Taking quick shots

Taking quick shots

Paul Arden | Monday, 14 January 2019

A current discussion on the Board reminds me that I haven’t mentioned the latest when it comes to taking shots. It’s funny, in some ways every single cast I make nowadays feels like a shot, but what I’m really thinking about is sight fishing for moving targets. As most of you will no doubt know by now, I’ve planted myself in the middle of the most difficult, most time-restricted, sight shot-fishing that there is: free-rising Snakehead that are air breathing.

When I first started living on my tinny in the Malaysian Jungle I was presented with a problem, namely that most of the fish were not seeing my fly. With Snakehead you let them take a mouthful of air - you may get to see this 1 second before it happens but even then you may not make your move until the fish has sipped its air and turned down! And then you have one second to place your shot. Two seconds occasionally happens - that’s what we call “a sitter”. You won’t get many of these; maybe one every third day. Possibly one per week. Sometimes you won’t get a sitter. 

And this is how I worked out the slipped lift PUALD shooting shot; fishing for free-rising Snakehead. Which as far as I know is not something that anyone else has ever taken seriously before me. I mean it’s not as if Snakehead on babies are not hard enough and with those you get a 3 second warning! That shot is easy by comparison. 

Actually this is not how I worked it out. What I actually did was, with the boat tied to stumps at night, and animals whooping to each other, was to spend time working out the quickest way to deliver a shot. How much fly line should be on the water to begin with, where to slip line on the lift, how long to briefly hang on in the casting stroke, when to haul and so on. I also spent time working out how best my body could do this, which style was quickest (canting/tilting the casting plane for example produces a faster shot, but it’s a curved shot - which is how I now cast around babies of course - but with “torque twist” I get the best of both worlds - both straight and fast). 

I still spend a lot of time working on my shots. I find if I don’t train I start missing. And that’s no good around here where one fish can be the difference between a fishless day and a blinder of a week/month/year/ and possibly even life. 

If you think SW flats fishing is difficult then come and try to fish the jungle!!! Anyway I digress... the point of this story was that the idea that is commonly banded around that for short range and/or fast shots that you need to overline for “quicker loading” is completely the wrong information. If you want to speed up your shots with any given line, then use a stiffer rod and underline. Try it... you don’t have to take my word for it! :D

Also I think you’d be amazed by how much the speed difference is when you start dropping line sizes but that’s another story. 

I’m heading back to the Jungle tonight (I’ve written this on the plane) via  KL and our house in Grik. I had a great time in Europe visiting friends and family. At times it was pretty damned cold!!! I’m looking forward to seeing how the jungle is fishing. The first challenge of the year is chasing parenting Snakehead that are looking after their young. This is the best time of the year for BIG Snakehead - bring it on!!!

Cheers, Paul

ps photo from Zurich last week - Ashlys first snowman!
pps at the bottom of the front page you can find a video that discusses Snakehead shots.