EASTERN FIELDS Season Opener!
After 5 months of adventure up the rivers of PNG searching for PNG Bass and Barra the time has come for us to switch our attention back to the Reefs and Atolls offshore. For our Blue Water season opener, we had a group of 9 experienced anglers who had traveled 30 hours from Brazil to Papua New Guinea to experience Eastern Fields on K2O with the Sport Fishing PNG crew.
We collected the guys from Jackson international and took them for lunch at the Yacht club while we waited for a few more of the boys to arrive. Once everyone was present, we boarded K2O at 1600H, rigged up the tenders for towing and we were on our way. A stiff 20 knot South Easter greeted us as we made our way out the channel which made for an uncomfortable ride out. But after a couple of beers and one or two stiff whiskies, coupled with the travelling the guys had done, pretty soon everyone was man down and dead to the world. 12 hours later and we were navigating the entrance to the safe haven of Eastern Fields. The crew got busy getting the boats ready while the guys got their rods and lures rigged and ready to go.
I decided to chase some doggies while the other boys chased GTs. The best way to describe PNG doggies is simple, “they’re assholes". We dropped jigs had hook up after hook up yet couldn't land them. Either we couldn’t get them past the sharks or the braid would snap in the most random spot along the line where an assist hook had rubbed or f$#k knows what happened. Lots of mysteries of the sea that day.
After being pumped by the doggies we thought we would chase some Geets in a shallow channel, a couple of casts, a couple of follows, nek minnut Jose has a 80+kg doggie trying to smash his popper in 3 meters of water, WTF , I will never understand these fish. Jose braced himself, ready for imminent mayhem, the doggie hits the popper and all 75kg of Jose has gone from one side of the boat to the other in about 0.00009th of a second. If his reel hadn’t hooked on the rail and snapped the line it would’ve been goodbye Jose. By far the biggest hit I have seen on top water. After I had wiped away my tears and got my breath back from laughing, I checked on the poor fella and it looked like he had come off a skateboard with bitumen on him everywhere. At the end of the day we had action all day but couldn’t manage to make the hooks stick. It seemed to be a common occurrence between the other boasts as well with a few GT boated.
As the week went on decent fish were boated but we continued to battle the weather. Mid trip the GTs decided to come to the party. What a day that was, from Milton nearly being pulled out the boat by the Geets every time I turn my back, to poppers being stripped back to the through wire, at the end of the day my boat had boated 20 g.t with only 3 under 25kg the biggest going 35kg. Mea ended up with half a dozen and he put Jose onto a stonker of a 40kg GT. Cameron also got in on the action far from where we were fishing so it seemed the fish got hungry all over the reef.
The next day we managed a triple hook-up on 40kg+ fish one of the hooks opened up, the other popper through wire on the tail broke. We managed to boat one which was the clients PB, always a good feeling. We managed another half a dozen after that.
The Doggies continued to taunt us on top water with big hits and follows all the way to the boat but we just couldn’t get them to commit. The Wrasse did the same and it was only Mea “the Wrasse Master” who boated one with Gustav on Jig. The Yellow Fin where also around but smaller models than we are used to but still enough to provide the boat with fresh sashimi each day.
I found a pinnacle we have been searching for, for a while now and we gave it a solid Jigging session. The strong winds and currents made it hard to set drifts on the boats that would get the jigs down to where we wanted them but we still hooked up and pretty much got smoked repeatedly. We can’t wait to go hit it again in fairer weather.
The weather will be better the next time we go out and we can only hope the GT’s still want to play when we get out there. If the rest of the season can produce quality fish like this trip did, all our punters are in for some serious hurt.
We are off to Milne Bay soon to hit up long Reef, Vakuta and a little exploration trip thrown in the mix as well so stay tuned.
Jed Hokins - K2O Captain