DeltaTroutForce - the Perfect Combination of Art and Sport

DeltaTriggerForce, a Co-Lab

It was our last night in Christmas Island and a familiar face was about to take a seat in a surprising spot.  It was the first time all week he has sat at the table with us.  A leafy cigarette press between his lips while his leathered up feet support his thin frame.  As the legend began to speak, we all quiet our conversations and lean in.  Moana, the head guide and 35 year veteran of the Ikari House was about to drop some knowledge. In between stories of past clients and personal fishing experiences, he reminds us, “When you fish, you need to use all of your senses.”  He explains how he trusts his instincts when on the flats, that he can almost hear when a bonefish sneaks up behind him or feel when a far off GT is on the hunt.  After a certain amount of time spent on the water, things start to work out.  Fishing is funny like that.  I have never been a superstitious or religious person but have always believed in a Fishing God.  It is the only way I have been able to explain some events that have happened on the water. Crazy stuff just seems to occur when you are fishing with certain people and it is no surprise that someone like Moana is always in the Fishing God’s good graces.  They respect a man who invests more time on the water than anyone.  A person that is rumored to have seaweed growing out of his wading boots.

Another, often forgotten way to keep the Fishing Gods smiling is by simply having fun.  It is actually quite straightforward, the more fun you have on the water the more fish you catch.  Lucky for me, our trip to Kiribati and the world’s largest coral atoll was with nine of my best friends.  I don’t want to try and make some outrageous internet claim like “best crew ever” or anything but this group of people could of had fun on a fishing trip to Iraq.  I can confidently say this was one of the most enjoyable trips of my life which we now know equates to excited Fishing Gods and an awesome adventure. 

From the start of the trip, Trigger Fish were our target species and remain one of the most exciting fish I have ever had the privilege of chasing.  It is an incredibly visual experience fishing for them. As the Triggers dig around coral looking for crabs, their bodies become vertical, causing their tails to stick straight out of the water.  It almost looks as if the fish is trying to wave at you with its tail.  Ease in finding these fish is the only advantage the angler has in this game.  Everything else is in the Trigger’s favor.  First you must sneak up on the fish and make sure they do not become aware of your presence.  Easier said than done when you are stumbling through crunchy coral and approaching a fish that I am convinced routinely scare themselves.  If the Trigger doesn’t spook, it helps to get as close to the target as possible.  Your cast will need to be accurate and delicate.  Any loud splash on the water will send the Trigger to the deep and a cast a few inches off can cause your fly to never been seen.  Your crab imitation has to sink into the fish’s zone but not get snagged on the coral.  I had one particular fish follow my fly for 15 feet before it got caught on a piece of dead coral.  I could then feel the line vibrate as the fish was trying to eat my fly off the snagged coral.  I was suddenly unstuck.  I pulled my line in and had no hook left.  Trigger Fish have teeth capable of crunching crabs and coral so they can easily bite any hook in half.  Putting your fingers anywhere near a Trigger’s mouth is about as bad of an idea as getting a neck tattoo.  You can do everything right in hooking a Trigger Fish but if your fly unluckily sets in the wrong part of the fish’s mouth, you do not have a chance of getting it to your hand.  Cooper incredibly landed one where the hook did not even pierce the Trigger’s mouth.  The line was flossed between its two front teeth with the eye of the hook pressed against the back of its goat like jaws.  That was one of the few Triggers that did not destroy the fly or bite through the line.  Every landed Trigger Fish is something to write home about and true prize of the Atoll.

As far as I am concerned the only way to do Christmas Island is with Frigate Travel.  It is a little known fact, Justin Crump and Kate Taylor actually invented the word, “fun.”  Trips with them are a guaranteed good time.  An uncommon feature for CXI that we were lucky to experience because of them was offshore jigging.  A relatively untouched way of fishing the island, Justin and Kate haul down all the necessary extra gear and we are able to enjoy this fast paced method of fishing.  Days on the boat were surprisingly more exhausting than a day walking the flats.  When jigging nothing can be done fast enough. You are letting the birds lead you to the next school of Tuna.  Dropping down seven ounce jigs into the depths before reeling and jerking them back in as fast as possible.  Strikes on a jig moving that quick are powerful enough to rip the rod straight out of your hands.  In total, our crew landed over 30 tuna along with nine other species of fish that all felt like they could pull you overboard. A reward to this exhausting madness, the staff at the Ikari house was nice enough to make up the world’s freshest Sashimi as we were forced to head back to the lodge mid-morning because we ran out of cooler space. #CXIproblems

The staff at the Ikari House did some incredible things for us, highlighted by our night camping on the Korean Wreck beach.  I loved my day fishing the ocean side of the island on last year’s trip so when there was an option to camp there I knew we had to take it.  All that was required of us was to bring our fishing gear and a handle of fireball, the spectacular staff of the Ikari House did the rest.  More fresh Sashimi was served on the beach as air mattresses were inflated to keep us a few precious inches above the crabs.  We were officially glampers and it didn’t bother a single one of us.  After a full day of walking the flats, we had earned a delicious beer while barefoot in the sand. Before the stars captured our attention, we had a phenomenal meal of Wahoo and Tuna Steaks, both fish caught the prior day.  I don’t think I have ever seen a nighttime sky look so bright. Lucky for you, we can give you a glimpse of our glory because my good friend and incredible photographer, Josh Tarr was there to document it. 

Some things are worth liquidating a savings account for.  Most notable for myself — fly fishing trips to remote destinations.  To me fishing will always be about the journey, the laughter, and the experience.  We only get one go at this life so why not make the most of it? There should never be a need to justify a little fishing adventure with your friends to the other side of the world.  Crump and K8, Josh and Casi, Tommy Trevally, Pete Kemper, Journeyman Chill, Complex Jack and Cooper Hopkins, we did it right.  If you have any interest in joining in on future fun, send me a note at danny@frigatetravel.com

Digahroy!

(for ease of viewing photos, you can pause the rotation feature in the top right corner)


4 Comments

  1. Amanda

    I LOVE this (though I do have serious FOMO); by far my favorite DTF blog post yet! Moana sounds like a badass and I’m more than happy to bring my share of Fireball for a future invite. The pictures are incredible (how about the teeth on those fish??) and I think I could be cut out for glamping! Sounds like it really was the trip of a lifetime! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pooks

    Man, I’m getting all pumped up reading this… I love it!

  3. Glampmaster Geoff

    Killer post DTF! Wish I could liquidate my savings account, pack my gear, get a tasteful neck tattoo and head out for a Christmas vacation! Thanks for sharing brotha.

  4. Melanie

    Loved reading about your trip! Also, I’m obsessed with the rainbow wrasse fish.

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