I just got back from our first trip to Fly River for 2017 and it was a cracker, we had a great group of people join us for this trip. Doris and Bone from Singapore representing Zerek Lures and Bone Rods, Kord and Graeme from Wilson tackle Australia, well known angling scribe David Green and mate Mark Frendin, Andrew and Raylene Jonese who had taken on the Kokoda trail before joining us and surprise guest Al who felt he hadn’t taken enough punishment on his trip to Kikori and decided to hang around for another trip.
We met up with the guests at the Kiunga airstrip which is in the middle of a large wetland late in the afternoon. We loaded everyone up to take them to meet with the local people of Suki for a welcoming sing sing. On the way, I managed to spin the bushing on my prop so David, Mark, Kord and I spent some time chatting and putting along in the wetlands before Fikai came to the rescue and whisked them away leaving me to make my way home and do battle with possibly every single bug in PNG as night fell!
After steaming all night aboard K2O we anchored down river of our first stop for the trip, after a bit of sketchy navigation from the newbies we arrived at a swamp blocked by logs at the entrance and the entire creek blockaded by floating grass. The boys gave it a try but things didn’t look good so Captain Jed made the call to carry on steaming up river. The decision was a good one and Kusikina, its people and its aquatic life gave us a fantastic welcoming.
We were onto fish within minutes of leaving K2O as each boat had a crack at the snags within shouting distance of the morning’s anchorage. With the blood running high the boats began separating and moving upstream in search of more productive areas with everyone looking for the right combination of elements that produces fish. Kord and Graeme fishing with Fikai had a cracking day landing 17 bass and Andrew and Raylene with Billy not far behind. The rest of the boats posted good numbers but they definitely lead the way.
I had Greenie and Mark on my boat and after a good start things had slowed down for us leading up to midday so there was a bit of pressure on. Watching Graeme land fish after fish also wasn’t helping things! We found a nice productive stretch of water along a bamboo thicket that yielded bass in the mid-teens on the troll. I noticed David had a large soft Vibe in his box and asked him if he would try it out and so began the great Vibe era. David, Mark, Kord and Graeme are no strangers to Soft Vibe fishing as it is a vital part of their fishing back home in Oz and it showed as the technique added an extra 40 or so bass to the trips total pulled from areas of the river we have never targeted before. David stuck to his Jackal but the remaining fish where taken on Zerek Fish Traps.
Each time we visit a river the dynamics have changed and we begin almost from scratch searching out the productive areas it didn’t take long on this trip thanks to some new toys from Lowrance Australia. We were running 7” HDS 8 units with the Lowrance Total Scan transducers which was a game changer we could see bass stacked up in the snags and schools of Catfish chilling near the weed edges. We even picked up Crocodiles lurking on the channel edges 30 foot down and pairs of barramundi cruising past in the current turning their noses up at or offerings.
By the first night around the dinner table the areas had been given names and notes were compared on the amounts of fish they held. The Grassy knoll, the perpetual snag, the back eddy and Jed’s “secret” snag popped up most often in discussions. We fished the area for 4 days and each day brought something new the first yielded the most fish, the second was the day of mayhem with the angriest fish anyone had ever seen with multiple bust ups and Al actually getting spooled by a fish that seemed to decide it needed a trip to the beach, taking off down the middle of the river, he recovered his lure not long after so the fish is fine. Kord caught a fish the following day that had a hard body lure hanging from its mouth that Mark had lost a day before around 2 miles away, as well as a Vibe bust off early by cord and it still came back to eat another Vibe, the bass really take toughness to a new level.
For the last day of the trip we fish a new area and a promising little creek the day started off as we scanned a shallow corner around 2 meters deep, a fish popped up on the side scan and I told Kord to quickly drop a vibe off the transom to starboard. One twitch and bang we were on with a 26lb fish Kord muscled it to the boat and we landed it in short order and were pleasantly surprised to find it had been tagged so we’ll soon peel another layer from the mystery that is the PNG black bass.
A spring tide coupled with a howling easterly wind conspired to push a lot of dirty water up the river making fishing very difficult for the day, but we hung tough fishing a small black water swamp that produced some great barramundi for Jed’s boat while we managed to squeak out another 3 bass on the cast from mine. The rest of the day was spent admiring the local wild life and giving the guests a taste of life in the jungles and swamps of PNG.
As always a big thanks to our guests who I’m sure we’ll be seeing again soon and to the guides and crew of MV K2O