Update 3 on Team Kiribati trip to the WFFC

The weather continues to play havoc with the teams fishing the highland lakes. The exposure of Little Pine Lagoon has meant some”surf like” conditions at the boat ramp. This meant that the only place that could be comfortably fished was on the lee side of the hill opposite the ramp. All teams found the fishing tough as the winds stirred up the shallow water.

This is an area near Penstock Lagoon on Thursday morning that shows deer in a paddock blanketed with snow.

Wednesday saw the team still holding 22nd position in front of Wales. Some really tough beat allocations and fishing saw a couple of the team members draw blanks on Thursday. They weren’t the only ones as some of the more fancied teams members also caught zero for the session. This is to be expected late in the competition due to the same pieces of water being fished on a daily basis. Yesterdays result saw them slide down the list to below Wales.

Today, Friday is the last day of competition. Reports have filtered through that there was again snow last night but the wind speed had dropped marginally. The team arrived home in good spirits as they all caught fish which made a huge impact on the standings. Session standings  for the day were Kiribati 13, Poland 14, Belgium 15, South Africa 16, Netherland 17, Luxenberg 18, Canada 19, Mongolia 20, Wales 21 and Japan 22.

The standings for the competition are the top 3 are France 1st, Czeck Republic 2nd and Spain 3rd with Australia finishing 7th just in front of England at 8th. Kirbati finished at 19th followed by Japan at 20, Mongolia at 21st and Wales at 22nd. Individually for the competition, the finishing order was Eketi 86th, Beia 87th, TK 89th, Menty 93rd and Taatoa 99th out of 114 fishing. If they had been a bit luckier on the tough days when fish were lost, their standings would have been a lot higher……but that’s fishing.

Taking all things into account though, this has been a spectacular effort on their part considering that they have never fished for trout. An even greater effort when the harsh daily weather conditions that they have never had to endure previously are taken into account. There was never a complaint and they stood up ready to go fishing every day. They have done themselves and their country proud with the dedication they have put in.  I think their sentiments can be summed up in a statement made by TK, “I have always wanted to see snow, now that I have, I don’t want to see it again”.

Saturday night is the award presentation dinner and we fly back to Brisbane on Monday at 4pm. They head back to CXI on Tuesday.  This means that there will be some free time on Saturday and Sunday so no doubt there will be a bit of retail therapy at Kmart and Target before heading home.

Due credit for their success has to go to Jim Williams for passing on his knowledge from previous competitions and Peter Woods for the production of the location specific flies. It also would not have been possible without the support of the sponsors and the “friends of CXI” who donated cash to make it happen. On behalf of the team, I would like to thank you one and all.

Update 2 on Team Kiribati Trip to the WFFC

The team arrived in Launceston last Saturday, checked into the Hotel Grand Chancellor where they would be staying until the 9th December before returning to CXI. A parade through Launceston was followed by an opening ceremony. The tradition fishing hats gained a lot of attention and they looked sharp in the uniform. A proud moment when the team was presented to the public

The country names were carried by students from St Pats and Mason who carried the Kiribati name plate was given a hat as a to-ken of appreciation. He was over the moon and was the centre of attention with his fellow students. Hope he doesn’t wear it to school and it would not be approved school uniform.

Sunday was taken up with competition briefings and finding out where the individuals would fish on Monday…..either one of 2 rivers on foot or 3 lakes out of boats. Once this information was available, it was a late night preparing the gear and flies specific for each location.
Monday dawned with horrific conditions for the 3 lakes located in the central highlands. Snow, sleet, rain and small hail were all encountered. Below is a photo taken at one of the venues.

Needless to say, they were cold when they returned back to Launceston and a hot shower was the order of the day. The 2 members who fished the rivers had better conditions but the wind chill was still a big factor.
Given the conditions, the team did well considering that they just started trout fishing 2 weeks ago and couldn’t tell the difference between an nymph and a wet and thought a shrek was something from a cartoon movie and an emerger was who knows what.

Team position is #22 just ahead of Wales.
Menty—caught 4 fish in the conditions above and stands at #48
Beia—I think was still shivering this morning caught 2 fish (one cracker in Penstock) is #82
TK—had shocking luck and dropped 4 fish so blanked out.
Eketi— caught 2 fish in the river and is #88
Taatoa—(Now called Mr T) caught 1 fishing the river and is #103

Tuesday—They fish different locations today but the weather conditions are the same if not worse. The extensive preparation for the trip to take into account the potential conditions was well worth the expense. Even though they had 2 weeks in the high country to get used to the cold yesterday came as a shock to a couple of the members who didn’t heed the advice about layering to combat the cold. A valuable lesson was learned and they headed off today well rugged up.

