Gourami the God of fish - Stu Tripney - from the Jungle

Gourami the God of fish - Stu Tripney - from the Jungle

Stu | Saturday, 11 August 2018

For over the past thirteen years of visiting and fishing in Asia a dream of mine was to catch a native giant snakehead ,a black and white coloured one if possible. Every attempt I made was foiled by weather and overfishing by locals. That’s my best excuse and I”m sticking to it. Lucky for me I managed to land my dream fish the other week, though things have changed and my focus and obsession has changed .

Mr Sexyloops after doing over 3000 days fly fishing in New Zealand, decided he needed a new challenge in life and found it amongst the jungle in Malaysia a lake that had Giant Snakehead and was not overfished yet! 

Already he’s done nearly 1500 days on this lake over the years and catching these fish is still a big challenge for him and he’s an expert on them whether he admits or not. Though as he has told me he needs to do at least another 1500 days to know a good deal more though will never know it all. Unlike myself that knows all there is about fly fishing ,casting,  beer, snakehead and women! :)

One fish that also lives in the area which sometimes you will see when fishing and sometimes most often not is called the Giant Gourami. It came to Paul’s attention, a little bit by accident whilst chasing the Giant Snakehead he would sometimes see these other fish quite moving along just under the surface in the murky water and sometimes up on the surface. A few times he cast  smaller flies out at them and sometimes his big snakehead popper though not really trying to catch them as such, as the main focus was the not-so-aggressive-as-you-think or have-read-about (!) Giant Snakehead.

He asked around the few fly fishermen in Malaysia about this fish, he had now learned was called the Giant Gourami they all told him that it was an impossible fish to catch on the fly! Instantly like all of us geeky fly fishers the gauntlet had been thrown down by the local fly guys, whether they knew it or not.

Searching the web for information about fly fishing for them was also fruitless there was no information to be found apart from some stocked pond information on them in Thailand. He then set out to try and catch one and struggled at the start and still does; he could not find them, they refused his flies, they spooked easily.

The wild Giant Gourami was a sort of  becoming mythical GOD of a fish to him, like it has for me the past many weeks.

Last night after another seven blank Gourami hunting days, one swam slowly past the boat just on dark, the glow from its iPhone which it had obviously forgot to switch off, giving it away. (normally they always switch off there phones!). You may thinking I”m joking these are super clever fish, the scientists have said carp are one of the smartest freshwater fish?.

The first year Paul managed to fool ten or so before actually landing one and you have to remember this guy’s a pro and your talking hundreds of hours and kilometres of shoreline involved and days camping out with his Gourami quest. He missed them, he hooked them and the got off, they wrapped him around submerged tree stumps, his line broke, the hook broke, the hook bent, the list goes on. But he eventually started to land them and despite still not getting them all, he does well.

Though even in the time that I have been here, Paul has not even had one take his fly. I’ve had a few more days chasing them and have had like Paul’s fist year. Around ten chances and you name it, everything possible has happened and still no Gourami in the net. I am loving it , and now sort of not sure if I ever do land one, what’s left?! THE GOURAMI IS GOD!

Some people have caught one on the first day and one guy caught two in one day! Over the years though not many. 

Jono Shales, Aussie pro saltwater guide, was here recently and in a week landed one and missed quite a few. He was stripping his so called dry fly as it was sinking. He said they would chase and eat it. So when I got back to the jungle from the specialists with my two new - hopefully working - eyes, that was my plan, to give that technique a go.

After a few days I found a single loan Gourami who seemed to be quite chilled, cursing along. I was all set with the newfound Jono Technique and spat on my fly furiously - the same fly Jono had used and once it was dripping with saliva I made the perfect cast. I let the fly sit motion less and I stopped breathing, just incase it heard me!

The Gourami swam towards the fly a little though ignored it and I could tell it was about to keep cruising along past my offering. My brain lit up and I thought “ Not just yet you mother fucker, I’ve got the old Jono Shales’ trick up my sleeve”.

I gently twitched and striped the fly still holding my breath just incase!

There was a puff of some sort of cloudy stuff from behind the fish as it shit itself and FUCKED OFF!

Jono also saw some elephants in the short time he was here, which goes to show that’s fishing, or just his bloody luck!

Tonight I will kneel and pray to the Mythical Gourami facing a can of tuna.

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