a surprise flounder, this one striking a large streamer as it passed a deep spot on the reef.
Bonefish can be taken off the flats with a stealthy approach and a small fly.
Large Bluefin trevally lurk around the reefs here in Anaa and may quickly snatch up a fast-moving fly.
Anaa Atoll accommodations are simple, clean, and most importantly, idyllic.
Gavin Hodgson of flatsbag.com, getting up-close and personal with the business end of a large snapper.