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Spearing PNG

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Deeper Blues pet
Jun 4, 2002
Ok not real sure how to put multiple pics in so I will have to do them manually if admin know how to put this all together feel free to edit it into shape. Guys keep in mind this was my first ever real bluewater trip, and first time spearing PNG ;) be gentle. also a little long winded!!!

On a recent trip to PNG I managed to get in a little spearing, though nowhere near as much as I would like to have! I had not had a chance to use all my equipment together due to some of it not turning up in time so I was not sure how the 1.3M rail gun would shoot and was a little nervous about the setup as the breakaway rig had not turned up and neither had the floats or bungies due to the courier mucking me around. I had used the railgun on magnetic island of Townsville a week or two before I left however the trip was a complete failure as the visibility was so bad I couldn’t see the end of the gun. By ducking into a few of the local spear fishing/diving shops I managed to partly solve the equipment problem. I ended up with 25m of rob allen float line, and a RA foam float of around 7 liters with some shark clips all bought the day before I left, I had a set of 16mm rubbers and also a 20mm rubber to try out along with an old wetsuit a mate had given me last time I was in PNG.

The first few days were rather quiet as I had come down with some mysterious illness while in Australia and it left me feeling pretty drained, I wandered down the road to Kjell’s (pronounced shell) workshop and helped sand the moulds he is building in order to produce some high quality fiberglass boats. I am thinking I will probably buy one of these hulls off him some time in the future and have him set it up for spear fishing, as it is entirely up to the buyer how he or she wants his/her boat setup. I am thinking a 4 stroke 60 or 90 in a side console fashion with plenty of space up front for all the spear fishing gear and a little lift up ladder at the back for anyone who needs to climb aboard. At around 7 M and built a little similar to a banana boat only more stable with a larger beam and better hull design I figure it will easily be able to meet my every expectation with flying colours. Anyhow enough time dreaming and back to the adventure eh!

Friday 24th, After around a week I felt a lot better and was keen to get into the water, unfortunately I was hard pressed to find people not busy working but with a little effort I convinced the local lads to come out with me and join in on some spear fishing. Patrick Max and a lad named James who was introduced to me as one of the best free divers in the western provinces all had locally made guns which when one thinks about it are very similar in mechanism to a simple euro gun.

**James, one of new brittians resident spearo’s adjusting his rubbersPHOTO1


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We ventured to a reef late that afternoon, the reef was a lot like a bommy rising out of 200m of water with no other reefs in near contact, this makes it a beacon for pelagics such as mackerel and tuna which are attracted to the multitude of bait fish that surround this structure year round.

Max was in the boat watching us and jigging at the same time… after watching max pull up a few small dogtooth and mac tuna of 5 or 6 kilo I decided to leave the boys spearing in the shallow reef for the little fish they like to eat and venture out over the drop off in search of pelagics and better fish. Coral trout were prevalent but as they were not what I was after I ignored them in the hope I would spot a nice mackerel. I was diving to between 10 and 15M as I was a bit worried that if I had a problem or got tangled in my gear ect the boys wouldn’t be able to reach me. I was on my way back up passing around 5 meters when I noticed a nice sized sweetlip I was lining it up ready to put my first shot at it when I saw directly behind it the biggest sweetlip I have ever seen, I was out of breath so I surfaced took in some air and returned to find both sweetlip watching me to see what I would do… I moved in slowly for the kill keeping my eye’s averted and swimming to the right of the fish I allowed my gun to line up the larger then gently squeezed the trigger only to find that I had completely misjudged the distance of the fish due to its size and the clarity of the water. After a troublesome reload due to the extra wrap of shooting line I managed to get everything back under control… My pride was taking a hammering as I saw Patrick looking at me wide eyed through his little goggles most likely in disbelief that such a large broadside target could be missed. Being a rather smart lad Patrick quickly resumed looking for fish and I continued swimming as if nothing had ever happened quietly cursing to myself! Before long I came upon three large Maori Wrasse, now apparently these wrasse are very good eating but looking at the large critters I decided that they were not going to be shot as they are a great site for the scuba divers who frequent the area and a little slow and too friendly to shoot as they all remained well within spearing range as I swam by. Off a slight point in the reef I dove to around 12meters and noticed around 5 or 6 mangrove jacks within a few meters of each other hanging at around 15 meters depth I returned to the surface and took a deep breath before moving slowly down to within range I paused and waited for one to approach me, failing to attract some attention I approached the nearest jack and sent the shaft blazing towards him only to see it come sliding back out as I swam for the surface. Patrick was following my progress from the shallows of the reef and after I pointed out a large triggerfish swimming around 7m below us he asked if I would shoot it for him. Triggerfish is not a fish I have eaten before but Patrick was certain it was a good tasting fish so I swam down and nailed the fish in the spine, my aim was finally coming true. Swimming along I saw a few trevally and other pelagics but not the mackerel or tuna I was looking for. Deciding that I had at least better get something to eat I shot a medium small coral trout to take home. We jumped back in the boat to troll around for a while and were instantly rewarded with two dogtooth tuna followed in rapid succession by a far larger tuna that pulled the hooks just meters from the boat. A few more coral trout were hooked trolling another near by reef before we headed back in for the night.

