Christmas Island 11wt help

noobacuse

Member
Messages
7
Reaction score
12
Location
SW Colorado
While travel still looks dubious, I'm booked for a Christmas Island trip... that I hope happens eventually... so I'm trying to do some research and get the quiver ready. I'd really appreciate 11wt advice from folks who fish in saltwater more often (my most used rods in 2020 were all 3wt).

Here's where I've gotten to already:
(planned) Stickman T7
(already owned) Scott Meridian 9ft 9wt
I'm hoping those two leave me well covered not just for Hawaii and Christmas Island bones, but for future salt expeditions to target Permit, Redfish, etc.

Back to Christmas Island, though - to take shots at GT where they come, I'm hoping to add an 11wt before the trip and would love advice. Just like the 7 and 9, I'm hoping to use the 11 for other species (tarpon, chiefly) in the future.

Would the Maverick fit the bill? Should I jump for something like the NRX+ or Exocett instead? Is the X good up in these weights? Definitely not averse to the Sector either - the Meridian makes me grin every time I cast it because I feel like I'm casting a Howitzer. Any other hidden gems or value choices I should be considering? Thanks in advance :)
 

WNCtroutstalker

Well-known member
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
509
Location
North Carolina
I've never cast an 11 wt much less fished one, but I had planned a trip to CXI last year (cancelled but have rescheduled for 2022--fingers crossed that Kiribati reopens by then) and so I did similar research, albeit for 12 wts (my plan was to take a pair of 8 wts for bonefish/other non-GT species and a 12 for GTs). You've listed a bunch of great rods. My advice is just to try and cast as many as you can. That said, while I've never handled one, I wonder if within the Sage family you should shift your target from the X to the Salt HD. Other rods you might add to your fine list include the new Hardy Zane Pro, if you can find a leftover closeout the Hardy Zephrus SWS (I chose this in the 12 wt) and the T&T Exocett SS 450 gr. Sounds like you have a healthy budget, but if this is a rod you don't foresee using much down the road and want to save some money you like look into some of the Echo rods, in particular the EPR (really fast) and the new Prime. Obviously you want something that doesn't swing overly heavy and that you like how it casts, but I also think durability is an important factor. If a GT breaks it then unless you can borrow an 11 or 12 wt from someone you'll spend the rest of your trip chasing bonefish--though there could be far worse things. Good luck to you and hope your trip happens.
 

MarlSounds

Well-known member
Messages
58
Reaction score
68
Location
Marlborough, New Zealand
We have a local group that travels to Christmas Islands most years to chase bonefish. What a place!

Was thinking about your GT requirements. You might do worse than to add Hot Torpedo from Sexyloops to your shopping list. They make strong rods with powerful butt sections from the same Hungarian blank manufacturer as Stickman but on different mandrels. They have a very good reputation amongst competition casters and saltwater anglers.

Check this 10wgt out. They will custom make to your specifications.
 

denver1911

Well-known member
Messages
876
Reaction score
115
I took the approach of a low-$ rod and a high-quality reel .. 2 of each.

Last trip, I landed 15 on my Echo 3S and Abel Super 12. I was glad to have a rod that could bend and not break and a reel that could stop a truck.

I don’t know if I could have cast a better rod farther or more accurate, leading to more fish. I can say I was surely satisfied with my Echo.
 

WNCtroutstalker

Well-known member
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
509
Location
North Carolina
Last trip, I landed 15 on my Echo 3S and Abel Super 12. I was glad to have a rod that could bend and not break and a reel that could stop a truck.
I've never been to CXI nor targeted GTs, but ^^^ states far more clearly the point I was trying to make above. Nothing wrong with an expensive rod, but if making compromises because of a budget I would put the bulk of my money for my GT setup towards the reel.

15 GTs? Wow, I'm just hoping for one (well, first hoping that the country opens back up).
 

South Fly Fishing

Well-known member
Messages
52
Reaction score
73
Location
Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand
I was just reading this thread, and thinking the $3k air travel (e.g. to Perth stopover, then Virgin Australia to Christmas Islands), then guiding and accommodation, plus food & lubrication costs, means you're budgeting around $10k for each round trip. Spending 15-20% more on a great new rod/reel/line combo once is a good investment in enjoying the location and the fishing fully.
 

WNCtroutstalker

Well-known member
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
509
Location
North Carolina
I was just reading this thread, and thinking the $3k air travel (e.g. to Perth stopover, then Virgin Australia to Christmas Islands)
Not sure, but I think we may be talking about two different Christmas Islands. Maybe not, but just to be clear I believe the OP is planning to go to Kirimati in the Pacific, not the one in the Indian Ocean off Indonesia.
 

okiekev

Well-known member
Messages
275
Reaction score
87
Location
Birmingham AL
You could always look for a good used rod like an NRX for a good price. I agree that the train stopping drag may be the bigger need here though...
 

