Death by Crackers

Death by Crackers

Paul Arden | Monday, 10 August 2020

I had always envisioned a noble death, defending the rights of anglers to the last cast, or more likely getting washed down river to a watery grave. Going out with a bang but not quite yet, if you know what I mean. I certainly hadn’t considered eating too many crackers to be a potential cause.

Well now I know! Those fucking Indian Cracker “biscuits” that friends give you - Fong - pretending they are doing you a favour? They are trying to finish you off! Still, the way I see it now, is if you can survive 1/2 kg of “Muruku” crackers then you are one tough MF. It was only through my incredible physical well-being, coupled with extreme mental focus, that I’m still here and able to write this front page for you today.

“RIP Paul Arden. 1970-2020. Mr Sexyloops. Fly Fisherman. Killed by 1/2KG Deadly Muruku Crackers.”

Anyway last week was a good one. Fished with the Orang Asli lads up Sungai Tiang, we had one very hard day of fishing - by “hard” I mean we fished hard. Still lots of exploration. I had a couple of really nice sequencing runs. In-the-zone, 10 fish bang-bang-bang sort of thing.


The way I’m looking at this at the moment, is five beats, with either one or two camps. Either one camp above zone 1 and another above 3. Or else one camp above zone 2. There are short cuts through the jungle. For example zone 1 is a complete fishing day but you can cut through the jungle straight to camp - and this only takes one hour.


For me it really depends on what we find further upstream. And also perhaps how much we can control the upper reaches.


The lads are all catching fish now which is really great. I have to teach them how to net fish properly however, both for themselves and for others! I also have to figure out what future guests want. Ie how hard are they prepared to go? I’m shattered after five days I can tell you. And while I’m not hardcore river-fit like I used to be, I’m still pretty damned fit at the moment. The climate here is harsh. So maybe shorter lower beats for the less nimble and long days into the upper reaches for the marathon runners... we will have to do some experiments.


On the other hand it is excellent fishing. We had five clear days of weather. Lots of fish caught. Mostly on dries. I took one on a bow-and-arrow cast out of an impossible area. Smaller flies are the answer, certainly smaller hooks. I’m pretty sure with a full run at it - and not sharing the same stretches with 6 other anglers! - that I’d be picking up 20-30 fish/day now. As with all these sorts of rivers, you really need to be first to fish the water.


You are fishing in a pristine environment. No one else around. Copper Mahseer are very much like trout, but fight harder. There is no rubbish/litter anywhere. The Rainforest is said to be 130 million years old. It’s a unique environment. It has enormous potential. With the right regulations and the correct low-impact footprint, then I think fly fishing will help preserve the fish here and give an excellent livelihood to the locals.


But also it’s a little bit about getting the right guests here too. Sexyloops readers obviously are the right people! To get the most out of this place, however, you are going to have to put in some effort.


More on this later. I have a week of catching up to do, not to mention the Gourami that has been steadily rising around my boat just asking for trouble!


Cheers, Paul