Christmas Island is a magical destination, not simply for its world-class angling opportunities but also for its strikingly beautiful natural resources and happy, compassionate I-Kiribati people. If your angling adventure bucket list includes a visit to Kiritimati – and it certainly should – then Christmas Island Lodge is a great place to consider for a superb fly fishing holiday.
The Christmas Island Lodge Story
The Christmas Island Lodge story began back in the late 1950s with the British military base on Kiritimati. The island’s strategic location in the central Pacific Ocean allowed for safe harbour for Allied planes and a position from which to lend support to Pacific military interests.
Once military needs no longer required presence on Kiritimati, the former base was transitioned into guest lodgings and renamed the Captain Cook Hotel, a reference to Cook who “discovered” the atoll 200 years earlier. “The Captain,” as it was known, housed the rare visitor or government official stationed on the island. In the mid-1980s, the Captain Cook Hotel became the only lodging capable of housing the first adventurous anglers who explored the atoll and was known as the go-to lodge for fishermen from around the world.
Today, guests enjoy a very different experience. The old hotel is no longer in use and the property has been redesigned into a 2.3 acre palm fringed oceanside compound. The lodge comprises six thatch-roof bungalows, sprawling organic gardens and a Caribbean colour-theme, complete with hammocks hanging from shady trees, a traditional thatched open-air maneaba lounge and wildflower landscaping, all of which is positioned only steps away from the breaking waves of the warm Pacific Ocean. In fact, guests at Christmas Island Lodge can walk directly out of their private bungalows and target myriad fish species within casting distance of their front door. Not another lightbulb or structure can be seen along the ten miles of white sand beach that is the Christmas Island Lodge front yard.
Fishing on Kiritimati
The fishing experience on and around Kiritimati is truly world-class. Though often mentioned in angling circles as one of the finest bonefisheries in the world, Christmas Island’s greatest strength is its multi-species opportunities. It is not uncommon for an angler to bring to hand over a dozen exotic species in a single week of fishing. In fact, some guests have recorded some two dozen unique species over the course of a week-long visit.
The diversity is not only of saltwater species but of saltwater fisheries too. It is one of the many aspects of the Christmas Island angling experience that draws anglers back year after year. The famed Inner Lagoon, which is accessed by Christmas Island Lodge’s private boat launch merely an eight-minute drive from the lodge, includes 150 square miles of endless white hard sand flats and aquamarine-coloured channels that are home to countless bonefish, triggerfish and trevally among many other species.
The Backcountry Area of the atoll is entirely different. Much of the fishing here is conducted walking waterside on a coral rim, inches above the lapping wavelets of blue-green aquatic expanse. Often, anglers won’t get their wading boots wet until a fish is hooked at which point, entry into the calf-deep flats increases the likelihood of a successful fight. Any and all species inhabit the Backcountry with many large giant trevally and triggerfish landed on a regular basis by Christmas Island Lodge anglers.
And different still, the southwestern shore of the island, commonly known as the Korean Wreck – due to a large Korean freighter shipwrecked on the reef many years ago – offers an inner reef that teems with all species available to Kiritimati anglers including some of the largest giant and bluefin trevally, countless green-hued bonefish, massive schools of milkfish, emperor fish, Christmas Island wrasse, parrotfish, surgeonfish, blacktip sharks and reef fish too numerous to mention. All in all, the fisheries of the planet’s largest coral atoll offer a diversity in fish and fishing experiences that create a unique and unforgettable angling adventure.
Getting to Christmas Island Lodge
Though considered one of the most remote countries on Earth, travel to Kiritimati in the Republic of Kiribati is remarkable easy. Christmas Island, one of the most easterly of Kiribati’s 33 coral atolls and the first country to see each new day due to its location directly adjacent to the International Dateline, is a three-hour flight from Honolulu, 1340 miles directly to the south. Fiji Airways offers a weekly flight, departing Honolulu on Tuesday and arriving three hours later on Wednesday after crossing the dateline. An overnight stay is required the night before your noon departure from Honolulu but guests have many options for same day return flights on the way back through Honolulu. If travelling through Nadi in Fiji, the most common port of embarkation for guests from Australia, New Zealand and Asia, the weekly flight departs late on Tuesday night, arriving early Wednesday morning.
If this Christmas Island Lodge story has piqued your interest in fishing these incredible waters and you would like further details or an itinerary then please contact Peter McLeod or Olly Thompson or call our office on +44(0) 1980 847389.