TheTight Line Vol 8 Part 2 - page 34-35

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a rod rated to 22lb is usually something
I would never recommend, at least from
a sales point of view! However, with
careful consideration to not high stick
the rod, it actually performed beautifully.
The power I was able to put on a fish
was rarely responsible for any losses.
The power of the 10-22lb Nordic Stage
Cheater (to date, my go to PNG rod) was
in fact so pleasing it led me to downsize
further and give the Nordic Stage Scout
(6-14lb) a crack on the bass as well.
After catching several mangrove jacks
(also prolific in the rivers), I was finally
rewarded with hard strike typical of a
black. After a short but brutal battle, the
first black bass ever caught on a Nordic
Stage Scout surfaced and my satisfaction
was soaring.To be fair, it was touch and go
and I returned to my heavier set up soon
after, due to an absolute smoking on the
next cast. This being said, on our most
recent trip to PNG, Henry Do exceeded
all light tackle expectations by boating
the fish of the trip, a 36.5lb spot tail bass
on the Nordic Stage Cheater CHS672M,
a 6-14lb rod!This is just about unheard of
on light tackle, but I would probably not
recommend this approach for everyone.
A lot of planning goes into each trip and
a much of it had to do with the timing.
Utilising the expert advice from Riccard
the dates were set to coincide with the
full moon. This not only resulted in
bigger tide movements and more run in
the water (which was a definite benefit)
but one more very important factor. In
the rivers of West New Britain a monthly
event occurs which stirs the black bass,
and many other predatory species into an
uproar. This is the white bait run. Ideally
trips should be planned to coincide with
the lead up to this event. The logic is
simple… If a trip can be planned as close
to the white bait run as possible then the
black bass will be fiery and aggressive.
This timing means it has been the longest
possible time since these fish have gorged
and they are waiting, hungry and eager.
The flip side to this however, is that if a
trip is poorly timed and the white bait
have already commenced their run, the
fish can overfed and sluggish. It is a tough
gambit with the white bait not being
perfectly predictable and sometimes not
arriving at certain rivers at all. Needless to
say local knowledge is the key to success
in these predications and Riccard served
path leading from the pier to the lodge.
Finer Points:
As mentioned it was with a sense of
trepidation that I entered this foray with
the calibre of gear I planned to use.
When thinking of black bass, one must
compare them to their close cousin the
mangrove jack. Despite possessing blue
water size, black bass inhabit snaggy,
treacherous water and have no other
intention once they hit your lure than
to return to their lair. There is no option
to use light drag to wear fish down but
conversely locked, fish stopping drag
must be applied. The black bass also has
a much greater ability to bite through
leader than a typical jack, due to their
significantly larger mouth and teeth.
With this in mind, 30lb braid was chosen
and a 50lb leader to match. FG knots
were the go and saved a lot of re-tying
when the inevitable brickings did occur.
Running 30lb braid and 50lb leader over
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