SALTWATER   >   PACIFIC OCEAN
NEW CALEDONIA - POINGAM

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Fly fishing in New Caledonia means one thing ... Big Bonefish. New Caledonia lies in the heart of the South Pacific and has arguably, swimming around its shores the biggest Bonefish in the world. New Caledonia, surrounded by a sixteen-hundred-kilometre long coral reef, second in size only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, boasts the largest lagoon in the world. These geographic features have created sandflat habitats, ideal for Bonefish and a hoard of other tropical species which make for a great fly fishing destination. The French influence can be found throughout New Caledonia and combined with the indigenous Kanak population, the island offers a rich cultural mix of European and tropical pacific flavours.

The huge Bonefish in the north of New Caledonia rival that of anywhere in the world including Aitutaki in the Cook Islands and Tetiaroa in French Polynesia. Since then, Australian fly anglers have kept this Pacific jewel under wraps and have experienced sight-casting to double figure Bonefish on a regular basis.

Located in the far north of Grand Terre or New Caledonia, the journey to get to the Northern Province and Poum by road takes you the entire four hundred kilometres length of the country, past a chain of mountain ranges, pot-holes and small villages which is an adventure in itself.

Against a backdrop of mountains, rainforests, rivers, savannah and beaches live some of the most traditional communities on this French influenced, South Pacific outpost. The customs of ancient times are still practised by many of the Kanak people and permission is required to enter and fish in this remarkable part of the world.

  • Season: the peak season is from April to December
  • The average Bonfish size is 6-7 lbs
  • Bonefish of up to 16lbs have been landed
  • Ideal for fishing groups, couples and families
  • Isolated remote coral atoll
  • Capacity of six to eight anglers per week
  • Average temperatures: 18-30℃, varies seasonally but generally warm and sub-tropical

The 'Resort of Poingam' is a locally owned and operated bungalow setting with charming hosts, offering a relaxing French/South Seas style right on the beach. Located four hundred and fifty kilometres from Noumea, Poingam is a little paradise located near Boat Pass and the beautiful beaches of Nennon, offering seven rustic thatched bungalows with quaint attached bathrooms.

The beautiful garden surroundings and the feeling that you are literally at the end of the earth make this a fantastic getaway from the fast-paced world that many of us are accustomed to.

With a small saltwater pool and eighty hectares of national parks and nature trails, there are plenty of options for non-anglers. Spotting wild horses and electric blue butterflies, the flora and fauna is impressive. You can also slide into a pair of flippers and a facemask to enjoy the great snorkelling on offer.

The food and hospitality at the Relais de Poingam is excellent. The dining, each day, is at a large communal table where you will share your evening meal and wine over three courses with travellers from all over the world. Including local seafood and a mixture of traditional and French influences, guests will typically enjoy fresh lobster and roasted suckling pig throughout their stay, while dessert may include cognac laced banana and papaya crème brûlée, washed down with French wine. The setting makes for a great evening where you can plan your assault on the bonefish flats the following day.

WIFI is limited to the reception area.

  • Currency: French Pacific Franc (CPF)
  • Capital: Noumea
  • Airport: La Tontouta international Airport
  • Population: 272,000
  • Language: French
  • Religion: Christian
  • Electricity: 220v two-pin European
  • Time: AEDT - Australian Time
  • Average temperatures: 18-30℃, varies seasonally, but generally warm and sub-tropical

It wasn't until the new millennium that the Bonefish of New Caledonia were explored and shared with the world. Instrumental, was Australian fly fishing legend, Dean Butler, who discovered waters filled with oversize Bonefish in shallow water.

Working with local Phillip Loureux, and later Richard Bertin, they all strived to get the Bonefish of northern New Caledonia into the spotlight. This included training local Kanak guides and, most recently, support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Organisation, which has further assisted with implementing a locally sustainable fly fishing guiding business in the Poingam region.

The coastline of the Northern Province, stretching from Poum on the west coast to Boatpass at the northern most point and down to Phagaan on the east coast, is a plethora of mangrove-lined shallow bays, sand flats, coral reef and dozens of small islands scattered about. Looking at a topographical map of the region, it is hard to imagine that a lifetime fishing could uncover all its secrets.