The next day Saturday 25th after yet more rain Riccard, Chris and I headed out fishing and spearing. Numerous schools of tuna were sighted but as I was still coming to terms with my setup and didn’t think it would be particularly wise to jump in and shoot a large skip jack, mack tuna, or yellowfin lest I lose all my gear. We trolled about and caught some nice Mack tuna and had a few hits from Wahoo and coral trout sitting off the reefs. Entering the water we were dismayed to find the night before’s rain had given us crappy vis over the first few meters (crappy vis is still better then I usually get at home in Townville) Riccard shot a nice trout which managed to rip off the detachable head whilst I bagged a nice sweetlip for tea we then went in search of a log to try for dolphin fish off. Traveling out away from the reefs we came across a stump in 300m of water the troll rods went off and I quickly boated a nice dolphin fish, jumping in I swam over towards the log which was surrounded by bright gold trevally and other small yellow tail and assorted baitfish such as rainbow runners and scad. I lay motionless near the log for around 15 minutes in which time I enjoyed my first ever real “blue water dive” in which there was nothing in sight other then the log and the boat everything else was just deep blue all the way down to the invisible ocean floor some 300m below. Riccard managed to catch another dolphin fish on a live bait and I watched in fascination as the small trevally formed a school around my inert form mostly schooling around the tip of the spear and trying to eat my rubbers. I didn’t see any larger pelagic’s however I noticed Riccards scad swimming desperately away from two large leatherjackets that seemed intent on dismembering it, I slowly approached the fish and drilled a solid hole through the side of the larger of the two only to again watch as the fish managed to get off the spear without toggling the Hawaiian flopper. This was beginning to become annoying and I watched as the fish disappeared out of my sight. I really dislike seeing anything wounded but at least I knew it wouldn’t be around long with so many large predators around. I jumped out for a late afternoon tea as it began to rain again and we again set off for a troll and to head back. The troll picked up some mack tuna and coral trout as was becoming the norm.

**A nice male dolphin fish, note the raised forhead Photo 2


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On Jan 28th after yet more rain we headed out around 1 with the boys in the afternoon to do a quick troll and have a quick look about. On the way out I noticed a large shark eating a turtle odds are it was a large tiger though I had suspicions about a mako as the shark moved very fast and was also rather aggravated. I changed the spearing setup to a single 20mm rubber instead of the double 16mm rubbers and cut the 140kg RA spear line down to a single wrap. I quickly found the 20mm rubber bruised my chest without a loading pad and was no where near as powerful as the twin 16mm rubbers, however I also found the single wrap to be superior to the double wrap due to ease of control whilst loading and less time trying to dislodge spears lodged in deep coral over drop-offs. The boys meanwhile had not taken their spearing gear so they were jigging about 150m away. I felt a bit nervous about being in the water by myself over a coral drop off so after a half hour or so I called it quits and got back in the boat with only a trout to show for my effort as I wasn’t comfortable diving deep without a buddy especially after seeing the large shark a short distance away. We trolled along the reef and Patrick again out fished me boating a nice 6kg Wahoo and another mack tuna, shortly after this I again hooked a monster fish that fought very much like a large dogtooth before wrapping my line around a coral bombie and leaving me to wind in the slack through muttered curses.

**Patrick with a 6kgWahoo and a nice mac tuna photo3


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30 Jan, It is always fun spearing and fishing with the boys but with Riccard and chris the trip is always very productive as he knows what he is looking for and tries his best to find it. Riccard has grown up in New Brittian and knows the area very well he is a mad keen fisherman and spearo and can often be seen heading out fishing with chris who is an excellent boat driver, fisherman, and spearo. Chris has the eyes of a hawk picking out bombies, birds, and markers whilst I could only stare and admire his ability. Riccard picked me up around one thirty; we then dashed out to drop off some equipment then Chris, Rommie (Riccards sister), Riccard and myself headed the short distance offshore to X reef.

