christmas in november…recap


Al Q with a nesting red footed boobie, photo courtesy of Jorge Salas

Al Q with a nesting red footed boobie. A bird photographer’s dream.  Photo courtesy of Jorge Salas

Well it was two years in the making, a fly fishing trip planned for a great group of 8 anglers including myself. We were anticipating this adventure and were all excited to experience Kiribati, the isolated atoll that is approximately 1400 miles south of Hawaii and 150 north of the equator on the international dateline, glistening in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Christmas Island was on my radar since the early eighties for me when I read about this place as a kid. The fabled bonefish destination with miles of shallow white flats and deep drop offs with marauding GTs. Christmas Island was named in 1777 by explorer Captain Cook when he landed there on Christmas Day.  CI greets the sunrise first each day around the globe. Its a special place every serious saltwater angler must experience for themselves at least once. Everyday on CI is like watching the discovery channel for real, in technicolor, with wonderful bird and aquatic life all around you. The large lagoons are painted with multicolored greens and blues, the clouds and flying birds often reflect these subtle colors of the water making the whole place a photographers dream.

We choose the full moon November tide for our week because I was told it could bring monster spawning bonefish onto Paris Flat and it did. Three days after the full moon, large female bonefish and some of the smaller boys school up into large brown clouds that move slowly across the deep flat. Throwing a fly anywhere near this cloud can produce a 4 to 12 pound fish. You literally see all these bonefish  heads lifting out of the water to chase the fly. We hit it right! It is a memory i will never forget, all our guys with bent rods walking fish back to the beach. The best part was as the school drifted out of casting range we deep waded onto coral heads, (similar to montauk rock hopping) stood up and casted to the cloud, hooked up, jumped off the coral and waded back to the beach landing big bones to ten pounds.

After first wading out and landing a 7 pound bonefish, I told Zino to get out there and he immediately hooked up. photo by Al Q

After first wading out and landing a 7 pound bonefish, I told Zino it was his turn to get out there and he immediately hooked up on fabled Paris Flat 1, as did the rest of the gang.  photo by Al Q

There were many species landed during our week. Giant Trevally, Blue Trevally, Golden Trevally, Bonefish, Goatfish, Triggerfish, Picasso Trigerfish, Queenfish, Surgeonfish, Puffers, Wahoo, Skipjack, Yellow Snappers, Groupers, Etc. For me wading the flats and stalking spooky bonefish was a highlight and my local corbina fishing definitely keep me sharp. I fished the rio redfish lines on the flats and liked the way they handled, they cast well into the wind. I used the Rio GT and Leviathan lines for the GTs. The leviathan which isn’t made any more has a inner core of 70 pounds which I preferred. The new GT lines have a 50 pound core, which still worked fine but could be sacrificed on larger fish over 80 pounds. Most bonefish flies used size 6 and 4,  tan, tan orange with gold dumbbell eyes. Christmas Island specials, Chilli Peppers, Gotchas, etc. Not much flash! It is good to have a variation of sizes. For instance when we fish Paris a larger size 2 seemed to produce larger fish. Triggers ate the same bonefish flies, but #4 squimps or crab patterns produce too. GT flies were any type of baitfish patterns in 2/0 to 5/0. Wahoo and tuna flies were flashy, wired custom flies I tied.

It's usually one fly per wahoo! Photo by Al Q

It’s usually one fly per wahoo! Photo by Al Q

 

A nice wahoo on a trolled Al Q fly by James Bygrave. Photo by Doug Spieske

A nice wahoo on a trolled Al Q fly by James Bygrave. Photo by Doug Spieske

We stayed at Shark’s Place. Our guides, food and accommodations were good. We actually had air-conditioned rooms run off generators which made sleeping at night perfect and kept the bugs away. We all had a great time, not only because of this exotic location but because everyone got along and laughed all week. I am going to miss the afternoon platters of yellowfin sashimi and fried breadfruit to end a long day of fishing, and I am going to miss those spectacular sunsets, puffy clouds, endless clear lagoons and fond memories of happy locals and being with good fishing buddies. A special thanks goes out to our good friend Peter Koga who due to health reasons was unable to make our trip but was there in spirit. I even named a flat after him, Koga Flat! LOL Look forward to the next adventure…

kiribati_collage1kiribati_collage2

an exotic Surgeonfish that ate a fly. Courtesy of Doug Spieske.

an exotic Surgeonfish that ate a fly. Courtesy of Doug Spieske.

Photos by Zino Nakasuji

Bonefish caught on Koga Flat! Photos by Zino Nakasuji

Paul Cronin, Al Q, Doug Spieske, James Bygrave, Jim Solomon, Mike Ward and Photographer extraodinaire, Jorge Salas.

Zino Nagasuji, Paul Cronin, Al Q, Doug Spieske, James Bygrave, Jim Solomon, Mike Ward and Photographer extraodinaire, Jorge Salas. The Yo Yo Ma Kiribati wrecking crew!

 

 

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8 thoughts on “christmas in november…recap

  1. Great review Al. I look forward to going some day in the future. Great photos as well.

  2. Randy Norris

    It must have felt like a dream out there. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Rick Reda

    Awesome pics Mr. Q. I’m jealous! Rick the pizza guy.

  4. Great story Al! I’ve steamed by but never could stop and fish!

  5. Steve Piper

    Great report and pics Q-man! Glad you guys have an awesome trip!

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