For Information on the Championship – https://www.wffc2019.com
Contact: NIAL LOGAN Phone in Aust: 0417 426 282
Email: niall@learntoflyfish.net Web: www.learntoflyfish.net

Update 1 on Team Kiribati Trip to the Worlds

Even though they didn’t show it, the excitement and apprehension about flying for the first time was very high when the team commenced the journey from CXI to Launceston on 13th November.








As all frequent visitors who fly from Brisbane know, there is an overnight stopover Fiji to make the connecting flight to Brisbane at about 8pm the following night. To fill in time, they were taken to the Harbour Development for a look around and a cool drink. TK was later found taking a nap in the only available space he could find in the day room which was on the floor under the luggage bench.

They arrived at a friends house for the overnight stay, and were up early to enjoy the surroundings and a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausages and toast. Their bags of gear for the trip were collected and checked to make sure it all fitted. Thankfully there was only one issue with a pair of sneakers so a quick trip to the shops rectified the problem. There a good deal spotted on a ukulele to replace the one belonging to Eketi which had seen better days.







We arrived in Launceston at about 5.30pm on Friday 15th, collected a hire car and headed to our accommodation at Penstock Lagoon that was kindly donated by Malcolm Crosse and Nick Bowden. This would be their base for the 2 weeks training period before the competition proper. On the jour-ney, they were greeting by snow and sleet so needless to say the fireplace was a very popular. Alfie Kither, who would be taking care of the catering and cooking for the team’s stay, had arrived a cou-ple of days earlier and had a hearty hot meal waiting for the team when they arrived.

Saturday 16th saw us back down in Launceston for a competition promotional event. This was also an opportunity to collect the Echo rods sponsored by Mike Stevens of Essential Flyfisher and their Orvis waders , boots and vests sponsored by Andy Summers of Mayfly Tackle



Sunday 17th— Jim Williams and Peter Woods who would be organizing the training, had the team rigged up and in the cars again this time headed to Brumby’s Creek for some practice on Czeck nymphing, nymph under dry and dry fly fishing. These guys have no problem casting however the brakes had to be a applied on a few occasions until they realized that they didn’t have to cast 80-feet. They all adapted well to the new techniques and caught fish.
Monday 18th— Steve Crowley and Gary Mead supplied their boats and met the team at Arthurs Lake for training pulling wet flies. Again, they all caught fish and kept some for the evening meal.


The daily routine to date has been governed by weather. It has been unusually windy and cold so the locations and activities are changed daily to accommodate the conditions. Jim Williams selects the locations and when it is too windy on the highlands, the team moves off the high country and fishes the rivers. Generally it is breakfast at 7am, make lunches from the prepared materials and in the cars by 8am and travel to the selected location. Fortunately, we don’t have to teach them to cast as they can all cast into a 10 knot headwind with either hand. Consequently, it is just the different techniques that are getting the attention.
This time, we are far better prepared than at the Commonwealth Championship in 2012. The team is well equipped and is getting the appropriate intense preliminary coaching from Jim and Peter. This is not just a holiday for them. They are working hard to achieve the best result possible. Consequently, with these plans we have in place, we are confident that the team will do well and make their country proud f their effort.






Alfie Kither, our chef for the teams stay during the 2 weeks prior to the competition, drove down from the Sunshine Coast and has been doing a great job. So great, that I’m concerned that none of the clothes will fit by the time they go home. Fresh bread rolls daily, scones and cream, lamingtons, cup cakes, chocolate chip muffins and not to mention the roast dinners, stews and curries. In recognition for his work we let him out of the kitchen occasionally to have a fish and he caught his first brown trout on fly.


All this would not have been possible without the generosity of Tasmanians. Dr Robert Simpson for eskies full of venison, lamb and chicken and Bruce Jordan for the copious quantities of vegetables. I know there were others who I don’t know who also donated goods. I, on behalf of all the team, sin-cerely thank everybody who has helped.

Saturday 30th— We leave Penstock for our accommodation in Launceston. The team draw and briefing in on Sunday and the competition proper commences on Monday. The venues are 2 rivers on foot and 3 lakes out of boats and each team member rotates through each location on a daily basis. Each session is 3 hours duration. The big killer is that all the teams who fish the lakes will probably spend about 4 hours daily in buses

For Information on the Championship – https://www.wffc2019.com
Contact me by phone or email for more information
Contact: NIAL LOGAN Phone in Aust: 0417 426 282
Email: niall@learntoflyfish.net Web: www.learntoflyfish.net


Trip Report 2019

Trips during this years block booked period of July and August received glowing reports on both the fishing and the services provided at the Villages Lodge. After all the turmoil with the appointment of a new head guide in late 2018 then the sudden loss of Shimano, Bob as new head guide with Beia as his deputy, have stepped up and are doing a great job in organising the guide rosters and the daily fishing activities. This together with the hard working staff who keep everybody well fed, those who service the rooms and those who tend to the thirsts at night are ensuring that The Villages is building on its reputation as the premier lodge to visit on Kiritimati.

