Snakehead are Monsters

Snakehead are Monsters

Paul Arden | Monday, 31 August 2015

Temenggor is a world-class sport fishery. I came to that conclusion this week. It's also incredibly hard to be consistently successful. I'm still right down near the base of my learning curve and I recognise this. A big change happened last week, when I suddenly realised I was expecting to land Toman/Snakehead - and big ones, I stopped taking shots at small ones (2KG) when there are big ones around, 3KG Snakehead are nothing to get excited about and I want 5KG+ Toman - and not off babies. I've smashed two rods now in the last 3 weeks fighting these bastards, I've been snagged, I've had wire bitten off, I've had so many "almost" moments - fuck, these fish are incredible. And they have personality like trout do, but more so, and with attitude, they fight like monsters, you need stealth, you need to try to read the next rise location, the shots are the hardest imaginable - don't even bother if you're not in the top 1% - and they are cagey... fly matters (although how much I don't know yet). So many unknowns... how far do they roam? How long do they stay in social groups? How do they communicate? How do they sleep? Together?? Do they run one big giant territory? Yes... Toman are Monsters. I came to that conclusion too. No wonder Ashly is scared of them! Hell I'm sacred of them and have stopped swimming in the lake!!!

An interesting question on the Board posted by Glenda - note well gentlemen: Glenda posts interesting questions. If everyone would post at least one question per week then Mr T would be happy because the Board would be busier. And for you lurkers out there, then now is a great time to join! The Board needs you! Anyway, Glenda posted the question, "who could live like me?" Well everyone can of course and here are a few tips on how to do it:

1) Talk to yourself. I know that it's supposed to be the first sign of madness, but if you spend lots of time on your own, and don't talk to yourself, then you'll go mad. And I don't mean just in your head, but out loud. There's no one around, so it's OK. The problem is of course, that you'll find yourself doing it in supermarkets too, for example while choosing a tin of beans. "Hmmm, this label looks GREAT, Paul!" "What the hell are you on about? It's just an artist's impression of beans; they're all exactly the same on the inside." "Yes I know you think that now, but they're also more expensive and so also tastier!" "If you buy the tin with the plain white label you'll save us both 3 pence." "Look, you bloody imbecile, we have two vast flower pots absolutely FULL of coins in Hungary, coins in every car orifice, under the seat, and all over the floor. Quite frankly not only can we both spare three pence but we'd be far better off for it." "Dude, we're being watched!" And that's when you notice someone is watching you, looking quite disturbed about something. The best way to deal with this is to include them in the conversation: "I say!!! Do you like beans?" "Huh?" "Beans. You can eat them, stick them up your nose, in your ears and they make you fart." *pause* "Who were you talking to?" "When?" "Just now." "God! Yes, we often talk in supermarkets, I don't go to church, see? They stopped letting me in."

2) When you meet a woman you're interested in, always start the conversation by saying: "I may fall in love with you, but fish will always be more important. Don't be jealous however; it's just a fish, not another woman... and if you don't learn to fly fish, by the way, you'll never see me." They love this.

3) You'll never have any money. Get used to it! You'll have to borrow money from time to time, especially when you get arrested, but that's why you have friends and family. Be sure to pay them back of course, otherwise your get-out-of-jail free card might expire and your arse will get an unnecessary work-out.

4) There is no 4. Never is!

5) Learn to light fires. Learn to cook. Be really good in bed. Don't take shit from anyone. Always speak your mind. Fight if you have to, but try to reason first. And if the shit really hits the fan, leave the country and don't go back! There are over 200 countries in this world alone, that should be enough for any man.

Back to the fishing and the sports car of rods! This week has been very hard actually. I only landed one respectable Toman. Certainly I had the opportunities. On Monday I hooked a Gourami on a static popper, and had Toman chases. On Tuesday I had the Slim Beauty slip on a 5KG plus Toman. On Wednesday I actually landed one fish! On Thursday and Friday, I just couldn't make it happen - lots of heart-stopping moments, lots of stealth, lots of action, a truly interesting week, but in terms of actual results not too good, just lots of "almost" moments.

This week I'm going to do something different. Instead of chasing Toman, King of the Jungle, I'm going to target Gourami. Now this is a bit of an unknown quarry. I've hooked 8 now, set the hook on 7, landed one. But over the past six weeks I've been paying close attention to them, and have marked maybe a dozen locations that hold one or more. Occasionally I see them cruising sub-surface, but more often than not they appear next to stumps at any time of the day - so long as it's calm - but particularly during the evening, and make a big sucking/kissing sound. I first thought that they were feeding on shrimps, but close inspection of the stumps doesn't reveal shrimps, so I've come to the conclusion that they are picking off algae or whatever the green plant life is that grows on these tree stumps.

These fish have quite a varied diet. I've seen them eat ants, large up-winged jungle duns, other beetles, algae (now) and even figs! So I'm going to try a few different patterns: An RFU size 8, six and maybe even 4 and size 1! Something that looks like an enormous green grasshopper, beetles (I've been trying these), a large March Brown (Irhamy "The Gov'" missed one on a Wet) and a clump-of-green-fucking-algae fly. They grow to the size and weight of large suitcases, but anything in the 5KG range will be exciting enough, because they pull like trains! I have some 35lb braid that I'll use as tippet and while I'm casting the absolutely amazing Hot Torpedo Sports Car 4WT, like the Snakehead, I won't be using the rod as a lever when fish fighting, but instead will point the rod directly at them and try to pull their face off. I would use the HT6 and have done so in the past, but the HT6 I have with me is the Instructor model and so that's not nearly stealthy enough...

Hope you have a great week!

Cheers, Paul