There is something special about packing the gear prior to a trip, especially to unknown and relatively unexplored areas. Sportfishing PNG have a wealth of areas to explore and the opportunity to join a trip to Long Reef in the Milne Bay Provence of Papua New Guinea couldn't be missed!
After a tour around Port Moresby and a sensational dinner at the Royal Papua Yacht Club with our hosts Jason and Jia An, we returned to our night’s accommodation at ‘The Madison’ with high expectations of our pending adventure.
|The Long Reef exploratory area.|
A short flight to Gurney Airport at Alotau (capital of the Milne Bay Provence) and we were greeted by Angus and Moli before heading to board our exploratory home, the vessel ‘K2O’. Cold drinks and fresh yellowfin tuna sashimi saw everyone buoyant to get this journey underway. On-board we had a diverse bunch of anglers (and now great mates) keen to explore the unknown in Jimmy, Kenny, Jack, Jason, Jay, Mick (from Hooked On Bait & Tackle), fishing journalist Al McGlashan and myself.
First stop was the beautiful Wari Island, where we were granted customary permission to explore the local islands and Long Reef area. It was also an honour to be involved in the delivery of health supplies and school equipment for the island community and the entire island gathered to welcome us with several moving traditional performances.
The fishing was astounding, with exceptional sized reef predators like Coral Trout, Red Bass, Jobfish, countless Bluefin Trevally basically coming aboard the boats so regular it became a little blasé. It was common to be hooked up more than you weren’t! Plus, throw in Grouper, Cod, the highly regarded GTs, Napoleon Wrasse, Dogtooth Tuna and countless other species and this place is extremely special. We also had chances at sailfish and yellowfin tuna and as with all good fishing stories, I found a massive GT that decided he wanted my BCS Wave Walker 255 back in the reef more than I needed it....
(Edit: The lure was actually John Cahill’s, so I don’t feel as bad!)
NOW THAT'S A TRIPLE!!! 80kg, 35kg, 72kg Doggies!
Photo: Al McGlashan
GT’s were a main target and we managed numbers on fish up to 30kg, although the bite was a little tentative in some areas. The potential is out of this world and it makes me wonder if the recent cyclone activity had a slight effect on their activity. Dogtooth Tuna however, were insane! The skippers of the comfortable fishing tenders Angus, Moli, Mea and Michael did a superb job at setting the boats and putting us on the money. When double and triple hook-ups of serious doggies were delivered, the voices of anglers turned into grunts, puffs and moans during the battle on rampant doggies up to 80kg (weighed) heading to their reefy homes. Add in catches of wrasse for anglers (except me!) and this place is truly special.
I'll let the images do the talking!
|Al with a cracking Wrasse! Photo: Al McGlashan|
Strategic Angler Walker doing the job!
Photo: Al McGlashan
|Double on Doggies!|
|Jimmy, looking cool as ever! Photo: Jack Ong|
|Moli, always smiling! Photo: Jack Ong|
|Kenny & Andy Double. Photo: Al McGlashan|
|Capt. Jay with a beauty! Photo: Jay Freeman|
|Mothership, hot shower & dry clothes anyone?|
|Mick with a solid Long Reef GT. Photo: Jack Ong|
|Long Reef beauty. Photo: Al McGlashan|
|Who'd wanna be a baitfish around Long Reef???|
There are many ways to fish and travel in the modern age, but with tropical conditions and likelihood of wind and rainfall, the ability to return to a mothership and relax with a hot shower, regroup and travel further afield is the ultimate way to explore. Sportfishing PNG delivers this with their 23mt mothership K2O. The accommodation is fantastic, easily sleeping all anglers and crew in comfort. There is that much room on-board, you could be forgiven for mistaking K2O for a massive land based holiday unit! Also, a huge plus is the ability to take extra fishing gear and less clothing as K2O’s on-board laundry service is a massive winner! Alex, the vessel’s chef served food that can only be described as extraordinarily fantastic and the entire crew including skippers Jay and Simi are sensational in every way. These guys run like a well-oiled machine and we lived like kings.
This is a bucket list experience and I gotta go back!
A massive variety of lures proved the goods during the trip, but a couple of stand-outs for the trip were;
- Temple Reef Reefer 711-10, Shimano Stella 18000SW ToraySuper Strong Super Strong Connect PE10,
- Carpenter Coral Viper CV79-40, Shimano Stella 18000SW ToraySuper Strong Super Strong Connect PE8,
- Temple Reef Stealth 74MH Shimano Stella 6000SWB, Toray SuperStrong Connect PE3,
- Custom Wilson Venom PE5-10 450g O/H Jig, Accurate Boss, Toray SuperStrong Connect PE8,
- Fisherman Super Stealth Shock Leader 60lb, 150lb, 200lb.
And the only way to finish this report.........