Welcome to the first website dedicated to kayak fishing at Christmas Island located in the central pacific nation of “Kiribati”. Here you will find all the information you will need to kayak fish the worlds largest coral atoll
Christmas Island Kayak Fishing Checklist
Check that your passport is current.
From 1 November 2007 holders of American and Australian passports will not need a visa for entry into the Kiritimati but a current passport and identification card are necessary.
Fishing Licenses/Departure Tax
These are paid for and issued at the point of entry. Cost is $50 US
A tax of $20 AUS is payable at immigration prior to departure from Christmas Is.
It is not a bad idea to take out appropriate travel insurance not only to cover any loss of gear you may encounter but also the in the event that you need medical evacuation from this remote atoll.
There is only one flight per week into Christmas Island with the following restrictions:
Checked Baggage: a maximum weight of 50 lbs. /22kgs. An excess fee is payable on anything over that weight.
Hand luggage – 1 piece of not more than 15 lbs./7kgs.
Normal flight restrictions apply to your carry on luggage – make sure that there are no sharp items such as pliers, flies, pocket knives etc otherwise they will be confiscated. You are not allowed to carry rod tubes on as hand luggage and reels with fly lines on them should be packed in your main baggage.
Polaroid Sunglasses – if possible take ones with bronze glass and yellow glass as well as a sunglass lens cleaning kit. Many of the guides prefer bronze for spotting. The yellow photo chromatic lenses are ideal in low light early and late in the day and when conditions are overcast.
Tools – Pliers, line nippers, hook sharpener, lip balm, sunscreen. Gaff for off shore kayak fishing. Side cutters, reel lube, screw drivers and a small adjustable crescent wrench may also be handy to enable reel servicing if required. Leatherman type tools have many of these items as attachments. A small hand towel. Kayak rod leashes.
Day pack – Some form of fanny pack or small backpack with water bottle holder to wear on flats
Tackle box – A water proof tackle box to store the bulk of your poppers, lures and flies plus a pocket sized box to carry tackle with you on the flats.
Camera – Include extra batteries and a charger if you need them.
Footwear – Good quality wading boots that are shin length (neoprene or similar – Bites have been a popular choice over the last couple of years) with a thick sole as you will be wading on sand and broken coral all day. A pair of well padded socks will prevent chafing when the coral sand (inevitably) enters boot.
Clothes – Set of clothes to wear over and back plus 2 or 3 sets of fishing clothes consisting of long sleeve shirts and at least one set of long pants. Long pants will also help prevent sand entering boots as well as keeping you from getting sun burnt legs. Washing can be done at the lodge.
Headwear – Legionnaires type cap or a stiff wide brimmed hat. A bandana or buff is useful to help keep sun off the neck.
Gloves – for handling fish and kayak paddling, lightweight rain jacket for windy days a pair of slippers or sandals for use in shower.
Warmth – It never really gets cold at Kiritimati but a light sweat top or similar may be required if it rains and gets windy. Towels – provided by the lodge
There’s limited pharmacy facilities on Kiritimati so take enough prescription drugs for the period of your stay. Take a personal first aid kit to treat cuts, abrasions, stings, sunburn, headaches etc. Maybe take drugs to assist with diarrhea and vomiting. There is a doctor and a hospital for emergencies.
if you have any special dietary requirements make sure you take what you need. Your lodge hosts will endeavor to be as accommodating as they can with the limited supplies that are available to them. Take any favorite foods with you such as snacks, cereal, energy bars, cakes, Gatorade concentrate, long life milk or soy milk (powdered milk only is available at the Lodge) There is a very limited range of food items available in the local grocery stores. It should be noted that because of its isolation, Christmas Island doesn’t have many of the pests and diseases we have in America and Australia. Processed food is OK however fresh food, mainly fruits, will be taken from you, A thermos flask – It’s always nice to have a coffee after a morning of action.
Bottled water is available at local shops. Do not drink the local tap water unless it is boiled or sterilized. Beer (VB, XXXX and Heineken) and soft drink are available at a reasonable price. From Honolulu alcohol is allowed as checked baggage. Alcohol can be purchased duty free in Nadi and packed in check baggage. Do not buy your alcohol in Australia as it will be confiscated when you change flights in Nadi.
