So you've booked a PNG Black Bass trip, and you have prepared rods and serviced your trusty reels and spooled them up with fresh braid. Now you are thinking about what lures to bring. Easily the top question asked by our clients everywhere in the world. "What lures should I bring?".
Once you book a trip with us, we send you a list of recommended tackle, which includes rods, reels, line, terminal tackle, and of course, LURES. We did not just put random lures into this list. These lures that we will be discussing today have been in the starting roster of all our guides since the start (more than 10 years ago). It has been a while since we last updated the recommendations list, and I thought to ask the rest of the guides a serious question: "If you had to take 3 lures to use for PNG Bass fishing for the rest of your life, what would you choose?" The guides' answers were almost identical, with only a few outliers.
Take note that the lures listed below are at random. The number 1 lure doesn't mean that it is the best. Mixing up the lures listed below with your personal favorites is always a smart move.
#1 - HALCO SCORPION 150
All guides agree that the Halco Scorpion must be in your lure arsenal. It has been the go-to lure since the start of the operation, and has produced a lot of the 40lb bass caught throughout the years. It is widely used in Australia for Barramundi, proven to work in tough tropical conditions, and can withstand the abuse that PNG Bass serves, the Scorpions are a must have. Slow retrieves with pauses and twitches are recommended. When trolling, remember to twitch to the front of the boat, then let the lure suspend on slack line when you point the rod to the back of the boat, then repeat. Focus on the 150 sizes, in 5m+ and 8m+ diving range. Feel free to bring some 125 sizes (shown in the photo above) but don't bet everything on them as they have the towing points on the bib, and they don't provide us with the piece of mind needed when hooked up to a fish of a lifetime. Bring a mix of bright flashy finishes and bright colors.
#2 - OARGEE OARSOME 130
A new addition to the list of favorite lures, the Oargee was introduced to us back in 2015 and has been extremely productive ever since. It has a similar body profile like the Scorpion, but offers a more subtle and less aggressive rolling action. These bad boys can be retrieved quickly, or slowly, with twitches and pauses in between. Oarsomes have the stability to be trolled at both slow and high speeds. Originally designed for huge Murray Cod in Australia, these lures are built tough and has shown their resistance to breaking, so you can be assured that they will last you the whole trip. Their towing point is also wired through, although it connects onto the bib, but no failures yet since we started using them. Grab the 130 sizes, because size does matter when it comes to PNG Bass fishing.
#3 - SALMO PERCH SDR 12
Apparently very hard to find these days, the Salmo Perch is always in the top of our guides' minds. The SDR, which is their deepest diving model (website states a diving depth of 12m +/-), and we utilize them for this specific feature. Our fishing conditions are never consistent, specifically the depth and clarity of the river. Bass are very structure oriented, and almost always stay inside or close to bottom structure. When the team is confronted with a sudden increase in river depth due to rains up in the mountains, the Salmo Perch will be your best friend. It does a very nice slow rolling action, and can hang very deep, allowing it to seduce the deep holding fish we are trying to target. The through wire connection is a bonus too, and they are built to last.
#4 - CLASSIC 120 (Barra Classic)
It's name itself explains why this lure is on our list. Used by the founder of Sport Fishing PNG himself decades ago, this has proven to be a must have when the fish aren't cooperating. Having a very noisy rattle, it seems to wake up, or even irritate the fish, causing them to strike in aggression more than due to hunger. Can be cast or trolled, this is a very versatile lure that can save a rather slow day of fishing.
#5 - ZEREK FISH TRAP 110 / 95 (Soft Plastic Vibes)
Another newcomer in the list. The soft plastic vibe phenomenon was started when David Green "Greeny" experimented with them during the Wilson Fishing team visit in 2017. Utilized for pinpoint accuracy when targeting fish that the sounders have picked up in and around the structure. Once the guides find good structure at the bottom, and mark fish, drop down your soft vibe lure and do the jig. A lift and fall technique with a moderate speed often gets you hits. When you do get a strike though, the chances of the fish getting back under structure is extremely high. So quick reflexes and an aggressive retrieve is needed once you hook up.
There are hundreds of lure options out there that can provide similar results, so don't limit yourself to these recommended lures. Rapala X-raps, Duo Fangops, Mark-A Lures, and other brands offer similar body profiles and will still catch you your trophy fish. These are just the lures that we have grown to trust over the years. Do not be afraid to experiment and try out new lures. You never know, they might make it into the next top 5 list.