As we make the return voyage from Papua New Guinea to Cairns having spent the past 6 weeks in the region fishing, diving and exploring with our adventurous guests , we can’t help but share this summary from our expedition crew member Jake, whom acted as a deckhand/guide on board our chase boat ZULU.
This is a ‘fishing focused’ report so stay tuned for more info from our expedition on the diving, cultural and scenic aspects of the trip!
“When you get a phone call asking if you would like to join a 5 Star luxury fishing and diving expedition in another country, you say YES, and thats what exactly I did. The last 6 weeks I have been based in PNG conducting trips aboard the glamorous 114ft Beluga and 54 ft Zulu.
We would base ourselves out of Alotau, a small town about 570 Nautical miles North East of cairns – Here is where guests would jump onboard and we would head off on a trip of a lifetime.
I had never been to this part of the would as was super excited to check it out. On the charts the area looks amazing with massive drop offs and super deep channels between the reefs which is Doggie heaven (Dogtooth Tuna). Most of our time would be spent around the Conflict Islands and the Louisiades.
The start of the trips saw us fish our way East and visit a few small communities on the way. Each morning we would wake up to find numerous canoes and dug outs floating patiently waiting to do some trading. They would bring fresh fruit and vegetables including drinking coconuts, plentiful amounts of Shells, local bush eggs and anything else they could gather off the land. In return we would offer fresh water, flour, rice, fishing hooks and lures, clothes and also local currency.
One afternoon when we pulled up for the evening, a local lady came over and we asked about mud crabs. We gave her a Dolphin torch and the next morning we had 6 nice Muddies on the deck, including one of the biggest crabs I have ever seen. This also seemed to be the case with Crayfish.
As we would start to track further East our next main stop off would be the Conflict Islands. On the way we would troll a selection of lures and it didn’t take long till the esky was full of Wahoo.
This place is just amazing, it’s like every picture of a Tropical island on a list card. White sandy beaches, coconut trees, beautiful reefs and amazing fish life. This is where we would really start to amp up the fishing and diving programs. With morning activities ranging from spearfishing, snorkelling, diving and island visits and the afternoons saved for fishing.
We found one nice shoal patch on the charts one morning and thought be better come back and give this a try. We motored around and waited for the call from our skipper Jayson to drop the jigs down. Deep water jigging is one of my favourite styles and it didn’t take long till one of us was buckled in the corner holding on.
That little session proved to be productive as we landed a few nice Doggies, Iron Jaw and plenty of XL trout, although we did get smoked a lot of times also. As the current started to change we moved up onto the shoal and started our surface lure assault. This ended up being one of the most memorable fishing experiences I have come across.
With big Spanish charging in on the stick baits, launching 15ft in the air and almost crashing into the transom, it was almost a fish a cast. We even had a few big doggies swipe at the stick baits but failed to convert.
There is a Sea Turtle sanctuary based in the Conflict islands and this was one of the morning activities. The clients got to stretch there legs, walk around the sanctuary and learn more about there relocating programs. One morning in particular was the sanctuary hand us over 2 large tubs with about 40 baby Turtles that we’re ready to be set free. We motored to the deployment zone and the clients jumped into the water with the snorkel gear on and were able to hand release the turtles, was a pretty cool experience.
If your into spearfishing then this place is a must do. Everything from Trout, job fish, wahoo, dolphin fish and Spanish Mackeral, not to mention everyone’s favourite, the Doggies.
The next leg would see us head South to the Louisiades and just when we thought it could not get any better, it did. The scenery here really is something special. The endless white sand islands with coconut palms and crystal clear water as far as the eye can see. Once again the fishing was great with many Doggies landed as well as the other usual suspects. The clients did some cracking drift dives in the mornings and more exploring in the afternoons.
On the way back to Alotau for the last time we saw a Sailfish free jumping, so we put a spread out and tried our luck. Within 20 minutes we had landed our first sail for the trip. This Sail ended up being the only fish landed this day, although we saw many more free jumping and saved the mark for next year. As I am writing this, we have been travelling for around 36 hours and looking forward to getting back into cairns soon.
Along the way we have had the lures out and this afternoon I caught my first Blue Marlin of around 200lb.
If this trip sounds like something your interested in doing, get in contact with Beluga Expeditions. These guys seriously run a great operation and hopefully I get to come back again one day.
Written by Jake Wyatt – Exceed Sportsfishing
Photos thanks to Jake, Megan and Danielle.
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