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Ronan's report

Friday March 28th, 2014

Paul showed us a nice giant gourami caught at the Belum forest reserves using a size 16 dry fly on his last Thursday’s FP. I had to bring that story up again because on my record, that fish was a significant catch. Paul probably was the only person that I know who went into the jungle, decided to catch gourami at some point in his stay and actually caught one. The success was not after some trials and errors. We had been talking about how to catch a gourami for over a month before Paul actually had a fish to show.

Catching a large fish using dry fly was always a big deal over here because not many fishermen have done it consistently enough to pinpoint a dry fly pattern or even a group of patterns that work better than others.

Fly fishing is relatively young over here and we do not have records from generations of fly fishermen for reference. Most of us do not even know where to begin the learning process. You can find up to a hundred types of insects on a single matured rain forest tree. Most of these insects can be found all year round. On water, you are more likely to find terrestrial insects than hatches or emerging insects and I am quite sure the ratio was way more than the conventional nine to one ratio theory, more like 900 to 1. I am also sure the water in rain forest had rich aquatic insect ecosystems too. However because of the shear diversities of insects we have here and the narrow band of temperature change all year round, it was almost impossible to figure out what insect a fish feed on a particular season or if a fish had any preference to begin with.

Hence the conventional wisdom of matching the hatch was almost impossible to apply although it may not be entirely impossible. Perhaps after one studying a fish long enough, he may be able to find out its consistent feeding pattern. The multimillion dollar question now is how many fishes one had to catch before he could claim that he had broken ’the code’ using dry fly.

While I believed a fish may be prone to react to some particular triggers, I also have my doubts on the idea that there is a dry fly pattern that will work better all the time. Perhaps the idea of strictly matching the hatch was a fly fisherman romantic fantasy like those voluptuous sun bathing hot chicks in Hollywood movies. Perhaps each gourami has a personality and has different preferences. I hope Paul could prove me wrong and set new precedent in dry fly fishing in this part of the world. In the meantime every time I see a gourami, I will throw whatever is already on the end of the tippet. I could tell you it is very likely to be a Clouser or a Gurgler.


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