Posts Tagged ‘christmas island special


Flyfish Christmas Island (Obsess, Plan & Tie Anyway)

Your ride awaits at the edge

Your ride awaits at the edge

3 likely suspects

3 likely suspects

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. 

A Memory

A Memory


Flyfishing Christmas Island~Kiritimati




With fishing days roughly 6AM to 6PM (Winter trip), you get up (0500 hours) and quickly prepare your gear for the move to the boat and go have a quick breakfast. Ideally, you should have prepared the night before and have little to do but get up, get dressed in hopefully fresh clothes, have a bite, go to the bathroom if you can, then be ready to load up and get to the flat’s boat. Keep your gear in a boat bag that can withstand salt spray. If you carry two rods (Bone and Trevally) have them pre-rigged so you don’t waste guide/fishing time at the flat, trying to rig up. You will not be able to rig on the boat. It is too awkward and often bumpy to be rigging up.

Keep your fly assortment minimal…on the flat. I tied/brought countless flies and I would say the guides plucked out a Christmas Is. Special 80% of the time and maybe the pink and white Charlie the rest of the time; all in a size 6. That is not to say don’t bring the other patterns but restock from your boat bag and focus on the primary patterns, with only a few of the others just in case.

Previously, I mentioned sunglasses and sunscreen. You, of course, know this and always read the admonitions to be prepared. Let me also warn you to be prepared lest your eyes fry and your nose and ears fall off once back home. Don’t mess with this. Protect yourself, especially if vulnerable to burning anyway. The sunglasses are critical. As I said, I was ill prepared with sunglasses that were not adequately polarized and provided little side protection from glare. My trip was almost ruined after the first day due to glare and severe eyestrain. Luckily, I had an extra pair and they saved me, but never provided the clarity of vision that a copper colored lens would have. If I ever go into the tropics again to fish, I will consider high quality sunglasses my number one priority for comfort and spotting success. This experience was unique for a NW freshwater flyfisher. I had plenty of advice given to me by those who had ventured forth before to Christmas and other tropical locales. Their advice served me well…I, for some reason, did not pay adequate attention to their advice about sunglasses. OK, enough said about that…pay heed!

Previously, I mentioned something some guides do to your line while the rod is stored overhead in the boat. The fly is hooked on the second guide from the reel and the tippet/leader is wrapped around the reel foot where it joins the reel seat. Normally, many of you know to wind the tippet/leader around the circumference of the reel. The practice of tightly wrapping that leader material around the reel foot creates a terrible series of right angle kinks in yours leader which is apparent in your casting/presentation. Watch for this and don’t be shy (course, don’t be rude either). There is an additional practice of wrapping your flyline backward and around the protruding fighting butt, which helps anchor the rod overhead in the holes visible in the above picture. I didn’t notice difficulties from this practice. Let the guides handle your rods and assist you on and off the boat if you have any physical difficulties going into this trip. Slips, stumbles and bangs are not uncommon. I mentioned banging your head on the canopy of the boat…also, watch the tip of your rod. In the unsteady, unfamiliar surroundings your attention is diverted and your awareness of where your rod is pointing is lacking (ala, the rod into the ceiling fan). Also, carrying two rods and gear gets to be clumsy if your are rushing. Be prepared the night before so less rushing in the morning and let the guides assist you.

Line management while casting and shuffling along is important. Guaranteed the wind in going to thwart you, always blowing in the wrong direction and causing the line dangling in the water to wrap around your shins or the guide’s legs beside you. Obviously, if you are right handed keep the guide to your left. They won’t be shy reminding you. The hard part here is a long leader with minimal line out of the top guide. To let go of the fly, pinched in your left hand and start a meaningful, loaded cast is hard in the wind or even if calm out. A little practice in slowly shuffling along a large close cropped playing field could help. Think of the guide telling you to cast 20′, 30′ 40′ in any direction on the clock face from 3 to 9 and you doing it quickly and leading the fish (that maybe only he can see). Then just as quickly pickup the line with minimal false casting and throw it from 10 to 12 and from 20′ to 40′. In short, be prepared to adapt and to feel awkward your first few times. So much more to offer, but another time.     



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