As the result of some issues last year, we decided this year to have either Andy Vockler or myself present for the whole 8 week period to make sure everything ran smoothly. These issues usually arise when there are inexperienced group leaders who unaware of the island system and consequently have problems with resolving situations to everybody’s satisfaction.

Andy Vockler’s Report on Weeks 3 July – 31 July

In July, I had the pleasure of being at the Villages for the entire month looking after 4 different groups of anglers. The best part was being there for the entire month and fishing through a full moon cycle. Over the month all of the fisherman caught plenty of great fish. This year saw lots of good sized bonefish with plenty caught in the 3–6lb. range,a good number of 7lb. fish were caught as well and of course there we plenty of stories of the one that got away.

Our guides worked tirelessly making sure all clients were fully satisfied at the end of each day. Another pleasing aspect for me was the advancement of our younger “trainee” guides, all of them are developing into fine guides, they do themselves, their families and the Villages proud. Great reports and feedback was received about them all from the anglers.

Over the full moon we fished the Paris Flat bonefish aggregation. I don’t think I can recall seeing so many big bonefish in the one spot. Massive schools of fish!! The surprising thing for me was that they were also swimming on the surface. Fast stripped flies would see 6 and 7 lb. bonefish peel off and chase the fly down like little tunas, very visual and a lot of fun. Over the neap tides we fished for shallow water bonefish and trigger fish. Once again lots were caught and as always plenty were lost for various reasons.

A few groups fished the Korean wreck on several occasions for a good variety of solid bonefish, triggers, bluefin and GT. One memorable capture down there was from Marty, an angler from Tassie who managed a very good barracuda on a clouser. Lucky he hooked it in the side of the jaw as he wasn’t fishing with any wire trace. Milkfish were always available just outside the lagoon during the early mornings on the run out tides. As is always the case with milkfish, thousands of casts were made over the weeks with a total of 6 fish landed, that’s milkfishing!! The GT’s were plentiful throughout the month with some great fish caught on Orvis, Nine Mile, Smokey and up around the backcountry. Throughout the month we were blessed with fabulous weather with only a couple of days lost to heavy cloud. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!!

Nial Logan’s Report on Weeks 31 July – 28 August

The fishing was much the same as in Andy’s report with plenty of bonefish and the inevitable tales of lost triggers. Late one afternoon, one of the groups encountered a feeding mayhem by a pack of GT”s, estimated in excess of 50, creating mayhem on a large baitball near Orvis Flat. They managed to pull 3 or 4 up to about 40lb out of it and reported that there were some huge specimens that refused the flies. Needless to say they came back to the lodge a bit shell shocked. The last 2 weeks of the month saw an increase in the wind speed to about 30-40 km per hour for close to 24 hours a day. Needless to say a lot of the popular flats on the far side of the lagoon and close to the lodge were unfishable due to the stirred up sand resulting in cloudy water. Consequently, areas at the back of the lagoon, the backcountry and nine mile flat area were the only opinions to find clear water. It takes longer to get there but the fishing justified the extra time on the boat to get there.

Another 9 young potential guides underwent a week of training. It is a necessity to keep the “production line” going to ensure there is a full quota of trained competent guides available. It takes a 3 year apprentership  before they are classified as a fully qualified guide. The training involved setting up the gear, knots, learning to cast both right and left hand, some simple fly tying and a days fishing where they were given pointers to casting to fish, stripping, fighting, landing and handling the fish to ensure a healthy release. It still amazes me how quickly they pick up the basics of casting. The ones showing potential and who have a reasonable grasp of English are referred onto the head guide for further evaluation and on the job training. It’s rewarding to see the the trainees for the last few years doing so well, getting good reports and enjoying their work.

The king of the kids. Colin Merriman had been helping out the preschool with printer, ink and a supply of paper to assist the teachers with their lessons. In appreciation, they performed some traditional dances as well as providing lunch.

Some Photos from this Year






Progress on CXI Team’s preparation for the World Championships

The team is confirmed from left Beia, Eketi (Team Captain), Taatoa, Toanikarawa (TK), Kirimento (Menty). The reinstatement of Eketi to the team will be a huge benefit as he was on the 2014 team and knows the basic format so will be able to assist greatly in the team organization.

