INTERNATIONAL ANGLER HOSTED CHRISTMAS ISLAND TRIP – JAN 21 TO 28, 2014
We arrived on Christmas Island on Tuesday afternoon and the luggage for one of our group members did not make the trip. Since Fiji Air only has one flight per week, he was not going to see his luggage until we returned to Honolulu. Mark was able to obtain some basic clothing from shops in the local town, and as far as fishing gear we had plenty of backup equipment between us to lend him for the week. With this mini crisis behind us, it was time to look forward to fishing.
After settling into our modest lodging quarters, Jim the lodge owner and Peter the head guide gave us a brief orientation for the week ahead. Once orientation was complete we sat down to an incredible display of Sashimi, which was served and enjoyed each evening prior to dinner. Dinners each night would consist of fresh fish, along with another entrée with side dishes and salad. Each morning a cooked breakfast was served, and lunches consisted of sandwiches and fruit.
Christmas Island is the largest coral atoll on earth. The highest point on CI is 24 feet above sea level, which is a sand dune. Due to the island’s proximity to the equator, CI has very consistent daily weather, on a year round basis with highs in the mid 80’s and lows in the mid 70’s. Our decision for a January trip of course, was to get away during our Pittsburgh winter season. Good choice this year.
Fishing on Christmas Island consists of flats fishing for bonefish, and 3 species of trevally (blue, gold, and giant trevally or GT’s). Blue water fishing is available as well with a variety of game fish. Our group caught yellowfin tuna, sailfish, wahoo, trevally, along with several species of reef fish.
We would depart either by truck or boat for flats fishing, depending on which area our guide wanted to take us. The itinerary was decided the prior evening, after considering each angler’s goal for the day. The flats are very expansive. Much more than other destinations, they seem to go on forever. The bottom is a combination of hard sand and coral that made for easy wading. The large white sand flats of CI makes seeing bonefish much easier at longer distances than a grass or dark bottom flat.
All guides had extensive knowledge of the fishery and could spot fish very well. The guides all spoke very good English and were very attentive to the anglers’ needs.
CI is a great place for the first time saltwater fly angler to start, due to the visibility and large number of bonefish to target. Our new member to the group Sarah, with less than a year fly fishing experience for trout, had never fished for bonefish prior to this trip and adjusted very quickly catching fish the very first morning. Sarah also caught the fish of a lifetime, after a 30 minute fight, landing the largest GT of the trip. Her fish was estimated to weigh 110#. As a little side note to this day, Sarah mentioned a black cat crossed her path in the morning. Then on the way to the harbor another one crossed our path. For the superstitious folks out there, maybe two black cats are GOOD luck. We think it worked for her that day, just ask Sarah.
Other highlights include: Mark’s 90+ lb sailfish, Arthur’s 30+ lb yellow fin tuna, Chris and Derek each caught a wahoo, Steve lost a very large tuna, Will’s 80+ lb GT, Bob’s 90+ lb GT.
Wildlife viewing while fishing just added to the enjoyment of the trip. Each day we saw a variety of interesting birdlife. The water was full of life as well, including large graceful manta rays and acrobatic dolphins.
All in all, we had a great trip. We caught many different species and some of the largest fish we could dream of catching. After talking with the group, they would all recommend this trip highly. At $2,320.00 for the week, this is likely the best value in a saltwater (and freshwater for that matter) destination.
Bob Phillips – Host