After a flight to Nadi on Tuesday afternoon then relaxing in the Fiji Airways premier lounge for a few hours with the group it was time to board our last leg to Xmas Island. We arrived at 6.30am Wednesday and smoothly moved through customs, got our fishing licenses and were greeted by the guides from Captain Cook Hotel and taken the short drive to the lodge. After checking into our room and having breakfast it was time to relax taking in the view of the beach only metres from our rooms while a few anglers decided to head out straight away and fish the first day an option available to all anglers.
The Captain Cook Hotel is a great option when staying at Xmas Island as it is centrally situated on the island giving anglers access to skiff days and truck days which opens up more water to fish. The rooms are very spacious as are the lodge grounds allowing anglers to stretch their legs or take a walk along the beach while even having a fish. Thursday had arrived and it was time for the next 6 days to fish the many flats and shoreline of Xmas Island. The group consisted of number of first time anglers to Xmas Island so they were all keen to hook into their first bone fish and see the backing on their fly lines run off into the horizon. It wasn’t long before stories of the bone fish that got away started coming in thick and fast with good numbers of smaller fish being landed. For me my third trip to Xmas Island was about trying to fine tune my lure fishing technique for bone fish along with a bit of fly fishing thrown in. While the fly was definitely producing great numbers of bonefish the ever trusty Smith Jades and Cranka deep minnows while not getting the numbers was targeting the much bigger bone fish and I managed to land numerous 5lb plus fish with one larger bone even managed to bite my Smith Jades tail clean off.
A few day into the trip and everyone had landed a quality size bone which was fantastic, however the focus now had changed and all the talk each night was about how to temp, hook and finally land one of the huge trigger fish that cruise the flats crunching all in their path. While the majority of anglers wanted to land them on fly I had a secret weapon up my sleeve that I hoped would bring about me landing my first ever large trigger fish. The Cranka Crab had taken Australia by storm and I had a few in my bag and planned on unleashing them on the trigger fish population. Little did I know that the Cranka Crab would be the best lure to target the usually shy big bonefish. While looking for triggers I saw a large bone cruise onto the flat and thought to myself lets see how quickly this spooks him. I cast my Cranka Crab and it landed about 2 metres from the bone and without hesitation as soon as the lure landed the bonefish raced over and with the tiniest of twitches I fool it into grabbing the crab and after I lifted the rod setting the hooks all hell broke loose and almost spooling my 2500 sized reel I some how managed to turn the fish and successfully landed my biggest bone on lure. I thought to myself that was way too easy maybe it was a fluke, but in the next few days Id prove the it was no fluke.
Over the final few days I would patrol the flats with my fly rod and if I found a patch of fish were refusing the fly I would switch to the Cranka Crab and it usually produced a solid hook up. The other anglers in the group were having a ball landing quality bones, large triggers and GT’s while also having their fair share of being destroyed by some large bones, GT’s and triggers as well. For me the highlight of the trip was on the last day. My group decided to use the truck to cruise the edge of the lagoon and look for trigger fish feeding on the edge and when spotted we would take turns casting at them. This method produced 3 cracking trigger fish one of which I managed to fool with the Cranka Crab and to land it on 4lb braid and only a 10lb leader was something I will never forget.
Another highlight of a trip to Xmas Island is the lengths the Captain Cook Hotel goes to to put on a celebration dinner on our final night. A pig on the spit, cray fish, sashimi and all the trimmings were just some of the food on offer at our celebration dinner where all the anglers shared some drinks with the guides and reminisced about the highlights of their trip. The final morning on Xmas Island was a relaxed morning with a nice late breakfast a walk on the beach and packing in time to catch our 4.30pm flight to Nadi Fiji where we were booked into the beautiful Raffles Gateway Hotel resort for an overnight stay before flying back home on following morning.
All in all we all had a fantastic trip to Xmas Island with plenty of firsts for all anglers and tales to tell everyone when they arrive home. Just showing how fantastic a fishing trip is to Xmas Island is most of the anglers on the trip are already planning heading back in 2020. Angling Adventures has numerous options for a trip to Xmas Island and with some of the most cost effective options they are definitely worth chatting to if you want to experience a trip of a lifetime like the one we just did.