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Hamish Murray gives a detailed report on our recent hosted trip to Christmas Island in August 2017:
It would be safe to say CXI had been on the bucket list for some years and after a couple of previous saltwater fly-fishing trips mixed with family holidays in Mexico and Aitutaki , the fire had been lit. This year we managed to put it together and swapped out usual week in Turangi, New Zealand for CXI with Jimmy from Fly Odyssey and Josh from Aussie Fly Fisher.
Right from the outset the organization and professional approach from Fly Odyssey Australia was top-notch and left nothing to chance.
Flying into CXI you realize why it’s a fantastic sustainable fishery, the flats and lagoons are endless.
We had all heard mixed reports about the fishing at CXI especially around the size of the Bonefish being on the small size and the fact that they were not selective and ate anything you put in front of them. Nothing could have been further from the truth, sure there were small Bones but members of our group landed them up to 10lb and in our New Zealand crew everyone caught fish in the 5 – 6.5lb range…and a good number of them. We found the Bones in the larger size to be selective and tough to catch sometimes, which was exactly what we came for.
We also found that tippet size, presentation and certainly fly selection really counted. For us the flies that worked best were sparsely dressed basic patterns such as those tied by Darren Asquith of Untamed Flies (highly recommended).
Trigger Fish, these things are next level. Everything you read about them is true, super flighty, spooky, selective, really tough fighters when you hook them. Every one of them is a legitimate trophy and as soon as we got a taste for them they had us in their funky grip. The last couple of days we dedicated to chasing them exclusively which paid off, although we didn’t land all we hooked we all had plenty of shots. I ended up getting a pretty big one but Nigel got one that nudged 10lb.
It pays to have a second rod rigged for these guys; I found the 10 wt most useful and 20lb tippet beneficial, sure you can get em on an 8 wt with lighter tippet but your rolling the dice. Once hooked the first run is over whelming, they certainly punch well above their weight. Flies again really matter, we found the best pattern to be Chris Beeches “Itchy Trigger” and the similar pattern tied by Untamed Flies, both lead eyes and bead chain eyes for different conditions, depths and tides. Next time I will dedicate more time fishing for these guys
We all caught lots of other species, plenty of different Trevally etc. During the week we saw plenty of GTs and had some shots at bigger ones that didn’t convert. On the last full day of the trip while targeting the Triggers we fished around the Smokey, Star flats and all saw GTs. As we walked along mid-afternoon I was lucky to see two big GTs 80 feet out moving slowly down the flat, and the excitement levels hit fever pitch! My brilliant guide Tooetene kept me calm, handed me the 12 wt and we waited for the fish to cruise into range, close enough to get a decent shot.
I made the cast, and the larger of the two fish flared up and smashed the BWC black brush fly 20 feet in front of us in knee deep water…. definitely the best ever eat I’ve ever witnessed in fly-fishing!! Everything held together and after an amazing fight we landed the fish half an hour later on the flats, estimated at 50lb plus. I was still shaking when we jumped back on the skiff with a memory that will last me a lifetime.
We had one day where we travelled by truck to the Korean Wreck, the fishing was challenging but it was super interesting to fish the ocean side flats and see the diversity of the island.
The Villages Lodge is a very professionally run outfit; the guides know the area and fishing really well and work very hard to put you on the fish. There is a mix of older and younger guides so make sure your clear the night before on what you want to fish for the next day. The one to one guide ratio is a real bonus as you get twice as much fishing time and twice as many opportunities.
The food at the lodge is basic but very nice, plenty of meat, chicken etc and even a really nice BBQ and shows one night down at the beach. We didn’t want for anything more in that regard. There is a well stocked bar in the central dining area which has a good range of mixers and they make plenty of ice with filtered water. Every day you make your own lunch and grab a few beers for the trip home in the boat.
The accommodation is comfortable with rooms that are tidied every day; there is plenty of room for two people and all your gear. The location is perhaps the best on the island as far as lodges go, right on the water and close to the fishing, the guides collect your rods each morning and meet you at the boats. The location is also close to the bluewater fishing if you’re into that.
Fly Odyssey run a fantastic operation, the Pre-trip information from Jimmy is really great and makes the operation run smoothly. Will we return, hell yes! We are already planning a second trip.
- Take three outfits, an 8, 10 and 12.
- Do your research on the flies, concentrate of different weights.
- Don’t drink the water and take plenty of Imodium.
- Spend the money on good flats boots, we used the Simms Flats Boots.
- Spend money on a waterproof pack, again Simms had us covered here.
- Take your boots and some basics in your hand luggage.
- The suns brutal, dress appropriately.
- Duty Free is cheap in Nadi airport, take lots.
- Dedicate time to different species, Bones, Triggers GTs.
- Listen to the guide and be ready, things happen quickly.
- Try the local bush cigars.
- Enjoy, it’s a beautiful fragile eco system.