Fly Fishing the World's Largest Atoll
Located in the South Pacific, equidistant between Hawaii and New Zealand, sits Kiritimati Island – the largest atoll in the world known to anglers as “Christmas Island.” Not to be confused with the Territory of Australia “Christmas Island,” Kiritimati is a remote and largely-undeveloped island that is part of a long island chain that makes up the country of Kiribati. It takes a bit of time to get here, but once you arrive, you find a saltwater wilderness area that is absolutely massive: an area that is home to impressive numbers of bonefish, milkfish, triggerfish, giant trevally, golden trevally, and several other species. The interior and exterior flats of Christmas Island are a mix of hard white sand, coral, and turtle grass, creating the ideal setting for wade fishing enthusiasts. For those looking for diversity of species and solid numbers of bonefish, Christmas Island is hands-down one of the top destinations in the entire world of saltwater fishing.
Yellow Dog is very excited and proud to be working with The Villages, the best operation that the island has to offer. Built directly on the beach just outside the small town of London, The Villages has several small cabins outfitted to accommodate two anglers per room. Each cabin is equipped with air-conditioning, hot showers, comfy beds and an atmosphere that allows anglers to think of nothing but the week’s fishing ahead. The Villages has an indoor dining area with air-conditioning and a covered palapa-style lounge area where cocktails and appetizers are served after long days on the flats. With a client to guide ratio of one-to-one (the only operation on Christmas Island that offers this!) anglers can look forward to fishing one-on-one with their own guide each day. Each guide will come directly to a client’s cabin every morning and take their rods and gear to the boat, which is just a short, 50-foot walk from the lodge. With a friendly staff, good food and “fishing-focused” atmosphere, The Villages is the perfect place to call home for a week on Christmas Island.
Food and Beverages
All meals are prepared within the Villages kitchen featuring a variety of different fish dishes, rice, chicken, pork, pasta and salads with a homemade dessert to top everything off. Each morning anglers will eat a breakfast consisting of homemade toast, eggs, and bacon then make a short walk to the beach where their boat and guide will be waiting for them. During breakfast, a table consisting of lunch items will be provided for anglers to make their own sandwiches and fill their lunch box with extra snacks, fruit, and drinks. Each angler will have four (4) bottles of water which are included in the trip package, provided for them during their day of fishing. If desired, anglers can bring more at additional cost. All cabins are equipped with a small fridge filled with sodas and beer at additional cost. After each day of fishing, anglers are served appetizers in the open lounge area which will consist of fresh tuna and wahoo sashimi, chips and dip and cheese, and crackers. The Villages only provides beer so any additional adult beverages can be purchased in Honolulu at the Duty Free shop. A maximum of only three (3) bottles per person are allowed through customs.
Typical Length of Stay
Since flights to Christmas Island’s Cassidy International Airport (CXI) through Honolulu’s International Airport (HNL) are only offered once a week on Fiji Air, the standard package is seven (7) nights / six (6) fishing days.
While most visitors to the island are focused mostly on the diverse fishing opportunities, The Villages does offer guests diving opportunities. Christmas Island is virtually untapped by diving exploration and has some of the most pristine coral reefs in the South Pacific. With experienced guides trained in diving, guests can swim among the fish and experience the extraordinary beauty of Christmas Island’s underwater world. Guests wishing to dive must be DAN (Divers Alert Network) Members, certified divers and must purchase Global Rescue to participate in the diving opportunities offered. Guests can also enjoy diverse birdwatching and take advantage of many snorkeling opportunities. Bringing your own snorkel gear will allow you to enjoy the vast coral areas loaded with unique fish species and dazzling collections of colorful coral. Snorkeling and birding may all be done during your guided fishing day or before or after a day of guided fishing.
Internet Connection/Cell Phones
The Villages does not provide any internet access during your week on the island, and cell phones will not work at any time during your stay.
How To Get There
There is only one flight per week to Christmas Island/Kiritimati Island’s Cassidy International Airport (CXI) on Fiji Air, which departs from Honolulu International Airport (HNL) every Tuesday morning. That means that you must fly to Oahu on Monday at the latest (we suggest Sunday to allow for any delays since there is only one flight per week to Christmas Island/Kiritimati Island) in order to make the Tuesday morning Fiji Airlines flight to Christmas Island Airport (CXI).
You will overnight in Oahu around the Waikiki Beach area and we suggest fishing this area for the huge bones if you have a day to spare. This Honolulu area bonefishing is some of the best in the world when it comes to legitimate trophy-sized bonefish, and a day or two on the flats of Oahu is a great way to warm up for your week on Christmas Island.
The Fiji Airlines flight is around three and a half hours to Christmas Island from Honolulu. On arrival, you will pass through customs and take the half-hour van ride to the lodge. You then depart Christmas Island the following Tuesday and make a connecting flight home from Oahu.