The plan is have the team arrive in Tasmania on 15th November. Accommodation has been secured at Penstock Lagoon for the two week training period. It is a shame that it will be closed for fishing as it is designated as one of the competition venues. They will move to the Launceston accommodation on 30th November, participate in the competition until 8th December and return to CXI on 10th December.

The competition will be conducted over 5 days on foot in two rivers, the Meander and Mersey and out of drift boats on 3 lakes, Penstock Lagoon, Little Pine Lagoon and Woods Lake. More details on the event can be viewed at https://www.wffc2019.com/

Already, Alfie Kither who will cater and cook for the team has started organizing some equipment to help with his job …talk about keen.  Peter Woods has volunteered to tie the majority of the estimated 900 flies that will be required. He will also be on hand in Tassie to tie or instruct the team members on tying any top-up patterns that may become necessary. To date $800 has been spent on the procurement of materials to support his endeavor.  Jim Williams has also come on board and he will act as Team Captain. His experience in competition fishing and the local Tassie conditions will be invaluable during the 2 week training /assimilation as well as during the competition.

We are grateful to the organisations that include Essential Flyfisher and Mayfly Tackle who have sponsored rods, waders, boots and vests. This has taken a big load off the amount of funds we need to raise to bring the team to Tasmania. The majority of the generous cash donations made by individuals has gone towards a lot of the other equipment/materials the team will require that is not sponsored. This has been purchased as it became available at attractive prices. The list includes wet weather gear, cold weather gear (jackets, gloves and thermals), socks, team uniforms (consisting of jeans, embroidered team shirts and caps) as well as bags to transport their gear.  I have purchased 5 x 10ft nymphingrods, 15 Redington reels, 25 Rio flylines and 15 flyboxes. These will be sold off at the competition end so watch out for some good prices.

See the list of current sponsors in post –    https://learntoflyfish.net/team-sponsors-and-supporters

Obtaining information about paperwork for the required visa applications has been a nightmare but finally a glimmer of light. The problems arose from the need to lodge applications on line and not all the information required to do so was on hand. After finally contacting the Dept of Home Affairs to clarify the forms required to submit a hard copy, it is all systems go. The form 1419 (17 pages long) has been completed by team members while on CXI in August and lodged with the the Home Affairs Office in Sydney upon return from CXI. Hopefully the issue of the visas with then be smooth sailing.

This is not a cheap exercise. To enable these guys to make it to Australia, there is still a lot of work to be done not the least of which is raising some additional funds to assist with their trip. The estimated cost of the team trip is $40,000. Even though the Lodge has contributed sufficient funds for airfares (about $10,000) and entry fees ($11,250) additional funds are required to assist with visa applications, catering, transport and accommodation during the training period as well as offsetting some of the expenditure already incurred for the expendable clothing gear purchased.

To give them the opportunity to experience life outside of Christmas Island and fish for trout will be something they will talk about for years to come. This was the case for the five guys who attended the Commonwealth Championships where, all things considered, they acquitted themselves very well .

This time, we will be far better prepared and the team will have appropriate intense preliminary coaching both before arriving in Australia and after arrival. Fortunately, we don’t have to teach them to cast as they can all cast into a 10 knot headwind with either hand. Consequently it is just the different techniques that will get the attention. Consequently, with the plans we have in place, we are confident that the team will do well. This will not be just a holiday for them. They will be required to work hard to achieve the best result possible. Apart from participation in the competition, another aim of the trip is to draw attention to the plight of the island ,which is at the highest point only 10 metres above sea level, if the predictions of global warming come to fruition.

If you can consider making a contribution to the fund raising effort it would be appreciated. Donations of $50-100 would assist greatly in making the trip happen with more comfort.  No amount is too small and would be gratefully accepted.

Alfie Kither, our chef for the teams stay during the 2 weeks prior to the competition, would also welcome any donations of vegetables and fruit. Any meat (mutton, venison, chicken, fish – but not road kill) would also be welcome. It doesn’t have to be butchered as he can do that. Any donations of these kinds of foods will have to be from Tassie residents because of the quarantine restrictions.

A separate ANZ account has been set up to facilitate and distribute the monies. If you are interested in helping and can contribute, donations can be made as follows:

Electronic Transfers:

Email niall@learntoflyfish.net for account details.

