Fanning Island is the latest super-exciting new flats fishing discovery in equatorial Pacific. Fanning Island, known locally as Tabuaeran Island (which means heavenly footprint in the local dialect), is smaller, quieter; a more remote neighbor to the widely recognized Christmas Island.
Fanning Island, known locally as "Tabuaeran", is part of the Line Islands of the central Pacific Ocean, in the island nation of Kiribati. It is located just 173 miles north of Christmas Island, and at 900 miles south of Hawaii it is one of the closest landfalls to the Hawaiian Islands. The land area on Fanning is only 13 square miles, and the highest point of elevation on island is a mere 10 feet above the high tide. The lagoon of this coral atoll is 42 square miles, with the deepest point at 49 feet; most of it is shallow, pristine flats. Most people don't know it, but they have probably seen Fanning Island before: it was the picturesque, palm-treed atoll that was recognized as the closing shot on "Gilligan's Island"!
Fanning today has a local population of around 2,000 residents, settled in 8 small villages around the atoll that are connected by a dirt path; travel is limited to bicycles motorbikes, small boats, and a handful of old flatbed trucks. Fanning is an island in many ways lost from time, as it has been without any form of regular air service since 1993 and as such the number of foreign visitors can be counted on two hands, only those arriving by boat from the capital of Tarawa, over 2,000
miles away, or on the once or twice a year "Kwai" commercial transport vessel from Honolulu. Thus remains a peaceful island, with a spectacularly beautiful inner lagoon loaded with bonefish, trevally, and countless other species of fish that have never seen an artificial fly, as well as 30 miles of outside reefs providing even more exciting angling opportunities as well as world class surfing.
The Fly Shop® is excited to be able to offer this new destination to our most adventurous guests beginning in 2017. We will be working in cooperation with Pegasus Lodges (a world-renowned destination surfing lodge operator) with the local communities and the Island Council to work towards both short term and long term protections for the lagoon as well as sustainable resource community based resource management. Very little is actually known about the fishing, though the few rumors we've heard from the very few (probably less than a dozen) people who've ever cast a fly in Fanning's fabled waters have been enticing to say the least. This is an unknown fishery. It has all of the indicators of a remarkable resource, but we won't know until we can get there and make a few casts.
Reservations & Rates
Package Cost: The cost of the 7 night/6 day package is $4,500 USD per person (double occupancy - Tuesday to Tuesday)
The Fly Shop is scheduling at least 3 exploratory trips for the 2017 spring season:
• January 24-31, 2017 - Host is Christiaan Pretorius (TFS Pro Staff)
• * February 21-28, 2017 - Host is Eric Ersch (TFS Staff)
• * April 11-18, 2017 - Host is Michael Caranci (TFS Staff)
* For both of these weeks we are looking for 4-5 adventurous anglers willing to explore this untapped resource in the remote corners of the Pacific.
If small groups of 4-6 anglers are interested, we may be able to schedule additional exploratory weeks this year as well.
Your angling package at Fanning Island includes the charter flight from Christmas
Island to Fanning, conservation fees on the island, meals, lodging at a local homestay, and transportation around the island (road and boat).
Not included in your Fanning Island package are round trip airfare to Christmas Island; all alcoholic beverages, gratuities; meals and accommodations while in Hawaii; items of personal nature, including fishing tackle and any other items not specifically listed in the inclusions; travel insurance.
The Fly Shop® is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses. Click HERE for Travel Guard's Policies and more information
Seasons at Fanning Island
Fanning Island sits in the equatorial calm, lying well east of Pacific storm development areas.
Because of its proximity to the equator, Fanning does not have seasons as we know them. The temperatures in January are virtually identical to those in July. Easterly trade winds blow throughout the year at an average of 10 to 20 knots. It's rarely humid or unpleasantly hot. The mean daytime temperature is 80°F, and the evenings drop down to a breezy 72 degrees.
Fanning does differ drastically from its southern neighbor, Christmas Island, in that it has more annual rainfall, averaging about 75 inches of rain a year (compared to about 30 inches at Christmas). This makes for a more lush environment. You do want to be sure be prepared with a light rain jacket in case you get caught in a downpour.
Getting To Fanning Island
To get to Fanning Island, you will first have to travel to Christmas Island (Kiritimati) via either Honolulu or Fiji. Fiji Airways flies every Tuesday between Honolulu and Christmas Island. You cross the International Date Line, so on Hawaii time you fly Tuesday to Tuesday, while on Christmas Island it is actually Wednesday to Wednesday. The flight to Christmas Island departs Honolulu Tuesday at 12:00 PM, arriving Christmas Island at 3:00 PM on Wednesday. The following Tuesday (Wednesday in Christmas Island), the return flight from the island typically leaves about 7:00 AM and arrives in Honolulu at 10:30 AM.
Most guests heading to Christmas Island plan on arriving in Honolulu on either Sunday or Monday. There are many excellent options for hotels on Oahu for those extending their time in Hawaii, while anglers focusing their travel on fishing at Christmas Island typically opt to stay at the The Honolulu Airport Inn (also sometimes called the Ohana Honolulu Airport Hotel), which is convenient and located near the terminal and has a complimentary shuttle van to the airport.
We strongly recommend using the services of our professional travel agent in Honolulu: CAROLYN REID. She is the best resource for reservations between Honolulu and Christmas Island (Cassidy International Airport, code CXI). She is very familiar with this flight and will take good care of you. Moreover, if there are ever
any travel delays related to either the charter flight to Fanning or the commercial flight on Fiji Airways to/from Hawaii (or Fiji), she will be able to assist you in any rebookings needed to get you home. While these sorts of delays are rare, they do happen. This is also another good reason to purchase Travel Insurance for this trip. Carolyn can be reached 1-800-284-0440 or Carolyn@ultimate-vacations.net. Tell her that you are with The Fly Shop®, and she'll take extra special care of you.
