Fishing Reports - Conflict Islands PNG March 2014

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Conflict Islands PNG report

By Damon Olsen

Conflict Islands PNG
March 2014
5 days
Conflict Islands Lagoon Explorer


It was with much anticipation that, at 6am, we loaded a ridiculous amount of gear onto a domestic flight bound for Alotau, departing Port Moresby. After an eventful night watching, from the safety of the 10th floor of the Grand Papua Hotel, the Port Moresby locals engage in their Friday night rituals in the main street, we were greeted by a total contrast in Alotau, a very laid back, relaxed and pleasant, albeit very small town.

The PNG chaos started soon after we arrived, and without going into the details, we were stuck in Alotau for the best part of 36hrs while various issues were sorted with boats before we could travel out to the islands. It is worth noting all future trips will bypass Alotau, and fly straight from Port Moresby to land directly on the islands, eliminating the risk of many issues associated with boat rides in PNG.

Upon arrival at the Conflict islands, we were greeted with chilled coconuts and an assortment of nibblies, and the general feeling of excitement and adventure had well and truly returned, it was a stunning setting, and an amazing way to arrive.

The waterfront bungalows are hard to describe, but they are the epitome of what you would dream of a waterfront bungalow overlooking a stunning tropical lagoon. In fact. They are probably better than whatever you are imagining right now.

Suitably impressed, we all settled into a hectic rigging frenzy in an attempt to beat the sunset and get in a quick arvo fishing session.

I won’t go into all the details of the fishing, but point out some highlights for everyone, as i would run out of space and likely blow up the website. The first afternoon was pretty special for everyone, with all of the ledges we cast at for GTs and doggies simply alive with all manner of fish. Red bass, GTs, dogtooth, coral trout and a few big Wrasse were all sighted. The flat calm, postcard perfect conditions left nothing to be wanted, and in a quick arvo session, we were all treated to a small taste of what was to come.

It is difficult to describe all the action we experienced, but some of the highlights from my memory from this week, and also from the following few days after this trip with a couple of journalists were:-

  • Discovering some untouched, and probably unfished seamounts close by the Island group which wa steeming with GTs, dogtooth tuna and plagues of spanish mackerel. The mackerel were just skyrocketing out of the water on our poppers and stickbaits and it was chaos for hours on end. Tim even dropped an adjustable spanner as a jig and caught a 20kg doggie, they were that thick!
  • Of course the 60kg dogtooth tuna that Tim caught within sight of the lodge was a pretty special fish, it screamed line like crazy and he did very well to subdue it. Catching this fish jigging literally a stone’s throw from the lodge highlighted how untouched this area really is.
  • The plagues of yellowfin tuna from 10-25kg that loved eating our poppers were so much fun, just hours of yellowfin surface action on poppers is a really enjoyable way to spend time on the water
  • The generally flat calm awesome weather was a stand out – love that!
  • The day that Howard caught a 40+kg maori Wrasse and a Bluefin trevally on the same cast/same lure was quite special, and Howard had some sweet revenge on these fish, and also managed to give his son David quite a bit of grief over the fish!
  • Finding bonefish on the flats was very exciting, and to have hooked up to 3 of them on the last day, literally the last few hours, but not have landed them was equally exciting and frustrating. There are some nice sized 6-10lb bones on these flats, and while i would not call them prolific, there were some good groups of fish coming through.
  • The light tackle session wer had on the reef flats for red bass, coral trout, sweetlip and emperors was the equal of anything i’ve seen on the barrier Reef. Lots of fish, lost lures and good fun.

And I guess to summarise, the general scenic nature of this place matched with the incredible fishing just makes it a special location, and somewhere i can’t wait to go back to. There’s not much more i can say that the images above won’t tell you!

Hope to see you out there, and good luck wherever you are fishing next.






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