By Cheque:

Payable to – Nial Logan Project Marketing Pty Ltd T/A Try on Fly

Address – PO Box 5980, Stafford Heights QLD 4053

All deposits will be receipted and a newsletter on the team’s progress will be sent out. Any forthcoming commitment to assist by way of a donation, needs to be completed by 30 September 2019. If, for some reason, the team does not make it to Australia then all monies will be refunded in full.

For Information on the Championship – https://www.wffc2019.com

Contact me by phone or email for more information

Contact: NIAL LOGAN Phone in Aust: 0417 426 282

Email: niall@learntoflyfish.net

Web: www.learntoflyfish.net


Team Sponsors and Supporters

Contribution of Funds Towards Airfares and Costs

Equipment Sponsors

 Provider of waders, boots and vests

Provider of a selection of tournament suitable rods

Supplier of Presentation Flies for Auction 

Provider of Eyewear

Provider of team uniforms, luggage, waterproof jackets, cool weather clothing, 15 reels, 25 flylines and terminal tackle

Provider of team fishing shirts

Team Supporters by Donations of Cash, Services and Flies

Jim Williams ( Team Captain and training), Peter Woods (Fly tying), Alfie Kither (Catering), Wayne Manion (Sponsor of one of the team members), M & K Crosse (Accommodation), N Bowden (Accommodation), B Jordan (Supplies and Boat use for training), S Crowley (Boat use for training), Dr R Simpson (Supplies), B Freier, L Veltman, J Kaufman, C Beech, B Hardie, D O’Brien, P Prideaux, C Scott, A Saarinen (Finland), R Schrueder, C Bowen,  T Christie, J Holmes a Court, M Nowak (USA), J Lomas, M Herron, P Brennan, G Duff, A Saarinen, C Merriman, Tobias Hellman, R Bradford (Canada), G Fane,  Brisbane Fly Fishing Club, D Prestwich, J Borg, D Falconer, T Kempton, D Leathwick, C Smith, T Clarke, M Coles, Mallard and Claret Fly Fishing Club, D Ashton, K Matsuda, J Cochrane, S Lennard, B Thorbecke, D Little, C Miley, Thuy Tran (USA), F Keane, P O’Brien,

Guides Trip to WFFC 2019 in Tasmania

For those unfamiliar, CXI is an abbreviation that refers to Kiritimati (local language spelling for Christmas) Island. It is a small island with a population of 7000 and is located 4 hours flying time east of Fiji and approximately south of Honolulu just north of the equator. The UK and the US conducted atomic tests off the southern end of the island in the early 1950’s. The island is well known in fly fishing circles as the premier destination to sight cast to the numerous bonefish in the shallow, crystal clear waters of the extensive lagoon.

Finally, after a series of false starts, the decision has been made by the management of the Villages Lodge on CXI to field a team of 5 to participate in the World Flyfishing Championship to be held in Tasmania. The plan is to have the team arrive In the Tasmanian Central Highlands on the 15th November and undergo a period of training until the start of the competition on the 30th, participate in the competition until 8th December and return to CXI on 10 Dec 2019. Although they have never fished for trout previously, all the team members are competent fly casters and guides. There is no doubt they will acquit themselves well after undergoing the training that is planned

To enable participation, we have been fortunate that Malcolm Crosse organized permission to enter the team as a “wild card” entry even though Kiritimati is not a member of the FIPS Mouche controlling body. This will not only provide a huge experience for the team members but it will also provide an ideal platform to highlight the looming problems the low lying island faces if the predictions of global warming come to fruition. No doubt, the team will generate considerable media coverage if the 2012 Commonwealth Championship could be used as an indication. A lot of the things we take for granted, will be completely new to them. They have never seen rivers, mountains, cities high rise buildings cows, sheep and much more. One of the lasting comments that was made when a team visited to compete in the Commonwealth Championships in 2012 was made when leaving Launceston Airport on the way to the Central Highlands…..”look the land goes up to join the clouds”.

The team as it stands, pending receipt of medical certificates is Eketi (Team Captain), Beia, Toanikarawa (TK), Kirimento (Menty) and Taatoa. These medical checks have been deemed necessary to ensure that none of the team members have pre-existing conditions that will require ongoing treatment while they are in Australia.

Alfie Kither has once more agreed to cater and cook for the team during the two week training period. Accommodation has been secured at Penstock Lagoon for the two week training period.

This will not be a cheap exercise. The estimated cost of the trip is $40 – 45,000. Entry fees, airfares and transit accommodation alone will total out at about $25,000. Even though the Lodge has agreed to contribute considerable funds to assist with the trip, additional funds will be required for the procurement of such things as some casual wear, team uniforms, embroidery, cool weather gear, catering, transport and accommodation during the training period.

