Headed South - Week 3

Headed South - Week 3

Paul Arden | Monday, 10 August 2015

This past week Ashly and I headed to the far south of Lake Temenggor to check it out - the hunt for giant Snakehead continues. Unfortunately the fishing down there wasn't very good! I suspect commercial netting may be to blame. We struggled to find any Jungle Perch. I did have two 5KG plus Snakehead eat the fly in one bay, and I didn't manage to set the hook! I had a smaller one eat through my wire - yes really. And saw a MASSIVE one, but I threw behind it and spooked it. I had a very big Gourami inspect the fly... but not take, dammit. We landed some smaller Snakehead of course and had an excellent time as we always do. I suppose learning where not to fish is every bit as important as discovering where to fish on fishery like this. This week, after I've cleared the Sexyloops Decks, I have a vast new area to explore!

Many many thanks, Glenda, for holding fort on the Tuesday FP slot for the past months! Glenda is having a break for a while, and I look forward very much to her return - especially when she starts nailing the Queensland Salt! Starting tomorrow is a good friend and excellent angler and flycaster, John Field, from the USA. So that's exciting too!

So, a hard week on Temenggor. It's an interesting fishery this one. I cannot think of a more casting-orientated fishery. This is great for me of course, because I love casting and have spent years working on my technique/s. But even so, I have to be really on the ball to catch fish here. Last week I simply wasn't quite making it happen. Consequently I'm practising at night again with the lumi-line, trying to develop a faster shot. And wow - the Lumi-line is amazing here in the Jungle darkness! I'm discovering that with trying to use elbow torque I generate higher speeds, but the line can curve, which is no good for accuracy which is also paramount here. So instead of this technique I'm working on a palm forward grip and a distinct wrist snap.

I'm also thinking of lengthening up my leader slightly again. I've been using 8 1/2ft leaders because I have whipped loops at the end of the flyline and play most of the fish by pointing the rod at them. But a slightly longer leader would give me a slightly longer range for both the no false cast and one false cast shots. There is no point in taking two false casts - if I have to make two false casts to reach the fish then I don't bother, because it's a wasted shot and wasted shots spook fish! So lots of SHOOT on the flyline applied on a regular basis and serious line speed is required.

It's very hard for beginners here; all the successful Malaysian flyfishers I've met have been good casters. Ashly is having a hard time and of course, me being who I am, I'm giving her an even harder time for not practising enough! However by the end of this last week her casting is much improved. It's not fast enough to knock Snakehead over, not anywhere near in fact, but her accuracy at hitting the banks is good enough to catch Jungle Perch. Unfortunately I haven't really found any consistent JP spots in the Temenggor fishery... maybe my next location will prove more fruitful. Anyway, Ashly is still at the stage where catching anything is good, even small fish in the shallows. We did a little of this yesterday and I'll make sure we do more of this next time. We found young Gourami, Jungle Perch and a fish I don't know - all of which will eat small nymphs and it's sight fishing too. All good practise. But what I really want her to do is to lift her casting game...

This last week I bought some stronger tippet for the Gourami. Now I have a real problem with these fish - ignoring the small one I've posted in the Pic of Day! - I've hooked six of these fish now, and only landed one. I've only actually hooked one this trip, which broke me. While they will take dry flies, and very exciting fishing it is too, being highly challenging - they are usually hard to spot, spooky, won't take a moving fly and are just damned hard to tempt - they are also extremely strong, which makes landing them immensely difficult and at times it feels quite impossible.

There is also another problem, namely that the outfit used for Snakehead is totally different from that used for Gourami. [For Snakehead I'm using the Hot Torpedo 8, SA Bonefish 8, 70lb butt section, 40lb leader, 6 inches of 30lb Tyger wire and a respectable-sized popper. For Gourami I've been using the Hot Torpedo 4, a nine-foot 10lb tapered leader, cut back to around 6ft where it's stronger, .22mm Samuri tippet - which is supposedly 7.2kg - but I suspect that's a little on the ambitious side, and a Dry Fly (ant/termite/grasshopper). I've bought some Stren Original .30mm (4.5kg), as well as .41mm (wouldn't that be nice!!) at 7.7kg. Obviously with everything I'm using Bimini twists and Slim Beauty connections]. And because the outfits are so different I think it's best to fish with the Snakehead tackle in hand and the Gourami tackle carefully laid out in the bottom of the boat with the line carefully coiled and ready to throw. Now that Ashly is back in Kuala Lumper this week, this is how I'll be setting the boat up - with Gourami they are territorial and you can stalk them.

Talking of which, the boat is becoming gradually more organised. I can't begin to tell you how much fun it is to live on a 12ft aluminium boat. I envisage owning a small house boat here at some point but I know that I will always look back on what I'm doing now with fond memories. I've never had such long periods offline during the week. Before the new-look FP and CMS (Content Management System) this would have been impossible. Thank you FP Team for keeping the Sexyloops Ball rolling!!!!

This week I really plan on upping my game again. After I've investigated this area I'll have a much better handle on locations and how to approach the next six months. Hope you have a great week too.

Cheers, Paul