Christmas Island 2011 - 3rd Year of poppers, stickbaits & a jig or two.
It's always difficult drafting a fishing report knowing that there will be several months until another adventure.
Fortunately, the memories & photos fill the void whilst working & there's always time with your mates to share the stories over a few beers.
2011 marked the third adventure to Christmas Island for me. I consider C.I a special place, not just because of the quality of fishing, but also the opportunity to catch up with Mark Rochfort aka Rocky of Shorefire Charters (www.shorefire.com.au), relax, leave the rat race behind & also have a great time with a mate or two. This year, being the 3rd year, also marked the amount of time I've lived in W.A.
I've been fortunate to fish a variety of destinations over the last few years & Christmas Island has always appealed to me. It's important to note, the quality of fishing also demands experience, ability & fitness. Experience really is a two way street; the angler & the charter operator. Rocky has it all covered. He has decades of local knowledge & experience & take my word, experience & local knowledge is fundamental when you want to catch something unbelievable. You wouldn't want to hand over your hard earned if the skipper knew more about trout fishing rather than dog tooth jigging or GT popping. Rocky is a great bloke & it's always a pleasure to be guided by him. I also keep returning because I have comfort that Rocky will deliver a great time.
Heavy tackle surface luring & medium to heavy jigging isn't for the faint hearted. For me & plenty of mates, this form of fishing really gets the blood pumping.
Chris (chrisp) accompanied me this year. I always thoroughly enjoy fishing with Chris, whether that be dhuie jigging or beach fishing, we always have a good time, especially over a few brews. We had planned this trip 12 months in advance & I know Chris put the sleep sedatives through their paces in the weeks leading up to take off.
This was Chris's first heavy surface luring expedition & I knew as soon as he punched out his first cast, I was against some serious competition. I did take a moment to laugh when Chris hooked his first G... the word "Damn!" still makes me laugh. As much as everyone explained how brutal this form of fishing was going to be, it still doesn't really prepare you enough. You just need to experience it first hand & if you love it, you'll continue to do it. It isn't for everyone however.
The fishing we experienced this trip was simply sensational. We spent 90% of the time casting surface lures, the rest, trolling from spot a to b & jigging. Unfortunately the weather didn't allow us to venture to the hot jigging spots, but hey, that's fishing - you can't always get what you want! The surface fishing kept us entertained anyway!
GT's were aggressive, YFT were in numbers, red bass, jobfish, blue finned trevs & some big unidentified monsters were encountered on surface lures. At times, we saw multiple species attacking our lures. The competition was fierce & exciting. I recall birds hovering centimeters above my stickbait & GT's carving them up. If the GT's didn't connect, red bass were quick on their case. It was just awesome.
I always find that on every trip, there's always a memorable fish that really makes the trip one to remember. First year was the masses of barrel YFT, second year was my big GT & this year, for Chris, a sail fish on popper at 6am (yes, 6am), & for me, another solid GT & YFT.
Chris's sail fish crunched a popper 5 meters from the boat & started to do the aerial display 10 meters away. I took on the 'wicket keeper' stance on the casting deck hoping it wouldn't jump aboard! Lucky! The fish was very dark & had longtoms sticking out of its mouth. What a fish & an experience for Chris!
Moments later, Chris's popper was boofed by another solid fish. The boil in the water was massive & Rocky & I stood stunned to see a massive triangle head bobbing above the waterline. Chris's lucky streak was momentarily withdrawn with a tip wrap which didn't allow him to set the hooks. This tuna (YFT or doggie) was big, let me tell you. Unlucky!
This was only day 2! The day before Chris landed his first GT (and a solid G to boot), which also set the bench mark for the trip. Back to back GT's dished out some pain to Chris, but we kept wanting more.
On the very limited jigging front, I hooked what I thought was a solid tuna. After a grueling 15 minute tug of war in 200m of water, I landed a beaut GT. I also got stuck into several quality GT's on surface lures throughout the week. In 2 days, I had landed 12 solid GT's & lost a few more to hooks being pulled. We also put in an effort for an afternoon YFT sesh & I was rewarded with a beaut YFT on popper which smashed the lure 2 meters from the boat. This fish stripped some serious line under serious drag pressure & luckily didn't take anyones ears off as it zipped from the front of the boat to the back within a millisecond. I think my reel will need some shimano attention now.
More memorable moments include Chris scoring a new nickname for the trip, being "buster pancakes". Buster; for busting 2 stella's. Pancakes; for cooking up a homemade batch of pancakes & maple syrup for dinner one night. (We had enough of tuna at one point). We also enjoyed a night with Rocky & his family eating beer battered wahoo & a spread of dishes, chocolate cake & beer & bourbon. The local chinese was delish & the umpteen beers we consumed on the balcony overlooking the cove was tranquility.
I'm sure the pictures will deliver a better story, so hope you enjoy.
11 & a half months & I'll be back.