The team has been fortunate in gaining sponsorship for rods, waders, boots and vests which is a huge saving. The necessary reels and flylines for each of the members of the team have been purchased. Approximately $5000 has already been donated along with a quantity of flies. See the list of current sponsors in post –    https://learntoflyfish.net/team-sponsors-and-supporters

To enable these guys to make it to Australia, there is still a lot of work to be done not the least of which is raising some additional funds to assist with their trip. At this point in time there is a shortfall in funds of about $10 – 12,000.

I am sure many of us will have enjoyed the company of the guides and benefited from their expertise on the flats on CXI. To give them the opportunity to experience life outside of Christmas Island and fish for trout would be an experience they will talk about for years to come. This was the case for the five guys who attended the Commonwealth Championships where, all things considered, they acquitted themselves very well . It made such an impression that they still talk about the trip.

I am asking  all fishermen who have visited CXI and who are aware of the challenges of this small island in the middle of the Pacific to consider making a donation to the fund raising effort to help the team compete at the World Fly Fishing Championship.

If a lot of us just donated say $100-$200 each we could make this happen.  This amount is, in most cases, about equivalent to what would be spent on a night out at a restaurant here in Australia. No amount is too small and would be gratefully accepted and assist greatly.

A separate ANZ account has been set up to facilitate and distribute the monies. If you are interested in helping and can contribute, donations can be made as follows:

Electronic Transfers:

Phone Nial on 0417 426 282 for BSB details or send email to niall@learntoflyfish.net

By Cheque:

Payable to – Nial Logan Project Marketing Pty Ltd

Address – PO Box 5980, Stafford Heights QLD 4053

All deposits will be receipted and a newsletter on the team’s progress will be sent out. Any forthcoming commitment to assist by way of a donation, needs to be completed by 30 September 2019. If, for some reason, the team does not make it to Australia then all monies will be refunded in full.

For Information on the Championship – https://www.wffc2019.com


Customising a Stripping Basket

by Nial Logan

Love them or hate them, there are instances where a stripping basket is as essential as your fly rod. If you are a saltwater exponent, where management of 70 or 80 feet of flyline is critical, they are invaluable. Whether you will be wading an estuary, standing knee deep in the surf, fishing off the stones or just walking the shore watching for an opportunity to present itself,  never leave home without one. Many of the commercially available baskets, while having some good design features, are let down by equally bad shortcomings. Whatever design you finally decide on, practice or use it on a regular basis and become familiar with its use. Use it once and you will quickly decide it is not for you.

The original home made stripping basket made use of a plastic 20 litre box however the ones now available are brittle and crack very easily. After some research, the following design has been trialled both here in Australia and overseas and has proved to fulfil all requirements and it’s still cheap to produce. It can be quickly taken apart and is ideal for storing reels to prevent damage when travelling.

Materials List

 Plastic bucket with handles – can be found in hardware stores and most cheap shops but some are made of a thinner material than others. Try and locate one made of a thicker material. The bucket size used is 32cm diameter across top and 23cm high.

Closed cell foam – camping mats are ideal

Toilet seat retaining screws – 2

Silicon Nozzles – 7


Step 1 – carefully remove the handles with a sharp knife


Step 2 –  use a hole saw and drill 3 holes about 3cm up the side of what will be the back of the basket for drainage.  These will eventually be on the side closest to your body. If water gets in, this allows you grasp the front of the basket and tilt it towards you to drain any water out quickly.


Step 3 – Make the two attachment points by pop rivetting 2 small stainless saddles spaced about 20cm apart and 2-3cm down from the top of the bucket. Alternatively, the cheapest way is to drill two holes and make a loop by knotting each end of some stiff cord on the inside of the bucket. These are the attachment points for the belt straps that position the basket below waist level to enable long strips. Note – if using pop rivets use some thin aluminium as reinforcement to prevent the heads of the pop rivets pulling through the plastic.


Step 4 – The secret of any basket design is to have some sort of retaining clip for the flyline coming from the reel. If you don’t have one, the action of casting will pull the line on the bottom of the basket causing the line on top to tangle. I think this is the main reason a lot of people find baskets troublesome. The clip will also stop the line spilling out of the basket in strong wind or as you move around.
It was found the best system is comprised of hook and loop velcro attached to the side of the basket. Position it on the front end of the basket with the opening facing out away from you. One piece (about 2-3 inches long) with hooks is attached to the side of the basket (pop rivet in each corner). Stick the other piece with loops on a piece of flexible plastic and attach on top by one end at the rear with a pop rivet in each corner. The system allows the line to be pulled clear as the fish take up the slack line.


