Christmas Island, Republic of Kiribati, October 14, 2015
A report from Eric for
I was scheduled to travel with our doctor to visit the hospital on the atoll of Kiritimati, known to most anglers as Christmas Island. We were going to be there for a week doing a follow up check on the children
we treated last year. Our fishing would be limited to a few hours after our clinic closed and the weekend.

The weather was hot, windy and rainy for two days and according to the staff at
The Villages fishing lodge the island received a lot of rain just before we arrived.
I could not wait for the weekend to arrive so I could fish the flats for bones and GTs but this time I also wanted to try fly fishing for triggerfish, which sounded like fun after reading about on the internet.

We caught bonefish in front of The Villages in the lagoon but they were not big, just lots of tiny juvenile ones. We scheduled our trip to the flats for Sunday so I could teach my colleague, Dr. Jonathan, how to cast a fly rod. When the day arrived we could not have asked for better weather--the wind died down and the sun was out.
We arrived at Smoking Flats on a falling tide. As we set out I told our guide, Ieru, to stay with Dr. Jonathan because it was his first time fly fishing and he agreed with that plan. The flats were loaded with small bonefish and juvenile white trevally. We hooked and landed lots of bones but no big ones so we pulled anchor and left this flat to find triggerfish.
As our boat arrived we could see triggers playing with each other. Ieru guided me to a tailing fish and told me to cast. I executed the cast and waited for his instructions.

“Strip. Stop. Strip,” Ieru said. The trigger followed the fly. “Stop. Set!”

I set the hook and “BAM” the triggerfish took off. I managed to stop the run and got the fish to turn and head onto the flats. The tug of war went back and forth until I finally managed to bring the fish in but when Ieru got the leader and was about to grab the triggerfish it got away. We thought the leader broke but when he pulled it in and looked at it the loop was still intact. The eye of the hook had bent open allowing the loop to slip out!
We fished for about an hour, trying for another triggerfish but there were also a lot of small blue fin and stripped trevally taking the flies. We fished a while longer then called it a day and headed in.

We had some spare time on Tuesday before our scheduled flight home on Wednesday so we took a drive over to the old Captain Cook Hotel, which used to be the only place to stay on Christmas Island. It was an old British military barracks
used during nuclear testing in the 50s. We stayed here during our fishing trips in the 80s with my grandfather and brother and it was not the Hilton, but it was a clean and decent place to stay. Unfortunately, although the hotel still looked the same outside, the rooms did not age well.
POSTSCRIPT: I just wanted to let everyone know The Villages fishing lodge head guide, Nemi, was killed this year in an auto accident on the atoll. Craig O and I fished with him last year and he was a very knowledgeable guide that put us on some big GTs. He was a great guy and will be missed.