LOC

Well-known member
Messages
466
Reaction score
333
Location
S. CA
Just a heads up from a long time 11/12 wt rod slinger. The nuanced advantages of one 11wt over another will be completely lost if you don't put in the practice time!
 

noobacuse

Member
Messages
7
Reaction score
12
Location
SW Colorado
You could always look for a good used rod like an NRX for a good price. I agree that the train stopping drag may be the bigger need here though...
As it pertains to 'train stopping,' thoughts on the Tibor Gulfstream? Seems similar in pedigree and design to the Abel that denver1911 takes out there, but not quite as pricey. I've got a CCF-X2 on my 9wt right now, but have read some suggestions that cork is the way to go for GTs and the other big 'uns.
 

WNCtroutstalker

Well-known member
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
509
Location
North Carolina
As it pertains to 'train stopping,' thoughts on the Tibor Gulfstream?
Haven't handled one in person, but sounds like a great choice. Like denver 1911, I opted for an Abel Super 12 (also have a Shilton, made in South Africa and a draw bar like the Supers and Tibors). Both the Tibor and Abel were on my list and it just came down to price and availability. I found a never-fished "used" Super 12 at a good price and went in that direction. But would have been very happy with a Tibor. Good luck.
 

denver1911

Well-known member
Messages
876
Reaction score
115
As for price .. I bought two Super 12s (one as backup). Used, they were around $500 each If I recall correctly. If you have time before you go, just watch Ebay a while. They pop up at a good price from time to time. Get a used one for a good price, pull it apart, clean, inspect, replace anything that needs replacing. They two I got were in great shape and I saved some money for my next trip.

As for actually catching GTs .. you won’t unless you fish for them. Don’t spend money on a GT rod if you are going to fish for bonefish and let the guide hold the big rod while the GTs come .. and go .. before you can swap rods. Last trip I did well. I did well because I fished for GTs every day, all day long. I did spend half of one day chasing triggers when tide was slack (landed two football-sized peachface monsters). Other than that, I was hunting for GTs. I spent hours and hours waiting and watching. Occasionally the bonefish would come by. They often gave time to swap rods and catch them. My recommendation, if you are after GTs, is to put in the time. Take a bonefish or six as a by-catch if they come along. But always be ready with the big stick. I once handed my guide my 8wt rod, with a bonefish hooked up on it, so I could try to intercept an incoming GT with the 12. Of course, I was too late, but sacrificing landing that nice bone was worth the shot at a GT. That’s the mindset it takes to catch them. At Kiritimati, there are LOTS of opportunities to catch bonefish, but you have to forgo that to take advantage of the FEW opportunities at GTs. For me, there is but one answer.

This was not my largest (or smallest for sure), but it’s one of the few photos I took .. don’t pause for photos when there is still a pack on the hunt where you are. Fishing to even a modest GT of this caliber is an awesome experience.D067183B-AC0C-4044-9221-DF05CD903D4E.jpeg
 

okiekev

Well-known member
Messages
275
Reaction score
87
Location
Birmingham AL
As it pertains to 'train stopping,' thoughts on the Tibor Gulfstream? Seems similar in pedigree and design to the Abel that denver1911 takes out there, but not quite as pricey. I've got a CCF-X2 on my 9wt right now, but have read some suggestions that cork is the way to go for GTs and the other big 'uns.
On a trip like this and a fish like this, hear you can trust is ESSENTIAL. A Tibor reel is definitely one you can trust!

I love my Everglades and Riptide, they may not always get used but I guarantee you they are in the bag! Just like an Abel big game or Super, you can’t go wrong with them. Additionally, I think the original gold colored reels are the most iconic saltwater reel made.
 

pfibiger

Active member
Messages
26
Reaction score
12
I've never cast an 11 wt much less fished one, but I had planned a trip to CXI last year (cancelled but have rescheduled for 2022--fingers crossed that Kiribati reopens by then) and so I did similar research, albeit for 12 wts (my plan was to take a pair of 8 wts for bonefish/other non-GT species and a 12 for GTs). You've listed a bunch of great rods. My advice is just to try and cast as many as you can. That said, while I've never handled one, I wonder if within the Sage family you should shift your target from the X to the Salt HD. Other rods you might add to your fine list include the new Hardy Zane Pro, if you can find a leftover closeout the Hardy Zephrus SWS (I chose this in the 12 wt) and the T&T Exocett SS 450 gr. Sounds like you have a healthy budget, but if this is a rod you don't foresee using much down the road and want to save some money you like look into some of the Echo rods, in particular the EPR (really fast) and the new Prime. Obviously you want something that doesn't swing overly heavy and that you like how it casts, but I also think durability is an important factor. If a GT breaks it then unless you can borrow an 11 or 12 wt from someone you'll spend the rest of your trip chasing bonefish--though there could be far worse things. Good luck to you and hope your trip happens.
I ended up making the same decision -- getting a smokin' deal on a closeout Hardy Zephrus SWS 12wt ahead of a trip to Alphonse. I was struck by how light and easy to cast it is compared to an older Sage Xi3. It felt closer to my 10wt Meridian. A ton of the guides in the keys are using them as their primary tarpon rods. I bought a pre-owned, unfished Hatch 12+ to go along with it. I still might break gear on this trip, but i'm trying hard not to let gear cause me to blow my chance on a GT.
 