All U.S. citizens are required to have a valid passport that does not expire within six (6) months of trips dates. Please be sure that your passport has at least two blank, unstamped pages remaining in back, and that it is not torn, delaminated, or damaged in any way.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
The staff at The Villages will make you feel as though you’re right at home and will do anything you ask of them at the drop of a hat. The same can be said for all their guides. Each angler will be assigned their own guide for each day of fishing, which is a huge advantage when it comes to spotting fish and handling fish for photos. Your guide will be with you every step of the way and are game to chase any species, whether it’s bonefish, GT’s or triggerfish. Christmas Island is considered to be a bone fisherman’s paradise, and rightly so! Bonefish are the main target species on Christmas Island, and they are found throughout the flats and shallow waters of the atoll. This is an excellent destination for beginner saltwater fly anglers due to the sheer numbers of bonefish that are available. The average bonefish throughout the ecosystem run two to three pounds in size. That said, the guides do have areas where larger fish may be targeted. Larger fish can range anywhere between three and seven pounds while some of the ocean reef flats hold even larger fish. In addition, fish in the six to ten-pound class are occasionally caught. One of the things that we really love about fishing Christmas Island is the amazing diversity of species that can be targeted with a fly rod. Triggerfish are numerous and the atoll is home to three different and unique species of triggers. They are not easy to fool, and they feed in coral gardens and patches on flats, which means landing them can be a challenge. They are one of the most rewarding and certainly most beautiful fish you can catch on the fly. The waters of the atoll are also home to three species of trevally: Bluefin, golden and giant. The presence and availability of trevally for the flats angler definitely makes this destination unique. Trevally can be found feeding on the flats at any tide, but incoming tides and periods of high tide are the most productive times to focus on these hard fighting gamefish. Guides know where to locate them and anglers must be ready to make quick presentations to these aggressive, fast-moving fish. While the practice of “chumming” in giant trevally with pieces of cut up milkfish or baitfish is something that some guides on Christmas Island are willing to do, this controversial technique is definitely not needed if you are patient and diligent about an organic approach. There are small milkfish on the flats, but the larger milkfish can be found in channels and deeper water around the island. These large schools are fished from the boat as they surf the swells. Milkfish feed on small clumps of algae and are very tough to fool on a fly, but if you are lucky enough to come tight on one while fishing algae fly, they are one of the hardest fighting fish in the ocean and opportunities to give Milkfish a shot abound on Christmas Island! The offshore or Bluewater fishing that surrounds Christmas Island is worth exploring as well. You may easily do this for a few hours in the morning before hitting the flats. There are typically abundant tuna and large barracuda, and giant trevally, wahoo, Mahi Mahi, sharks, and occasional marlin that also inhabit these waters. This is a year-round fishery as a result of being so close to the equator.
Boats and Equipment
The Villages utilizes several very unique, locally-crafted, outrigger-style transfer boats. These boats are used to transfer anglers to the flats, where you then wade the shallows for bones, triggers, trevally, and other species. The boats are very reliable and offer anglers a fun and effective mode of transportation to and from various flats. Most of the flats are easy to wade, as the bottom consists of solid white sand. You will occasionally need to navigate some coral outcroppings, rock shelves, and deeper channels, but overall the wading is very easy. When using boats for transportation, boat drivers will pick you and your guide up at the end of your “wading lap,” which means that you will rarely need to make long walks back to the boat through waters that you have already fished.
When it comes to tackle and personal equipment, all of us at Yellow Dog are huge believers in supporting and patronizing local, specialty fly shops. As a rule, specialty retailers usually know and understand the tackle, gear, and equipment that is required for successful fly fishing – be it on local waters or in far-off fisheries around the world. For the Christmas Island fishery, it is absolutely crucial that you arrive with the right gear and equipment, as there is nothing available once you reach the island! If there is anything that you need, you will 100% have to bring it with you. Sending flies and gear to the island ahead of time is not an option as there is no reliable method of shipping at this time. Please call the Yellow Dog office for more information and details about gear.
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter. All prices listed below are per person and quoted in US dollars.
2019 Rate (Based on Double Occupancy)
7 nights / 6 days of guided fishing: $2,790.00
- All ground/water transfers while on Christmas Island
- All meals at The Villages
- Double occupancy lodging at The Villages
- Bottled water, juice, coffee and tea
- All guided fishing
- All island taxes and GSTs
What’s Not Included:
- International flights to Christmas Island/ Kiritimati Island Cassidy International Airport (CXI)
- Beer and sodas (spirits and wines may be purchased in Honolulu at the airport duty-free)
- Gratuities for the guides and staff
- Accommodations and meals in Honolulu (Yellow Dog can assist you with any reservations in the city or on Oahu.)
- Christmas Island fishing license ($50.00 USD)
- Daily Laundry Services
- Wireless internet