Anyone who has hand-held radios can bring them as most of the lodges have a marine radio with CH 16. Hand-held radios or mobile phones are used by the guides to communicate with the boats. If you have a need to call home, international calls can be made from the lodge however they are expensive. An internet connection to allow you to check emails is available at the lodge however it is slow and sometimes unreliable. Costs will be made available on arrival. A GPS is useful if you wish to keep track of where you have been on the flats. The power supply is 110 or 240V with the same 3 pin plugs as Australia or the American style 3 pin. Australian dollars are the currency used for legal tender in Kiritimati, but they also accept US Dollars. We suggest you take about $500 cash to cover such incidentals as guide tipping, refreshments, fishing licenses, departure tax, tips, souvenirs and meals during lay over’s in Fiji or Honolulu. A bank with an affiliation with the ANZ is located not far from the lodge is open between 0930 and 1500hrs
What drew us to Christmas Island for kayak fishing was top water spinner popping for giant trevally and off shore fishing for pelagic species. It is well known that giant trevally reside in the lagoon and around the island. It is not uncommon to hook into giant trevally over 60 lbs. If you want any chance at landing the big boys you will need to gear up. Big lures land big fish. Interestingly enough some of the largest fish to be reeled in are not the usual native species, but those small feeder goldfish once released that are now full grown. If you do catch one of them, do not throw it back, as it will interfere with the native species. We have found that it is best to take it to a local fish store, or (if you so desire) to house it in a tank of your own as a pet. This should be about 10 to 20 gallons, or more. Most of these are comets and will come in at approximately 8 to 12 inches, or even longer.
We generally don’t whip for giant trevally with any lures under 2 ounces and we prefer 4-6 ounces lures and bigger if we can get them. A strong whipping pole able to handle big lures is needed. An 8ft spinning rod with medium to medium heavy action, capable of handling 4 ounce lures and 30 pound test is a minimum. These same rods can also be used for offshore pelagic fishing by either trolling diving lures like rappalas or for deep water jigging irons. Offshore species include tuna, mahi, ono, rainbow runner, sail fish, and various bill fish. Anglers may wish to bring shorter (6-7.5 ft.) rods with medium heavy action for trolling offshore and pair those poles with conventional reels. For those who like conventional casting and whipping you will want a rod with the same attributes mentioned above for spinning rods. There are some nice travel rods available these days that pack into 4-5 pieces and are worth taking a look at to avoid costly baggage fees. Do not forget to bring your own kayak fishing rod leashes because none are available.
Salt water kayak fishing reels need to be top quality. There proximity to the water and the harsh salt environment will eat up sub standard reels quickly. When it comes to reels you get what you pay for. There is no reel repair service offered on Christmas Island so reels need to be in top shape and in good working order. Be prepared with parts and tools as there are none available to traveling anglers. Top quality reels spinning reels such as Van Stall, Shimano Stella, Fin-nor offshore, Daiwa Saltiga, Pen slammer and SSM, should be considered. High speed gear ratios are important and the higher the better for effortless smooth retrieves. The companies above also make high quality bait casting reels for the conventional reel user.
Reels should be capable of holding 250- 350 yards of line. 60- 100 pound braided line is great for offshore fishing but will get cut off quickly on the sharp live coral in the lagoon and around
the reefs. Giant trevally will surface for big plugs but will dive right back into their coral caves when hooked. A hundred yard top shot of 40-60 pound mono is recommended over braid when top water popping for giant trevally in the shallows and outside of the reefs.
Leaders need to be tough and coral resistant. 60 to 100 pound fluorocarbon leaders will produce a lot of Giant Trevally strikes but good old fashion mono is a bit stronger. This same leader material can be used for offshore pelagic fishing. 40-65 pound wire leader can be used offshore to prevent Ono and Barracuda cut offs.
Big lures take Giant Trevally and if this is what you want then go big. It is a well known fact that giant trevally like a giant bait. Big poppers that make a lot of splashing work best. Some of our favorites are Bay Bombers, Williamson Jet Poppers, Daiwa Saltiga and Sebile. The bigger the better. For offshore pelagic fishing anglers will want an assortment of poppers, diving lures, and deep water jigging irons. Split rings and hooks should be stainless steel and strong. Giant trevally fishing is all catch and release so many anglers are choosing to replace treble hooks with doubles and singles to make it easier to release the fish.
