Fabulous Fanning Island

News & Tips: Fabulous Fanning Island

Fanning Island lays a days-long boat ride northwest of famed Christmas Island in the Pacific. Both of these islands are beautiful atolls with sugar sand beaches, great surfing and astonishing fishing.


Guide Naan holds Jan's trevally on the shores of exotic Fanning Island.

The only way you can get to Fanning is by boat and for a short while, thank goodness, by cruise ship, which is how I got there. 

This trip took over a year to plan. I worked with resident surfing and fishing guide Chuck Corbett in setting this up. Chuck said that the local government official, Naan, would be my guide. My plan was to fish for the reputed large and unpressured bonefish on the expansive flats.

When the Norwegian Wind cruise ship arrived on "Fanning Day" — and I do mean BOTH the ship and the weather — the "breeze" was over 30 mph. Flats fishing was impossible, as Naan's skiff could not make it to the center flats in the weather. Naan did inform me that the jig fishing in the inlet would be very productive.

And, indeed, it was! I used my white bucktail of choice, the Spro Prime, to nail giant trevally to 15 pounds, bluefin trevally to 7 pounds and countless papio (a skipjack-like fish) to 5 pounds. I report without any hyperbole that I had a strike or hookup on basically every cast except when the tide went slack.

I gave Naan a large trevally for the village and he said he'd be back shortly. Naan returned as I was releasing another bluefin trevally with the help of another cruise ship passenger. In a formal and very honorable gesture, he gave me a gift of a beautiful handcrafted wood and palm fiber ceremonial knife. He explained the local custom was to give a gift in return for another's generosity. I was humbled beyond words.

Since that time, I've been in touch with Chuck off and on. I have not been able to communicate with Naan, but I know one thing: he will always be my friend.