Paul Arden | Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Due to Covid delays, the Malaysian fly fishing show that I’m presenting here, has been very slow in filming, however later this month we shoot two episodes back to back in Taman Negara, fishing for Kelah (Mahseer) and Tapah (a sort of toothy catfish), neither of which I’ve caught before of course, so this is yet another interesting challenge!! This means that I shall be offline in the jungle for TEN DAYS!!! I can’t remember the last time I was offline for ten days! One week, sure, that is the length of many fishing trips, and I’m lucky in that I can regularly escape to do this, but ten days is very long indeed! So I shall be putting Ashly in charge of processing Hot Torpedo rod orders, coordinating with Lee. Ashly and Lars can also work together for the smooth daily running of Sexyloops. And then the day after filming (I suspect it may be the day after the day after, but we shall see!) I’m supposed to be racing a 1/2 Ironman Triathlon against my sister who will be competing in Nottingham and me… well, I’m not sure where yet. Talk about necessary forward planning!!

And this has all come to a head today. Which is my excuse as to why this week’s SLTV show is still in editing format and unfinished. The other reason is that, for some reason, most of the fish we caught are either out of focus or out of frame! However I shall edit what we have this week and hopefully have a monster or two to add as well, and post these all together next week, if not before. I do have some great drone shots. Talking of which I get a feeling of vertigo when high flying the drone… how is that even possible?

We actually had a reasonable week incidentally. Ashly managed to lose her kayak one afternoon by not securing it to the Battleship properly, and the next day I found it hiding in some stumps. She initially thought it had been stolen, which is possible and would mean that the thief had also failed to tie it up properly and/or had got struck by lightning. That same lucky morning, we positively nailed some free-rising Snakehead and boated four in one session. Not huge fish by any means but all adults and was a good time had by all. Ashly caught and landed her first free-riser too which was excellent.

Ordinarily I would have 30-40 solid free-rising areas at this time of year and would jump between them in any session. These spots change daily, weekly, monthly and even year by year., but most commonly is that they the fish are in one location for a few months and that this then repeats itself annually for a number of years. Because of the lockdowns in June and early July, however, and two years in a row, I’m only now discovering them again. It was nice to find free-risers active in an area which used to be one of my Hot Spots, but hasn’t fished at all for some three years. What causes these fish, as a community to relocate, I’m not sure. No doubt it’s baitfish related in some way. What I have yet to do so far this year, is to find an area of BIG free-risers, but I’m still looking and will look again this week. I’m also Gourami hunting, but this is hard at the moment (when is it not?!). These places also change and it’s very much work in progress finding them again too. I haven’t encountered “stumping” Gourami (Gourami picking algae from the stumps) for several years now.

The lake is dropping fast. The Wet Season is approaching. November/December are the wettest months. But it’s been raining a fair bit most afternoons/evenings. It wouldn’t surprise me that we start to see babies and Snakehead adults in numbers soon. Also this Wet Season I really intend to set about the Jungle Perch. This was one of the main reasons for floating the Battleship; to see us on the lake even during the wettest months, dredging streamers to find these fish.

The Orang Asli / Sungai Tiang Mahseer project is still up and running. I haven’t been into that river for almost a year now. The OA community have, quite rightly in my opinion, shut their doors to the outside world until such times as they are all inoculated. Hopefully this happens soon and we can get back to making this happen. It will be great to catch up with the lads and, fingers crossed, international travel into Malaysia will resume again next year and they can start operations. 

But this week I have to tie flies and get tackle organised for Taman Negara. I don’t even know anyone who has caught Tapah on fly, but I have some ideas of what to tie. And it’s going to be both big and ugly. Uglier than bigger in fact, but that’s my speciality!

Have a great week.

Cheers, Paul