Step 5 – drill 2 x 9mm holes in the bottom that are large enough to thread the foam bottom retainers through. These are the plastic screws that are used on toilet seats and can be bought at hardware stores.

 img_4361_1  img_4367_1

Step 6 – Cut a piece of solid closed cell foam(camping mats are ideal) to fit neatly into the bottom of the bucket.

Step 7 – Place it in the bucket and drill holes for the retainer screws. Mark the position for the silicon nozzles and drill holes in the foam.

img_4365_1  img_4369_1

Basket assembled ready for use.

img_4371_1  img_4372_1

Step 8 – The basket is hung from two cord loops that are knotted on the top so that they can slide around the belt. This allows the basket to be positioned to suit individual preference for position. The loops lower the basket below waist level to allow long single handed strips when positioned on the side or double handed strips when positioned on the front. This avoids the uncomfortable necessity of holding the rod high to strip as you have to do with many of the commercial baskets that are worn about waist high. 

The lower ends of the cord loops are fitted with clips that connect to attachment points on the side of the basket. The basket can be unclipped or swung around out of the way when fighting a fish. More importantly, you can sit down in a boat with the basket on and still be ready to make a quick cast if an opportunity presents itself.

As a rough guide when making the loops measure the length so that top of the basket is positioned at the top of your thigh. Test the position and adjust to suit yourself.


Fly – Trigger Kandi

td_14   td_15


Thirteen odd years ago when I first visited Christmas island, everybody used 8 and 9 wt rods for bone fish and anyone using something like 6wt were looked upon as being a bit strange. Black hooks and black barbell eyes were taboo and flies with rubber legs usually received comments like “nice fly” just prior to the legs being unceremoniously removed by the guide.

A brown waving tail attracted my interest…..”What’s that I said?” Guide’s response ……”Trigger Fish, don’t waste your time casting at them as they seldom take a fly.”

How times have changed. A large number of fishermen now use five and six weight rods. Flies tied on black hooks are used with no objections from the guides. As more fishermen expressed interest in chasing Triggers, techniques were developed that resulted in the catch rates improving. Suitable flies, apart from the normal crazy charlie and gotcha bonefish flies, are now becoming more sophisticated. Crab and shrimp patterns that incorporate orange hotspots and rubber legs as attractors are the goto flies for anyone with “trigger fever”.

A number of years ago, one of the first flies I experimented with was the CF Bongo. The CF, standing for Ceel-Furr, was a great synthetic fibre but it is now unfortunately no longer available. In addition, forming the dubbing brush, dubbing the body and trimming to shape took time. The sourcing of a alternative material to use and a consequential change to the tying sequence to suit, has made this variation quick and easy to tie.

The pattern variation was used for the first time this year and it accounted for numerous trigger fish. On occasions, even though it is a fairly large fly compared to the normal ones used, it also proved to be to irresistible to bonefish when coupled with a slow, short retrieve.

There could be any number of reasons why it works so well. The rubber legs float and move in the current and when stripped. The orange hotspots are UV sensitive and there are theories that fish can see in that spectrum. It is different from the vast majority of flies that are presented to them and the fish could perceive it as a more substantial meal. Probably the main reason is that, with a lot of fishing pressure, anything that looks more like a close representation to their actual prey source receives better attention.

Hook – #2 Gamakatsu SL12s
Thread – orange flat waxed
Eyes – small black barbell
Flash – rootbeer or yellow krystalflash
Legs – red and black or tan with orange tips
Hotspot – orange finn raccoon
Body – orange straggle, cinnamon UV straggle
Wing – fine tan coloured hair
Tying Sequence

Lay a base of thread along the hook shank.


 Attach flash at hook bend and wrap slightly around the bend.


 Attach a small piece of hotspot material.


Tie eyes at the start of the bend


Turn hook over. Attach legs behind the eyes.


Take a small bunch of fine hair and tie in on top of legs.


Tie in straggle body material, move thread to the hook eye and then wrap body material up to the hook eye, tie off, trim excess.

td_7_1   td_8_1

Attach a small clump of hair behind the hook eye so that it extends just past the hook bend. This wing will ensure that the fly turns over to be hook point up even in shallow water. Whip finish and apply some head cement to the wraps.

td_9_1   td_14

Does Line Colour Really Matter?

Some time ago, we had an extended conversation about the colour of flylines used for bonefish on Christmas Island. It coincided with the time that Rio produced their orange bonefish line and subsequently the bonefish quickshooter hivis model. The conversation got to the stage that, in an endeavour to prove that colour has little influence on spooking fish, a variety of coloured lines were laid on the water. With the use of goggles and snorkel the opposing sides took it in turns to go under water and look up at the lines. From underwater all you can see is the dark under side of the line even clear lines.

