BAD BASS OF THE LOST WORLD BY BOB DALY
(PAPUA NEW GUINEA)
Impossible you say? Contrary my friend! These swimming time bombs exist in the jungle waterways of Papua New Guinea. These bass on steroids are accustomed to harsh environments battling strong currents after months of raging flood waters. These bass head to the sea for spawning only to return to their freshwater homes. Papua New Guinea is located north of Australia. It is essentially a land that time forgot. Stories abound of cannibalism, witchcraft, red toothed natives armed with machetes, warring tribes, 2 pound mosquitoes, giant snakes, and giant saltwater crocs pulling fishermen out of boats!
By now your thinking, why would anybody venture into this death trap? Well, it is in my blood, to beat the best of the best on their home turf! Few Americans or matter of fact, barely anyone worldwide has battled a Papua New Guinea Black Bass.
So, obtaining advice on tackle, outfitters, and the best times to go were obtained from a privileged few from Australia and Asia. For fish reaching upwards of 40lb, the advise was insane! 200lb braid, 6X Owner treble hooks, 300lb Wolverine triple coiled split rings, short, XXXH saltwater jigging rods, 300 lbs Kevlar leaders, and the strongest reels we could get our hands on such as the Shimano TranX. We were advised to lock the drags down to keep these bass out of their snag infested homes. Now the only problem was locating someone to take us into this Land which Time forgot.
After months of research and numerous phone calls worldwide, our group of six finally manage to access the remote regions of PNG. Locals claim to have seen bass in excess of 70 pounds, but says they are impossible to land! Our group of six experienced International fishermen decide to take a chance on life and book a trip in July. Expectations are hooking a few bass a day, but good luck landing the brutes. Monster Barramundi are a by catch along with a variety of other possible species.
The group heads out of Chicago to Port Morseby which is practically around the world! We are driven in 4 wheel drive vehicles to the Gulf Region which takes about 5 hours over dirt roads having more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese! The circus was definitely coming to town and we most likely were the clowns!
Once arriving at camp we partner up and head out for a half day of fishing near the river mouth. Our guide advises us to cast lures such as Rapala Super Shad Raps, Rapala cd-18s, Rapala Magnum 15 and 20, Sebile Koolie Minnows, Halco deep diving minnows, or other diving lures which have wire through construction. Papua New Guinea bass will attack top water lures also, so many Halco Roosta Poppers are packed. Our group of six, returns with stories of snapped braid, broken rods, stripped out reel drags, bent hooks, screws pulled out of lures, numerous lures lost to snags, and boats actually being pulled into snags by these brutes! We all wonder what have we gotten into!
Having caught monster Barramundi up to 70 pounds and a few smaller bass, we decide to head up river to the Camp which is about a 2 hour boat ride. Our guides tell us the bass fishing is much better here than near the river mouth. We fish along the way concentrating on casting to exposed logs and numerous log jams. All three boats stop by a hot spot and cast repeatedly for about 20 minutes. I figure we are the only boats in the entire country of Papua New Guinea fishing at the moment and we are all crowded in the same spot! Well, after hooking the first big bass of the trip, I find out why. The bass literally knocks me off my feet, dragging me to the front of the boat and almost overboard (I weigh over 200 pounds)! The bass burns drag off my locked down Shimano TranX. Luckily, I am able to keep it out of the snags. Guide, Joe, gets the bass into the net after a tiresome battle. The bass pushes the boga grip over 40lbs. Shortly after, another in the group lands a bass in the mid 30s from the same exposed log. Precision casting is a key as literally hundreds of casts from all possible angles to within inches of structure is necessary to tempt these brutes. Most of the bass will strike while shooting back into their snag infested home, so you have a split second to turn these beasts on steroids.
Our camp is as remote as it gets. A two story wooden frame structure was built by the natives in one the local tribe’s village! Each of us had our “own room” complete with floor, no walls, air mattress, mosquito netting, and a machete to handle things which might crawl into our beds. However, the meals and sleeping quarters are satisfactory especially in this remote world! After a drenching day of making 10,000 casts with broom stick rods in temperatures exceeding 100deg, the camps hot shower (fire heated water) was an added bonus.
Bass to 46lbs are caught the remaining days with the occasional Barramundi to 70lbs being landed.
There is more than fishing on this Adventure trip! One afternoon, we are taken to one of the tribal villages where we are presented the “Golden Rulers” which represent the “Keys to their Kingdom”. We visit the local school and are presented with a drill by the schoolchildren. Broken English is spoken by the natives, so we are all able to understand each other. I purchase a bow and arrow from one of the tribesman and will hang in my house next to the blowgun I got in Africa. The local village is made up of numerous huts and a church as missionaries have visited this remote area. A basketball court is present as the children use coconuts for basketballs. Figure they are terrific shooters, but terrible dribblers. These folks rely on the river and surroundings to survive. Villagers are sometimes gone for weeks at a time paddling bananas to Port Moresby to sell.
One morning, guide Charles, asks me if we can motor to his village which is a short boat ride from camp. A few minutes after we arrive, a white man with a white beard comes running out of his hut. He asks about the shootings in Aurora, Colorado as he is originally from Denver. He heard about the shootings on his ham radio which is his only means of contact with modern civilization.
I ask myself what makes a guy from Denver arise one morning and decide to spend the rest of his life in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea? Maybe he heard about the great fishing! The trip exceeded my expectations with the quality of bass and Barramundi.
The experiences I encountered with the tribal natives will last forever! I would go back in a heartbeat to try and land one of those 70lb bass that swim in the waters of Papua New Guinea.
A few years ago, I ventured back to Papua New Guinea for Giant Trevally under the guidance of Luke Wyrsta of Rock Expeditions. Luke is well known for putting anglers onto huge Giant Trevally and other saltwater brutes. One evening while slipping on a cold SP beer, I asked Luke why he does not guide for PNG Bass. I mentioned that the best months were during the time he was not guiding out in the salt for GTs. We drank a few more cold ones, and I finally got Luke’s attention where I mentioned the battle these brutes put on once hooked. Luke has put together extremely successful exploratory operations through 2018 and 2019 through the jungles of PNG. Luke’s goal was to find top of the line waters where huge bass can be landed on the fly plus putting safety as his top priority.
This past January when I returned to fish for Giant Trevally with Luke, he could not wait to tell me how exciting the bass fishery is. The opportunities are countless with 99.9% of the waters never seeing a lure or fly. Luke is now hooked for life along with myself!
Rock Expeditions has plans for developing new fisheries while helping employ local the local community. Luke has countless contacts throughout Papua New Guinea, so I am extremely excited to get back to the Land of Bad Bass Of The Lost World and hook into a 70lb + black bass!
For more information on this wonderful fishing opportunity, please give me a call at +1 219-659-1740 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I guarantee, Luke will give you the fishing adventure of your lifetime in a safe environment.