Our good friend, Dan Vermillion guided President Obama with Ken Morrish’s Hopper – Cater
August 31- September 7th: A couple of last minute cancellations – Discounted Rate = $5,000.00 per person . Regular Rate = $8,000.00 per person. This is a super big trout week with a shot at a real Kvichak river monster.
Posted 8/10/09: Sept 2-9 = 4 spaces // Sept 9-16 = 4 spaces // Oct 15-22 = 4 spaces // Oct 22-29 = 4 spaces – Regular Price = $6,000.00 CAD; Discounted Price = $4,800 CAD
Trip Report Submitted by angler Charlie Rosser
On Monday, April 9, Jerry , Charlie met Bob DeRosier, Chris and Dave at Phoenix International Airport for the start of a 10 day trip that would take us to Christmas Island. The trip would include 2 days to get there, 6 days of fly fishing and 2 days to get home. Why would a fly fisherman spend 2 days flying to this Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? There are only two things and they would be Bonefish, or should I say BIG Bonefish and Trevally.
Christmas Island is world class, miles of coral sand, glistening lagoons and coconut palms – what seems like one of the smallest places on earth is actually a geographical giant, the planet’s largest coral atoll. It has an area of 248 square miles of which 125 square miles is land and the remainder a lagoon filled with flats that have some of the biggest Bonefish in the world. It is 1300 miles due south of Honolulu, Hawaii or just about the same distant north of Tahiti. It is located 145 miles north of the equator which makes for nice weather year round. Temperature at night in the 70’s and upper 80’s to 90 during the day with lots of sun and little rain.
The flight was to be 3 hours on a 737 jet but it had been cancelled and we were booked on a charter flight that would take 5 hours. The plane was a Gulfstream G1, see below. This is a 1950 vintage twin engine turbo-prop plane with a capacity of 19 passengers that has been updated with the latest electronics (at least that is what they told us). Our flight was full and a little cramped but for the experience of fishing Christmas Island it was well worth it. Not only was it cramped for passenger space but it was also cramped for luggage. We had a checked baggage limit of 40 lbs. The carry-on was not weighed but it had to sit on the floor in front of your seat. There is not much room under the small seat in front of you and there are no over head bins. My checked bag and rods weighed in at 44 pounds. When I saw the weight on the scales I was worried I would have to move items from my luggage to the carry-on. My carry-on back pack was big & heavy already. It was loaded with snacks, a big bottle of Crown Royal and lots of candy to give to the kids on the island. Thanks to Jerry with a checked baggage weight of 36 pounds I was told my check bags were cleared for loading. The plane did have ice, soda, water and sandwiches for the passengers. Some of us used the soda and water to have a few drinks on the way over. That may be what made the cramped space a little more comfortable.
Breakfast was to be at 6:30 and we were to meet the guides at 7:30 in front of our rooms. Jerry and I had a wake up for 5:30 which meant that Kata, the chef, would knock on our door at 5:30 and put a fresh pot of coffee with cream and sugar on our porch. We definitely got spoiled as this happened every morning at our wake up time.
At 7:30 the same truck we rode in from the airport pulled up in front of our rooms. We would get to know this truck very well because it would take us everywhere we went on the island. As we approached the truck our guides for the week were there to meet us; Moana, Mike, Betero, TJ, Russell and Beia. Peter, the head guide, would set up our guides for the day so we had a different guide each day. This made our time on the water very interesting talking to each of guides about their family and life on the island plus each guide did things a little bit different on the water and we learned something new each day.
We fished 3 different areas in our 6 days of fishing – the flats, an estuary and in the surf at the Wreck. The stripping action for the bone fish was a series of long slow strips to attract the fish and then another series of short fast strips until he took it. The first couple of days it was difficult to spot the fish. The bottom was hard or soft coral sand with bigger pieces of coral scattered throughout. The bone fish are camouflaged against the coral, so we had to keep focused and be ready for any movement. Anything that looked like a piece of coral but was moving was a bone fish. The target would be 3 to 6 feet in front of it. After day 2 it got a lot easier to spot the bone fish on your own.
We saw mostly schools of bone fish with probably 20 to 30 in a school. Several of the guys were fishing the breakers at the Wreck in hopes of spotting a big Trevally while the rest of us fished the pools in the calmer water inside the breakers for bones. The bigger bonefish fish were caught on the flats mainly by spotting single fish and casting to them. At the estuaries there were schools of smaller 2 to 3 pound bone fish. The average fish on the trip was probably 3 to 5 pounds with several caught that were 6 to 7 pound. As for the biggest bone fish of the trip, it was 10 pounds, 27 inches caught by yours truly. I did hook one bigger but after too many long runs to count and wiry arms it threw the fly as the guide was landing it. On both big fish I was more than half way into my backing before I could start reeling him back. Jerry’s shining moment was when he caught a nice 24 inch bone that weighted 8 pounds.
Though bone fish was our main objective of this trip, we did catch a variety of fish. Some of the fish we caught were: Parrot Fish, Goat Fish, Trigger Fish and Puffers. Another fish that was targeted was the Trevally. There are 4 different species of Trevally: Blue Fin, Silver, Black and Giant Trevally (GT). We caught them all except the Black. Jerry & I both saw a Black Trevally and cast to it but did not get a hook-up. On the second day Bob and Chris took off with one of the guides and headed for the blue water to hunt down a GT. They started by using a spinning outfit rigged with a big hook-less teaser plug. When the GT would come up they would cast big flies and start stripping as fast as they could in hopes the GT would turn on it and take it. Bob set the hook and after a 45 minute battle Bob landed a 55 pound GT.
The trip was planned and booked by Bob DeRosier who owns Paradise Creek Anglers in Pinetop. The travel agency used was Fly Water Travel and the lodge we stayed at was Christmas Island Outfitters or better known as Sharks Place. Cabins are 2 man rooms that have plenty of space to store all your clothes and fishing gear. Each room has its own shower, sink, toilet and a refrigerator that is stocked with bottled water, soda and beer daily. I was really surprised by the food served at the lodge. For being located out in middle of the Pacific Ocean I would rate it a 4 out of 5. Hats off to Kata, the cook, for the excellent meals he prepared. For breakfast there was orange juice (tang), eggs, French toast or pancakes with bacon & sausage. Several mornings we had a cheese, veggie & bacon omelet. Lunch was kind of skimpy but not bad considering you were on the water and wanted to fish all day. You had your choice of a lunch meat or peanut butter and jelly sandwich plus an orange or apple. We did take cliff bars and other snacks to supplement lunch during the day. They had coolers of drinking water on the boat but we always threw in a few beers or soda to have with lunch and for the ride back to the lodge. After having a few drinks before dinner Kata would set out 2 platters of hor’dourves. They would be fried bread fruit, a locally grown fruit, and sashimi or fried Wahoo. While enjoying the hor’dourves and another drink your appetite would get worked up from the aroma of the meal Kata was preparing. Every night we had a salad, potatoes and rice with a fish dish and a meat. Fish included: Lobster, Tuna, Wahoo and Sweet Lips (a local bottom fish that looks and tastes a lot like halibut), all made in a variety of ways. The meat dishes included: steak, spaghetti w/meat sauce, chicken wrapped in bacon and curried chicken. I never heard a single complaint after getting up from the dinner table. If you are looking for vegetables, better bring your own.
The last night on the Island the lodge puts on a Luau, complete with roasted whole pig and dishes of local cuisine. They also had native dancers and singers perform. It was a fitting end to a place I would never dream to have visited. To see the people and their culture was truly a moving experience for me. The fishing and food far exceeded my expectations. – Charlie Rosser