Things that go Bump in the Night

Things that go Bump in the Night

Paul Arden | Monday, 12 June 2017

As I wrote last week, I had to spend this week running a friend's bar here in the Malaysian Rainforest. The "Plan" was of course to fish mornings, play pool in the evenings (I mean run the bar) and to divide my sleep pattern into two. Of course this didn't happen and instead, having failed spectacularly to get up for three days in succession, I switched my intention to Night Fishing. However before I talk about this, let me quickly remind you Hot Torpedo owners that we're running a competition where the best HT story and photo/s wins a brand new custom Hot Torpedo rod and build of your choice. Every two months the best entry is picked to go towards the Grand Final. You still have a couple of weeks to get your entry in for this first "heat" - heat entries close 30th June.

Lee the Sexyloops Rod Building "Ninja" - as a few of our owners now appear to be calling him (I think Lars started it!) - is incredibly busy at the moment, which is fantastic. Thanks for keeping us very busy! Lots of rods are going out this week and I'll upload photos of them as they do. The current batch are mostly going to Taiwan, Mongolia and Malaysia. We certainly get around! I'll be in China in September, which I'm really excited about, since it will be my first trip there.

We currently have problem with the Sexyloops APP for iOS in that a redevelopment of APP (so that it is exactly the same!) is going to cost me anywhere from 3,500 Euros to an unbelievable 15,000 Euros! This doesn't make any sense. So having spent a great amount of time considering the problem, I've come up with a creative solution which will transform the three hour video application into a fully fledged members teaching section that will work on all devices including desktops. It's going to take me the best part of a couple of months to complete this project. In the meantime if you have the APP it will continue to work and you can still download and play the movies, but if you don't have the APP and you're not using Android, then you will have to wait for a couple of months. This section will not only have embedded movies that you can download, but I will include very much more detailed teaching. The scale of this project is bigger than anything I have attempted so far on Sexyloops, will have slow motion footage, close up action, clear concise teaching, links all around the Sexyloops site as well as possibilities to post videos of yourself, ask questions both on the Board as well as emailing me direct. Pricing it is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done, but if you have the APP or are a HT owner it will be free.

So, on to this week's topic: Night Fishing.

It will come as no surprise to many of you who know me well, that I've spent vast amounts of time fly fishing in the dark. One reason for this is that up until fairly recently, I've predominately fly fished for trout, and trout - brown trout as well as rainbows - are usually most active once darkness has fallen, particularly although not exclusively in the summer months. I first started night fishing properly at the age of 16 on Ardleigh Reservoir. Unlike many other stillwaters in the UK, where fishing MUST cease one hour after sunset - or sometimes before, which is very annoying - Ardleigh was a little more flexible and regulars would often fish until "slightly later". After I started work on the fishery I took "slightly later" to a whole new meaning, and while I'm not sure if I would have been given permission to fish through the night, had I asked, I thought it best not to ask. After all had I been caught fishing after dark having been expressly told not to, this would have been a very much worse situation, that just being caught!

So having determined the course of action, I proceeded to fish sea-trout flies; Peter Ross, Teal Blue and Silver were two such flies. It's interesting that blue features in many sea-trout flies, I always thought it was because blue was the last colour to fade, but as I understand it, it's actually the first to go, making it even more of a mystery. However they worked and worked well during the first season for me. It was later, the next season, quite late and in October, when I suddenly discovered the amazing effectiveness of the black lure. In those days I had a resistance to fishing lures (or "streamers" as they are called in the USA), principally because back then virtually all reservoir fly fishermen stripped lures and did nothing else - Viva, Christmas Tree, Sweeny Todd, Appetiser, Whisky Fly, Baby Doll, Cat's Whisker - and often just the Viva! And somehow in order to stop yourself from doing this repetitive fishing, it was essential to "sneer at it"! And, out of an act of desperation, in the dark, it was that decided to tie on a black lure and proceeded to catch 8 fish in as many minutes - it was a strange world back then and we fished to "catch our limit", which on this water was 8. For the next week the same thing happened every night and the season closed - but I had learned an important lesson.

