The Far South

The Far South

Paul Arden | Tuesday, 13 September 2022

It was nice to get away. First day I slept 11 hours!!! So I missed that particular morning session! It’s an interesting fishery here, on the lake. It’s quite possible to put in 13hr fishing days, which is first light to last light. And with guests we usually do that or close to it. I think that’s the big difference between fishing with guests and fishing alone. Alone I normally fish 7-8hrs over two sessions. Sometimes storms prevent the afternoon session and I’ll fish around 5 hours. Which leaves time for other things in life. I do put in the full days of fishing on my own too, but if I did them every day I would burn out pretty fast; fishing all day every day here in the tropics is simply too draining. Apart from which, like everyone else, I have to earn a living too. I also have a time-consuming hobby and spend 90mins to 2hrs/day triathlon training. There is more to life than fly fishing, it’s just that fly fishing is what matters most!

What I’ve gleaned so far, in admittedly only two afternoon sessions, is that while there are babies down here In the Far South, it’s been fished recently. These adults are on the spooky side. Ashly and I both hooked and missed a free-riser each. I have an evolving tube fly set-up, that while not the Holy Grail for hook-ups, was damned close. Ashly had that particular set-up bitten off last week and I’ve been chopping and changing things since, trying different hooks and size of the loop knot, to try to replace it… and the last four fish have all failed to hook. :((

Since then, (after the four fish missed) I’ve put on a heavy-weight circle hook, with a moderate sized loop knot and landed one from two. These experiments take years! If we take the entire year there may be something like 1000-1500 Snakehead eats, depending on how many free-rising months the season provides. It takes a long time to experiment when you average only three or four strikes per day!

This FP has been written over a number of days and I’ve now moved further up the lake. I’m sorry to say that the Far South isn’t producing the sport that it has in the past. It hasn’t done all year in fact. I’m starting to think that it’s been extensively netted, which can be a major problem here in Malaysia. It’s my opinion that if steps are not taken to protect the fish here, then in 4-5 years, lake Temenggor will not be worth fishing. At which point even the netsmen will fail to make a living. That’s unfortunately the reality of overfishing, overpopulation and, well it’s just the times in which we live today.

What I would like to believe, is that if Malaysia has more sports anglers, then collectively these waters can be protected. One idea for example, would be something like Lake Taupo in New Zealand, where half the licence fee goes to the Maoris. Similarly a license fee could be charged here, with half going to the Orang Asli, who would then not net (for the current pittance they earn anyway) and instead guide anglers to fish, what would be protected waters. Alternatively, the lake could be zoned into specific areas, some of which are zero netting and C&R fishing only. So it is possible to save, however what’s most likely to happen, is same-old same-old and it won’t be worth a trip here in years to come.

We all here know that sports fishing can generate more income for locals compared to netting and creates something that is sustainable in the long-term. I hope that the Malaysians who realise this can do something about it. They really do have some of the finest and most challenging sports fishing available anywhere in the world. Properly managed, it’s something their great great grandchildren could enjoy, Orang Asli’s descendants can profit from it too and hell, it could even be a blueprint for other countries facing similar problems.

But let’s face it, if can’t even save the planet, or ourselves for that matter, then what chance do the fish have?

And on that cheery note, I’m in town doing my weekly supplies run. Back aboard tomorrow where I will fish somewhere that I know that has not been overfished.

Have a great week!

Cheers, Paul