Paul Arden | Tuesday, 1 June 2021

It’s been a tough year of fishing on the lake for me. It’s party because some of the more stringent lockdowns have occurred during prime fishing seasons. But I think the bigger picture is that when we are not in lockdown I’m still not on the fish. Why? Because to be consistently successful here, I need to be constantly on the water. Normally at this time of year I have about 30 spots, of different populations of Snakehead and in any session, morning or evening, I can hit 3-5 of them. I don’t have 30 spots right now; I’ve been running past spots and not finding fish and I have one Gourami spot, which is a new one to me. And we have just begun yet another lockdown – COVID-19 is at an all time high right now in Malaysia. It gives me a chance to do some work on the boat.

So anyway I thought I would talk a little bit about Stealth today. One of the challenges here when chasing adult Snakehead, is that we often need to get very close to the fish. Sometimes, accidentally, the babies get very close indeed - too close. Some anglers will naturally crouch down and try to “hide under the boat” when this happens, whereas many will still remain upright in full view of any surfacing fish. When the fish does rise it sees the angler and it’s game over.

I suspect this is where experience fishing small streams or even backcountry NZ pays dividends. If you are up close then you must get low. Sometimes nose to the ground. The classic cone of external vision you that often see in fishing publications doesn’t always apply, certainly not when you have surface waves, but here in flat calm lake conditions it most certainly does. When we are close to the fish we must get low. However if a fish suddenly appears and you quickly duck out of sight, well this is a mistake too – at least if the fish sees you ducking!

I think some good advice for any fly fisherman would be to spend time on small streams with spooky wild fish. Stealth becomes of the utmost importance.

Camouflage makes an important difference. 30 years ago I thought I would never wear camouflage; now I don’t wear anything else! That’s not just a matter of wearing greens, the background might be blue or grey, or white even!

Move slowly, deliberately. Hover above the ground with very light footsteps. Don’t stand on twigs or scuff stones. Don’t drop your pliers on the bottom of the boat! These are wild creatures. Anything that alerts then to your presence generally means you won’t catch them.

I’m a huge believer in matt rods. I would never use a glossy rod. I have seen these spook fish 100%. Beards help too. I’ve been thinking of dyeing mine green!

In our first “POD” series, Camo-Guy gave us some tips on how to be Stealthy.

Email me if you want a Zoom casting lesson. I have plenty of time these next weeks! 

Cheers, Paul


PS today picture is an old one. Shot by Sture in NZ.