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Christmas Island - Hosted by Andrew

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This is a bucket-list trip for me.  I really never thought I would be able to pull it off.  For most of my life, I was more comfortable with spending a week in the Alaskan wilderness than a minute anywhere tropical, but one fateful bonefish in Hawaii changed that really quickly.  Now, I can't get enough of the flats!  Belize to Bahamas, I am in!  I am really interested in the remoteness of this place along with the great fishing. Just fishing, no distractions.  Bring on the GTs and big bones.

I chose February 4-11, 2025 because its the best time of year to visit a tropical location.  We could have gone in a few different spots in 2024, but we really wanted a Jan-March date so we could appreciate the Oregon winters just a little more, from afar....  The fishing (and weather) are great on Christmas Island all year, so its just about picking that ideal time, and February seems like an ideal time to visit the tropics.  Plus it should give everyone enough time to get their stuff together. 

ALL participants will receive a discount on gear for the trip!

We have a great crew of anglers so far, but we need a few more in order to make it happen.  Anyone with a sense of adventure is welcome.  Please email or call if you have any questions.  Payments and deposits can be handled straight through Flywater Travel.  Easy!

Fishing Program

Christmas Island Outfitters’ head guide is Bita “Peter” Kairaoi, who is recognized as one of the island’s most talented guides. He is joined by a small group of hand-picked professionals who are amongst the islands most skilled and personable fly fishing guides. All have excellent eyes for spotting fish, calm temperaments under the pressure of sight fishing, and are skilled instructors. By design, Christmas Island Outfitters has limited its program to no more than twelve anglers per week. As a result, the lodge boasts a highly flexible flats fishing program that can take full advantage of varying tides and fishing conditions. Each evening Peter will lead a discussion on the program for the following day’s fishing based on the conditions at hand. It is likely that your departure time from the lodge will vary each morning, according to the tides and where you will be fishing. Transportation to and from the vast flats of Christmas Island is via truck and outrigger. Both are equipped with bench seats, canopies, and rod holders. Once on the flats, anglers fish two per guide.

Christmas Island is the world’s largest coral atoll and a virtual paradise for stalking bonefish. Having almost single-handedly brought the sport of fly-fishing for bonefish into the public consciousness, Christmas Island remains one of the best destinations in the world for both beginning and advanced saltwater anglers alike. The reasons for this are many. First, the island’s vast hard sand flats enable anglers to wade fish all day in relative solitude. Second, the flats hold great numbers of bonefish that cruise in shallow water, providing anglers with constant opportunities or “shots” throughout their visit. Lastly, but certainly not the least, the atoll’s proximity to the equator (less than 200 miles) has blessed Christmas Island with consistently good weather, which enables a quality fishing experience year-round. While most of the island’s bonefish average two- to four-pounds, fish in the five- to eight-pound class are always a real possibility, as are several species of trevally, including giants, plus triggerfish.

Accomodations

Christmas Island Outfitters is a small operation taking a maximum of twelve anglers per week. The lodge is located just north of London on a beautiful section of beach. Accommodations consist of six double-occupancy guest rooms with private bathrooms. Rooms are simple and relatively rustic but are kept clean and feature ample space for fishing gear. Air conditioning is not required to keep anglers comfortable, but all units do have air-conditioning. Rooms are cleaned and restocked with soda, water, and beer every day during the stay. Each unit is equipped with screened windows, a small refrigerator, and a simple plastic table. Meals are a very basic and regularly comprise fresh seafood (snapper, tuna, wahoo, lobster, mantis shrimp), chicken, pork, rice, pasta and sometimes steak. Fresh vegetables and fruit are very hard to keep in supply.

There is nothing fancy or luxurious about Christmas Island. Accommodations are very simple and provide a clean, comfortable space to lay at night. Anglers should think of the facility as a "fish camp" built for one purpose - to provide a functional home base from which to explore some of the most productive, beautiful, and remote flats found anywhere in the world. Lunches remain very meager. We recommend bringing granola bars, jerky, nuts, dried fruit, etc. to supplement your days on the flats.

Itinerary

Monday: Arrive Honolulu and overnight at elected accommodations (independently arranged, not included).

Tuesday: Depart Honolulu, arrive Christmas Island, and transport to the lodge (included in package)

Wednesday through Monday: Six full days of guided fishing

Tuesday: Depart Christmas Island, arrive Honolulu*. Catch connecting flight home or to points beyond.

Note: Please be aware that the flight from Honolulu to Christmas Island and vice versa crosses the International Date Line, so when departing Christmas Island it will be Wednesday, and upon arrival in Honolulu it will be Tuesday.

