My first taste of the Papuan Black
Being the rookie on the team, I have heard a lot of stories about the notorious Black Bass and the big Barramundi’s that dwells in the remote rivers of Papua New Guinea. I was entranced by the tales and experiences of my friends that made me really excited to encounter it first hand. Rods breaking like a twig, Reel gears broken and 100+ pounds leaders snapping like a thread are just some of the wild encounters that our clients had during their Wild River Expedition with us. One client even quoted that these beasts are like “FREIGHT TRAINS” because of their raw power that will literally leave you in pieces after the intense fight!
We kicked off the River season for the lodge by inviting guests that will help us scout and explore the new playgrounds that might have arised after the heavy rains and floods. I, along with the SFPNG team went for a 6 hour ride on a Sunday morning to the Lodge Camp to ensure that everything will be set before our guests arrive. The travel was a bit long but there are a lot of things to see along the road. The locals that we encountered are very friendly and always waves at us to acknowledge our presence and we wave back to show our respect and permission to enter their territory. We arrived at around noon time and I was in awe by the raw beauty of the place. I had these feeling that I am in for a treat for the photos that I can take.
The Lodge on where we are staying that is run by the local Catholic church in Terapo. The lodge was used as a quarters before by the missionary priests and nuns that came to Papua New Guinea.
SFPNG Truck with the full load of the equipment and things for our lodge stay before unloading.
Our Resident SFPNG Terapo boys getting the boat ready down to the river.
The Local Catholic Church that has been standing for more than 50 years.
A villagers house across our lodge beside the main river
Then came Monday on when our guests arrived. Kazu, from the land of the rising sun and along with him are 2 guys from Taiwan, Oliver and B.bo which arrived around mid noon. They literally just took a light lunch and went straight to fishing.
The fishing was more like a warm up by revisiting the general spots like the Mouth river and creeks on where our team last year got the good size Bass and Barras. We marked the spots that we think are the best places to explore the following days. We got a couple of stikes from Barramundis but no solid hook ups and called it a day just before sunset.
We were greeted by a cool evening breeze when we arrived back at the lodge along with a sumptuous dinner served by one of our new chef, Derrick.
We rigged up again the rods and reels that we will be using the next day and went early to bed for our second run tomorrow.
Then came day 2, Kazu and I were guided by Jia, our sales manager and Pro Guide for the rivers.
We chose to go up river to check the creeks and spots near the swamps where a good mix of clear water, brown water and current is. We placed our boat in a good position near the current and had a few cast then all of a sudden Kazu shouted that he had a big strike. Quickly, we hurled down our lures to the same direction and then Boom! That is when I got my first Bass!
The fight was brief for the Bass took it near the boat. The fight only lasted for less than 30 seconds. I was in a state of awe and as if I forgot the things to do next when we landed the fish. My whole body was shaking but in a good way,lol! We quickly took some snaps and weighed the fish. The fish registered 18 pounds on the Boga Scale. We then quickly put back the fish into the water and help it to swim a bit and carefully released it to fight another day.
We stayed in the same spot for another 20-30 minutes and I got another hook up!
The strike was too far out in the shallow part but I still managed to pull the fish near the boat before it shook off the lure in its mouth. The fish would have been a good 18-20 pounds as well, but oh well, that’s fishing, You win some and you lose some.
Over the next day, I was assigned to document the rugby match that SFPNG and Goodman Fielders sponsored. I was in for a treat again on taking photos and videos of the villagers and different tribes of the PNG gulf that will participate in the Rugby Match.
The Mala Crocs Rugby team that won the previous Jason Rugby cup.
The matches were intense and you can see the pride of each villagers cheering for their hometown team.
On our fourth day, The fishes are more active and more aggressive, we found a spot near a new breakthrough with plenty of current and a very clear water. Kazu hooked on a 16 pound bass, and Jia and me also hooked on a smaller sized bass as well.
We went to another spot that is more up river and found a promising spot on where Kazu hooked up a Barra.
After fishing all of the spots mid river, we head up-river to check the previous spots we visited the last few days. The activity has been very quiet again and instead, we went to visit and meet some locals that were living beside the rivers.
Kazu fooling around with a freshly picked bunch of Bananas.
The children of a local resident that resides beside the river
A child carrying Buai or Betel nut with his Grandmother carrying the mustard fruit on a palm leaves basket.
Oliver having a photo with locals traveling on their boat
While going back to the lodge, the weather was gloomy and you can almost smell the rain that will fall through the night. Once at the lodge, the rain poured heavy and everyone was thinking that the rain will somehow affect our last day of fishing by tomorrow. The River might be flooded and it will be littered by floating logs and debris. But somehow the rain can also help push out the water from the lagoons and swamps that holds the clean water. We then proceeded to eat our dinner then went to bed to fish our hearts out by tomorrow.
A cold and foggy last day of fishing.
Here we are on our last day of fishing, clearly the rain last night made the water very dirty and there were debris scattered everywhere. Feeling a bit troubled of the river condition that definitely affected river clarity, we still sticked to our plan to fish the mouth creeks that were connected to lagoons and swamps. The first spot looked promising but no good results, then agreed to move to a new spot. While hovering on the sides of the river, we instantly recognized a water pattern on where a mix of clear and dirty water was running.
We were then taken to a small creek with a really good current going out while mixing with the dirty water from the main river. Not too long enough, Kazu hooked on the first fish of the day! An 18 pound bass! I casted as well on the same spot and immediately hooked up on a smaller but feisty bass on my trusted lure.
Double Black Bass!
It was like a magical place on where we keep on hooking fish, Bass and Barramundi’s are hitting up on the same spot.
Before ending the day, Oliver got his Personal best Black Bass at 18.5 lbs and B.bo hooking up his meter plus Barramundi.
B.bo with his prized meter plus Barra catch!
Oliver capping the day with his 18.5 pounds Black Bass!
"The final day was really good and ultimately the best way to end a fishing trip."
Terapo has been very good to us and we look forward more in exploring and venturing this amazing and pristine part of Papua New Guinea!