The International Hunt: Black Bass + A Variety of Species!

An international group of anglers heads for the remote rivers of West New Britain Island in search of one of the world’s toughest fighters among gamefish.

An Ultimate Bucket-List Inshore Fish Many anglers have heard of the Papuan Black Bass and are still yet to tick it off their fishing wish list. This trip we were able to tick that goal off for our international group of anglers from America, Singapore and Australia. This trip we embarked on a journey on board the 72ft luxury wave piercer Ultimate One to West Kove where the rivers are large, wide and home to some of the mightiest Black Bass. Scientifically known as the Lutjanus goldiei these river beasts can grow to an astounding 50 pounds and are widely regarded as the hardest-pulling game fish in the world. Apart from the lost lures, monsters missed, tree snags and meeting friendly locals in the rivers, here is a detailed outlook of what these anglers enjoyed on their Papua New Guinea adventure.

The map above shows our route from Kimbe Town. Once you arrive in Kimbe, we have a group dinner at Liamo Reef Resort and board Ultimate One for the overnight travel around the Talasea peninsula to Kove river systems. We arrive early morning and prepare for the river fishing ahead!

The 72-foot luxury Ultimate One, with its wave-piercing hull, served as home base for six anglers on this trip.

Not a bad place to spend a few days. The ice-cold air throughout the Ultimate One offers a welcome respite from the relentlessly steamy equatorial weather.


The river systems in West New Britain are absolutely beautiful. Each river has their unique characteristics. Some are lined with coconut trees, some with nypa palms and others with lush jungles to the river banks overlooked by the 2300m active volcano, Mt Ulawun. The best time to fish the rivers are between the May and December months due to the low frequency of rain (dry season). The clearer the rivers, the better to fish for these species.


The fishing tenders are extremely versatile. The 7.6m tenders can cater to 3 anglers per boat and come with your own local guide for the trip. They are equipped with on board live bait tanks, 140hp Suzuki outboard engines and an undercover area if you get hot during the day. You have the choice of doing full day fishing in the rivers or returning to the mother ship, Ultimate One for lunch.


Apart from catching the prized Black Bass & Spottail Bass, we are blessed with a variety of other good looking species that are great eating and fighting too. Here are just some of the fish you can catch while on tour with Baia Sportfishing!

A trophy Niugini black bass in the Via River is hefted by Tiana Reimann of Baia Sportfishing with Aussie angler Mal McCully on this, his eighth trip for bass with Baia Sportfishing

An outstanding spot-tail bass for Tyng Wey “Yogi” Leong of Singapore that slammed his popper near the banks. Leonard Wong

The other river snapper found the same waters as the black bass, but often farther upriver, is the hard-fighting spot-tail bass (known officially as freshwater snapper). They’re less numerous than black bass, so Singapore angler Leonard Wong is happy with this, his first of the trip. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Unexpected! Florida angler George Large in no way expected to hook a big giant trevally upriver in muddy estuarial waters but he released this 50-pounder. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Another surprise catch for Large was this Pacific tarpon. While not big by Atlantic tarpon standards, in fact this is close to the maximum size reached by its cousin in the Pacific grows. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Tiana with her nice sized speckled grouper. They live among the snags like the black bass and they hit lures with power!

This bream (actually a Pacific seabream) that Orlander caught impressed his fishing partner, Scott Thomas — editor in chief of Australia's Fishing World magazine — since (a) it was unusually large for the species and (b) it struck a lure, a deep-diving Halco. Typically they feed on mollusks and crustaceans. As proof of the bream’s normal diet of shellfish, check out its crushing dentures. A mouth good to keep fingers clear of!

Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Like a ladyfish with deadly jaws, this wolffish gave George Large something to remember. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

A fingermark snapper offers a tasty dinner. While river snapper (bass) are customarily released, fingermark — common around Indo Pacific reefs and estuaries — are likely to be kept and eaten. Yogi Leong

Aggressive white-spotted grouper offered welcome bycatch whenever they beat the snapper to our diving lures. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Lovely Spottail Bass caught under snags in the middle of the river. You can cast amongst snags on the bank or even in the middle where snags may also be.

Frightful grin: Saltwater crocodiles live in all these coastal rivers, powerful predators that may grow to 16 feet and larger. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing


With Baia Sportfishing, fishing becomes just a bonus once you experience the local culture. The locals absolutely love sharing their traditional songs and costumes with visitors, it keeps their tradition alive and authentic. With over 800 tribes and 860 absolutely different languages, you cannot visit Papua New Guinea without experiencing some part of their culture.

We were greeted by the colourfully dressed people of Goru, Witu Island. These islands are 100nm from the main town of Kimbe and the people here depend on the ocean and gardens as their food source. Here they dressed in traditional attire while singing their songs and beating the kundu drums.

The locals always appreciate a fish or two as they are hard to come by for them with limited fishing gear available.


Although we did not focus on blue water this trip, we did manage to capture some great fish from Dogtooth, Wahoo, Red Bass & GT.

Dogtooth tuna are abundant in the volcanic Witu Island area due to various pinacles and bommies rising up from the depths. These tough fish are very strong fighters and are always keen to snap you off on the reefs below. The common way to catch these amazing fish are through jigging and popping methods in the mornings and afternoons. These fish also produce some of the best sushi!

Casting a Halco Roosta Popper paid off for Riccard Reimann, owner of Baia Sportfishing, with a handsome bluefin trevally. Fishing is readily available upon the Ultimate One if you choose not to fish from the smaller 7.6m tenders. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Red Bass come from the same family as the Black Bass and also put up a vicious fight. We love catching them with Halco poppers on the various reefs in the area.

An overall fantastic and successful trip for the international gang! With lifelong memories of their experience in PNG, we are glad to showcase this beautiful side of the world though fishing. With many of places yet to explore, we are fortunate to have such a variety of fish in the rivers and sea. Make Papua New Guinea your next fishing adventure. Come catch the black bass and experience rich PNG culture just like this group did. Please get in touch with us today and we can make your dream trip a reality!

Send us an enquiry by clicking this link here: CONTACT US

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Tight lines!

Tiana Reimann

BOOKINGS: / +61498173196

Marketing & Travel Coordinator

Baia Sportfishing PNG

Baia Sportfishing Lodge

Kimbe West New Britain, Papua New Guinea | +675 7364 5694 | +614 9817 3196

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