Rates

2025 Rates: NOT POSTED YET. Expected to be around $3200

(2023 rate) 7 night/6 day package: $2,950

Included: Accommodations, meals, guided fishing, four bottles of water per person per day, ground transportation on Christmas Island.

Not Included: All airfare to Christmas Island, accommodations/meals/transfers in Honolulu, alcohol and soda, fishing license, staff and guide gratuities, departure taxes.

Target Species: Bonefish, triggerfish, three species of trevally, wahoo, tuna

Season: Year-round

Capacity: 12 anglers

FAQ

Cancelation Policy: Like most destination travel trips, deposits and other payments are non-refundable if you cannot make it after you have paid. We will do our best to help you find a replacement if you experience a hardship and cannot make it. Additionally, trip insurance may help you recover some losses in some cases. It is highly recommended.

Who is best suited to this destination? Christmas Island is essentially a sub-third-world locale. For the fishing outfitters and inhabitants, obtaining basic food items, supplies, water, equipment, and tools is a massive challenge. If ever there was a destination where traveling anglers were required to go-with-the-flow, Christmas Island is it. If you cannot wrap your brain around spending thousands of dollars to visit a place where you may, on more than one occasion, be required to smash a cockroach with a flip-flop, fall asleep to the click-clack sound of a hermit crab crawling across your room, or spend six days eating basic white-bread sandwiches for lunch, then this is likely not the place for you. If by contrast, you appreciate the spirit of true adventure, the skill and kind­ness of some of the most talented flats guides on the planet, and the faraway beauty of a prolific saltwater environment, a finer place is hard to find.

Where is the lodge? Just north of the equator approximately 1200 miles south of Hawaii.

How do I get there? To get to Christmas Island you will need to make travel arrangements to Honolulu, Hawaii no later than the Monday prior to your flight to Christmas Island (which departs on Tuesdays from Honolulu every week). Guests also need to arrange accommodations in Honolulu for Monday night before their flight to Christmas Island the following day. To book your Fiji Air flights to/from Christmas Island, we recommend contacting Renee Mahler with Ultimate Vacations. Guests should book this flight at least 4 months in advance to their trip date, as there is only one plane to/from Christmas Island each week.

When should I go? Christmas Island is truly a year-round destination. Because it lies only 144 miles from the equator, it offers some of the most consistent fishing weather found in the world, even during the winter months from December to March. Traffic from the USA is heaviest from January - April but this has more to do with anglers looking to escape the winter for a week than the fishing being especially productive. In the summer months, Australians and Kiwis tend to dominate the flats and U.S. traffic reduces dramatically.

Moon phases have more to do with how the island sets up for your week than any other factor. Anglers looking for a well-balanced, productive time to fish the flats or want to focus on bonefish should book during quarter moon cycles that provide neap cycle tides and long sweet spots of moderate water depth on the flats. Anglers looking for opportunities for giant trevally and blue water species should look toward the full moon and new moon periods of the month. These times provide the greatest alignment of the earth, moon and sun and generate the biggest tide swings. Hybrid weeks with either a full or new moon towards the beginning or end of a week can provide good opportunities for both. However, these are simply general guidelines.

How will I fish? All the fishing is done while wading the expansive hard sand and coral flats. Anglers choosing to fish the bluewater will do so from the boat. They access the flats using outrigger boats as well as trucks. Christmas Island Outfitters has kept with the option to also offer truck days because they allow anglers to access the ocean side flats often referred to as “The Wreck” and even more importantly the flats located deep in the lagoon. We often refer to these flats as the “back country”. This area sometimes holds the island’s best population of trophy bonefish and offers the best chance at the elusive golden trevally. It is also prime habitat for hunting GT’s. You can access this area via boat, but tides restrict the amount of time you can spend back there. With truck access anglers can fish the area all day long. For people looking for the most challenging and rewarding experience Christmas has to offer this area is a must.

Anglers who are interested in fishing the blue water for a half day can do so very easily without additional charges in most cases. The edge of the island drops into deep blue water very close to shore. Wahoo, yellow fin tuna, mahi mahi, GT’s, and even billfish can be caught within one or two miles of the beach. This means that on good weather days anglers can head out on the ocean for a few hours and then return to fish the flats in the afternoon.

Is there wade fishing? All the fishing is done while wading the expansive hard sand and coral flats. Anglers choosing to fish the bluewater will do so from the boat.

