Vakuta Exploration May - June 2017
A few months back we noticed a gap in the Calendar had opened up. We had scheduled the time for maintenance on K2O but the boys have done such a sterling job over the last few months keeping her in tip top condition that we could afford to sneak one last salt trip in. The question was where should we go? Eastern fields, Portlock and Long Reef had given us some exceptional fishing over the last season but we felt the crew and clients needed a fresh challenge. We also wanted to test the waters around the multitude of islands that litter the central eastern side of Milne bay. We have an abundance of massive reef edges that drop away into incredibly deep water here in Papua New Guinea and this is where we have concentrated our efforts in the past so on this trip we wanted to make time to check out the more traditional type reefs systems that climb out of 50 to 60 meters of water instead of 1000!
The call went out for five people to join us on the trip and 5 blokes all from Sydney, Australia answered the call, we lucked out as all the boys were mad keen fisho’s with plenty of experience and top class gear. John and I went to pick up Sondal, Mitch, Jamie, Heath and Jarrod from Jackson international airport then we got them settled into our guest house "the Madison". We headed out that night for Pizza and beers at the local pub and started filling the boys' heads with tales of monster doggies and top water madness, some were so swept up in the excitement they wanted to hit the local Port Moresby night clubs but some sneaky driving and double talk on my part had everyone home in no time for the early morning flight to Alotau and K20 awaiting their arrival.
Our destination was a barrier reef 20 miles long that stretches south from the bottom edge of Vakuta Island, to the East lay a few thousand meters of water and to the West a huge expanse of broken reef and bommies that make up the star reef system. To the South West lay the Amphlett chain island where we wanted to prospect for GT’s on the shallower reefs.
The weather was not on our side for this trip as a howling easterly blew day in and day out with a little of the ever present PNG rain thrown in for good measure. This put a bit of a damper on fishing on the outside of the reef and made jigging for the doggies tough as the drift was fast and the water deep. Despite this Sondal, Mitch and Jamie hit a great bite in a little weather window and landed three stonking fish weighing in at 51, 48 & 44 kilos.
The more protected sections produced a great top water bite from everything besides the Geets who were not enjoying the low pressure system hanging over our heads. We had more Spanish mackerel action than I’ve ever seen in PNG as well as multiple strikes from Sailfish. Sondal hooked up with a sail briefly on top water on his very first cast on the first day, but it was Captain Jed who took the honours of landing one on jig. We also had a couple of top water doggies which was fun. I missed a big fella which came up to have a look at my pink I-Cup near the boat but the rest hit stick baits. When we headed north up the reef using it for protection from the wind, the GT bite started coming on. Jed had a great session landing 17 fish in 2 and a half hours and I had a good one in a channel between the islands landing 6 and missing many more.
With the weather putting a bit of a damper on our exploration ambitions we didn’t get to explore the interior reefs much but the few sections we got out to provided us with some great fishing with GT’s, Bass, Trout, Spanish Mackerel and even small doggies coming up to hit the lures, To say that we didn’t scratch the surface of the area's potential would be the biggest understatement of the century.
For the last two days we moved down to the Amphlett island to explore the region's potential, is a completely different setting to what we usually fish and is visually stunning with steep heavily wooded islands rising out of the sea, surrounded by clean clear water. We took shelter behind one of the smaller islands that had a couple of nice reefs a short distance away and started looking around. The area yielded a few good GT’s and surprisingly a number of small Napoleon Wrasse which was a great surprise. The weather conditions took their toll on the fishing making it difficult to drift the reefs effectively but there is a lot of potential for large GT’s. The reefs rise out of shallower water in the 60 to 90m region and the ledges leading up hold a lot of bait and a good amount of current flows through. All the ingredients you need for great GT fishing.
A big thanks to Sondal Bensan, Mitch, Jamie Bezzina, Jarrod and Heath Robinson from the K2O crew for coming along on this trip. They were the perfect anglers for an exploration trip and put in the few thousand casts and thousands of heavy jig drops that were needed to figure out the reef system. The boys took the weather on the chin and kept fishing regardless, never giving up and always ready for one more cast. Thanks again and hope to see you boys back in PNG Soon.
Sport Fishing PNG will be looking at doing two trips to the Region in 2018 during our Feb/March. Although the groundwork has now been laid there is still a phenomenal amount of virgin reef to still explore if this sounds like your cup of tea give us a shout on either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and get on board!
Cheers Cameron Mundy, Jed Hokins and the K2O crew