Gourami are NOT open!

Gourami are NOT open!

Paul Arden | Monday, 14 March 2016

I still have to write an FP on Streamer fishing as a follow-up to TZ's Streamer tying lesson. OK this is not it! It will happen I promise, hopefully next week while in Thailand I'll have some more time to put something together. Of course if the fishing is really good there then I'll write about that and postpone yet another week, but it's on the list I promise you! I've fished streamers often for wild trout in many parts of the world and so it should be a good one. However at the time of writing this (Friday night) I've just had my arse kicked by Gourami while fishing for them for three days under the hot relentless sun and while it's fresh in my mind I want to talk about them.

Now as you'll know I've caught a few Gourami now. Hooked about 30, landed about 1/3rd. Best fish was a 4.4KG Gourami that I caught while it was Stumping (eating weed off the stumps), on a size 8 dry fly. But there has been other good ones too, including an 8lb Gourami on a size 16 ant. Many fish were lost, until I switched to using braid as tippet. I literally lost the first 8 fish of this trip on .22 Samurai mono (7.2KG) when they snagged me (or by playing them too hard).

Normally when fishing here you see 1-3 Gourami/day. But a number of things has happened, a) the water is much clearer - visibility is some 3-4 metres and b) it's Cicada Season. Over the past 3 weeks I've started seeing many more, including Gourami cruising wind lanes (!!!) as well as Gourami territorially running the banks and feeding under trees in the way that trout do in NZ lakes, hell, I've even seen Gourami on the flats! I fished for three days this week (one full day and two half ones) under the full sun, which is giving soaring temps of 37/38C (which with humidity feels 42/43C) sight fishing for these fish - and getting 30 shots each day at fish between 3 and 5+ KG.


And catching none!


I've had fish look at the fly for over a minute, come within millimetres of taking, had fish spook at the last minute and do all sorts of weird shit. But I have not had one single fish, out of some 90-odd fish thrown at, actually eat the fly!

I've thrown Cicada patters (tried about 5 different tyings, on all sorts of tippet from braid to heavy mono to mono that actually is going to be very hard to land the fish on - the same stuff that 9 out of 10 smashed me on before switching to braid). I've tried sinking the braid, using different diameters, different colourations, with marker pens. I've tried dun patterns in different sizes and even nymphs.

The fish that really set me back was spotting a cruising Gourami of about 4KG and dropping a lightly weighted Damsel nymph on light tippet well in front, the fish came straight up to it, accelerating like it was about to eat it, got within 3 inches, massively spooked, turned 180 and dashed off in the opposite direction! That fish for me was a dead cert take and a 90% chance of a loss - not the way I normally fish, but I wanted to at least convince myself that the leader was the problem.

So I'm at a bit of a loss. I've ordered up some different monos from Nick's Tacklebox Adventures in KL, I have some ideas when it comes to wets, and I may have to go small - although they are eating massive cicadas too! I really don't know, but I do know that ten fish hooked is not outsides the realms of possibilities.

I really thought I had opened it up last week when Dirk landed his 4KG Gourami but there is more work to be done. A quite fascinating fish.

Anyway Friday was a day of heat stroke recovery in the boat. Tomorrow I chase Snakehead - which are becoming active again in a few places. Sunday I load the boat onto the truck roof. Monday is a day of servicing and repairs. Then Ash and I head to Thailand for five days. There will be some fly tying there I can tell you!

Have a great week, all!

Cheers, Paul

PS had not one but two Gourami on Saturday!