Note: Passports are required, no exceptions, and must be valid for at least six months after your planned return date. Visas are no longer required of US citizens.
Upon arrival on Christmas Island you will disembark the Fiji Airways flight and clear customs and immigration in the small, one-room "terminal". You will be met by a representative from Fanning Island who will help you with your luggage and take you to the domestic check in counter at the adjacent building.
The Charter Flight from Christmas to Fanning is aboard either a Coral Sun Aviation King Air 200, or a privately chartered Air Kiribati Harbin Y-12. The King Air can accommodate 7 passengers, the Harbin Y-12 can take up to 12 passengers. The flight will last about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Soon you will be touching down on beautiful Fanning Island, on a 1,200 meter dirt strip on the northern side of the atoll.
Lodging at Fanning Island
Bruno's Homestay, A La Belle Etoile, accommodates up to 8 guests. Bruno Delala is a legendary sailor, and will welcome you into his home on a half-acre of land with a garden-like atmosphere and plenty of shade trees. Though private, the home stay is in the village of Aontena so you can also expect to meet some of the friendly neighbors who will no doubt be curious about the I-Matangs (Kiribati word for "foreigner") visiting their island. Bruno, like the true castaway that he is, has improvised everything to build his place over many years. To "Western eyes" this may seem rather rickety, but understanding that this is one of the most remote corners of the world will go a long way in appreciating just what he has created there. With no regular flight service in over 23 years, just getting cement delivered can take over one year!
The accommodations provided include three traditionally built huts called Kiakias, along with the upper floor of Bruno's home. Each hut is elevated and has a floor covered in traditional hand woven mats. There are two twin size beds in each kiakia. Mosquito netting is also provided for each bed. There are no fans or Air Conditioning, but the huts are airy and the gentle breeze moving through keeps them relatively comfortable at night.
Bruno's home also has a spacious 2nd floor that is dedicated for guests, with two double beds. The kitchen and indoor dining area are on the ground floor, and there is an outdoor barbecue and covered double picnic table that is used for group dining. There is also a second building that houses Bruno's work shop and storage, with room for another double beds.
There is 24 hour power provided by solar
panels and a small generator (110/220V). At night, there is a small generator for lights and charging electronics. Please note: if cloudy weather limits solar charging, there may not be enough power to charge multiple electronics, or all night power. You will want to bring flashlights or headlights for at night, just in case.
There is a small washing machine, and drying is done outdoors in the warm Pacific air.
There are two private showers inside the house, plus a private outdoor shower. Water is pumped at low pressure with small water pumps, using local groundwater. The water is okay for showering and cleaning, but is not safe for drinking or brushing teeth. There is no water heater, so don't expect hot water (but the cool water feels really refreshing!). There are also two private flushing toilets in the compound.
All food is prepared by Bruno, who as an expat Frenchman is well known as a great cook. He grows his own fresh produce using a custom-designed hydroponic system, including tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. During your stay you will enjoy such local delicacies as fresh fish, lobster, giant mantis prawn, land crab, local chicken and eggs, and local pork. Papaya, breadfruit, limes, and occasionally small mangos will grace the table depending on the season. And there's always fresh coconut milk, kamaimai syrup made from the nectar of the coconut tree, and dried fruit roll from tasty pandanus fruit.
Bottled water is provided for drinking, brushing teeth, etc. Beer and soda will also be sent in from Christmas Island for your week at Fanning.
The Fishing at Fanning Island
For the 2017 exploratory season, very little is actually known about this relatively untouched saltwater flats fishery. We know that the lagoon at Fanning is full of bonefish, and there are countless shallow flats located all over the lagoon as well as some outside flats. The "best" fishing area according to the locals is the area called "Irapa Wilderness". Irapa is on the far side of the atoll from the villages, isolated by very shallow water preventing the local wooden skiffs from getting there. Anglers wanting to fish at Irapa will want to be prepared for a 30-40 minute boat ride, followed by about an hour's hike along a trail through the palm trees and along the beach. For those anglers willing to pack their own camping gear, it is possible to arrange an overnight (or more) camping out in the Irapa Wilderness.
Aside from Irapa, there are countless flats in Fanning. There will be no shortage of areas to fish, and explore. Travel with an open, exploratory state of mind, and relish in the opportunity to be amongst the first foreigners (I-Matang to the locals) to wet a fly in these untouched waters.
Fanning is home to many different species that can be targeted on the fly. The best known is the bonefish, and there are lots of bonefish here of all different sizes. We've heard stories of world record bonefish! In addition, there are several species of trevally found both in the lagoon and outside on the reef, including Bluefin Trevally and the infamous Giant Trevally. Triggerfish, snapper, even Napoleon Wrasse are found on the flats at times. And just off the reef big pelagics are found throughout the season, from wahoo to tuna.
Each day you'll head out with your local guide and a boat driver in one of the wooden outboard skiffs to motor around the atoll in search of tailing fish. There is one guide on Fanning with some fly fishing experience: his name is Christmas, brother of the famous Teannaki from Christmas Island. He will also be working to train some of the other locals. They have all grown up on Fanning and know the lagoon waters intimately. They have exceptional eyes for spotting fish. They won't have much experience with a fly rod, so anglers on these exploratory trips will want to be relatively self-sufficient.
Making Reservations to Fanning Island
To make a reservation, please give us a call at 800-669-3474 during business hours any day of the week, or send an email to email@example.com. We can give you the answers you need, detailed explanations to questions you might have, or check on availability and confirm your reservation in minutes.