Fishing in Cocos Keeling Islands

Cocos Keeling Islands is an Australian territory located in the eastern Indian Ocean about 3,000km from Perth.

Cocos Keeling Islands, known simply as “Cocos” to locals, comprises of 27 islands but only two are inhabited.

The around 600 residents comprise of mainly Cocos Malays, a group of people who were brought to the islands by the British in the 1820’s to work in the coconut industry (hence the name given to the island). The majority of these people were from Indonesia and Malaysia.

Called Australia’s last unspoilt paradise by some (plausibly due to its remote location) it is a place of tranquil beauty rich in marine life.

In recent years intrepid anglers have started to discover the incredible number of big bonefish that has brought attention to the fly fishing community around the world.

The Fishing

Every morning at 6AM you will head out in skiffs from the boat ramp that are within walking distances from your accommodations.

A lot of the fishing is done wading in shallow flats where you can sight-cast to tailing fish. Lookout for big bonefish with their backs sticking out of the waters as they search for food in the shallow flats.

You can also drift in the skiffs and be on the lookout for target fish to cast to.

The Fish

Bonefish are the most abundant sports fish in the flats here and they will come into very shallow water in large numbers. And one of the attractions of Cocos is the bigger-than-average sized bonefish.

Catching 8 to 10 pounders (or bigger) bonefish are fairly common here although the monster bones are obviously more challenging to fool. A good time however is almost always promised in good weather where each angler can easily catch more than 10 bonefish each day.

Cocos Islands has a Diverse Fishery

Other regular target species are triggerfish, giant and bluefin trevally. You will also often be presented with shots to permit, barracuda and other species that hunt the flats for prey.

More challenging but present targets will be the highly-desired species such as humphead parrotfish, milkfish, Maori wrasse and if you jig or spin-fish potentially Bluewater species such as dogtooth tuna and sailfish.

List of Fish Species found in Cocos Islands

  • Barracuda
  • Bonefish
  • Coronation trout
  • Humpheaded Maori Wrasse
  • Humpheaded Parrotfish
  • Cod
  • Coral trout
  • Dogtooth tuna
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Marlin
  • Milkfish
  • Parrotfish
  • Potato cod
  • Queensland groper
  • Sailfish
  • Sharks and rays
  • Snappers and emperors
  • Sepat (red and black) Family Berycidae and Bramidae
  • Swordfish
  • Trevally family Carangidae
  • Tuna
  • Wahoo
  • White banded cod

Flies, Tackle and Gear

When you confirm joining a trip, we can provide a detailed gear list.

While you can purchase flies from us, it is always better to go prepared with an adequate selection of flies and terminal tackle.

The most commonly used rod line setups for Cocos are 7-8 weights (bonefish, permit) and 9-10 weights (triggerfish, bumphead parrotfish).

Proper wading shoes are necessary for wading in the flats.

Other mandatory equipment:

  • Polarised sunglasses
  • Hip/sling/chest pack
  • Wire leaders if you want to target barracuda or sharks 


The houses or called homestay you will be staying in are typically spacious and comfy single storey 2-room bungalows. The homes are fully furnished equipped with all the necessary amenities you will need.


Your home-cooked meals will be served in your accommodation. Breakfast will be served early before you head out to the boats at 6AM.

Packed lunches will be had in the boats and dinners back in the houses.

Seasonality and When To Go

Always keep in mind flats fishing is perpetually in windy conditions. No matter what season you will always experience temperate weather in Cocos Islands. Fishing is good all year round. But strong wind can be a problem. January to February/March could see some very strong windy days.

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