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Gary Kemsley

Christmas Island

 

CXI 2016 - Christmas Island Adventure - Trip Report by Gary Kemsley

My second trip to Christmas Island and I was accompanied by seven other fisher’s, three of which had been on the earlier trip a year before. This trip was from 31st August to 7th September 2016.

The weather was pretty good but annoyingly windy at times. The week previous to our visit was rain and thunder storms most of the time.

There were a new bunch of guides at Ikari House along with a few we fished with last year. Staff at the accommodations was mainly the same as before. We certainly couldn’t fault the food which was ample, varied and punctual. The girls were starting at 3.30am to get our breakfasts sorted for us at 6am so we could get on the water by 6.30am. Lunches were great with fresh sandwiches (made that morning). They were accompanied by a number of snack bars, chips, fruit etc. which we could choose ourselves. It was an appropriate, easy meal that could be eaten between fishing spots.

The fishing again this year was great. Our group landed about 220 bonefish, 5 triggerfish, a few random reef and rock species, a black tipped reef Shark, several GTs up to 15kg, a Longnosed Emporer, a Sweetlips Emporer, five Wahoo all about 10kgs, a twenty pound Yellowfin Tuna and a similar sized Mackerel Tuna. There were a lot of smaller species that we caught too. No Milkfish this year although one morning we went offshore to where they were schooling and had a few casts to some before the wind blew us away.

Rick H landed our biggest Bonefish which the guides estimated at 10 lb. It was said to be the biggest so far this year. He also achieved a personal goal with his first several Bonefish on fly. His 10lb Bonefish was not the only large one we saw or hooked and we all had a story or two of unstoppable fish that busted us. The biggest I hooked was on a shallow (20cm) sand bottomed, white flat. It took my fly close, swam up to me and then took off. It didn’t stop for 100m or more. I played him in slowly, only to have him spit the hook five metres away. It didn’t seem to matter, landed or lost, hooked or just seen, every fish was a thrill. Matt fished hard for any species present and caught himself a nice 30lbish GT, on fly! There were lots of Triggerfish about but for some reason they were exceptionally wary and while we caught a few we certainly cast to a lot more that refused our offerings. Milkfish too were difficult (some would say impossible) and spurned our weed flies and other patterns they were shown. That’s the thrill of fishing though and we all enjoyed the challenge.

We fished off the wharf one day hoping to get a shot at some Tuna or Sails. (The was a 100lb Sailfish caught recently). Catching the bait was the hardest job and the best we could do was use a 1kg Bluefin Trevally. On reflection it wasn’t a bad bait but it didn’t get bitten. The problem was that there were uncountable, thousands of Scad around the wharf and that’s what the local predators were after. Huge Bluefin Trevally followed the Scad around and hit them regularly in spectacular fashion.

One was caught during our stay by a local with a handline. It weighed close to ten kilos.(maybe more).

If we had more time, (a second week) we would have spent more time on the wharf as it was a very exciting spot. No fly fishing there as the wharf was 4 metres above the water, but, worth a visit if you get to this wonderful spot.

The days flew by and evening debriefings were tales of lost fish, spectacular sights like the huge manta rays that glide around the lagoon, and personal bests and missed chances. Debriefing was a cold beer in the tropical sunset.

I used to think that fishing was all about catching fish. No way. Fishing is about the people that you share it with, the wonderful places it takes you to and the chance to broaden your mind by taking in all around you. OK you have to catch fish too but even when you don’t you can have a fantastic time.

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