That plain black marabou lure has caught me many thousands of trout all over the world, from below the flood gates on the White River in Arkansas, to annihilating fish on the San Juan in New Mexico, to Montana, NZ lakes and rivers, Tasmanian lakes, Russian rivers - everywhere. I've experimented with many other flies of course, luminous flies, black bunnies - I've even tried white flies because it was recommended to me - but hands down, a plain black lure beats them all (for me), either fished figure-of-eight just subsurface or stripped slowly at the same depth. Occasionally it needs to be fished on an intermediate. It's just one of those flies that is completely amazing. I think that the hook should be black - certainly not silver, no flash in the wing, a silver rib and the wing not tied too long.

And had that been all I would have been happy. But over the years I discovered more. The first thing I discovered (and I'm sure many of you know this too) - in the dead of the night somewhere after 2AM and certainly before 3.30AM this is the time to fish a VERY big black lure. Mine are unweighted and between 4 and 6 inches long. My biggest trout of 11.5lbs fell to one of Lars' tube flies fitted snuggly against a large hair wing black streamer (because I didn't have a big enough fly with me!), fished in Russia - but I've had numerous brown tout of 8lbs and above on similar sized flies.

The second thing I learned, came via my good mate Chis Dore in New Zealand, returning from a night's fishing session very enthusiastic about having experienced some great fishing, right on the bank edges of Mystery Lake X, while fishing a slowly stripped Humpy in the surface margins. Straight to my mind came "muddler". I've had great muddler fishing in my life - it was THE answer to fishing mid-July through to early September on Ardleigh (day time fishing) and I've done well with them on rivers during sedge hatches and egg laying in the dark - but what I did not fully appreciate up until this point was that on lakes, the brown trout (and rainbows) will come right into the shallows to feed - so shallow that often you can see their backs out the water - and these fish will NAIL a surface muddler. And of course it makes absolute sense - what can be more visible to a fish than a fly disturbing the surface?

I'm not going to tell you too much more, but do be aware that you can and should fish much heavier breaking strains than normal during the night. With a black marabou lure and muddlers I'll fish 8-10lbs breaking strain (1X) - I'm still careful to degrease the tippet by the way - for the really big flies I'll happily fish 15-20lb tippet.. Always carry two headlamps, but try not to use them at all, and certainly NEVER shine them on the water. If you need to use them, do so well away from the river or hidden from the water. Red light is very good. I would recommend that you MUST know the area you are fishing, and thoroughly explore it during the day. Crossing big rivers at night is challenging, and it's very easy to take the wrong crossing by mistake - I've been down a few - usual advice follows: don't panic, keep your arms down and try to go feet first. And finally out of safety nowadays I fish wearing clear safety glasses - hooking yourself in the eye really is not something you want to do.

After all that, I'm sure you're looking forward to hearing how the Jungle Night Fishing has been - slaughter/annihilation/anarchy - well, so far it's still "work in progress". It was a full moon two nights back - if you're a night or saltwater angler you'll already know this! - and in my life, despite what anyone else may tell you, I've never found fishing under any sort of moon to be successful, and best has always been complete darkness. So no takes, no sounds of fish, no smell of fish - at least not yesterday. If fly fishing is a jigsaw puzzle this was piece of sky looking just like every other damned piece of sky!

Have a great week.

Cheers, Paul

The Black Marabou,
The Muddler Minnow,
Hot Torpedo Owners Club,

The Great Sexyloops Hot Torpedo Competition 2017 
Competition Rules:
The Board:


Paul Arden is the fly rod designer for Sexyloops and has been fly fishing for over 35 years and teaching fly fishing and fly casting for more than 20 years. Paul has extensively fished for trout in Europe, New Zealand, Australia and North America and for the past 25 years has been fly fishing more than 300 days every year. He currently lives in the North Malaysian jungle, fly fishing and guiding for Giant Snakehead and Giant Gourami. A competition caster, he has reached the finals in the World Championships in 5-weight distance on three occasions, winning a Bronze medal last year. Paul has appeared on Discovery Channel in the USA co-hosting a fly fishing programme shot in New Zealand. He is full-time manager of the Sexyloops website and brand. Websites: and 


Paul's "Jungle Fishing Sponsors" are RIO fly lines:  PowerFilm Solar: Lawson Hammocks: and of course he fishes the incredible Sexyloops brand of fly rods; The Hot Torpedo.