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Christmas Island Fly Fishing with the island’s Best Lodge and Outfitter: Ikari House
Christmas Island fly fishing has historically had a reputation as an incredible international bonefishing destination. What most people don’t realize is the sheer number of species opportunities that a fly angler can expect during a week, resulting in racking up an astounding number of species on a fly. From big bonefish to three different species of trevally — golden, bluefin, and everyone’s favorite, giant or geet, to a myriad of triggerfish, and even milkfish, there is something new for everyone to check off their list. The interior, back country islands and ocean-side flats of Christmas Island are a mix of hard white sand, coral, and turtle grass, making Christmas Island truly a saltwater fly anglers nirvana.
Christmas Island Fly Fishing Offers Anglers a Rare Gift
They usually frequent deeper water, though at Christmas Island they will cruise the abundant shallow water flats in search of prey; it’s the unique opportunity to stalk GTs in the shallows that makes Christmas Island a much sought after venue. – Wall Street Journal Article featuring Christmas Island Fly Fishing 8/21/2015
A couple of scenes from a hosted fly fishing trip to Christmas Island!
Christmas Island Destination Details
What to expect fly fishing Christmas Island
According to Capt. Mike, “Christmas Island is legendary for fly fishing and remains one of the most consistent fisheries in the world. I have fished some amazing places on this earth and can safely say CI is one of the most amazing saltwater fly fishing destinations for all skill levels. Adrenaline packed runs of 100+ yds are happening every few casts when you’re in the zone and making good casts. Whether you like fly fishing for Bonefish and Triggerfish or GT’s up to 100+lbs, you will be challenged and rewarded for your efforts and time put in to this great fishery.”
The typical daily schedule. Please keep in mind that your daily schedule will vary in accordance with tides and your fishing desires.
- 6:00AM: Wake
- 6:30AM: Breakfast
- 7:00AM: Depart for flats
- 8:00AM- 4:30PM: Fishing
- 5:30PM: Back at the lodge
- 7:00PM: Dinner
The full-time guide staff of Ikari House are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to their fishery, applicable angling techniques and the atoll’s many species of fish. They also have a pretty solid grasp of the English language and love their jobs.
Bonefish are the main target species on Christmas Island, and they are found all throughout the flats and shallow waters of the atoll. This is an excellent destination for beginner saltwater fly anglers due to the sheer numbers of bonefish that are available. The average bonefish throughout the ecosystem–fish that are always available and catchable–run two to three pounds in size. That said, the guides do have areas where larger fish may be targeted. These larger fish can range anywhere between three and seven pounds. Some of the ocean reef flats do hold even larger fish. While fish in the six to ten-pound class are occasionally landed, these trophy fish are not the norm.
One of the things that we really love about fishing Christmas Island is the pure diversity of species that can targeted with a fly rod. The triggerfish are numerous and large and the atoll is home to three different and unique species of triggers. They are not easy to fool, and they feed in the coral gardens and patches of the flats, which means that landing them can be a challenge. That said, they are one of the most rewarding and certainly most beautiful fish that you can catch on the fly. The waters of the atoll are also home to three species of trevally: bluefin, golden and giant. The presence and availability of trevally for the flats angler definitely makes this destination special. Trevally can be found feeding on the flats at any tide, but incoming tides and periods of high tide are the most productive times to focus on these hard fighting gamefish. The guides know where to locate them and anglers must be ready to make quick presentations to these aggressive, fast-moving creatures. When trevally are feeding, a well-placed fly will get it done most of the time. While the practice of “chumming” in giant trevally with pieces of cut up milkfish or baitfish is something that some guides on Christmas Island are willing to do, this controversial technique is definitely not needed if you are patient and diligent about an organic approach.
There are small milkfish on the flats, but the larger milkfish are in the channels and deeper water around the island. These large schools are fished from the boat as they surf the swells. Milkfish feed on small clumps of algae and are very tough to fool on a fly, but if you are lucky enough to come tight on one while fishing an algae fly, they are one of the hardest fighting fish in the ocean!
The offshore or bluewater fishing that surrounds Christmas Island is worth exploring as well. You may easily do this for a few hours in the morning before hitting the flats. There are typically abundant tuna and large barracuda, and giant trevally, wahoo, mahi mahi, sharks, and occasional marlin also inhabit these waters.
