Monday 3rd March, 2014
It's been an incredibly hot week here, even by Malaysian standards it's hot! Every day last week had a high of 38C, which with humidity has a heat index of 40+. Nights are a decidedly pleasant 23C. Anyway what weather report means is that the Snakehead have for all intents and purposes shut down! On Thursday and Friday I saw only one Snakehead on each day!
It's been so quiet in fact that I even considered changing locations/lakes/jungles, but since all of Malaysia is having this heat wave then it's most unlikely that elsewhere will be fishing well either - and there are some seriously good advantages to staying where I am, not least because it's proved difficult to find a location with good camping, fishing and training all in one!
And while the fishing is extremely challenging at the moment, the Man Camp is perfect - secluded, shady and with a view - and the training ground, while tough, is excellent. Here I have a shaded 10km run (which incorporates two hill climbs) which I doubled up today for a 20K run, a flat area for sprints and a steep part for high intensity hill work. With that and the free weights, my morning sessions are going really well!
So anyway, while fishing on Thursday I spotted a Gourami and while I've seen these in the past and had a few encounters I haven't really taken them all that seriously before. They have a reputation for being extremely difficult to catch; Ti says that they haven't "cracked the code yet" (which basically means they've given up!). However they sometimes eat insects and I had set up for them on a previous trip, while fishing the Northern End of Royal Belum with Marc Petit-Jean a few years back, and got to throw a dry at one! Unfortunately the shot was taken into an area where I couldn't spot the fish - because of reflection. I waited and waited and waited and decided to give the fly a small twitch. Nothing! But Marc, who could actually see into the water from his end of the boat, told me that the fish had been inspecting the fly and with the twitch had simply disappeared into the depths. So that was my first close encounter!
Then last year at the bottom of the steps at the resort, where I kept Ti's inflatable boat for a while, I saw maybe a dozen of them eating figs that had fallen into the lake. Of course by the time I got back with the rod they had all buggered off! I still don't know what I would have thrown, which reminds me: I must tie some fig flies in case this happens again!
And then two weeks ago - before Squeaker blew up - I threw a Gurgler at one that appeared close to the boat (no time to change!) I left it static and the fish came to investigate and sort of poked its nose at the fly but didn't fully take it.... and we missed each other!
So this all got me thinking and on Friday I set out to catch one. Six weight Hot Torpedo (the lucky number four), Thunderbolt Line (it's starting to sound like an advert now) and a foam mayfly from I-don't-know-where. And yes: I spotted a fish, and threw at it, and yes it took the fly and I hooked up! The fish then proceeded to take another 100 feet of line off the reel, before snagging me in a submerged jungle. One lost fish, one lost fly, one blown opportunity.
I had one more shot that day, but for some unknown reason instead of placing the fly 2 inches in front of the fish's nose, I placed it two inches behind its head. The fish didn't like this and submerged.
I really don't know how to land these fish. With Snakehead I'm fishing either an eight or ten weight rod, minimum 30lb leader and 30lb tyger wire. I can't quite pull them backwards, but I can certainly prevent a free run. I simply don't know how to do this with a dry fly and the lighter tippet required - at least not unless I'm up really close. I was hoping they'd fight like carp, but it seems they want to snag like Snakehead. Maybe through excessive bullying it's possible to prevent the run, certainly this is what I'm going to try next...
They look like an interesting quarry by the way, and the species here can grow in excess of 10kg. The one I hooked might have been 3 or 4kg plus, but that's a bit of a guess never having seen one up close enough to handle!
Have a great week and a big welcome to our new guest writer yesterday on the Sunday Slot Anvar Mavliutov!
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