Now I don’t understand the phrase “that’s fishing” but after fishing for 6 days chasing Papuan Black Bass or Papual Black Snapper with the guys at Sportfishing PNG, they were constantly using a phrase one of their Japanese client’s uses to put things in perspective.
It was a case of 12 hours of fishing, making anywhere better 1500-2000 casts per day and covering huge amounts of unfamiliar water. The middle part of the day is notoriously quiet but can produce the odd fish. This may sound like a tedious task but as the guides kept telling us “this is fishing”.
This phrase wasn’t used at the end of a quiet day or after losing a fish as some excuse but to highlight the demands and needs to keep casting lures all day to catch fickle fish. The bite would die down for hours at a time and would need hundreds of casts during the quieter, hotter parts of the day. The twist was, that complacency would often set in during the hottest and most humid part of the day and out of no where, a big black bass would bite.
You might think that this might mean a missed bite, during a time of very few bites (I had less than 20 bites in 6 days of 12 hour sessions, Greg had 4 from the same period), which is bad enough but the bites were bone jarring and could easily rip a rod and reel from your hands. The fish were easily peeling line off our reels which had locked drags and straightening out hooks and trebles.
“This is Fishing” highlights the demands on anglers and gear, needing quick reflexes, strong terminal tackle, line, rods and reels to have any chance of landing these fish. With the Barra, it was usually a fair fight with more fish pulled from the snags than lost but with the bass, the equation is flipped on it’s head and heavily favours the fish. Barra were a simple assignment, they don’t hit hard, they don’t fight dirty and don’t have a mouth full of sharp teeth to cut through the 120lb leader material we were using.
“This is Fishing!” really summed up the fickle nature of the big black bass, we always hear stories of barra being temperamental but the bass leave barra for dead in so many ways. “This is Fishing” didn’t mean it was a hopeless cause, we had to play the percentages, get our casting right, lure presentation and hope to what ever god would help us that the fish wouldn’t bust us off, run into the snags or anything like that.