Boats and Equipment
There are two modes of transportation to the flats when fishing from Ikari House. Most time will be spent aboard a center console 18-foot v-hulled boat or a locally-crafted outrigger-style transfer boat. These boats are used to transfer anglers to the flats, where you then wade the shallows for bones, triggers, trevally and other species. When fishing the flats on the north end of the island, a van is used to access the beach and shallow reef flats. With either scenario, it is worth mentioning that Christmas Island is a wade angler’s paradise. Most of the flats are easy to wade, as the bottom consists of solid white sand. You will occasionally need to navigate some coral outcroppings, rock shelves and deeper channels, but overall the wading is very easy and solid. When using the boats for transportation, the boat drivers will pick you and the guide up at the end of your “wading lap,” which means that you will rarely need to make long walks back to the boat through waters that you have already fished.
Ikari House: The Best Fly Fishing Lodge on Christmas Island
The Ikari House is rustic for world standards but 4 star for Christmas Island. Each simple-yet-comfortable room has A/C and a nice trade wind blowing through to make sleeping easy. Each cabin, shared by two anglers, is equipped with two single beds and your own private bathroom. Rod racks are available and safely store all your fly rods day and night.
Ikari house sits on the waterfront, and is also conveniently located close to the main marina in London, making access to the fishery a quick and easy 5 minutes. The lodge even recently completed a new wing to accommodate more anglers, and added additional covered outdoor dining and lounge areas.
In addition to meeting some of the nicest locals you will ever encounter, the food is very good for a tropical island, where for locals the staple is mostly fish and breadfruit. Fresh tuna/wahoo sushi , grouper and lobster dinners are accompanied with local fair for a basic but fun culinary experience.
Located in the small community of London, the Ikari House is a single-level lodge overlooking the water and facing the prevailing ocean breezes. All double occupancy bedrooms feature private bathrooms with good water pressure, plenty of storage space for gear and tackle, comfortable single beds, and ice-cold A/C units. The dining and social areas are outside and covered, letting you take full advantage of the cooler evenings. While this is not an upscale lodge with pillow service and flat screen TVs, it is a very comfortable base of operations for fishing this remote atoll. We have visited all four of the existing Christmas Island operations and we’ve found Ikari House to be the nicest option on the island for overall accommodations, cleanliness, service, food quality, location, equipment and guide team. The staff and management are always accommodating and work hard to make your visit pleasant and relaxing.
Food and Beverages
All meals at Ikari House are prepared on-site and feature a mix of local cuisine and American menu items. Appetizers vary over the course of the week, and include chicken wings, tuna sashimi and grouper fingers. Various seafood, chicken, pork, pastas and vegetable dishes are the main dishes each night, and all dinners are usually served buffet-style. Breakfast each morning includes eggs, toast and often a side meat like sausage, ham or bacon. Lunches are cooler-style and packed for each fishing day with a sandwich, chips, fruit, candy and plenty of cold beverages. The lodge offers an endless supply of clean ice, bottled water, sodas, and cold beer. Spirits and wine should be purchased in Hawaii and carried to the island with you.
Typical Length of Stay
Since the flights to Christmas Island’s Cassidy International Airport (CXI) through Honolulu’s International Airport (HNL) are only offered once a week on Fiji Air, the standard Ikari House package is seven (7) nights / six (6) fishing days.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
Christmas Island is primarily a fishing-focused destination and there are very few organized non-angling activities. The birdlife is amazing and the snorkeling is fantastic as well. Bringing your own snorkel gear will allow you to enjoy the vast coral areas loaded with unique fish species and dazzling collections of colorful coral. Snorkeling and birding may all be done during your guided fishing day or before or after a day of guided fishing.
Ikari House does offer free internet access, but it is fairly slow. You can easily check and send emails, but downloading large files will jam the system. The island does have a cell phone tower, so check with your provider to see if coverage is available for your plan.
Not to be confused with the Christmas Island off the coast of Australia, the Christmas Island we take fly fishing anglers to is also know as Kiritimati Island, which is coincidentally the world’s largest atoll. It is actually part of the Republic of Kiribati, and has been known to fly fishing anglers for years as a great bonefish destination.
