On the Fly: It’s Christmas (Island) time! | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: It’s Christmas (Island) time!

Scott Spooner
On The Fly
A released bonefish at Christmas Island.
Danny Frank / The Fishpond Company |

As the seasons begin to make the turn, many Roaring Fork Valley residents start to prepare for their favorite saltwater destinations. For us at Taylor Creek, bonefishing in Christmas Island is at the top of the list.

We have been exploring this atoll since the early 1980s, and the fishing is just as good now as it has ever been. Located 1,300 miles south of Honolulu, Christmas Island is the Pacific’s largest bird sanctuary as well as the world’s largest coral atoll. I’ll be there walking the flats in a few weeks!

Pristine flats and sheltered lagoons surround the entire island, dropping off to deep water teeming with every kind of salty fish imaginable. Besides bonefish, you have shots at giant trevally, barracuda, milkfish, sharks, trigger fish and myriad other species. Fishing on the island begins to heat up in October, and many groups visit Christmas Island through February and March, as well. We plan our yearly trips according to the best predicted tides. The weather averages around 85 degrees during the day and 70 at night.

Wade fishing is the way to approach this island, and there are enough flats to explore for two or three lifetimes. Some areas are reached by skiff where roads don’t exist, others by vehicle. The favorite forage of these opportunistic fish are small shrimp and the occasional crab when they are plentiful. Fly patterns of choice are primarily sizes 6 and 8, although there are times you need 2s and 4s. Christmas Island Specials tied sparsely in oranges and yellows are at the top of the tying list.

Why do we prefer going so far out of our way to catch bonefish in the middle of the Pacific? Lack of fishing pressure, minimal wind and rain, kind and knowledgeable locals, millions of fish, and it is very inexpensive compared with fly-fishing in the Bahamas or the like. It’s a journey, but if you ever get the chance to visit this amazing place, we highly recommend you do so.

This column is provided weekly by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4370 or on the Web at http://www.taylorcreek.com.