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Written by: Steve McLaughlin and Randy Hanner

Christmas Island (Kiritimati) is a vacation spot that conjures up journey, and it’s a mecca for anglers world wide. The fishing on Christmas Island is like no different saltwater vacation spot on the planet, with practically two dozen completely different species of fish to catch.  Positioned 1200 miles south of Honolulu and 120 miles north of the equator, Christmas Island has secure climate and fishing circumstances year-round.  With extra that 240 sq. miles of laborious sand and coral pancake flats contained in the lagoon, you by no means need to fish the identical flat twice.

Apart from fishing the blue water, all of the fishing on Christmas Island is finished whereas wading the flats. Most of the named flats–Orvis, Paris Texas, 9 Mile, Y Web site–are legendary, and so they appear to be they’re countless. There are a lot of others referred to as “pancake flats,” as most of them are roundish in form and appear to erupt off the underside of the lagoon, making good reefs for fish and fishermen.

Multi-Species Bonanza

Christmas Island provides arguably the very best fishing for bonefish on the earth. Skilled saltwater anglers can land 100 bonefish in per week, and 10-12 per day is an effective common. It’s uncommon to solid farther than 40 ft to those fish, and they’re normally very wanting to eat your providing. Sometimes, the bonefish on Christmas Island journey as singles or doubles and common three kilos. Bones within the four- to six-pound vary are quite common, you’ll often see fish as much as ten kilos–although these bones are seldom landed.

Kiritimati is alongside means from anyplace, in the course of the Pacific Ocean.
Map Knowledge by Google, INEGI

Triggerfish provide one other implausible flats-fishing expertise, and there are a number of completely different species to focus on on the flats of Christmas Island: titan triggerfish (also called Mustachios), yellow margin triggerfish, peach face triggerfish, and Picasso triggerfish.  With their hook-crushing tooth, touchdown one is a feat in and of itself. If you will get one to eat your fly with out crushing the hook, maintaining it from making it again to its gap is a very powerful step in touchdown a triggerfish.  If every little thing comes collectively, you’ll be rewarded with one of many prettiest and most rewarding fish on the flats.

Bluefin trevally, bar jacks (trevally), and golden trevally are all discovered on the flats, as nicely. They are often discovered on the perimeters of the flats typically, even blended with bonefish or milkfish colleges. Bluefins and bar jacks are normally extraordinarily aggressive and can chase a nicely or a really misplaced fly and smash it aggressively. They have a tendency to love smaller, flashier bonefish patterns. Whereas goldens are a lot rarer, they have an inclination to behave extra like a allow. Even when you see one, feeding a golden is a unique deal. Currently, golden success has been on bigger crabs and mantis patterns.

Offshore alternatives are plentiful, as nicely. When offshore circumstances are proper, anglers can spend the morning fishing for yellowfin tuna, wahoo, sailfish, and large trevally, then fish the flats within the afternoon. There are additionally twelve- to thirty-five-pound milkfish accessible on outgoing tides within the morning, which put up an unbelievable combat.


Steve McLaughlin exhibits off a golden trevally after a troublesome combat.
Picture courtesy Front Range Anglers

The Gangsters!

The primary attraction for most of the anglers that journey to Christmas Island is the large trevally (GT). Christmas Island provides the very best, reasonably priced, closest-to-home alternatives for anglers to strive for a monster GT.  Weighing in at up 100 kilos, GTs are the apex predator on the flats. Many instances, they seem out of nowhere, charging onto and although the flats with lightning velocity. It’s not unusual to see one with its complete again out of the water, chasing bonefish, mullet, snapper, and milkfish in extraordinarily shallow water, with baitfish flying all over the place!

GTs are available many sizes. The five- to fifteen-pound “child” GTs might be large enjoyable, as they nearly at all times are in colleges, chasing baitfish and throwing all warning to the wind. These smaller fish generally is a blast on an 8- or 9-weight rig. However most GT fishing is finished with a particular 11- or 12-weight setup. The right rigging for these huge Gangsters can be an 11-weight Helios 3 with a Mirage V spooled with 400 yards of braid backing and a Scientific Anglers GT 475-grain line, completed with a straight nine-foot, 100-pound fluorocarbon chief. You by no means fairly know what measurement GT shall be cruising by means of!

When they’re terrorizing the flats, GTs feed on something that will get of their means. That is the very best alternative for anglers to current their providing and hook up. If there isn’t any motion on the flats, blind-casting poppers into the channels on the aspect of a flat might be a good way to create motion. Typically if one angler is throwing a popper, it’s a good suggestion for a second angler to solid a GT streamer in the identical space. When GTs are available to chase the popper, the second angler can solid the streamer towards the popper with a excessive likelihood of each anglers hooking up.


Big trevally are recognized for his or her fierce preventing skills, and for locating methods to interrupt an angler’s sort out.
Picture courtesy Molly Semenik

Backcountry Fishery

The backcountry fishing is one thing that every one anglers who fish Christmas Island ought to attempt to expertise. The backcountry is a combination of sea-shell-lined seashores, channels, and brief flats that has been fished by truck, traditionally, however they’re accessible by boat on correct excessive tides. Within the backcountry you’ll encounter GTs, bonefish, triggers, and goldens. This space could be very shut to almost landlocked milkfish ponds in the course of the atoll. The milkfish are raised as a supply of protein for the islanders. On increased tides the ponds are likely to over movement, which permits milkfish to flee and GTs to get in. This will create attention-grabbing stealth-fishing eventualities for anglers who get the prospect to get to the backcountry.

Steve McLaughlin is the previous proprietor of Entrance Vary Anglers, in Boulder, Colorado, and Randy Hanner (check out his website) is a fly-fishing photographer and journey specialist. For extra info on fishing Christmas Island, go to Front Range Anglers.

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