10
Apr
08

Christmas Island~a few flyfishing suggestions

 

 

 

 

I traveled to Kiribati (Kiritimati~Christmas Island) this past winter. I had a wonderful time but there were some side issues worth considering: Have the absolute best sunglasses you can afford in a copper or amber lens. I did not pay enough attention to this and it costs me dearly in eye strain and missed opportunities at fish. There is nothing quite like fishing with a guide  that can see the fish and you can’t. Not as easy to remedy as you might imagine. Know your true casting abilities in a constant wind and at angles crosswind to the target. I did way to much false casting.

If you sustain any cuts and I mean any cut, clean it and keep clean. I suffered staph and strep infections that did not hit me until several days back but once they did, I was immediately incapacitated. Yes, every one says bring snacks and yes do it regardless of the weight. Bring less gin and tonic water and some treats to take the edge off your hunger. The food may be quite tasty but shortages have been known to take place. I started the week with ample supplies and food on the table, then was presented P&B sandwiches (that’s ok but remember what you have paid) and then it was cold rice, a piece of a tuber and a small piece of cold fish. I am not overly fastidious about food as I would rather fish than eat. However, my fishing mates often groused that for what they were paying per day they should have had more than cold rice and a piece of fish for lunch.  I raise this as an alert to food shortages and being prepared for some snacks. If you are a big eater this is not the place to consume big meals. The deal is how many people are booked into the same spot? If not many then more food for you and the hosts. If over booked then there will not be enough food for you, the other guests and the host and their family for a whole week. This can vary with the supply ship’s arrival. Hopefully, you will time your stay with a full larder. Just saying, if you are a food driven person then lower your standards and expectations.        

Other things to consider: in a room with a ceiling fan you must not ever elevate the rod into the fan; have spare rods and reels and spare lines. If a bout of urgent stomach distress hits you on a flat then keep your gear contained and walk away from the guide and possible other fishing partner and be prepared to drop pants or shorts and go….no modesty here…but turn you bum away for sure. Go and go and then rinse in the salt water with your  hand. You will be mostly wet anyway and the wind will hit your wet hips and waist at first, but you will feel better. I know this is a bit personal to describe, but in a week it hit almost every guy on the water and some several times a day. After the first time of stressing over this possibility you are resigned to it. Hopefully you will be distress free and the food will be perfect for you. Dogs may bark all night, roosters will start crowing at 3AM, the wind may blow at night and something will be banging or brushing in the distance, the slaughtering of pigs and the resultant squeals can go on most of the day (you should be on the water by 6:30am and hopefully not back until 6:00pm), I know they aren’t always slaughtering pigs (just the week I was there); check under your pillow for critters that bite bad; know that your clothes will never fully dry in the wind on a clothes line so have back up everything to rotate through; avoid cotton as it will stay wet.

From the flat to the edge where the water turns deep blue, watch for Trevally and Bones emerging from the depths. Fish coming straight at you are most easy to see or at least their shadow on the bottom. Sun is your friend and clouds can put a crimp on your siting. If this is your first time, as it was mine, you will feel awkward and inept at first if not the entire trip. It is a lot of money to feel inept….yes, I had a little buyers remorse. The adventure is worth the trip, but be prepared and listen to those that have gone before!

If you have six guides, maybe only half will be experienced and efficient at communicating with you in English that can be understood in a 20-30 mph wind. Otherwise it can be mumbled and almost inaudible. You must establish some relationship here while you have the guide. If there are two of you with one guide, the guide will take one of you and go off and spot fish for awhile and then come back to you. You have been shuffling along alone, off to the side and maybe have been fortuanate to have spotted some fish (probably little puff fish). If not, you have shuffled along for an hour over several hundred yards and fretted over every mirage of a fish before you. I did get to fish with others that could spot their own fish so I enjoyed more guide time to myself. Had I had better sunglasses I would have most probably seen more opportunities.

Watch for abrasion of your feet with improper footwear. Hard packed flats are great and offer little difficulty. Wading in hip deep water and sinking into a foot or more of soft sand is exhausting. If you have a camera keep it dry and safe should you sit down unexpectedly. Fne sand finds its way into everything. Rinse your boots out and make sure the caked in sand is out of the toe section of our boot. Watch salt spray on your gear and keep it in a closed bag during transport on the boat. Watch your head standing up on the boat. Don’t let the guide wrap/twist your leader around the butt of your rod when stowing your rod overhead on the boat. This creates a totally unnecessary kink in your leader and ultimately affects your presentation of the lighter bonefish fly.   

Sunscreen goes without saying. Hydrate with safe water. I went the end of Novermber, but check out April/May as an option. Ok, all that said have a marvelous time and enjoy the whole adventure….Kiritimatians are very kind and polite.       

Query Search Box (upper right) for several other Chirstmas Island posts by me.    

      


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