Paul Arden | Monday, 27 November 2017

First up, Ashly and I are heading to Australia soon. We will fly to Perth on the 13th December. My good friend Graeme Hird and I will be giving a weekend fly casting course on the 16-17th December. One day will be freshwater fishing casts and the other day will be saltwater fishing casts. I'm organising the course structure (and handouts) at the moment. I have no idea when I will be back in Perth, so if you are interested in a fly casting day - or two - with me in Perth, then this is your best opportunity for the foreseeable future. Course numbers are limited. Sorry it has to be first come first serve. Please contact Graeme for more details (he's the organised one)!

Graeme can be contacted on:

I shall also be around for a few days prior to the course, so if you are interested in a test cast of what is arguably the finest rods in the world, then please do not hesitate to contact me:

Shortly after this, Ashly and I will be heading over to Miena in Tasmania. We shall be living at Hairy's "Hare's Lair" - where Ronan and I lived quite a few years back. Ashly will be there for one month and I shall be around for two months. I have the full set of Hot Torpedo rods with me, so if you fancy a cast/fish/beer then please do get in touch. I don't as yet know what we shall be doing for transport. Bikes possibly!

I fly back to Malaysia on the 21st February, via Sydney. I'll plan a few days in Sydney.

Now last week I was having a chat with Marc Crapo. I've known Marc for quite a few years having met him at the Ennis car parking lot where I was sleeping at the time. He didn't have a beard then but he sure has one now! He has a great underwater trout shot that I think would be perfect on one of our T-shirts so I was arranging this, and while shooting the shit about fly fishing and the jungle life in general the subject of Giant Gourami came up.

One of the most amazing fishing experiences I've ever had (and I've had a few) occurred while guiding Dirk for these fish. We were fishing cicada patterns and saw deep down a Gourami that looked quite similar to a rock. Dirk made the shot and slowly but surely the Gourami came up to eat the fly... only he didn't eat it, instead he almost ate it before deciding to drop down and look at the fly from a different angle.

Perhaps 20 or 30 seconds later the fish came back up closer and closer and looked like it was just about to eat... but instead dropped back once again to have another look (bastard).

I'll swear to you that this fish looked at the fly, looked at the braid leader, looked at the end of the line, looked at Dirk (I was invisible) looked at the fly again... came right up numerous times to within a hair's breath of eating the damn fly but didn't. Every time it came up were sure it was going to eat.

Like two kids in the boat we were, "oooh, oooooh, oooooh... argghhh"

This continued for FIVE MINUTES.

I'm including some of the many photos I took of this fish inspecting the fly (and one of the flyline) from 10.17am -10.22am.







Can you imagine such a fish? Giant Gourami are like no other; incredibly difficult to fool, and especially difficult to land. Tough, armour-plated, and dare I say it... "intelligent" fish? I don't know if they are intelligent, and I'm not enthusuastic about using that word to describe a fish, but there is something very different going on in there.

I've had Gourami inspect the fly, swim away 30 feet, turn around and come back and eat it! This has happened more than once.

And Dirk's fish? That one finally refused! But the previous day he landed a cracker.

I've never before either seen or heard about a five minute refusal. What an incredible fish; they are simply amazing!!!

Hopefully this weekend we will catch some. I've had about 35 now in the boat and every one has been a small miracle. This has been a great year for them and I'm slowly working them out more and more. I think a lifetime of fly fishing for Giant Gourami would not be a wasted life. They are, I believe, the ultimate dry fly species. I like to think that my 35 years of trout fishing helps me, in fact I sometimes think that this is why I fished for trout; to prepare myself for Giant Gourami - the God of Fishes!

I'm still working on the Academy, rebuilding the old Board and planning a new up-coming section where you can upload a video of your casting stroke and we offer friendly (and occassionally expert) advice.

Cheers, PaulĀ