Christmas Island has been on my fishing “wish list” for as long as I can remember. Over the years I have eagerly listened to the stories of countless friends and acquaintances that have been lucky enough to sample the islands expansive flats always making effort to conceal my envy of their stories. This past July, I was finally able to make my down to the island with a group of friends and I am pleased to report that I now have stories of my own.
I fished with Peter, Tenaki, and Beya and loved learning and watching how each covered water and moved to find the fish. They work hard and know their island well. They could see everything and were great at communicating to me what I needed to do. Most of the time I listened but like most anglers I found my thoughts and actions to be different. This was most evident when a Giant Trevally would show up on the flats and I would find myself running to get ahead of it and then forgetting how to make my 12 weight work. Ahh…it was all so exciting and exhausting at the same time. I loved every moment -my success and failures.
Peter, head guide and owner of Christmas Island Outfitters, was a delight and extremely helpful to our group. Not only is Peter a great guide and instructor but he is also a wonderful person. He had many stories about life on the island and many of the local traditions. He did a perfect job of basing our fishing around the tides and our desires. Beya and Tennaki were also hard working and very helpful guides. Their kind demeanor and big hearts shined on and off of the water. On the last afternoon after fishing Beya climbed a palm tree and kicked off a few green coconuts and pried them open for us to enjoy the sweet milk. It was a real treat and an impressive climb.
My most memorable afternoon was at Paris where I had the most incredible fishing for Trevally. There were tons of fish up on a coral shelf having a feeding frenzy. Tenaki and I waded through the sharks (don’t worry I protected Tenaki) to reach there frenzy. I was using a blue and white baitfish pattern that they could not stay off of. Within an hour or more I had landed 8 trevally between 10-20lbs. It was incredible. We saw fish that were larger but did not land them. I was worn out and shaking when the boat picked us up but with a big smile on my face.
Back at the camp, Cata our cook took great care of us. Cata’s charming smile added to our whole experience. He was creative and cared about each meal. Simm and Anita, owners of camp, welcomed us with open arms and made our stay most enjoyable. Anita even took us to the Miss Christmas Island pageant one evening in town. The people of Kiribati are such beautiful people and their smiles send out a true and genuine message. I continue to learn that island life is quite simple and filled with special moments to treasure – the sight of the aqua blue water, the smell of fresh fish on the grill, and the sand between my toes. I also learned that the magic of Christmas Island is not only filled by the spirit of those who live there but by the chance to connect with these untamed bonefish and trevally. I will be back.