If it’s easy you are not trying hard enough!

If it’s easy you are not trying hard enough!

Paul Arden | Tuesday, 28 September 2021

This was the year I was supposed to do 5 Ironman triathlons. A celebration of being “50 years young” challenge. Of course Covid has stopped all of that. However it hasn’t stopped me training. On Sunday I was supposed to be doing an Ironman 70.3 with my sister, Outlaw X, in the UK. She went, I had to defer my entry for yet another year because it’s impossible for me to fly back into Malaysia at the moment. But that should change next year.

However I did my part here. Well I tried to anyway!! I swam 1.9km in the lake, which turned out to be 2.4km with Ashly measuring in the kayak!! (We are still talking :p). Then I did 90km on the indoor bike, in the Battleship. Now it was hot. Let’s just say that. I’m buying a thermometer today to measure it. But it had to be close to 40C. Which was not easy. In fact 90km on an indoor bike, in an oven, is anything but “easy.” My feet caught fire at one point.

Then I took a boat trip to Banding Island where I thought I could run 21.1km. HAH!!! The track hasn’t been used in two years. I needed a machete to get through, which I had left in the Battleship, not expecting I would need one for a triathlon, and after exactly 1km there was a fallen tree/landslip catastrophe that was impossible to get around. FFS! So I ran back to the car park, picked off the 20 or 30 leeches that had found a fancy to me, and ran around in circles for 8km before getting dizzy, giving it up as a bad job and collapsing in a demoralised heap.

Bollocks! In four weeks I go again. This time I shift operations to a lake below. If I run a 70.3 every month, then I think this will lift my fitness level, focus my training and then I’ll work out how to get back to running the full IM again. Here in this heat and humidity, it’s a bigger challenge than anything I’ve done before. But I would like to do the Langkawi Ironman next year, so I have 12 months to get my shit together. And that will or should be enough time.

Congratulations Charlotte! Awesome effort!!! I wish I was there. Next year!!!



One great thing that’s come from this,  is that my fear of Snakehead biting my toes or worse has now gone. This means I’ll put some proper time into improving my open water swimming technique. Also I had a run tonight and felt really good. I’m pretty sure I’ll become one of these “old fit fuckers”. What an ambition!

But hey if you’re not pushing yourself you’re going backwards, right!


Anyway back to fishing. This week I’m chasing Gourami off the stumps and looking for Freerisers.

Here is part of an email I sent to my friend Bruce Richards tonight regards Giant Gourami (I’m trying to persuade him to leave Montana and come for a visit!!)…

“I agree black hooks are better. More part of the insect. But they must also see the braid! So I don’t think they see it, only see what they are looking for. I don’t know. One of the mysteries of fishing. 

I went through a lot of different colours of braid. From sky blue to green. Black is best. Mono would be nice but can’t land them. Still get refusals. 

I once watched one swimming under a stump along the bank and it reminded me of a NZ trout cruising the banks. I threw a damsel nymph on a monofilament leader with a perfect cast, while it was under the stump. The fly landed 15’ in front. The gourami carried on, saw the fly and sped up. No movement to the fly, slowly fishing the drop. It got within 2 feet of the fly, went AAARGGH! Spooked and reversed on the spot. And this was a fish that is never fished for, or rarely, certainly never fly fished for, and it spooked.  I can’t explain that one. Maybe the hook. Maybe the tippet (but it was fine, I just wanted the eat at this stage). 

It’s the most incredible fish. When there is a termite fall you find them running wind lanes the way that trout do. Only they are 3.5-5KG. 

Also at certain times of the year, they eat algae off stumps. For these fish you cast behind them, gently, they feel it land, turn around and eventually eat. You can only imagine how technical the fight is. The bonefish hooks I use straighten at 9lbs. To land them the hooks are always slightly straightened. If you don’t stick it to them you always lose them. 

About 10-12 people have caught Gourami on fly. And about half a dozen have caught more than one. Undoubtedly I have had by far the most (about 80). I’ve encountered 8 or 9 feeding behaviours. Ants in March/April mid morning flat calms, termite falls June/July after thunderstorms, Algae feeders stumps August/September, Dun feeders in morning (rare), eating floating figs (!!), wind lanes off peninsulas after storms in amongst fallen leaves, tiny buzzer hatches, shady bankside mornings in June, Cicada falls - but that happened 5 years ago and hasn’t happened again since. Cicadas have a 13 or 17 year life cycle. So that might explain why I haven’t seen that particular species again! Oh and sometimes they are out in midday flat calms when it’s 34C!! 

What I love most about it, apart from developing new leaders (braid tippets), new flies (foam to float bonefish hooks), new casts (torque twist to put the fly down first) is that there is no road map. It’s never been done before. In 2021 that’s quite amazing. Trout have been done to death. There are more books on trout fishing than anything else. And here we have a smart fish, that is a dry fly fish, possibly the ultimate dry fly fish, and it’s all new. I’m very lucky!!! Oh and it’s sight fishing! You watch the gourami against the algae green water. 

It’s the one fish that I sometimes wonder if I shouldn‘t teach. Because learning how to do it has been some of the most rewarding fly fishing I’ve done. And if I give that away then it’s less rewarding for the next guy. 

Snakehead is why I moved here but Gourami is why I’ve stayed so long. Free-rising snakehead - that’s a fly casters game. You’d also like that one.  That one is all about the shot.”

I’d be on the next plane!


Finally - if you have emailed me and haven’t received a reply then please send again!! The only emails I don’t reply to are people spamming me!! Email post is not 100% and if you wrote and didn’t get a reply then it’s not because I didn’t reply!! Particularly I’m thinking Board registrations here.

Busy week coming up. Last week I built a kitchen table in the Battleship. This week I fit out the guest quarters!!! :D


Have an awesome week!