Kiribati’s Christmas Island sits half-way between Hawaii and New Zealand. A quick three and a half hour flight from Honolulu and you’ll be on one of the most remote islands in the South Pacific.
Once on the island you will go through customs and purchase your fishing license. This is payable upon arrival at the airport, and is $50. US dollars as well as Australian dollars are accepted. A departure tax of $20+/- is payable at the airport upon departure. There are no credit card facilities on the island, and a single ATM is at the ANZ Bank in the village of London, so it is advisable to carry some cash.
Once outside of customs you will be met by Jacob Teem (owner of the lodge) who will take care of your transfer to the lodge (about 30 minutes). Once there you will receive a brief orientation from Jacob, then check into your room and get ready for fishing the next day! Note: When entering the country you will need to fill out a customs form. This form will ask for the name of the place where you will be staying. The name of the lodge is “Ikari House”.
How to Get There
There is only one flight per week to Christmas Island/Kiritimati Island’s Cassidy International Airport (CXI) on Fiji Air, which departs from Honolulu International Airport (HNL) every Tuesday morning. That means that you must fly to Oahu on Monday at the latest (we suggest Sunday to allow for any delays, since there is only one flight per week to Christmas Island/Kiritimati Island) in order to make the Tuesday morning Fiji Airlines flight to Christmas Island Airport (CXI).
You will overnight in Oahu around the Waikiki Beach area and we suggest fishing this area for the huge bones if you have a day to spare. This Honolulu area bonefishing is some of the best in the world when it comes to legitimate trophy-sized bonefish, and a day or two on the flats of Oahu is a great way to warm up for your week on Christmas Island.
All U.S. citizens are required to have a valid passport that does not expire within six (6) months of trips dates. Please be sure that your passport has at least two blank, unstamped pages remaining in back, and that it is not torn, de-laminated, or damaged in any way.
At time of booking 50% of the trip is due and payable. At 90 days the remainder plus all VAT and taxes are due. Cancellation greater than 90 days from date of trip, all monies refunded less $100 fee if a replacement angler is found. if within 90 Days, no refunds are provided unless a qualified replacement angler is provided. No refunds are provided for trip cancellation due to Weather, Acts of God, Airline/Travel issues. Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance is strongly advised & recommended.
Details about fly fishing on Christmas Island
We can book you anytime you want to go. Non-hosted trip packages are $2800
Trips are Tuesday to Tuesday as there is only one flight per week to Kiribati.
Packages Include: 7 nights lodging and 6 days fishing, round trip transfers between the airport and the lodge, 3 meals per day and hors d’oeuvres, daily laundry service, bottled water, juice, coffee and tea, all guided fishing (2 anglers to a guide) all daily boat/truck transfers, internet access at the Ikari House. You will fly from HNL Hawaii on Fiji Air. We encourage you to book this flight early as prices can jump quickly, and there is limited (once weekly) flights that go to Christmas Island from Honolulu.
Packages do not include:
- Mainland to HNL & International flights to Christmas Island/ Kiritimati Island Cassidy International Airport (CXI)
- Beer and sodas at the Lodge(spirits and wines may be purchased in Honolulu at the airport duty free)
- Gratuities for the guides and staff ($250-400)
- Accommodations and meals in Honolulu (We have a group rate at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel Waikiki Beach on Oahu)
- Republic of Kiribati VAT payable at checkout
- Fishing license $50
- Christmas Island departure tax of $20
- Travel Insurance and Global Rescue
Extended Option: For those wanting to take advantage of being in proximity of some of the largest Bonefish on the planet, there is also an option to come in early and spend a few days in Honolulu with Capt. Mike before heading over to Christmas Island, or after you return from CXI. Just let us know that you would like this option when booking and we will be happy to discuss the details with you. Additional guided fishing days on Oahucan be added for $600/day- includes lunch, snacks, drinks and a great time!
Hawaii on the Fly offers a guided fishing program that focuses on targeting Hawaii’s super-sized bonefish. The island of Oahu is home to Hawaii’s most extensive flats – many of which are literally teeming with bonefish (if you know where to look). If you’re on your way to Christmas Island, we suggest that you stop over to practice your casts and catch a seriously large bonefish.