X reef is a small reef not far offshore that often harbors large pelagics such as mackerel and the odd dogtooth tuna. My ankles had been pretty badly cut up from using my Garra 2000LD’s without neoprene socks, so I put on my faithful old pair of scuba fins with booties and we headed off. Descending down at around 10M the strap on my fin snapped I paused to see if I could fix it and heard Riccards gun go off wedging the fin on I approached to see a nice jack attached to Riccards line and Riccard pointing to another lower down, I saw above the jack a nice sized rainbow runner and having never shot a large one of these before I decided this would be my first. Ignoring the jack I leveled my gun with the rainbow runner giving it a slight bit of lead, as the fish swam away I released the shaft, which penetrated through the top of the fish slightly behind the head. Soon after adding the fish to the line I fixed the fin and we headed on, I could see a small dogtooth following us around the bombie from around 25M down. I had seen a few similar doggies throughout the trip as they stand out due to the small white tip on the fins. Continuing on ignoring the little doggie as it was a bit deep for me I came over a ledge to see a nice size coral trout looking up at me from around 8m, I submerged, swiming down and to the right off the trout with my gun hidden beneath me, as I approached within range I slowly extended the gun and the fish began to move away and back into the reef, I released the shaft nailing the trout from above and through the gills which seemed to kill him almost immediately. We were about to return to the boat when I noticed the little doggy swimming around still around the 25M mark and still trailing us, as I turned to head back over the saddle the little doggy dared to come up shallower to see what I was doing I dove down and pretended I was looking in the coral, the doggy looped around and came past offering me the only broadside I was going to get as he turned to disappear back over the ledge and into deeper water. The shot hit him high in the back and after a short struggle as the doggie went ballistic he joined the trout and other fish being towed along behind. As we approached the last drop off I glimpsed what appeared to be three large dogtooth go racing off back into the depths and thought that was a fine way to end the day.

Photo 4 Ricard and I with mixed bag


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Saturday Feb 1st This was perhaps the best spearing of the trip, it started around 2.00 in the afternoon with Riccard, Chris (Riccards first mate), Taco a guy from Japan who was sitting at the jetty watching us wistfully so we took him out, heading over to a nice saddle in A reef that Riccard knew would have a few trout and pelagics. Firstly Riccard and I cruised along a drop off that ran into a hundred + meters of water looking for big dogtooth or any other pelagics that might happen to be in the area. I saw a large great barracuda swimming by itself and measuring around the 2 M mark and a few trevally as well as a large hump headed parrot fish, and as always a few nice trout however this side off the reef was a little quiet today so we swam back down the current to a saddle which instantly looked more promising. Two large Maori wrasse watched us we worked our way along the saddle; I shot a nice trout and watched as a large trevally swam within touching distance as I reloaded. Continuing on I past a school of 20 or so barracuda which were sitting atop the saddle collecting any food that came along, I passed them by in search of some mackerel, tuna, or large coral trout. Looking ahead and down I saw a rather large trout silhouetted against a large sea fan, moving down silently I stalked the trout swimming to keep a bombie between us, I rose over the bommy to see the trout moving slowly away over the ledge. Riccard meanwhile had taken a few shots and was getting some nice trout as I watched in fascination to see how he was doing it, I noticed his knife slip out of it’s sheath and head over the drop-off, as It was heading down it hit a piece of plate coral and balanced their before beginning to tip over, I headed after it, diving to quite a depth I grabbed it as it threatened to fall off the edge completely and handed it back to Riccard who was busy trying to get a large trout speared through and along the spine off his spear. Returning to the boat we were both in agreement that this was a prime pelagic spot and that in the early morning or evening there would certainly be mackerel and tuna about traveling over the saddle.

We then upped the anchor and headed out further to another reef as and I got my bearings I noticed a small white fish swimming slowly around 30 meters below us… that’s odd I thought before looking closer and realizing it was the white stripes in the tail of a very large ocean going coral trout. Unable to dive deep enough to get to it I was powerless to do anything bar try wildly to attract it… the pick up lines didn’t seem to be working so I pointed the fish out to Riccard, from the corner of my eye I noticed a large school of mack tuna moving in behind Riccard… Moving in flashing my watch at them to see if it would attract their interest I closed the gap between us… I looked at the huge flashing mirror like array of fish going past me at max distance for my single wrap and carefully chose a single fish following it with the railgun and giving it a slight lead I depressed the trigger. I watched the shaft arc out towards the tuna and realized I had given far to little lead. The shot was a terrible one hitting the tuna back and high but the Hawaiian shaft finally held and I carefully retrieved my first ever Mack tuna with riccard keeping an eye on things.

**Photo 6 My first mack tuna ever (sorry bout the hands had been filleting/gutting)


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Riccard was getting some very good coral trout and I was happy to follow him round watching as he repeatedly outsmarted the fish and gained their curiosity enough for a shot. Soon however Riccard shot a nice trout as it was running away breaking it’s back but leaving the fish in such a position it would be very difficult to remove, Riccard loaded up with the trout still on the end of a spear and swimming along I watched as another large trout rose up and looked at the fish on Riccards gun as if to say what’s wrong with you pal, Riccard smoothly took aim and the trout joined his mate on the end of Riccards spear. Riccard definitely has shooting coral trout down to an art!

