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Old 03-28-2001, 10:12 PM
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GregD GregD is offline
2 handed Fly Chucker
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts, Rhode Island
Posts: 638
RE:Christmas Island Fishing Trip

Hi Nate,

I had the great fortune of going to Xmas Island thanks to the generocity of my father. I didn't see any mention of who you booked your trip through or with. We went through Kauffmans, whose is associated with frontiers. We stayed at the Capt Cook hotel, an old british army headquarters I'm told. Kauffmans provided and excellent written list of considerations and recomendations. The staff was great and the food was good considering the adverse conditions there. They gladly cooked some of the fresh yellowtail caught perfectly for the group to enjoy, it was great!

I found walking the flats and casting at the bonefish to be exciting and challenging. After spending considerable time with a guide on the flats and catching some 14-27 inch bonefish I decided it was time to look see what I could observe and do to find larger fish.

In general the fish seemed quite spooky on clear water days, and some would clearly refuse the flies on occasion. Naturally this appeared especially true if conditions were in shallow water, calm and clear. You could chew up alot of time stalking them on the flats and catch just a few fish.

Yet if it was windy the water got murky and you could practically step on the bonefish before they would notice you if you where down current. Downside is the sharks would pop up around you without warning and in waist deep water it was enough to send my barefoot guide dragging me off to a shallower fishing spot. During the trip I had several encounters that required me to go on the offensive to redirect 4 to 5 foot shark away from me. On the western point (mouth of the bay) I was fishing with at least 25 or so little sharks milling around became to much to watch your backside and cast at the large bones and trevally cruising around, felt much better standing on a dry sand bar [img]" border="0" align="middle">.

I found using typical structure and current analysis technics far more interesting to locate Big fish or schools of bones. I observed some Big bones cruise on the flats and quickly back off a number off times. Which naturally lead my to the edge of the flats. My favorite and most productive was fishing off the sandy beach bayside, with schools of bonefish cruising along shore. Or feeding in the current in troughs during the outgoing tides although they weren't as large as those hanging off the flats IMHO.

I preffered working along the edge of the flats typically on whatever side the current flowed of the or either side working my way there. I then began suffering very high breakoff rates, perhaps due to using 10 or 12 pound test leaders! 10 to 12lb test is great for limiting the size of the bonefish to say 35 inches or so. They get bigger than that there I'm told, and I lost quite a few before I finally moved up to 15Lb test and got my drag adjusted alright. Even then I still couldn't keep my flies or fish on. Whether I found the giant trevally or others with a mouthful off teeth is debatable, But the fish where certainly bigger for me most of the time. I never consistantly keep those fish or flies on, and lost some seemingly very large fish.

A gentleman from the Seattle area held the record single day catch of 40 bonefish in one stop the week I was there. He wasn't chasing fish on the flats with a floating line. He was using a sink tip and fishing deeper water working in the longshore current along shoreline using a 20LB tippet! After hearing this I decided my insistance on using a 10-12lb tippet was actually very limiting in my opinion. After all the first fish I caught gave me a good fish relative to a schooly striper only the bonefish was only 9-10 inches long <img src="" border="0" align="middle">. At that point I relized why the bonefish is so reveared as a gamefish. And when I finally got into a 30in class I couldn't believe how many times I heard the scream of the drag and the backing rolling off with one fish.

Logistically speaking the Capt Cook Hotel isn't really close to the flats. And I hardly consider the fishing very good out front of the motel. It's treacherous on the slippery growth on the coral and waves pushing you around with ease. Around high tide you can wade along the coral on the water covered beach, fishing for cruising bones and trevally. The
place in New London is located right at the departure point and if you where so inclined could likely walk to good fishing around the flats in the bay.

I saw a suggestion to purchase flies tied from the locals, I had to I lost so many and didn't have enough of the guide preffered types. I found some to be very poorly tied with dull and brittle hooks. But compared to nothin they catch fish <img src="[/img].

Don't drink the Water unless it's clean bottled or you bring one of those backpack filter bottles. The groundwater is quite contaminated courtesy of the US military and the Brits leaving acres of 55 galoon drums of fuel, oil and other chemicals leaching into the soil over the years. I got really sick when the island ran out of bear and I switched to Mixed drinks. The Ice cubes or food from the leuaui did me in, imodium helped alot.

The Sun was brutal, numberous people wore shorts only to be fried and miserable the rest of trip. I wore long pants and long sleeve shirt. Still my neck, hand, ears, nose and any other exposed part was pretty fried. A handkerchief came in really handy to pretect my neck, Flats hat I'd consider mandatory and some good aloe and sunscreen of course.

Don't leave the door to your room open unless you don't mind crabs with an attitudes coming in to visit. The laundry service destroyed our clothes. Beer or your favorite beverage should be hoarded if you want a guaranteed supply, good to do when the supply ship is overdue for 3-6 months (typical I'm told).

The Karabati people have so little, it would be greatly appreciated by the guides if you tipped them with flats boots (11-13X) or Sneakers. They all appeared to be large footed people. Toys for the kids are good tips for the family men. After you see some guides walking barefoot all day stepping on the razor sharp coral you'll see why they would be so highly valued.

If you dive like I did you may swim with Giant Mantas, spinner porpoise or what little of the reef fish remain. Not many left after commercial divers catch them all for sale to american pets stores. Say hi to Kim at Dive Karabati for me if you see him.

I'm sure it will be a trip you'll never forget and want to come back and get them another time. I hope to go again with my father again someday.

Sorry to be so delayed in my post, this took me a while to type, I had problems posting, working too much etc...

Tight Lines,
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