Png Portlock to Eastern fields April 2019
I was really looking forwards to our return to Eastern Fields. As my second trip I knew what to expect. 🎣 😁
As usual the friendly bald Jia from SFPNG was at the airport to pick us up and take us to Luxurious K2O mother ship Captained by Cameron Mundy which would be home for the next week. We had a change of plan and steamed to Portlock reef for the first 4 days (which rarely gets fished) then Eastern Fields for the last 2 days.
Traveling by night we arrived next morning and hit the fishing grounds hard. Unfortunately a few anglers were feeling seedy from the overnight steam out and were unable to fish until day two. Best not forget to to take your seasick tablets.
Day 1 Two hours in we had our first in counter with the famed topwater dogtooth tuna. Not much more is sure than getting a bite from a fired up doggie. After missing Alex’s popper the doggie continued to follow the popper then circled under the boat, skipper Billy said “drop a jig” Alejandro complied and was hooked up to his first doggie. His sporting rod and reel choice left the reel screaming and the doggie headed for the 1km sea bottom at Mach 1. 30 seconds into the fight the rod blew up and the braid was cut on the boat gunnel. Doggie 1 Man 0. We also got a taste of what was to come prize trout and quality Spanish mackerel acrobatics.
Day 2 Saw a good number of reef fish come in on topwater lures and diving poppers (fcl) doing quite well boating 2 Napoleon Wrasse and another on MB 100g popper. Ashley was dubbed the chosen one on this trip and he just couldn’t do anything wrong on this. For his first trip to PNG, he was consistently boating nearly double what anyone else was. His lure of choice was a sinking red tank lure. The average size of the coral trout was quite nice some falling a little shy of the 1m mark. The Spanish mackerel were around in good numbers and were doing their best to reduce our lure and jig count for the return trip home. We had a lot of fun watching them get totally airborne smashing our topwater lures. GTs also came to the party.
Day 3 If you’ve ever chased dog tooth tuna you’ll know how the planets need to align to boat any consistently. We definitely found them easily and the sounders were alive with bait and big arches around them. I found 200-250g Centre and top weighted jigs worked best and didn’t have any action until I removed my wire assist. In saying that we didn’t jig up any doggies prior. Between the mackerel,barracudas and sharks we felt defeated on the the doggie front. We definitely had a blast catching the +20kg mackerel their acrobatics and shear speed left all of us grinning and shouting in excitement. We also saw a free swimming marlin on the reef edge.
Day 4 For me this was the best day. The heavy topwater scene was slow so I pulled out my pe4 and cast small suspending and sinking stickbaits just beyond the drop off inside the danger zone. Battling the big red bass,long nose emperor,Maori sea perch,coral trout and more away from the dangerous shallow reef into the deeper water was not just entertaining for me but for everyone watching on the boat too. At 11am the jig bite went hot XL mackerel and the mystical doggies were playing the game. We had all lost our fair share of jigs by now but we didn’t care. Duncan landed the first puppy of the trip and Ashley soon after got to experience the awesome first run of his 25kg doggie. My doggie magnet curse was still in effect. Which sees me attracting doggie for everyone on the boat besides me. The topwater bite fired in the afternoon and a mixed variety of GTs,reefies & more airborne lure stealing XL Spanish mackerel hitting lures boatside. Fikai positioned the boat and on the last drift of the day the sounder looked so jam packed with bait and arches I had a boner. I dropped my jig down to 80m jigged up about 15m and boom I was on to something big. We thought it was a doggie but it didn’t have the blistering run the others did. We then thought maybe a big wrasse but once we saw color called it for a GT and as it got closer realized it was in fact a quality doggie which had liked my jigging style so much it inhaled the jig so deep it was hooked in the throat/gills and couldn’t swim properly. Munching on the jig the whole fight. Finally after 5 trips the doggie curse had been lifted and the fish of the trip was landed. Paul from the UK also landed a 30kg doggies jigging.
Day 5 Was normal fishing for most but Ashley “The chosen one” had a Stella day fishing with guide Billy “Jean” boated 6 GTs on topwater reefies galore and got a few hits from a friendly marlin swimming within casting range. On the jigging front landed a doggie and hooked another which was unstoppable.
Day 6 My room mate Ashley’s mojo had rubbed off on me if I’d had known this was possible I would have spooned him in bed on night 1. We concentrated or efforts on the casting at the outer reef points and drain on the falling tide. Our boat landed 11 GTs before breakfast and 10 were by me and on the same floating stickbait. We returned to K2O for triple level toasted sandwiches and hot chips before heading out again for the afternoon session. Billy knew exactly where to take us and the doggies were there and hungry. We landed two and I decided to be silly and “micro” jig a 80g jig in 50m of water on pe4 in the hope of a sub 20kg doggie. Hook ups were plentiful with bludger trevally,rainbow runner,mackerel,trout all hitting the deck. Stefan was pretty rooted by day 6 so I offered him my zenaq 73-4 and he had a ball micro jigging and donating pretty much all our jigs so these chosen fish could look pretty showing off their new bling bling to the other fish.
Other worthwhile mentions. The food and service of the crew is fantastic. K2O is a very comfortable mother ship but if you have ever been seasick take your meds before the steam out otherwise your regret the way the big Catamaran sways and rolls while underway.