Kanton Island – Kiribati

I was reading an old article on Reel-Time about bonefishing and saw something about a remote island in Kiribati (Christmas Island is in Kiribati).

Note: Christmas Island is not the only bonefishing location in the South Pacific. Kanton Island, located approximately 2,2 00 miles west from Christmas is in the process of opening a full-scale bonefishing operation as soon as the operator can arrange dependable flights onto the island.

Looks like that dependable air service never quite made it there… this article was written in 1996 and today it does not appear that there is an active guide or lodge operation on Kanton Island, although I think I found the operation mentioned above… still waiting for investment.

It might not be totally ready for full on development… with just 24 people living there including children that have sever calcium deficiencies.  Things were looking pretty grim there in May when a Brit named Bond (not making that up) stopped by and found the population in a dire straight.  Might not be a totally wonderful island paradise if the supply ship gets stranded and doesn’t make it there for a few months.

The look of the island would suggest that it might have some of the same issues that Penrhyn does in terms of lack of tidal flush and high water temps, but that is only a slightly educated guess.

I see one inlet that means no real tidal flush.

Still… I’ll bet it’s pretty.

My guess is that we’ll  hear a lot more about places like this in 20 years when other favorite destinations have been degraded and depleted.  All it takes is a reliable transportation link to open these places up… and then to beat them down under a few million flip-flops.

I wonder how many other places like this there are in the South Pacific. My guess is that there are more than a couple… some with bonefish, some with former bonefish populations (if you had to survive on fish for a couple months, you might pick bonefish since they come into the shallows).

Kanton… I don’t think we’ll be hearing much from you for a while.

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  1. Contact the Kiribati Tourism department, they are currently tying to establish an air service there with a small corporate type jet. I was there for 3 months in 1992. It was the most amazing fishing experience of my life. There were lots of small/med bone fish, coral flats, and steep drop offs into deeper water.

  2. I can imagine that was a great experience. Christmas Island just got service again, so maybe there is a chance of that happening.

  3. Kanton is now in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), established by Kiribati in 2008. This year it was inscribed as the largest marine World Heritage site. Kiribati is currently working on a sustainable tourism plan for Kanton Island. The Phoenix Islands Protected Area Trust is the funding mechanism. For more information visit the website or please join our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Phoenix-Islands-Protected-Area/281218863892

  4. Benbow Cheesman

    On August 6, 1945, my father observed his 29th birthday on Kanton Island as part of an Army Airforce communications squadron. Had the bombs not done the job, they would have gone in with the first wave of the Nov. 1 invasion, and probably not have come back. Dad said that with the help of the Navy guys at the other end of the island, they did take fish. But they usually used hand grenades and nets. Many years later, he was a founding member of the Georgia Council of T.U.

  5. I was stationed at Canton from summer of ’73 to summer of ’74 while in the Air Force. I ran the weather station. At that time there were 12 military, some contractors and some Samoans on the island. I don’t know what the total population count was, but there were no many people there. We caught bonefish which we then used to catch the big fish. I also fished the deep water pier with a home made lure. Fantastic and unforgettable fishing experience!!

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