Firstly a huge apology for the delay in bringing you this report but all good things are worth the wait.
At the end of November we embarked again on the Sportquest Holidays annual group trip to Christmas Island. Over the years our trips have become very popular with anglers either as singles or pairs. This year was no different and also like many years previous was made up of both first timers and returning customers with scores to settle from their last trip. We also had some of the group who where returning for the second visit decide to stay on for an additional week, giving them a 2 week adventure.
As usual we had booked and planned a couple of night’s relaxation and to ensure everyone’s luggage made it along with us (as there is only 1 flight a week to Christmas Island there is NO room for errors as luggage would never catch up with us) On our first morning in Hawaii at breakfast the weather was not too good, the mountains were covered in dense low cloud and although temperature-wise it was ok, the rain was on and off, not the normal conditions you would expect from Hawaii. The weather was a concern as experienced has shown me in the past that if the weather is not good in Hawaii, even though Christmas Island is still another 3 hour flight across nothing but open ocean the weather always seems to follow.
The day came for our departure to Christmas Island and its always interesting to see just how many other people end up in the departure lounge who look like anglers. Over the years Christmas island has grown in popularity with more lodges being open so you just never know until you arrive if the island will be busy that week or not. It was a pleasant surprise to see and meet some American travellers who I had met on previous trips (Not really a surprise as we all like the same tides, moon phase and time of year) It is always an exciting time waiting to depart on the final leg of the trip to Christmas Island, with a mixture of customers past and present the expectations start to build and the tension in the air starts to build.
The short flight is across nothing more than ocean so there is nothing to see until its time to put our seatbelts back on, as the plane starts in decent to the island. It is then on both sides of the plane as it circles round for the final approach that everyone gets to see the island and miles of saltwater flats for the very first time. On our arrival there was hardly a cloud to be seen so perhaps this time the weather was not going to follow and we would strike it lucky?
“Normal weather for Christmas Island on arrival”
After the short journey we were all welcomed by the familiar faces of the staff at Ikari house that have become like family over the years. Once all the rooms had been allocated it was a mad rush for everyone to unpack the huge mountain of fishing tackle and set everything all up in readiness for the early morning start before dinner is served.
First morning and it was time to load the vans with equipment and anglers. This year we had a real good mixture of anglers some who were going to 100% concentrate popper, jigging and trolling for GT’S and Tuna. We also had anglers only fishing the flats with fly rods and others who during their stay wished to fish all methods. As a host this was a dream for each night it allowed me to sit down with the group and find out who wanted to fish for what and also if they wished to fish either inside for the flats or outside for the ocean or a combination of both. This is a great way to ensure that everyone on a hosted trip gets to fish for their desired fish and their preferred methods.
On that first morning the weather was not good for fly fishing with lots of cloud cover, also on stepping on to the flats for the very first time of the trip the water felt cold. Having spent over 20 weeks on Christmas Island over the years I knew that this would effect the flats fishing and would probably effect it for the whole of our trip as water temp takes a while to drop or rise. However it was not going to stop any of us from enjoying the trip and fishing hard to catch as many fish as possible.
“About the best day in the whole two weeks weather wise”
Another common factor of Christmas Island is the wind, however this is normally welcome as its just a slight breeze first thing and builds as the day heats up getting to a good blow by around 4pm. That is why on our trips we have all the customers in the boats at dawn to ensure we get the best of all the conditions. Unfortunately the weather for the week was completely unusual in all elements, the cloud cover stayed with us everyday with only odd periods of broken cloud enabling us to see more clearly on the flats. Also the wind on most days it had thrown the rulebook out of the window for some days the wind was strong enough to make it difficult for the customer’s popper fishing offshore to stand comfortably in the boats.
Having said all of the above as I mentioned it in NO way dismissed the groups enjoyment of the holiday. For customers who had never fished Christmas Island they still caught lots of fish, more than most imagined they would have. Even the customers who were returning for a second time even though the weather made it difficult to fish off shore as they where more prepared the second time around and understood how to fish the island caught more fish and bigger fish than the previous year.
I think the person who noticed the difference the most was myself, so considering I believed it to be some of the worst conditions I had ever had out of 20 weeks on Christmas Island, that the customers where all blown away with the fishing just goes to show you how amazing the fishing on this island is.
“Another amazing year on Christmas island”
Below is a selection of pictures that tells the story and as they say pictures are a thousand words, so as there’s a selection of over 1oo pictures below that’s a lot to say about this amazing destination.
We are now taking bookings for the 2017-hosted trip that will be hosted by our very own Mathew Rickard.
To see the full trip details CLICK HERE or alternatively call our offices at anytime on 01603 407596
Regards Peter Collingsworth