The Arvo Fish
One of the highlights for surfers on-board the PNG Explorer is the diversity of activities on offer, for guests surfed out from the morning and early afternoon session, what better way to watch the sunset than trolling a lure behind one of the three tenders for PNG Explorer. As the sun sinks the fish activity increases, and it’s not often the tender returns to her mothership without a catch to present to the chef for dinner.
Trolling a lure for some is not about the fish catching, it’s the adrenalin [yours] of the battle, the prediction of what it is… “it’s enormous, it’s a marlin, no it’s a barracuda, no it’s some… seaweed”. The mood elevates and falls with the anticipation and the excitement of every buzz of the line.
In these coastal tropical waters in PNG, the typical catch are the nearshore pelagic fish such as Spanish Mackerel, Wahoo, Yellow-fish Tuna, Dogtooth Tuna and Dolphin Fish.
The keenest angler will be all about trying out a variety of lures, from their colour to trolling depth, and many guests bring their own gear to use. PNG Surfaris will also have a rack of the user-friendly Shimano TLD 25 overhead reels which are the perfect rod for trolling, live baiting and bottom bashing. It’s a great set-up even for the novice fisherman, while still performing well for light to medium game fishing.
For the lures, it’s got to be the Halco deep divers and X-raps in a variety of colours. The role of this lure is to mimic the common baitfish of our predator, so set them up to swim well, get the speed right and maybe stagger the depth and line lengths for 2 – 3 rods as you troll.
For the more seasoned angler, there is an eggbeater or two on-board for casting poppers for GT’s, a good selection of different size and colour lures would be recommended for the often fussy but good fighting trevally.
The PNG Surfaris crew know exactly where to head for the unseen bommies and can easily recognise the smooth roads on the water indicative of currents and the likelihood of more fish activity. In times of poor visibility, each tender is kitted out with a fish finder to help locate the undersea mounts and areas of congregating bait.
We’d have to showcase the Spanish mackerel as one of the commonly caught species, generally in the 5 – 15 kg range. They have distinctive black stripes and a silver underbelly and razor-like teeth. The best time to chase them is early morning or late afternoon (from 3 pm onwards). They are a popular choice for the sport fisherman as they are a powerful and fast fish not short on action, often leaping out of the water as they chase their prey. The Spaniards like the shallower swimming lures, 1 to 5 metre in depth and colour wise, the red and whites always seem popular.
And to top it off they are a beautiful eating scaleless fish. Best consumed fresh, they have a high-fat content (yes that’s all the good Omega 3’s) are easily filleted and a versatile fish to cook. As with any fish going from water to PNG Explorers table, there is zero wastage as even the head, guts and frames will end up at the local village for a tasty fish-soup. For the locals, it’s a great reason to congregate around the duckboard at sundown awaiting the return of the arvo fishermen to share their catch. Whichever crew is filleting the score, they will ensure a fair distribution of any by-catch and frames to the visiting canoes.
Where possible, PNG Surfaris promotes keeping these fishing grounds sustainable, so catch and release is a best practice but if landed, be assured that every fish is appreciated for every ounce of its edible self.