Christmas Island Photo Essay and Tips and Tricks by Kyle Schenk
Kiribati (a.k.a. Christmas Island) is certainly a bucket list fishery for many fly anglers across the globe. Sitting about 1200 miles south of Honolulu and 144 miles North of the equator, this is definitely an experience you need to experience in your lifetime. Typically, these trips are coordinated through a host, such as Fly Water Travel or Yellow Dog Fishing. This makes your travel experience simple and fluid. The host will help arrange flights, hotels, gear, and provide you with more than enough information for a week of fishing on Christmas Island. Keep in mind, this is a trip for anglers, so non-angling partners would have quite literally nothing to do if they accompanied you. Total on this trip, you are looking at around $4,000. Most trips are around $2500 for a week of guided fishing, lodging and food. Don’t let that number shy you away! Do a little research and see if you can come up with any other guided saltwater destinations that have rates like this. In other guided saltwater days, I have spent up to $700 for a day trip to spook a few bonefish.
Payment for this trip worked out pretty nicely. We left in early March 2019 but had began our planning in July 2018. Once we had a few clients secured, we had to pay a 50% deposit, 3-months later we bought tickets, and then 90 days before the trip, the other 50% was due. Not bad, basically breaking the trip into three 1200(ish) payments over the course of several months. This definitely makes it a bit easier for us folks in our 20s! Word of the wise, be sure to bring a good buddy or two. You’ll want someone there as connectivity to back home is VERY limited while on the island.
The fishery itself is vast. I spent my days hopping from group to group, shooting photos and gathering content. In six days of fishing, we barely scratched the surface on Christmas Island. You can fish the flats, blue water, and the surf. If you are on the flats, you are searching for bonefish, triggers, trevallies, and a variety of other fish. In the blue water, you target trevallies, barracuda, milkfish, tuna species, and potentially sharks. The surf is much like flats, just a bit crazier. Crashing surf, bigger rocks, etc. Needless to say, there is no lack of angling opportunities.
Follow along with my photo essay from our trip on Christmas Island and feel free to reach out to me at @bendflyguy if you have any questions about heading down there!
1. We circled the island for 15 minutes before we made the final approach into the island. With one flight in and out a week, and plane mainly full of anglers, cheers of joy rang when the wheels touched down. We hopped in customs line, purchased a $50 fishing license for the week, and then headed down the bumpy road for 25 minute ride to our lodge.
2. This was our main hang out spot at the lodge. A nice view of the "ocean" side of the island. The ships several hundred yards off the island are fish processing ships. These ships employ many of the locals on the island. The last shot is a quick sample of what our dinners looked like. Small portions, chicken and fish, rice, etc. the perfect meal to satisfy hungry anglers. Our daily lunch was a sandwich, mainly PB+J and we were allotted 4 bottles of freshwater each day. We took hydration powders and snacks on snacks!
3. The guides, the boat captains, and the truck drivers. Some of the nicest folk you will ever meet. The guides work hard, day in and day out, week after week with visiting guests. They have next to nothing and are appreciative of anything you can leave with them. One guide had some sort of green grass growing out of his flats boots. The boat captains own their own boats and take exceptional care of their rigs. In one of the images in this series, you can see the boat captain hand lining a 20 plus pound milkfish. Stud.
4. @Chrisclogston, @action.johnson, @forrest.baney and a few other guys did me well by bringing their A-game this week. They each met a many different species over the week of fishing. Bonefish, milkfish, triggerfish, giant trevallies, blue fin trevallies, banded trevallies, and a few others. The underwater shots were shot with my A7rii in an Aquatech underwater housing.
5. Here are a couple shots of what it looks like angling on the island. From the surf, to the flats, to the boats. You need to fish here!!!
Thank you for following along! I had a blast bopping around the island with my cameras. Hope you enjoyed! If you have any questions about visiting or fishing on Christmas Island please feel free to reach out to me here or on Instagram.