Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Christmas Island and Redemption Trevally

I originally wrote this for the great guys at Fly Water Travel to share, but figured it would be good here as well.  If you are interested in going next year hit me up,

My first trip to the fly fishing paradise of Kritimati was a learning experience. As an experienced trout guide and flats fishing beginner, I looked forward to the ample bonefish opportunities, but had my mind set on the big prize, a GT on the fly (NO CHUM!). On day 5 of 6 I finally had my opportunity, and after some equipment failure and a few choice words I watched my dream fish swim away at a much further distance than I was comfortable with.
Prior to that I had already decided that I was going to be returning to paradise, but losing what I was after was an even better motivator. I landed back in Honolulu and emailed Dylan for the “big GT tides” in 2015, got everything dialed, and set about tying for what would be a trip of redemption. We landed on Christmas Island 11 months later to the day, and set out for another adventure that would hopefully include more trevally.
The very first day of fishing we walked a flat for bonefish and watched two of our friends fishing a small pancake about two flats over. About an hour in and we heard the excited screams that a bonefish simply cannot produce. We didn’t find out until cocktail hour that evening that they had just doubled on GT, and it turned out that 4 of the 6 anglers in our group had caught trevally in the 15-25lbs range that day, all while stalking flats. An excellent start to our week.
Fast forward through the trip and my friend Brett and I took a whole day to dedicate to GT. As lifelong steelhead fisherman we were both comfortable with knowing 1-2 good shots would be all that we were after and the day didn’t disappoint. The first flat produced a 30lb trevally with its back out of the water on a shallow reef. After we had several good shots the fish made a speedy exit, nearly swimming between our legs as it left for deeper water. We moved to a new spot and had a great shot at two happy fish within minutes of jumping off the boat. After an easy cast one of the two fish peeled off and destroyed a tan mullet fly. The fish ended up rubbing the leader off on the coral, but was still hooked and fought, we had met our goal. We had several other opportunities, and never put a fish in our hands. A rewarding day nonetheless, and a very nice break from bonefishing.
Again on our second to last day we traveled as a group of six to the backcountry. A rainy day that was ideal for seeing the larger trevally, we waited for the high-tide to bring in the fish, and what we saw next I will not be able to do justice with words. Guide Biita took us to a spot where we could see several trevally cruising, and on his command my friend Jay and I ambushed them. I hooked up and subsequently broke off, a severely frustrating moment. We thought for sure that the fish were going to be gone, but we couldn’t have been more wrong. For the next hour and a half we watched what seemed like fireworks and holes opening in the ocean as packs (the only way to properly describe these predators) of trevally came into the bay, killing everything in sight. I don’t dare repeat the expletive laden tirade I spouted the first time the fish came in, but it resulted in Biita jokingly asking if I was having a heart attack. The action was so quick I genuinely don’t remember how many fish I hooked, but it was over 4.
After releasing a fish, a pack of two peeled off at my 3 o’clock. Halfway through my forward casting stroke Bitta told me to drop it short. I checked my cast down, stripped twice and saw a silver face the size of my chest inhale the fly and start back for the ocean. Having followed Dylan’s rigging suggestions I had a backing color change that signaled the “Oh Shit” point, and I came within several rotations of the reel to that point. Half an hour later and after giving every ounce of energy that I had, I put what will surely be the best fish I will ever catch on the beach, a trevally that Biita estimated to be 110lbs. A quick picture with the fish in the water and we watched it swim away to the depths. I followed suit and dove headfirst into the blue drop off, having found the redemption I had been waiting for all year, in a manner that was so far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. If you have not experienced a GT on the fly, there is no place better than CXI and the amazing guides at Christmas Island Outfitter’s. The fury and the fishing we saw, without chum, is something that I will never forget in a million fishing trips.

1 comment:

  1. Great story, and even better fish! See you in a few weeks.


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