Fly Fishing Christmas Island’s Shoulder Season
When it comes to saltwater flats fly fishing in the Pacific Ocean, you would be hard-pressed to find a better option than the year-round, consistent productivity of Christmas Island.
But while most traveling anglers visit the remote island during the busy time of the season between January to mid-April, the untold secret according to Camille Egdorf, Yellow Dog Fly fishing Program Director for the Christmas Island and Alaska programs is that her favorite times to fish the island are on the shoulder seasons like the Fall.
“Fall is often overlooked because people aren’t really thinking about traveling,” said Egdorf, “They have got their kids back in school, the stateside holidays are approaching and for many anglers, the Fall season means putting down your fly rod to bare a bow or rifle for hunting season.”
It’s only after wintertime in the states goes into full swing that everyone then wants to get out of the cold for a week and travel.
As a result, the peak season popularity makes it the most difficult time to find trip availability and the Fall is often overlooked with some of the island’s best fishing going untouched.”
As the summer months come to a close, September starts to cool off and weather patterns become more consistent allowing feeding patterns of bonefish, giant trevally, and other species to become more predictable as a result of cooler water temperatures.
Coinciding with the busy season is the rainy season where cloud cover will hinder visibility in the afternoons causing the number of fish caught to go down.
More rains mean cooler water temperatures which can bring positive results like bringing the more active GT’s up onto the flats to hunt.
Warmer temperatures found during peak season can make the fishing more sluggish.
For Egdorf, the advantage of offseason angling on Christmas Island is fewer people on the flats which equal less pressure on the fish.
“You’ll see more activity of bonefish feeding and the triggerfish won’t be as spooky. Triggerfish are smart. It doesn’t take them long to figure out things.
The Fall is one of the best times of the year for getting the nice weather that makes up the ideal conditions that most anglers would want when out fishing Christmas Island.”
Located deep in the Pacific Ocean, Christmas Island has fast become one of the most sought-out destinations for the adventurous fly fishermen.
Sitting about 1,300 miles South of Honolulu and roughly 140 miles north of the equator, Christmas Island or Kiritimati, has built a reputation as an incredible bonefish haven with a plethora of other exotic species that can be targeted on the fly.
“Clients that are willing to bend on more traditional schedules and habits at that time of year can capitalize on the unique opportunities, for example, it is the first place on the planet to experience the new year. Just thinking that clients could have Christmas on Christmas Island then claim the bragging rights about celebrating the new year first in the world is pretty awesome,” said Egdorf.
“For the time spent to get there and money people spend to get there, it’s hard to beat going anywhere else,” said Egdorf, “It’s very affordable, fishing there is spectacular year-round and it is a great place for beginners to get into saltwater fishing even if they haven’t done much fishing at all. The guides get a lot of satisfaction knowing that clients are going to have a good time and get their shots at their fish of a lifetime. The first day anywhere is a bit of a learning curve but once you get the swing of things figured out and learn how to approach fish, it’s gravy from there.”
Camille just got back from a week-long hosted trip to Christmas Island where anglers caught plenty of bonefish, trevally and a host of other species. You can view her story from YETI, which covers her entire trip from start to finish.
Christmas Island Fly Patterns for Fall
The guides tend to use the same flies there year-round like the Christmas Island Special in orange and pink 6-8 sized hook shrimp patterns.
With its bead chain eyes and crystal flash for the body, it has quickly become the go-to proven pattern for the remote island fish paradise.
Flies with sparsely tied material and that have very minimal profile work the best.
Bonefish, triggerfish and small trevally flies:
• Christmas Island Special (pink, orange, pearl)
• Crazy Charlie (Pink, orange)
• Chili Pepper
• Mart’s Early Worm
• McVay Gotcha
• EP’s Spawning Shrimp (Tan)
• Mantis Shrimp (Tan)
• Turneffe Crab (Green, Tan)
• Bauer Flats Crab
• Wooley Crab
• GT Baitfish Fly (Blue, Grey, White and Tan)
• GT Slammer (Grey)
• Max Mullet