If possible, consider 4 or 5 piece rods – they can be packed in your baggage so that it lessens the trip destroying eventuality of the rods being lost or damaged. 6 to 9 wt will cover most of the bonefish situations with a 10, 11, or 12wt. for the larger species. A fast action 6wt saltwater rod provides great sport with the average size fish. However, if you can only take one rod, an 8 wt is a better choice for all round use if there is a necessity to cast into the wind. Every day, the guide carries the 10-12wt rigged with a closure or bait fish profile in readiness for larger trevally (up to 60lb) that will appear on the flats. If a group wants to go outside chasing some of the bigger species or do a bit of reef fishing, a 12wt is ideal. Taking a spare rod is a good idea in case of accidents. Although we didn’t have any breakages on previous trips, this year we had one broken when it was hit by a fly while casting. Note; there is limited fly gear available on Kiritimati, so you must take all spare equipment with you, rods included.
Reels need to be good quality with a smooth drag and preferably sealed because it can spend time submersed as you attempt to get that photo of a lifetime while releasing a fish. Large arbor reels have a definite edge particularly when using lighter tippets. The drag maintains a consistent pressure while a fish is running because the diameter doesn’t change much as you lose line as it does on a standard arbor Also; the faster retrieval rate of the large arbor comes into its own when the fish turns and runs towards you. They also have the added advantage that, because of the larger diameter, the stiff core tropical lines do not need to be stretched before use.
A minimum of 150 yards of 30 lb backing is required. This requirement for a lager amount of backing usually means that braid is a better choice than Dacron simply because you can put more on.
The water on the flats is anywhere between ankle and waist deep so floating lines are the most popular choice. Floating lines are easier and quicker to reposition as the fish move across the flats as opposed to sinking lines that are slower to reposition and are readily damaged on the sometimes rough bottom in the shallow water.
An intermediate line to suit your 11-12 wt is ideal for surface action if you make a trip outside the lagoon. For reef action, a T 14 shooting head (or any other fast sinking line, we prefer heads because they are a cheaper option to replace or repair) teamed up with a Scientific Angler running line will do the trick. Take spares and/or repair kits because this action can be down and dirty around the coral heads.
There are many lines by different manufacturers that are suitable. Just make sure that the line you take is made for hot weather use otherwise it will be soft and mushy to use. The most common line of choice is the Scientific Angler Mastery Series Bonefish Taper. Some guys noticed that it doesn’t float as high on the surface as some of the other brands. The official explanation on the reason for this is that the Bonefish Taper is deliberately made thinner to give better casting characteristics especially into the wind, but the trade-off is that it doesn’t float as high. If you want a higher floating line, choose the Saltwater Taper, Red fish Mastery Series or Sharkskin however these are a little thicker so will be a little harder to cast in the wind. In situations when there is a need for a quiet presentation because the fish are spooky, the Lee Wulff Bermuda Taper is worth consideration.
The current will pull the spare line lying on the water and make it difficult to make quick accurate presentations. On the ocean side, due to the wave action, it is near impossible to fish without one. Whatever design you use, the prerequisite is that it allows you to make long strips.
The best choices are 15 & 20 lb tapered leaders teamed with 10, 12, 20, 30, 60 lb fluorocarbon tippet material. The abrasion resistance over standard monofilament is a definite advantage on the broken coral bottoms and its invisible nature is another positive.
For the flats, tie about a meter of 10 or 12 lb tippet material (use a triple turn surgeons knot) to a 9 ft tapered leader. Try longer leaders (up to 15 ft) if the fish are a bit spooky.
When fishing the ocean side beaches around the Korean Wreck use a shock tippet of 20 to 30 lb to help prevent break offs on the sharp reef growth.
For reef and larger species use a shock tippet of 60 lb or if you are chasing some of the toothy critters such as Wahoo use a foot of 40 lb Tyger wire.
Fly tying gear
It is a good idea to organize one vise and some tying gear to be taken for the group you are with.
Christmas Is Specials
10 x #4 and 10 x #6
Hook: Mustad, Signature series, C70S SS or Gamakatsu Panfish Thread: orange flat waxed nylon Eyes: Gold or black barbell — use two sizes for different depths
Tail: yellow krystalflash Body: yellow krystalflash over orange thread Wing: yellow Krystalflash over tan craft fur or cinnamon Ceal Furr
Skinny Water Charlie’s
The following selection is recommended for the week; Gold – 6 X size #4, 10 X size #6, 6 X size #8 Black – 6 X size #4, 10 X size #6, 6 X size #8