The lagoons of New Caledonia display prime intact ecosystems, with healthy populations of large predators, and a great number and diversity of big fish. Huge Bonefish, big GT’s, Golden Trevally, Coral Trout, Red Bass, Yellowfin and Dogtooth Tuna are all there to be chased.

There are around ten different flats accessible within a short boat ride from Poum/Poingam, each with unique features. However, the real jewels are the flats of St Phalle, Isle of Balabio and Baaba. The reef of Balabio on the lee side of the island extends from the sand cay of St Phalle for over twenty-five kilometres and it is two kilometres wide at its narrowest point. Sand has built up on this reef to create a sandflat habitat that takes your breath away when you first approach it and look at the expanse of white that stretches to the horizon where it meets rich, red, bare mountains. This must be one of the most scenic bonefish locations in the world.

The St Phalle flats contrast markedly with the shallow mangrove-lined bays of Isle Baaba, with the slightly tea-stained water providing a colour reminiscent of that found in Ascension Bay, Mexico and which provides extensive feeding areas for the Bonefish found here.

Depending on the tides and weather conditions, your local Kanak guide will transport you from your accommodation to the fishing flats. While the English language is not readily spoken, Benjamin has received great guiding tuition over time and has an amazing ability to put you onto the fish. New Caledonia is not a destination for cricket score numbers of Bonefish, however what they lack in numbers they more than make up for in size.

Typical waded flats fished are between one and five feet deep, however, there are numerous drop-offs and strong currents at times so it pays to have a good selection of weighted flies in larger sizes to accommodate and get the interest of these big fish. When clouds are about and the wind picks up, the ability of your guide Ben to spot and put you onto cruising Bonefish maximises your chances at connecting with these beasts.

While they rarely get fished to, a stealthy approach and ensuring your fly is always on the bottom is paramount as the fish move on and off the flats with the tidal movement. Fishing times are determined the evening prior based on the tides and conditions, but with the wind generally picking up in the afternoon you will need to be out on the water fairly early most days to maximise your window of opportunity.

As per all Fly Odyssey bookings, we will provide a comprehensive and detailed pre-trip fly fishing guide, and advise of travel requirements prior to your departure.

The rates for this destination vary throughout the season. We offer the best available rates for this destination and do not charge for our service. By calling we are able to tailor a package to specifically suit your requirements at the best available rate. As we have offices in both the United Kingdom and Australia we can also ensure you are being quoted in your local currency. Please enquire for the latest rates and availability, including information on any applicable special offers and group discounts.

CONTACT OUR INTERNATIONAL OFFICE

CONTACT OUR AUSTRALIAN OFFICE

Passport with minimum six months validity. Nationals of the European Union, Australia, Canada and the USA DO NOT require a visa to enter New Caledonia.

To Noumea, it is a three-hour flight from Sydney or a twenty-six hour flight from London via Hong Kong, Tokyo or Osaka.

Passport with minimum six months validity.

New Caledonia is a three-hour flight from Sydney. From London via Hong Kong, Tokyo or Osaka, the flight is over twenty-six hours.

From Noumea, the transfer to Poum is a four-and-a-half hours' drive.

The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 for Fly Odyssey Ltd, and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for the following:

  1. non-flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK;
  2. non-flight packages commencing and returning to a country other than the UK; and
  3. flight inclusive packages that commence outside of the UK, which are sold to customers outside of the UK.

1, 2 and 3 provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled. 1 and 3 provides for repatriation. Please note that bookings made outside the UK are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with Fly Odyssey Ltd.

OVERSEAS BOOKINGS

Contact: Mat McHugh
Tel: +44 (0)1621 743711
Mob: +44 (0)7936 708305
Email: enquiries@flyodyssey.co.uk

CHALK STREAMS BOOKINGS

Contact: Gilly Bate
Tel: +44 01730 825626
Mob: +44 (0)7817 304232
Email: g.bate@flyodyssey.co.uk

AUSTRALIA BOOKINGS

Contact: James Laverty
Mob (Australia):
+61 (0)499 900816
Email: j.laverty@flyodyssey.com.au