Hunting CXI triggers

After catching a truck tonne of bonefish last year as well as some good trevally, returning to CXI this year I was primarily focussed on hunting for triggerfish and trevally. Although you can only tread on so many bones before you end up putting my fly in front one.

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A solid CXI flats bone that was feeding with some small GTs

We were hit by some rough weather the first couple of days, one of which was spent on the outside flats at the Korean Wreck.

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Tough flats conditions at the Korean Wreck
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Raining sideways at the lagoon on the start of day 2

Last year we had spring tides, also known as trevally tides, while this year we fished closer to neap tides and definitely saw fewer big trevally but a stack more triggers on the flats. A full explanation of tides and their effects on the fishing at CXI can be found here.

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A yellowmargin trigger tailing in the coral

Casting at triggers is extremely visual, slow stripping flies with frequent pauses. Once a trigger has seen the fly it will likely either spook immediately or start to follow. Eats are easily seen with the fish inverting and waving its tail like a puppy dog.

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Yellowmargin triggerfish
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The spectacular reef triggerfish

Although they look beautiful in an ugly way these fish are angry thugs. They will destroy flies and bend hooks and won’t stop chewing until the fly is out of their mouth. They are powerful on the burst and after the initial reaction will doggedly work back towards the nearest trigger hole they can find. Once in the hole the trigger will flip its fins up and you won’t be getting it back, unless you can excavate the hole (some guides are keener to do this than you would expect).

If you do manage to set the hook properly, avoid getting cut off on coral, and then stop the fish from getting into a hole, then you are in with a chance of landing it. Be warned though, even after landing these fish will hiss, spit water and bite anything they can, including fingers or your rod.

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Another thick CXI triggerfish

For triggers I found small orange or tan winged CXI specials, tied on Gamakatsu Bonefish SL45 size 8 hooks worked well. The hooks did originally seem too small for the power and size of a triggerfish but I reckon the thinner gauge wire increased my hook up rate.

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Nasty grill
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The release

Over the course of the week I picked up a few nice GTs and bluefins, however there were noticeably fewer big trevally this year. This was possibly due to less baitfish in the lagoon as a result of colder water which was caused by higher rainfall and ultimately El Nino.

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Good sport on the bonefish gear
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Electric bluefin trevally

Thanks once again to Fly Water Travel, trip host Joe Willauer of Evolution Anglers, and Christmas Island Outfitters for another great week in paradise.

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