Where will I fish? Anglers will primarily fish in the main lagoon, which is a complex matrix of flats and channels with endless amounts of wade-able water to be fished. Ocean side flats and “the back country” are accessed via truck. The blue water fishing typically occurs off the southern coast of the island typically between 1-2 miles from the shore.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? In the lagoon, anglers can expect run times of 10 – 50 minutes. Please note that these times are subject to change based on tidal conditions. Truck-based days in “the back country” or at “The Wreck” can see drive times anywhere from 1.5 – 2.5 hours one way. When fishing the blue water, it can take up to 1.5 hours to reach the primary fishing grounds, but in many cases, you are trolling on the way out there.

What type(s) of fish will I catch? The primary species is bonefish, but there are numerous other species including giant, bluefin, banded, black and golden trevally. Also, several species of trigger fish are available as are sweetlips snapper, wrasse, ladyfish, barracuda, and wahoo and tuna offshore.

How many fish will I catch? Catch rates vary wildly at this destination. The very best weeks will see good anglers landing well over 100 bonefish but when things get hard landing four to six a day can be a challenge. All things being equal averaging 6-10 fish a day is quite reasonable. Most anglers also land a hand full of smaller trevally and if you are looking for them you should get between six and 12 shots at larger (30 + pounds) GT’s in a week. If one of these shots ends up in a hooked and landed trophy you should count yourself lucky.

Will I see other anglers? Yes, during most weeks you will see other anglers; However, the atoll is so large and there is so much water to fish that rarely does the presence of others impact your experience or your ability to fish prime water at all times.

What are the guides like? Managed by head guide Bita Kairaoi, Christmas Island Outfit­ters is recognized as the island’s most experienced guide team, consisting of hand-picked and highly trained professionals. All have excellent eyes for spotting fish, calm temperaments under the pressure of sight fishing, and are skilled instructors. Most of the guides speak English well and can carry a conversation. Some of the younger guides are less skilled with their English-speaking ability but can clearly communicate fishing directions. The people of Christmas Island tend to be shy and soft-spoken. They are not overly assertive, nor does their native language include the word “No.” To get the best experience out of each day, we recommend following the guides instructions and plans. They know the fishery like the back of their hand and want nothing more than to get their guests on fish. Often, they exceed expectations in this regard.

What are the physical demands? Essentially all the fishing is on foot, meaning you do a fair bit of walking every day. Most of the time you will be on a particular flat for 1 – 2 hours and then back on the boat to relocate. This time on the boat is a great time to rest and hydrate in between flats. It should be noted that the guides are extremely helpful. Over the years we have had people with very limited walking abilities have great experiences on the island. The guides know where optimum traveling lanes are and can get people into great fishing with very limited walking.

Are there any special skills required? The ability to walk and be on your feet for long periods of the day, and the ability to cast up to 60 feet accurately into the wind will help increase your odds at hooking the most fish.

Does the lodge provide equipment? No. Anglers must bring everything they will need with them for the trip.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? We prefer a fast action, 9-foot 7- to 8-weight for bonefish and a 10- to 12-weight for GT’s. Even more important is the reel when it comes to Trevally. Our favorite brands are Sage, Redington, Bauer, Hatch, Abel, and Tibor. A strong drag is key to battling trevally or any bluewater species. For lines, we recommend floating, weight forward lines for both bonefish and Trevally.

What are the top flies? Christmas Island Special, Gotcha, Bonefish bitters, Brush flies in tan and black, bonefish clousers.

What are the options if weather conditions become challenging? In the event of unsafe or unfishable weather conditions, anglers will stay or return to the lodge.

What is a typical day like? Anglers typically wake up around 6:00AM. Hot water and instant coffee will be available under the main dining “maneaba” and breakfast is served around 6:30AM. At 7:00AM anglers will be picked up at the lodge by the guides and head out to the flats for a full day of fishing. Around 4:30PM, guests return to the lodge and can relax, have a beer, take a shower, enjoy some fresh sashimi or a massage from the lodge hostess prior to dinner at 7:00PM. Note: Massages range from $20-$40 USD.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere, and style of the lodge? The lodge is very laid-back and casual. Anglers should think of the facility as a "fish camp" built for one purpose: to provide a functional base camp by which to explore some of the most productive, beautiful and remote flats found anywhere in the world. 

