Toman on fly

Toman on fly

Paul Arden | Monday, 30 May 2016

Last weekend I gave a talk on fly fishing for Toman/Snakehead and Giant Goirami. The first question I asked was why fly? After all it is much harder to catch Toman on fly rather than spinners and plugs. Just the casting alone makes the challenge a great one. And of course that's one of the things that makes them one of the ultimate flyrod fish. So actually the answer is easy, we don't chose the easiest way to catch Toman, even with conventional gear - after all nets and dynamite are more productive, but instead we fish with rods because it's more fun, and fishing the fly is the most fun!

Next I described the slipped-lift, shooting PUALD cast. With 2 m of flyline outside the tip you can make 8m shots simply by flicking the fly back and delivering forward. You can target fish closer by making a Reach Cast. But it's also your quickest shot to reach fish to 17m (it goes 22m in my hands but the fly never gets there in time)!

Slip 2m on the lift, touch the line with the let hand, make a tight loop backcast, letting go of the line immediately after *starting* the casting stroke, shooting line through either an O made with the thumb and forefinger, or simply shoot between the groove the hand makes between them, catch it, and with late rotation and a haul make a powerful target shot.

The next thing I discussed was how to fight the fish (like they are snags) giving from the elbow when they shake heads, and only giving line when necessary (but then you can give completely), the fish will run a few metres maybe 5, and then you stick it hard to him again applying more than 20lbs of pressure, but less than 27!

Much of the fight happens directly under the boat with this technique and so I demonstrated the technique of hand lining with all but the rod butt above the water surface.

I also talked about flies, locations, timing, tackle etc etc and Gourami.

Anyway it's back to the jungle for me, I only have two weeks left and I'm going to be busy preparing my Europe trip as well as making the most of the fishing time I have left. There's plenty of free-rising snakehead around at the moment and the fishing looks excellent!