I’ve recently returned from a week at Christmas Island and I think I can see what all the fuss is about. Back home at Owen River Lodge, we’ve had plenty of rain (but not too much) and plenty of cold – great for the trout, but not so good for cabin fever. In fact, on the day I left for Christmas Island, we recorded minus 9.7 C, the coldest it’s been in my time here.
Anyway, as well as somewhere to escape the southern winter for a bit, the Christmas Island flats are prolific producers of bonefish and it was usual to catch one or two dozen a day. Although the bones encountered weren’t really big fish, it was all great fun. And I always had a 12 weight on hand, rigged with a huge furry fly, just in case a giant trevally came within casting range. After a couple of days, one did but I was too slow to swap rods and get the fly out.
Then another day, I was having a break and absently staring into the water, when I noticed a very big shape mooching along just where the flat dropped into the depths. This time I was able to splat the monster fly down close enough to attract the GT’s attention. It turned, I stripped, and the fish swam over and ate. My guide yelled at me to tighten the drag on my Sage reel to full lock. I did – and the GT promptly took 250 metres of line! (Later, I tried to pull line off the reel on the same setting, and couldn’t budge it.) After about 20 minutes, I finally had the fish to hand. At somewhere around 40-50 lb, it is certainly the biggest fish I’ve ever caught of any species, and one of the most thrilling. I can easily see myself heading back to Christmas Island and trying for another. What a buzz!