Feb 19

Triggered in Christmas Island

I’m back from a week in Christmas Island on the trip hosted by my friend Shane through The Fly Shop.

It was a good trip with some good people and some tough weather. Conditions were overcast on our first few days of fishing and that’s one reason I was particularly pleased with the trigger fishing.

People say trigger fishing is like permit fishing. That is something I’m not sure I can totally agree on, as I’ve now caught three triggers and have only caught one permit (although I’ve had about 20X the trigger shots than I’ve had permit shots). I think permit get the edge in difficulty and I’m happy to let them have it because that leaves trigger fishing as more enjoyable.

Sure, I blew plenty of trigger shots, but they are pretty easy to find, even on overcast, windy, rainy days. They let you get fairly close, if they don’t spook when you look at them. Also, I had a good sense of what I needed to do when casting at one.

First fishing day greeted us with rain, wind and thick grey skies. My guide (ee went by “T”) and I found some bones, but we found many more triggers. I had caught one trigger in Mexico with Nick Denbow, but these triggers were more colorful and more plentiful. I was happy they were there.

I had maybe 20 good triggers shots on the first day and had three eats that I didn’t come tight to before it happened.

This is still my largest trigger. I was surprised by how hard he pulled.

Nice looking trigger.

I had heard the main thing you need to do is keep them out of their rocky/coral homes after they get hooked. That in mind, I put the stick to the fish, knowing I had 20 pound tippet to play with. S/He made a couple of nice runs (not to its hole), but we managed to get it in. Lovely fish. Cool eyes. I was stoked. Day was made.

Now… you’ll notice where my rod is in the picture above. So… when I lowered the fish to the water… well… this happened.

uh oh

It held on for probably 2 minutes.

Um… now what?

Finally, it let go. The rod, a Redington Predator 8 wt., was, to my shock, totally fine. It had bitten the ferrule, maybe the strongest part of the rod. No damage was done. Helped that the teeth didn’t get it bad at all.

So, that was day one.

The rest of the week I cast at several more triggers, but didn’t get any to seal the deal. I had some follows, some interest, maybe some eats, but no more triggers to hand.

On the last day we had GLORIOUS LIGHT. Despite the light I was having a crisis of confidence as I went 1/25 on bones in the morning. I was seeing them very well, often before the guide (thanks, 6’3″ frame) but I just couldn’t get it to them how they wanted it. I was dejected. After lunch, I had some redemption, going about 5/15 with two coming unhooked and one lost to coral. Then… the second and last trigger of the trip.

I loved it. One cast and it was on. The cast was perfect and I needed a perfect cast to help salvage some dignity.

Last trigger of the trip

(Yes, that’s what passed for great light on this trip)

This guy even ate a bonefish fly. Go figure.

Not really fishable any more.

I’ve grown quite fond of triggers. They’ll hold a special place in my heart for a while.

More to come on the trip.

Feb 12

Kiribati guide goes after trout

It is a story you want to read… guides from Kiribati entering a fishing competition in Tasmania.

“It might be our first time catching this fish — there’s no trout and no rivers in Kiribati — but I’ve seen pictures before,” Bataeru says as he practises his casting from a small wooden boat on Tasmania’s Arthurs Lake.

“And we all have grown up fly fishing for bonefish in our coral lagoons, although this is different. The trout are a little harder to catch, they’re on the surface, and you use dry flies, so we do have a bit to learn.”

Read the article here.

Oct 10

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.

Jun 10

Tie N Fly goes after bonefish in Kiribati

Saw this recent story from Tie N Fly Outfitters from Australia about a trip to Nonouti, part of Kiribati.  For those worried about Kiribati drowning due to global warming, don’t worry… it’s growing.

A bone from Nonouti

The trip appears not to have sucked.