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Ronan's report

Thursday 5nd December, 2013

The monsoon is here, with all its glory. With the monsoon season in the Far East in full flight, one thing is sure - we get lots of rain, the mother of all rains. There have been reports of widespread flooding and literally thousands have been evacuated in many places. The deadly Philippines typhoon was the trigger of sorts and the Met's Office has issued more bad weather warnings over the next few days. On the flip side however, the day temperatures are around bearable 25 to 28 degrees and they go lower when it rains and after dusk.

Although all the bets are off for most rivers due to them being unfishable now, I am happy though - the arrival of monsoon triggers a few things. To start with, the highland reservoirs would be filled to the brim and when the water level reaches the brooks and creeks around them, certain fish species will start swimming upstream to spawn, in particular, the Malayan Jungle Perch. The spawning ritual that is almost similar to the way of the salmonid species in cold countries. So, I am travelling up to the Royal Belum again soon for a few days of fly fishing for this supreme gamefish. Ready to spawn, fat, belly laden with either roes or semen they take fly readily and boy, they strike hard! Pound per pound compared to the giant snakehead, I personally think the jungle perch is far superior. Needless to say these two species are sworn enemies. You eat my babies, I eat yours. Well, not quite for the giant snakeheads perhaps, they are the top chimp of the tree, they eat everybody - for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Due to the cool mountainous weather at this time of the year, however, the snakeheads won't be as active as the jungle perch but I have occasionally had giant snakeheads striking at the jungle perch that I already caught. The tell tale of this would be a massive sudden tug while playing the jungle perch to the boat, a strong pull downwards and of course, in the end if you are lucky - a heavily mauled perch in the net. The jungle perch love noisy and gaudy flies. They love the chase too, so when they pop the surface cast the fly to the area and strip fast, as fast as you can. Poppers, streamers and clousers are fair game to them. But the most popular flies a are the split tail varieties - dark red or hot orange hackles dressed with mirage flashabou strips - would surely provoke the takes. Although the recent fishing stories have not been encouraging to hear I am ever hopeful for a good fishing. So, this trip is to seek for the truth in them and the bell weather for the coming years' trips.

In addition to the fishing, the scenery in Royal Belum is just awesome. Mist covered hills at dawn and the customary morning drizzles are so soothing to the tired townies' eyes. By mid morning one would be in the thick of the hustle and bustle of one of the world's oldest rainforests where the Malayan Tigers and Asian Elephants cross swords. Up in the jungle canopies, gibbons and hornbills while fighting for the best branches, they belt out a cacophony of sound of sheer pleasure to listen to. Anytime. Still, nothing beats the sound of a screaming fly reel with a plump Malayan Jungle Perch at the other end of the line.

Lovely Jubbly.

Irhamy the Guv'nor, Kuala Lumpur

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