Christmas Island TRIP REPORT

Oct. 31 - Nov. 7, 2023
The Villages

by Brad Staples

At the end of October, I hosted my first group since the Pandemic on Christmas Island. As some of you know, the Island was closed to tourism for over three years—from mid-February 2020 to May 2023. We typically host six weeks a year here, and the closure was a huge disappointment for our anglers. Due to a last-minute cancellation, Guy Schoenborn was able to host a group the first week of June in 2023. As for me, it was my first time back to the Atoll since 2019.

For this trip, our group had 19 anglers and one non-angler. Eight anglers had fished here before; for the other eleven, it was their first Christmas Island adventure.

Adam Silverblatt featured above with Giant Trevally (GT)
sent his drone overhead and captured this video
one morning as we were getting ready to board the boats.

Travel Hiccup

Traveling since the pandemic has become more of a challenge, with flight delays and lost luggage becoming commonplace. I've found it necessary to arrive at my destinations a day early to account for these potential setbacks. For our hosted trips, Guy Schoenborn and I often bring backup fishing equipment and extra flies for our guests. So, my stress levels peaked when I landed in Honolulu and discovered that my two 65-pound bags had not made the journey from Portland with me. Only my 7.5-foot rod tube showed up with the conventional rods for offshore fishing.

I use the Apple AirTags in my bags to keep track of my stuff. The last time my bags were detected was in Seattle. The problem is once they get loaded on a plane, the AirTags lose Wi-Fi reception.
These compact, coin-sized devices, priced at $29.00 each, are designed to loop onto your keyring or slip into your bag, providing peace of mind that your essentials can be located with ease should they go missing.
Per Google:  AirTags do not have a defined range because of how they connect to Apple's Find My Network. You can locate an AirTag that's thousands of miles away or even internationally, provided it is within Bluetooth range of an iPhone.
AirTags are only compatible with iPhones, and SmartTags are only compatible with Samsung phones. Tile Trackers work with iPhone and Android devices. From the looks of it, the battery life of all tag/trackers is up to one year.

Here is a Fox News article about AirTag versus Tile trackers.

I filled out the forms with Hawaiian Airlines for lost baggage and asked if they had another flight arriving that afternoon. It was not happening that day. And my big dilemma: There is only one weekly flight to Christmas Island. So, if my bags did not arrive the next day, I would arrive as the host without fishing gear and flies for our guests. Too stressed to go to the hotel, I stuck around the lost luggage counter and kept checking my iPhone. After about an hour, I received an alert message on my phone that my bags were in Maui, 100 miles away.
I went to the counter and showed the representative my iPhone notification. She said there were a few daily flights between the Hawaiian Islands, and my bags would be on the 4:00 p.m. flight.
With this assurance, I checked in at the hotel, grabbed lunch, and tried my best to unwind. Upon my return to the airport at 4:00 p.m., I was relieved to see my two bags waiting for me at the counter. Fortunately, no other luggage issues occurred for our group.

Back to The Trip

As scheduled, we left Honolulu late Tuesday morning for the three-and-a-half-hour flight to Christmas Island. The airport building was updated in 2019, so the arrival and check-in process went smoothly. Despite being modest in size, the improved airport was well-organized and efficient, making our transition from the plane to island life hassle-free. Christmas Island, renowned for its pristine natural beauty, welcomed us with a balmy breeze and clear blue skies.

At The Villages, I was delighted that most of the staff and fishing guides were still there. The Maneaba—a gathering place—and bungalows remained unchanged from my last trip in November 2019. However, the notable improvement was in the food. The meals were now better and more diverse.

During the week, we spent our days fishing for Bonefish, Triggerfish, and different Trevally species. One day, two boats went outside the Atoll and fished the bluewater for tuna, wahoo, and other species. One boat trolled flies, and the other fished with conventional gear. The fishing could have been better for both boats, but Lyle managed to land a very nice wahoo, which we enjoyed for dinner that evening.

Another day, one group ventured to the site of the famed Korean Wreck. The ship is no longer there, but the reef remains. Fishing in this area can be somewhat challenging, given the rugged terrain and unpredictable underwater currents. Dave caught a nice GT casting a plug from his spinning rod. He threw the lure just outside the reef, and a giant trevally slammed it!

Throughout the week, we caught some nice Giant Trevally (GTs), a couple of feisty Triggerfish, and lots of Bonefish. The largest Bone was about seven pounds.

Some of the anglers in the group were talking about returning in the next year or two.
We have a few openings for our October 2024 Hosted Week with myself as host. Our 2025 Hosted Weeks have more availability. Please feel free to call.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Christmas Island The Villages

2024 Hosted Weeks:

7-nights and 6-days guided fishing
per person

• Feb. 26 - March 5, 2024:  SOLD-OUT

• March 4-12, 2024:   SOLD-OUT
• April 1-9, 2024: SOLD-OUT
• April 8-16, 2024:  SOLD-OUT

• April 15-23, 2024:  SOLD-OUT

• April 22-30, 2024:  SOLD-OUT

• Oct. 28 - Nov. 5, 2024:
Brad Staples hosts

2025 Hosted Weeks:

7-nights and 6-days guided fishing

• Feb. 24 - March 4, 2025:
Brad Staples hosts

• March 3-11, 2025:  Brad hosts

• March 31 - April 8, 2025:
Guy Schoenborn hosts

• April 7-15, 2025:  Guy hosts

• April 14-22, 2025:  Guy hosts

• Oct. 27 - Nov. 4, 2025:  Brad hosts

Guy Schoenborn
1-800-205-3474  ext. 1

Brad Staples
1-800-205-3474  ext. 3
Cell (503) 250-0558

Thor Start with 7-pound Bonefish
Thor Start with Bonefish
Adam with Giant Trevally
Adam Silverblatt with Giant Trevally (GT)
Bruce Felmly with Christmas Island Bonefish
Bruce Felmly with Bonefish
Christmas Island Boats at Sunset
Boats at Sunset Photo Credit:  Bruce Felmly
Bruce Felmly with Christmas Island Bonefish
Bruce Felmly with Bonefish
Guide with a Picasso Triggerfish
Bob, the guide, with a Picasso Triggerfish
Dave Nagy with Christmas Island Bonefish
Dave Nagy with Bonefish
A Happy Birthday to Larry at Christmas Island
Larry celebrating his birthday with Steve, his good friend
Shaun McNealey with a Giant Trevally
Shaun McNealey with a Giant Trevally
Brad Staples with a nice Bluefin Trevally
Host Brad Staples with Bluefin Trevally

Join our 2024 and 2025 Hosted Weeks
Click here for our Christmas Island main page.

Christmas Island Links: