By ELLEN TIAMU
EVER imagined what it would feel like to represent Papua New Guinea in an international event, like the Olympics, or Rugby League World Cup? There is always that constant pressure to perform at your best, to act responsibly to make your fellow countrymen proud, to show the world what a Papua New Guinean is capable of. To prove to your colleagues, schoolmates or your friends that you are the best in your field is not an easy feat at all.
I was able to catch up with Sport Fishing PNG’s Director Jason Yip and asked him how he was able to put Papua New Guinea on top of the list of the best fishing destinations in the world.
Jason said that the humble sport of fishing may not be as glamorous as the Olympics, or not as exciting as the Rugby League World Cup, but gaining respect from fishermen all over the world is just as hard.
“Fishing is a very technical and sophisticated sport. It requires special skills, like boat control and manoeuvring, reading the water, the understanding of weather conditions, moon phases, tides, and a multitude of other related aspects.
“To catch a fish of a lifetime is an unending quest for the majority of the people hooked on fishing, leading to a need in education and experience that a professional fishing guide can offer.”
Jason said that without a team of skilled and experienced guides, they would have never reached this level of global recognition.
He also explained that a professional fishing guide can only be called so if they are gifted with the ability to teach or share their skills to clients and inevitably lead them to catching their fish of a lifetime.
Two weekends ago, the Sport Fishing PNG staff were greeted with two amazing surprises. Two of their professional guides were showcased internationally!
Firstly, Friday afternoon, the team got an envelope delivered to them that came all the way from Florida, USA.
“We thought nothing of it first as it was just a blank A4 envelope. But to our surprise, it contained an IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) certificate with Mea Rei’s name on it,” Jason remarked.
Mea, who has been fishing with Jason for over 10 years even before the company started, is from the big village itself, Hanuabada. His name is now in the IGFA record books, certifying him as a guide who helped land a world record PNG Black Bass. Living along the coast, and fishing since he was a young boy, it doesn’t come as a surprise that he developed his fishing skills to professional standards at just 29 years of age.
And last Saturday, another well-known guide, was showcased on Australian national television. Molikazu Hidaka also grew up helping his dad run their family-run commercial fishing business and gained a wealth of knowledge about his craft. He was able to further develop it when he started working for Sport Fishing PNG in 2012 and was able to showcase his talents to Australians on Alistair McGlashan’s “Fishin’ with Mates” on Australian TV station, Channel 9. He has previously co-starred in one episode back in 2016, and is now a regular on television and social media.
“This is just the beginning, as the Sport Fishing PNG team is striving to make Papua New Guinea one of the greatest sport fishing destinations, by breaking new records, gaining mutual respect from international fishing charter operators, and fishermen in general,” says Jason. He is very proud of what his team has accomplished and he is asking the people of Papua New Guinea to be behind them and wish them luck, and hopefully, they can make you proud to be Papua New Guinean.
By ELLEN TIAMU