When I returned home some research turned up the article below that about sums it up. My apologies because I can’t remember where it came from but it was penned by Louis Cahill.

Article by Louis Cahill

“Why do you need a bright coloured fly line and does it spook fish?

A reader asked for an opinion on this and that’s what you’re going to get….my opinion. This is one of those hotly contested arguments that anglers can’t seem to agree on and my saying one thing or another isn’t going to settle it. I do have strong opinions on the subject, so since you asked, here they are.

The colour of your fly line doesn’t matter, until it does.

For most fly fishing, if you’re doing things well the colour of your line doesn’t matter any more than the colour of your eyes. There are, however, times when it can make a difference and the difference may not always be what you think. When I make a purposeful choice on line colour, it’s usually not to keep the fish from seeing it.

What doesn’t matter

Assuming for the moment that we are talking about trout fishing, if you are thinking that you are being stealthy by using a dull coloured line, you’re coming at things from the wrong angle. If you are putting your line over the fish, it doesn’t matter what colour it is. Fish are very attune to shadow and movement. If your fly line passes over them while casting, they will see the shadow of the line, even if it’s clear. The same goes for motion. Colour doesn’t matter.

If you are floating the line over them, on the surface of the water, things are worse. They now see the depression of the water’s surface as well as shadow and motion. Sure, they can see that a bright orange line is orange and a green line is green but they will find neither acceptable. The bottom line is, if you’re spooking fish it’s a presentation problem not a colour problem.

If it matters at all, it’s in the margins. Meaning, do fish see the colour of your line when you are casting on the edge of their field of vision? You thought you were far enough away but you weren’t and maybe they would catch a glimpse of an orange line but not a green one. Maybe, and maybe they’d see it while it’s still on the reel and you are passing by. You can make yourself crazy about stuff like that if you like.

Personally, I choose my fly line based on the taper, the materials and the performance. The colour is secondary at best. There was a time when I went completely the other way. I used to buy white lines and dye them camo, olive and tan. You can do it in the bathtub with fabric dye, changing colour every few feet. It’s a pain and will not make your spouse happy, trust me. In the end I decided it didn’t make any difference.

What does matter

When I choose a line for its colour, it’s usually for its visibility. It’s also usually for fly fishing in saltwater. In saltwater fishing it’s crucial that you always know the attitude of your fly. Where it is in relation to the fish. Whether it’s moving or still, slack or swinging in current. The best way to know that is by watching your line. I want a line that is bright enough for me to see in my peripheral vision, so I can watch the fish and still know what my fly is doing.

Swinging flies with spey rods is another case where I want a bright line. I want to see my line so I can effectively manage my swing. Again, the attitude of the fly is what’s most important and I need a line I can see. You are in no danger of spooking a steelhead with a Skagit head so the sky is the limit.

I do like clear tip intermediate sink tip lines for streamers. They allow me to use a short leader, 4-5 feet, to effectively get the fly down. Since the tip sinks there is no surface depression to worry about and they are stealthier. I like clear tips for migrating tarpon as well. They give you better odds at not spooking fish when casting to schools on the move.

What does matter way more than the colour of your line is your confidence as an angler. If a bright line, that you can see, gives you confidence in your casting or in detecting a take, by all means that’s what you should fish. If you feel the need to get in the tub and dye your line camo to be confident, then have a go at it. Make your own decision, try it and respect the decisions of others who don’t feel the same need.”


 Another Consideration

There is another factor that has could be taken into account besides line colour when fish spook.

If you look up from under water, you will see an area above water that is in focus. If the surface is particularly calm, clouds can clearly be seen. This circle of focus to above the water world is at an angle of about 97degrees from the viewing point and is referred to  as Snell’s Window. The area around the circle is a reflection of the seascape, and as such is much darker than the sky.

When fishing in skinny water, this could be another reason why fish spook apart from flyline colour. Assume the fisherman is 6ft tall and he is using a 9ft foot rod, then the moving tip of the rod would be between 13 and 15 ft high. Let’s say the fish is 30feet away and if the Snells Window principle is applied, this movement is in focus and can be readily seen by the fish. Proof of this has been observed in glassed out conditions, when the fish spook as soon as the rod is moved even at considerable distance. At certain times of the day when the sun is at a particular angle, the flash off the glassy finish on the rod can be seen from a considerable distance away and certainly by fish at close distance.

The solution to lessen the effect of Snell’s window and rod flash is to crouch down and use a low rod angle to make the cast.