WNCtroutstalker

Well-known member
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
509
Location
North Carolina
I ended up making the same decision -- getting a smokin' deal on a closeout Hardy Zephrus SWS 12wt ahead of a trip to Alphonse. I was struck by how light and easy to cast it is
Before picking up the 12 wt Zephrus on closeout, I also had purchased another 12 wt that I also picked up on closeout. I had figured that the Zephrus would be a nice backup to what I figured was the better rod. Well, after a few practice sessions I concluded that I clearly favored the Zephrus. I'm not going to say it feels light in the hand, but to me it at least felt like I was casting a fly rod. The other one was like swinging a 2x4 (not that I've done that) and was just so heavy. I just couldn't imagine actually fishing it, even if just sight casting, and so resold it. I figured with the Zephrus I'd at least have a shot of making the necessary cast. Light swing weight (relatively) and supposed durability seemed like a good combination.
 

pfibiger

Active member
Messages
26
Reaction score
12
Before picking up the 12 wt Zephrus on closeout, I also had purchased another 12 wt that I also picked up on closeout. I had figured that the Zephrus would be a nice backup to what I figured was the better rod. Well, after a few practice sessions I concluded that I clearly favored the Zephrus. I'm not going to say it feels light in the hand, but to me it at least felt like I was casting a fly rod. The other one was like swinging a 2x4 (not that I've done that) and was just so heavy. I just couldn't imagine actually fishing it, even if just sight casting, and so resold it. I figured with the Zephrus I'd at least have a shot of making the necessary cast. Light swing weight (relatively) and supposed durability seemed like a good combination.
Related -- since we're talking about GT fishing -- I found the 475gr Rio GT line pairs really nicely with this rod and a bunch of online stores have that line on closeout for 30-40% off.
 

bonefish41

Well-known member
Messages
802
Reaction score
122
As members of the Jack family they are brutish and prefer junk and seek it out if hooked on a flat. On a fly rod set up as a fly rod with a 20lb max tippet stopping a 50 lb GT hooked within 200 yards of junk whilst flats wadding would be problematic irrespective of whatever reel and rod in hand IMO. My similar experience was Tarpon fishing west of Key West... in the area where there is that boat hull essentially under water high tide, 11wt Method 20lb break...polling when Cap calls Tarpon incoming cast one slow strip hooked he said it's a Permit no f...ing Jack...it was big enough that I could not stop it before he found the mermaid on the wreck and cut me off and Cap wasn't going to pole after a jack...excuse a windy old man for a wordy reply...my point if it's a GT wadding on the flat near junk/deep drop off and you've got a fly rod tippet 11 or 12 or reel won't determine the outcome. However, if your are holding a fly rod set up as 50-80 lb line class rod then I'd look to a used old 12 or 13 wt Sage or Loomis and a used Tibor Pacific or Abel BG 4.5 ...
 

WNCtroutstalker

Well-known member
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
509
Location
North Carolina
I found the 475gr Rio GT line pairs really nicely with this rod and a bunch of online stores have that line on closeout for 30-40% off.
Ha! I've got 3 of them! Was told to expect to lose a line or two on the coral. But thanks for the tip. I had basically bought all of my gear for the trip to CXI (my trip was cancelled about a month before scheduled departure) so definitely heading there when it reopens, though that may be quite a while.
 

denver1911

Well-known member
Messages
876
Reaction score
115
As members of the Jack family they are brutish and prefer junk and seek it out if hooked on a flat. On a fly rod set up as a fly rod with a 20lb max tippet stopping a 50 lb GT hooked within 200 yards of junk whilst flats wadding would be problematic irrespective of whatever reel and rod in hand IMO. My similar experience was Tarpon fishing west of Key West... in the area where there is that boat hull essentially under water high tide, 11wt Method 20lb break...polling when Cap calls Tarpon incoming cast one slow strip hooked he said it's a Permit no f...ing Jack...it was big enough that I could not stop it before he found the mermaid on the wreck and cut me off and Cap wasn't going to pole after a jack...excuse a windy old man for a wordy reply...my point if it's a GT wadding on the flat near junk/deep drop off and you've got a fly rod tippet 11 or 12 or reel won't determine the outcome. However, if your are holding a fly rod set up as 50-80 lb line class rod then I'd look to a used old 12 or 13 wt Sage or Loomis and a used Tibor Pacific or Abel BG 4.5 ...
Where do you fish for GTs that you use a 20 lb tippet? And more importantly why? They are not leader shy and fighting one on such a light tippet us a sure exercise in breaking off, getting cut off, or getting sharked. I’ve just not seen it, but I’ve only fished for them at Christmas Island. Nobody there was going less than 40 or 50 Most were using 60, 80, or even 100.
 
Top