With a plan to head back to PNG, on hold for 12 months, I was looking back through some images and video. I’m itching to get back there now! Our second trip will include learning from many of the lessons from our first trip.
On our first trip, our guide looked through much of our gear and highlighted the importance of the terminal tackle and hooks. We’d struggle to land the trophy fish if we hooked them and I can tell you, we were left with red faces by these fish, on more than one occasion.
We went on a shopping spree two weeks prior to our trip, the assignment was to get big barra lures, over 120mm diving to around 20ft. I threw in some big blades and specifically Squidgy Slick Rigs as I have heard they are killers on the barra.
We received a “care package” from Frogleys Offshore and Halco containing some monster Gamakatsu hooks from the Frogleys team and lures from the Halco guys. At a time when we were told that our hooks weren’t strong enough, I was relieved to hear the Gamakatsu worm hooks and single hooks were up to the task of stopping these brutes.
Greg has to thank Halco for his first Bass, the big Roosta popper did the trick but the strength of these lures was the stand out, being able to cop the punishment of the crushing mouth and teeth of the bass.
The Slick Rig was the biggest disappointment, not the plastic, not the s factor but the hooks. Every fish we hooked on the slick rig was lost as the hooks straightened out under pressure. Our guides thought the plastics were awesome, they thought the S Factor was peanut butter and thought the hooks were our “weak link” in the chain.
Without a means to upgrade the hooks (there aren’t any tackle stores where we were fishing), while maintaining the casting weight, they became redundant.
Starting the trip spooled up with 30lb Daiwa TD Sensor, the recommendation was to change the line to the heavier 50lb TD Sensor that evening but before I could make the change, I lost a good bass to a break in the braid. A change to 50lb braid resulted in no more breakages at the braid for the remainder of the trip.
Our treble selection was also a poor choice, the result were heaps of straightened trebles when using the 4X strength trebles and even a few of the 6X strength trebles ended up out of shape.
These fish put a huge amount of pressure on every component. Unlike a barra, the bass pull very hard compared to their weight and easily breaking through the weak point in a setup. Taking predominantly barra gear, the lures and hooks were generally not up to the task, another point most often forgotten is as simple as the split rings and we were reminded on several occasions of the value of a lure that is wired through as it could be crushed by a fish without fear of losing the fish.