Kiribati fields gutsy team at Commonwealth Fly Fishing Comp | Asia Pacific

Kiribati fields gutsy team at Commonwealth Fly Fishing Comp

Kiribati fields gutsy team at Commonwealth Fly Fishing Comp

Updated 15 February 2012, 21:56 AEDT

And finally tonight, expert anglers from around the world are in Tasmania for the Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships.

Among the teams fishing for trout will be a group from the small Pacific island nation of Kiribati.

There are no freshwater rivers or lakes on Kiribati .. and so is the team being over-optimistic eyeing the top spot?

Correspondent: Felicity Ogilvie

Speakers: Nareau Bataeru, team captain; Malcolm Crosse, Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships; Karaiatetti Baraniko, team manager

OGILVIE: (team singing) They're a team that knows how to make an entrance. Dressed in waders and walking past gum trees down towards a freshwater lake in the Tasmanian highlands the fly fishing team from Kiribati is about to do something that they could never do at home.They're going trout fishing. Nareau Bataeru is the team captain and he's from a small coral atoll called Christmas Island where there's no fresh water rivers or lakes.

BATAERU: The trip to Tasmania is very exciting for us because it's our first time to leave the Christmas Island and catching a trout is very different than catching a bonefish.

OGILVIE: The bonefish that the fishermen are used to catching is a saltwater tropical fish. The men are used to fishing in warm, shallow water and the highest point on their island is only two metres above sea level. But they've spent the past two weeks almost a kilometre above sea level in the Tasmanian Highlands. As he sits in a boat in the middle of the highland lake, Nareau Bataeru reflects on how different the island of Tasmania is to his island home.

BATAERU: Tasmania is a lot of mountains but in Christmas Island we don't have mountains in Christmas Island. It's all flat and this is, you know we are almost on top of the mountains here in Tasmania. It's very high and cold.

OGILVIE: Even though it's a sunny day at the lake and hot enough to get sunburnt, the team has a roaring fire going back at their shack to keep them warm when they're not fishing. The shack is owned by the organiser of the Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships, Malcolm Crosse. Mr Crosse says the men are excellent fishermen who have quickly adapted to catching trout.

CROSSE: It's like we've tried to put 50 years of fly fishing, trout fishing into their bone fishing in two weeks. But really they're just great fishermen. They can cast very well. They understand how to feel the lines. So they really haven't needed to adapt very much and whatever fish has poked its head up, they've caught it.

OGILVIE: The team from Kiribati will be competing in borrowed gear and the team's manager, Karaiatetti Baraniko hopes to use the Fly Fishing Championships to make the point that their low lying island home may be on borrowed time.

BARANIKO: Maybe when the climate change or global warming happen or strike our island, then we're all under water. No place for us. So hear our cry and help us, our friends in the world.

OGILVIE: She's written a song about the issue to perform at the closing ceremony.

BARANIKO (singing): Climate change is growing strong. The rising wave we ….

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