July marks the kickoff of our Wild River season here in Papua New Guinea. The salt water boats and Big tackles are packed away and the dust knocked off the river gears in preparation for a completely different expedition. K2O's journey begins in Port Moresby where we load up the Tinnies and Tenders, stock up on our famous food and other supplies before setting course for Western Province and the Mighty Fly river, the Black Bass and Barramudi Mecca of the fishing world.
195 Miles of steaming brings us to Fly River delta and another 150 miles upstream we meet the clients at a remote air strip to start our adventure. This trip was an all Aussie crew organised by Bradley Thomas who was on his third trip with us. He brought along a great bunch of guys who had just the right amounts of adventurist spirit, fishing skills and pretty remarkable beer drinking capacity to boot. Bryce, Billy, Polly, Rob, Bob, Kelvin, Andrew and Alex were up for anything we threw at them, cruising tenders through 12 foot reeds along canoe paths to get to the swamps, walking around the local village with a mob of friendly people in tow and of course taking on the infamous Black Bass and Barra.
The trip started off with two days at "Oxbow Lake", fishing was good with everyone on board early in the morning. The Fly is still running fairly high but draining fast creating lots of pressure points and good drainage spots out the swamps although the main river is still very dirty. Oxbow provides a good introduction to Black Bass fishing as it is fairly snag free making it easier to land Black Bass even though they still hit and fight just as hard as the Saltwater fish.
After two days of Black Bass boot camp it was time for a change of scenery and we steamed 15 hours overnight towards Lake Murray. Lake Murray system was hit hard by last years low rainfall with the lake and the river draining from it very low and incredibly dirty so it had not been fished by us since 2017. Waking up in morning the crew and guests had big smiles on their faces when a nice clean river and swamps full to bursting greeted us.
Quite a discussion among the guides was taking place as side bets where laid, the boys knew it was game on for the next few days and competition was running high. The conditions delivered and the Black Bass scoreboard started racking up numbers with the odd quality Barra thrown in with a good measure. Most of the fish to hit the decks where small Bass but the sizes increased as the trip progressed and the guys got the hang of things. The top 5 Black bass came in as follows, Kelvin 36lbs, Polly 34lbs, Bob 32lb, Bryce 30lbs and Alex and Brad tied at 28lbs. The top five Barra went to Bob 106cm, Bill 101cm, Andrew 99cm Rob 97cm and Brice 95. Our final tally had nearly twice as many Bass as with Barra which was great, as normally it'll be the other way round. The bite was so good at some point that nearly every boat had a double bass hook up at some stage creating plenty of tension and high jinks on the tenders.
It’s been a great start for the Wild River Season and hopefully we'll be blessed with good conditions over the next couple of months and the good times will continue to roll.
For now its farewell to Brad and the Gents, who we'll be seeing again soon I'm sure, onwards and upwards here on the Fly River. As always a big thanks to the guys for joining Sportfishing PNG for our fishing adventures as well as to the crew and guides of K2O for doing a sterling job out on the water and keeping the laughter and good times flowing.
Cheers for now!