Photo 8
Riccard with a brace of Coral trout from Argu reef


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Photo 9
Mack tuna, Coral trout and dogtooth tuna… what more could you ask for?

As we swam back to the boat, which was around 50 to 60 meters from the boat some very large, but unidentifiable fish were present below however they were out of range and without the flasher it was unlikely we would get them. We put all the gear away and began to head home with the idea of trolling around a little if we found fish but due to the time it would have to be quick or we would be navigating the reefs in darkness! As we trolled along Chris noticed a huge gathering of frigates and other hungry sea birds. We raced onto the scene to see large strip jacks going everywhere, Riccard grabbed a penn spin reel and cast into the school with a small woghead on light line instantly being rewarded with a nice strip jack of around 9kg or so I grabbed the other flick stick which had a plastic shad flathead lure on it, not ideal but it would serve I flicked it out to be rewarded with an instant hook up and suddenly Chris was on also I managed to boat a very nice skip jack that could have been the twin off Riccards before I went to grab my spear gun I had thrown my float line in my dive bag and I realized with a sudden certainty that I was not going to be able to get it untangled in time as well as remove the fish from the float. So without waiting we headed back getting home in the semi darkness.


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The sun is setting and the Skipjack on the bight... to late to spear... time to head home:waterwork


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Ok last post/pic... sorry Iya, it appears I am in contention for the Mr longpost title... I hope you guys enjoy this story and wern't sent to sleep... there were plenty more pics ect.. but I feel bad just putting this many on the site with this much typing... let me know your thoughts!

PS admin feel free to shrink the photo's if need be... or move the post if not appropriate for this section ect. Cheers.


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Nope u are not competing my Mr Long Post title, we can be brothers....:D

I find reading hunting stories lots of fun. The next best thing to shooting a real fish and getting drag around is the hunter telling us the story in your own words....make me feel like I am there.....nice of you to share the fun days. Keep it up.
This will allow newer hunters to see how we improve ourself each day to be a better and responsible hunter.

Karma on your way for not shooting the easy Maori Wrasse, that indicates that you are a mature hunter. It is very delicous but in some scuba area, they are pets so they come close to divers. Sure no fun shooting pets. In my place Maoris Wrasse ( Napoleon Wrasse ) is protected, so the said .........but they still export lots to Hong Kong, small 1 kg ones for sea food.

Hope you nail a bigger Doggie and YF Tua and get that roller coaster ride, just watch where the lines are and don't get entangled.

Stay Safe Amigo.

PS, so sorry my Karma to you has no words or ID, I pressed to fast, but that positive blank one is yours from me my friend. he he he
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Good deal Rob,

Sounds like you had some fun in PNG. Did you spot any wahoo or yellows? Those wahoo will give you a rush like you wouldn't believe. Deep diving for good fish? Sounds like fun to me. Congratulations on the successful hunt and not being successfully hunted.

Brad :martial
Awesome story & love the pics man!

Congrats on a fine catch.
Hi Dog ,
Thanks for the story , sounds like you had a great time . That dorado/dolphin was really nice .
Success on your next trip . :cool:

Nice story Dog interesting about your gun setup. You may find that dropping crushed coke cans down into the Blue good for getting Doggies up from very deep to deep maybe you could get a shot into a big one :cool:

Originally posted by ivan
... dropping crushed coke cans down into the Blue

With the added bonus of keeping future archaeologists mistified ... :naughty ;)
Sorry I took so long to reply brad, just missed your Qn bout the yellows and wahoo. I did't seen any wahoo while I was in the water but i did see a few yellow's go flashing past out of sight...
There are plenty of yellowfin up their... just a matter of right place right time! As for wahoo we got a few on line but they were all were around 6kg... so proply not a huge ride their but I am guessing that if a 6 Kg one is thier... their will be 100 pounders somewhere! I am hoping to get shadow up to PNG in jusly with me! Just waiting for a few things to be sorted out with dads work ;)

After that trip hopefully we will be able to come back here and post all about it:t.
On a reef trip in may also... so should be interesting... not sure what I will get as it is mostly the inshore reefs we are hitting... but one never knows :)
Don't feel bad Mishu, I wondered the exact same thing.

Papua New Guinea is north of Australia.

I'm correct, right, or is there another PNG?
ohhhh that..crap...now i feel even dumber......

hey speaking of which, are there any spearfisning regulations there...such as in can i bring in my speargun from another country?? cuz im goin to Palau so i thought that Papau might be similar..at least they sound similar...
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