This is like Part IV of my Christmas Island series, like I am an expert after one trip. No, hardly, and that is the point. I made some planning mistakes prior to going…not big mistakes but waste of time mistakes and I did not efficiently tie flies in preparationtion for the trip. I read everything I could and talked to several fly shops and came away with ‘you are a long ways from no where and you better be prepared because you won’t be able to find anything you might need once you are there.’
I tied all manner of Bonefish flies in all colors and primarily in sizes 6 & 8. I tied for weeks. Moana’s Chili Pepper, Moana’s Banana Peel, Gotcha’s, George Bush’s, Crazy Charlies, Deceiver’s and Christmas Island Specials. I had giant flies for Giant Trevally (I only caught smaller ones, still fun). I had back up boxes of flies in case my partners needed them.
Now again, I am no expert on Christmas Island, but a little anxiety and humble pie helped me identify a few trends that held true for me and my group: Number One fly the whole time was a size 6 Christmas Island Special closely followed by a size 6 Christmas Island Special. Number Three was a size 6 White Gotcha with pearl krystal flash. I tried to insert Moana’s Chili Pepper because I thought it looked damn good and I had tied at least a dozen of them. Nope, when I came under the gaze of the guide, had I wandered off by myself and tied on something besides the CIS, he would immediately look at my non-Christmas Island Special fly and nip it off and attach a, you guessed it size 6 Christmas Island Special (pink). So, that was those guides and that was then.
So here is your predicament: Listen to my advice and go equipped with plenty of Christmas Island Specials and you may run into the guide whose uncle, some famous guide, ties the Coral Crusher. Do you have any? Heck, you say, I never heard of it. I only tied Christmas Island Specials because some bozo said I did not need anything else. See the predicament? You have to tie all those possible flies you might need in size 6 & 8. Some 6-8 dozen flies is my guess. Now here is the deal. You rarely lose flies. So, unless you plan on providing flies to others, you don’t really need all those dozens and dozens of flies. Do you research at shops that have employees that have been to Christmas Island, not Belize or Bahamas (save that for your next dream trip). Tie or buy what they suggest. I did enjoy the prep and tying and all. It is just disconcerting when hours of creative effort is ignored by the guides…..course that is their job. But, be a little stubborn. Use that damn Moana’s Chili Pepper if you damn well want to. If you cannot quickly cast fifty feet of line with a 12′ leader in a 20 mph cross wind then make a few decisions out there and adjust to what the heck you can do, otherwise it is a bit too much being dependent for my taste. Almost time to start planning the Winter trips you’re thinking. You have probably put your money down by now with rest due in a month or so. Before you know it, you will be up to your elbows in krystal flash, saltwater hooks, dumbbell eyes and stick on pupils, a little craft hair and tying up a storm. Oh hell, go ahead over due it. You are a gear junky anyway.
Do take the extra floating line and definitely the extra rod(s) and reel(s). And, as I have constantly said each time: THE BEST SUNGLASSES YOU CAN AFFORD, OR EVEN CAN’T AFFORD.
Oh, do not be shy of having someone taking pictures of your fish. The guides had received advice from some US guide that the fish should never be touched or removed from the water. Each Bone I caught was immediately slipped from the fly with this nifty little hook remover they all carried. I did not get one photo of some of the gorgeous 24″+ Bones I caught. I didn’t catch many but not one memory because of the adherence to the typical over reactive crap put out about handling fish. Again, I know how to handle fish, save your breath, it is the extreme to which every admonition must be taken (except my sunglasses admonition!). So, either have that guide take a picture if they are saavy enough (most are) or hopefully a compadre is not on the other side of the flat and can snap a memory. And, yes I poked a small hole in the coating of that line…small.