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Ronan's report

Thursday 21st March, 2013

At last, I managed to do some fishing. It was not exactly a planned fishing trip but more like a drop-and-go fishing opportunity that came with my day job. To cut a long story short, while visiting a worksite last week, I managed to drop by at a 20-acre private lake stocked with many large exotic tropical fishes. I knew exactly what fishes were there because I helped the owner stock the lake eight years ago.

I arrived at the lake just after a thunderstorm. The lake edge was strewn with floating leaves and fruits blown down by the storm and naturally the fish were feeding on these floating fruits. Priority to work first, I immediately signed whatever documents that had to be signed (signing documents and giving staff long cold stares before signing them are the most laborious part of my job) and went back to my truck to take my drop-and-go fishing kit only to find that I left it at home, 150 miles away.

Fortunately, I still had the Sexyloops Hot Torpedo Instructor rod tucked in my truck - ever since I got back from the Jakarta fly casting clinic - with a beat up Redington Red Fly reel filled with MED 6wt line and a remaining six foot of a nine foot 20lb tapered leader. A mere field casting set up mind you but this setup would be sufficient for a normal fishing although I was not fishing for anything normal here. I was fishing for Pacu, or the Ball Cutter.

Pacu, the giant piranha-like South American fish, is an introduced fish to Malaysia. It was brought in as an experimental food fish about 20 years ago. The experiment failed. However, sports fishermen continued to value this fish for its superb fighting power. This fish has the stamina, speed, power and acrobatic skills. And it can grow up to 20kg. Many stocked fisheries in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have Pacu in them because this fish is hardy and omnivorous therefore has low maintenance costs.

The ball cutter reputation came from reports of some poor blokes in Papua New Guinea who had their family jewels chomped off while wading. They just bled to death. The suspects of the act were the Pacus that were inadvertently introduced into rivers there. I don't know if the reports were true but I have witnessed half bitten golf balls in a small pond next to a golf course and this pond was stocked with Pacus.

Back to the fishing, after searching the numerous fly boxes in my truck, I found a giant size 2 Woolly Bugger, a rusty size 1 chartreuse white Clouser Minnow and a 3/0 Gurgler with a foot of 40lb wire leader attached. Obvious leftovers from an unsuccessful snakehead fishing trip because there were no bite marks on the wire leader. I also found a box of assorted nymphs and dry flies but I immediately put them back. These small flies were not matching the hatch or perhaps I should say not matching the fruits or nuts. I tied the gurgler on and off I went to the pontoon house in the lake where I would be casting to the bank and 'lobbing' the fly on water as if something edible just dropped into the lake.

It didn't take long, on my first cast I landed the Gurgler 30 foot off the bank. I waited for a few seconds for things to settle down and pulled in whatever the slack in the line. Then I made a quick short strip so the Gurgler goes plop and stop. A second later, a Pacu chomped the Gurgler from underneath the surface and immediately charged at my direction. With no time to make a strike and not stripping in the line fast enough, the fish went under the pontoon house, made a turn and caught the anchor line. It continued to pull for a few seconds before the 40lb wire leader broke. The Gurgler went with the fish. Luckily the fish left me with an 8 inch of wire leader intact.

So, Woolly Bugger next, tied to the remaining wire leader.

Fishing was harder this time. A sinking fly with wire leader is no good. In fact, I've never caught any freshwater fish using wet fly with wire leader. Not even with multi strands soft wire leader like the one I was using. After a few dozen casts, stop, strip and stop, I got frustrated. Clearly the fish were there following the fly because I could see the disturbance underneath. But they were not taking.

With some dumb luck I made a long cast to the bank, not really knowing what I was doing, and I caught the tree branches jutting out onto the lake. I made a good tug and freed the fly. The woolly bugger darted back into water and made a soft plop sound. Within a couple of second and a solid tug, it's fish on!

This time the fish charged out to the middle of the lake and made a 100-metre dash away from me. The reel started screaming which at first it sounded like cryings of a young Japanese girl being grabbed by a Yakuza mobster before settling into a normal sound of a beat up reel. When the fish stopped for a breather and then made another charge, the reel went silent. It jammed! Luckily I had wire leader on and I held on until the fish made a turn. Stripping in a braided backing with a seven kilo steroid pumped fish at the other end is a risky business. The fish could make another run and the line might cut my finger. But somehow I managed to strip into the fly line before the fish could make another run. And when it did I just clamped on the fly line and hoped the rod didn't break. It didn't - and the fish was landed before I could break the rod.

A nice seven kilo ball cutter, a dead reel, a white rod and leftover flies. Nice. And all these happened during working hours. Fantastic! I sent a snapshot to Irhamy "The Guv'nor", Paul's friendly landlord in Malaysia. He immediately replied that the eight kilo ball cutter was a stocked fish after all. I didn't argue. Perhaps I should have argued that in the 80's, the Guv'nor too picked up fly fishing at trout stew ponds and he enjoyed fishing the East London's Walthamstow, Hanningfield and Ardleigh Reservoirs in Essex. All were stocked waters too, innit? But for now I think I'll send him some Papua New Guinean realistic imitation of pacu flies.

Nuff rambling, have a nice day.


Pic Of Day



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