Papuan Coast August 2017
Since November 2016, the Papuan Coast has been given a thorough rest and has seen no fishing pressure apart from the local community fishermen who fish only for sustenance for the villagers, so hopes were high that we were going to catch good fish on this first trip to the Bass Shack this 2017 season.
On this tour, we had our 2016 Christmas Giveaway winner, Clint Martin and his partner Kate Bracey excited as ever to catch PNG Black Bass. We also had Wayne Chan from Malaysia who has been dreaming of catching PNG Black Bass since he was a kid, after watching Rod Harrison’s old VHS tapes! Glen Makin, a PNG fishing regular, was keen to try out Black Bass after visiting Bensbach Lodge the last time chasing Barramundi and finally bit the bullet and joined our group. And finally, Troy Dean, and expatriate based in Lae, was an experienced Black Bass fisho who has been living in PNG for quite a while, and had plenty of time on the water, specifically Galley Reach and he wanted in on some action.
On day 1, everyone met for breakfast at the SFPNG guest house, getting filled up for the long drive up to the Bass Shack, while Moli was doing final checks on the boat and trailer that was going to be towed with us. At 6:30AM sharp, all vehicles were on the road.
Clients had trouble sleeping as the adrenaline was pumping all morning, preparing their bodies for the first session of the week. The drive up to the Bass Shack was over before everyone started getting monkey butts, and we were greeted by a group of traditional Sing Sing performers. Their performance added a boost of confidence as all anglers felt very much welcome in the village. After a quick few photos with the performers, the guys proceeded to rig up while having lunch.
First fishing session was quickly under-way and by 1300H, lures hit the water. The first session was arguably the hottest the whole week as the water quality was OK and it produced multiple fingermark snapper, a couple of barramundi caught by Wayne in the 60 – 70cm range on his first 2 trolls, and other estuarine species like mangrove jack and estuary cod caught by Kate.
The bass were not present during the first day, but all anglers came back to the bass shack with smiles on their faces, looking forward for another 5 days of fishing. After a great meal of steaks and potatoes, anglers took to bed early as the team planned to hit the water as early as 0600H.
Mother Nature was outright against us after the first day as the upper reaches of the river had a flood pushing through from up the mountains which in turn, made the river muddy and hard to fish, leaving us with only a few available areas closer to the river mouth to fish effectively.
On day 2, when a touch of light creeped over the horizon, all boats were on their way to start fishing at 0615H. We all split up to cover as much water as possible, but the bass and metery barramundi were still on hunger strike.
By lunch time, a mutual agreement among the guides was made and all three boats went back to the river mouth to fish the outgoing tide. The afternoon session was the highlight of the week. Glen and Troy were fishing in one boat, and were trolling a bank about 100 meters away from the coast which had a creek junction showing a bit of bait action. Troy hooked up first then was followed by a second hookup by Glen. Both anglers fought hard and after a mere 2 minutes, Troy got his fingermark on the boat. Glen on the other hand, had a bit of manoeuvring to do as his fish fought harder and was shocked to glimpse a black bass at the end of his line. While Troy and the guide Patrick was still handling the first of the double hookup, Glen was trying to keep the bass hooked up. Finally, bass netted and on the boat, Glen caught his first every PNG Black Bass at 20lbs!