Is there an on-site owner, manager, or other point-person at the lodge? Sunset Horizon Lodge is owned by a church located nearby. The manager, Aresma, is always on-site. If you need anything, or if there is a problem with your room, he is the person to communicate with. Lisa is the lodge hostess and is typically around the in the evenings. She speaks good English and can also help with anything you need.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Breakfast and dinner are served under the Maneaba at the lodge. As far as meals go, it is important to remember that this is an island in the middle of the Pacific with no soil and very little water. They do not have a culture incorporating fine food. Prior to boats shipping in rice and ramen noodles, the fare was fish, coconut, and breadfruit. That said, there is no doubt that the cooks at Sunset Horizon are some of the best on the island and they work magic with what supplies they can get their hands on. We will not say that guests are going to experience great meals on their trip, but if one travels with very simple expectations, they may be pleasantly surprised. Breakfasts typically include eggs, bacon or sausage, and toast or pancakes. Staples at the dinner table are rice, fish, chicken, frozen vegetables, and breadfruit. The lunches remain very meager. Guests typically have the choice of tuna, ham and cheese or PB&J. Our advice is to bring plenty of energy bars, nuts, dried fruit, beef jerky, etc. to supplement the weak lunches.

What is the alcohol policy? Alcohol and soda are not included. The lodge has beer, sodas, and extra bottles of water for sale, which will be added to your room bill and paid at the end of the week (prices are approximately $2-$4 per soda/beer). If you prefer wine or hard liquor, we encourage you to purchase items in Honolulu as liquor is limited on the island. We recommend visiting the duty-free store after clearing security in the Honolulu airport and carrying these items aboard the plane. Generally, ice for drinks is rarely available at the lodge. Ice and mixers are sparse on the island as well.

The lodge does it is best to keep room bills organized and accurate. Please check in with Lisa mid-week to make sure beverages are being assigned to the correct room number (and to check that your fishing buddy is not adding items to your bill). Any beverages you remove from your mini fridge, including water, will be charged to your room bill.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? Christmas Island Outfitters is a small operation taking a maximum of fourteen anglers per week. The lodge is located just north of London on a beautiful section of beach. Accommodations consist of seven double occupancy guest rooms. Each room is configured to house two anglers and have a private bathroom. Rooms are very simple, relatively rustic but kept clean and feature ample space for your gear. Air conditioning is available in all the rooms. Your room will be cleaned and restocked with soda, water, and beer every day during your stay. Each unit is equipped with screened windows, a small refrigerator, and a simple plastic table. There is nothing fancy or luxurious about Christmas Island. Accommodations are very simple and provide a clean, comfortable space to lay your head at night.

Private accommodations can be arranged in advance at an additional cost. Private guides can be arranged in advance for the week or guests can arrange a private guide for some of their days on site.

Is there internet and/or cell service? There is satellite Wi-Fi available at the lodge for $10 per week. The Wi-Fi is good for sending basic texts, emails, and WhatsApp messages but the signal is not strong enough to stream or support browsing. The signal is strongest in the main dining area.

Are there other activities? No, this is purely a fly-fishing destination.

Are there any other expenses? Currently the round-trip Fiji Air flight to Christmas Island runs approximately $1,100 per person. Airfare is not included in your fishing package. Anglers will purchase a fishing license for the week at the airport upon arrival to Christmas Island for $50 USD. We recommend having exact change on hand for this purchase. Alcohol, sodas, and additional waters will be tallied throughout the week and paid for on your last night. These items range from $2-$4 each. Laundry service is provided daily, and prices are a few dollars per garment. Staff and guide gratuities are an additional expense as well.

Do I need a visa? No.

Are there any health concerns, dangers, or annoyances? We hear complaints each season about the presence of bugs in the rooms. Christmas Island is a coral atoll in the middle of the ocean and the only fresh water on the island sits in shallow lenses. These lenses are only 5ft – 10ft deep. Therefore, harsh pesticides are not allowed on the island. The staff cleans your room every day but totally keeping the bugs out of the rooms is next to impossible. If there are bugs in your room, just let the staff know and they will spray (they always have cans of Raid) your room while you are out fishing. This will typically keep them at bay for a few days.

Although travel to Christmas Island is quite benign, should a medical emergency arise, getting off the island to receive medical attention is extremely difficult. To this end anglers are strongly advised to purchase medical evacuation coverage through Global Rescue. Global Rescue provides thorough and 100% reliable assistance in the case of an emergency. We also recommend that guests be mindful about staying hydrated. Another good tip is to take one Pepto Bismol each day as a prophylactic to reduce the chance of stomach issues, which at times are common in this third-world environment. Only drink or brush your teeth with bottled water and try to keep the shower water out of your mouth as well.

While the breeze normally keeps them away, mosquitoes can be present in the evenings. We recommend bringing long pants and long-sleeved shirts for coverage as well as bug spray for use in the evenings.

Guests should always consult with the U.S. State Department and the Center for Disease Control websites for general travel information and guidelines regarding inoculations.

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