For over the past thirteen years of visiting and fishing in Asia a dream of mine was to catch a native giant Snakehead, a black and white colored one if possible. Every attempt I have ever made was foiled by weather and over-fishing by locals. That's my best excuse’s and I”m sticking to them. Lucky for me I managed to land my dream fish the other week and my focus and obsession has now changed.
Mr Sexy Loop’s after doing over 3000 days fly fishing in New Zealand over 17 years, decided he needed a new challenge in life and found it among-st the jungle in Malaysia a lake that had Giant Snakehead and was not over-fished yet!
Already he’s done nearly 1500 days on this lake over the years and catching these fish is still a big challenge for him and he’s an expert on them whether he admits or not. Though as he has told me he needs to do at least another 1500 days to know a good deal more though will never know it all. Unlike myself that knows all there is about fly fishing, fly casting, beer, Snakehead and women!! (last one not).
One fish that also lives in the area which sometimes you will see when fishing and sometimes most often not, is called the Giant Gourami. It came to Paul’s attention, a little bit by accident whilst chasing the Giant Snakehead he would sometimes see these other fish quite moving along just under the surface in the murky water and sometimes up on the surface.
A few times he cast smaller flies out at them and sometimes his big Snakehead popper though not really trying to catch them as such, as the main focus was always the not so aggressive as you think or have read about ! Giant Snakehead.
He asked around the few fly fishermen in Malaysia about this fish, he had now learned was called the Giant Gourami they all told him that it was an impossible fish to catch on the fly! Instantly like all of us geeky fly fishers the gauntlet had been thrown down by the local fly guys, whether they knew it or not.
Searching the web for information about fly fishing for them was also fruitless there was no information to be found apart from some stocked pond information on them in Thailand. He then set out to try and catch one and struggled at the start and still does, he could not find them, they refused his flies, they also spooked very easily.
The wild Giant Gourami was a sort of becoming mythical GOD of a fish to him,like it has for me the past many weeks.
Last night after another seven blank Gourami hunting days, one swam slowly past the boat just on dark. The glow from its iPhone which it had obviously forgot to switch off ,giving it away. (normally they always switch off there phones! I’m told)
You may thinking I”m joking these are super clever fish, the scientists have said carp are one of the smartest freshwater fish?
The first year Paul managed to fool ten or so before actually landing one. You have to remember this guys a pro, your talking hundreds of hours, kilometers of shoreline searched and days camping out with his Gourami quest.
He missed them, he hooked them and the got off, they wrapped him around submerged tree stumps, his line broke, the hook broke ,the top quality hooks bent the list goes on. But he eventually started to land a few and despite still not getting them all, he does well on this unknown species.
Though even in the time that I have been here, Paul has not even had one take his fly. I’ve had a few more hours chasing them especially in the mornings as I am an early bird that loves mornings. Somehow for many different reasons mainly being awake, I’ve managed to get around ten or so Gourami to take my Deadly Ant and Deadly hopper flies.You name it, Everything possible has happened, that was not meant to and so still no illusive Gourami in the net. I am loving it and its not easy and all up is the most challenging fly fishing Paul and myself have ever found in the world. I’m sort of not sure if I ever do actually land one. Then whats left? “THE GOURAMI IS GOD !”
Some people have caught one on the first day and one guy caught two in one day! over the years though no many only a handful of people have landed them on the fly.
Jono Shales Aussie pro saltwater guide was here recently and in a week landed one and missed quite a few. He was stripping his so called dry fly as it was sinking. He said they would chase and eat it. So when I got back to the jungle from the specialists with my two new hopefully working eyes, that was my plan, to give that technique a go.
After four days of searching which is around 52 hours of standing starring from my small boat ! I eventually found a single loan Gourami who seemed to be quite chilled cursing along.You can imagine after days of searching the excitement of finding one and hopefully getting a shot at one. I was all set with the newly found Gourami fooling Jono Technique and spat on my fly furiously the same fly Jono had used and once it was dripping with saliva i made the perfect cast. I let the fly sit motion less just in-front of the around 3 kilo Gourami and I stopped breathing and even held in a fart , just in-case it heard me!.
It swam towards the fly a little, though ignored it and i could tell it was about to keep cruising along past my offering. My brain lit up and i thought “ Not just yet you mother ######, I’ve got the new Jono Shales trick up my sleeve”.
I gently twitched and striped the fly still holding my breath and arse cheeks just incase!
There was a puff of some sort of cloudy stuff from behind the fish as it shit it’s self and ###### OFF !
Jono also saw some elephants in the short time he was here which at that point Paul and myself had only seen there foot prints goes to show that’s fishing or just his bloody luck!.
There has been lots of things happen on an adventure like this and thats what keeps it all real and fresh. For example .
1- burnt and infected feet.
2- three broken electric outboards.(two new ones now)
3- broken down main outboard - floating on the lake for five hours before rescue.
4- Tennis elbow in both arms at once ,not fun
5- Skin off most parts of the body.
6- drowned expensive camera.
7- broken overheated mac laptop.
7- left toe bitten off by a Tiger ! (joke) the list goes on.
For the Past weeks I’ve been on my own exploring the lake and jungle areas as Paul headed off for some casting competitions in Europe.
I just spent three days stuck on a remote little island ,washing standing in the muddy shoreline in the lake and watering around drying naked ,there was no one around. I realized that no one in the world knew where i was, which is kinda cool in the tracked social media world we live in nowadays. There would not be too many 50year old guys doing what i was doing or would even contemplate it.My mum and dad reckon stupid enough to do it!.
Only the local hunter gather tribe people knew of my location as i would wave to them as they past from a distance, it was great and peaceful until I got badly sick and could not move out my hammock for three days as my body had no energy left in it, Sort of reminded me of my past experiences with malaria though thankfully was not.
Eventually I managed to somehow get off the island and travel up the lake and get to a small town to recover which eventually after five days I managed to eat a meal and now it’s day seven just getting rid of migraine headache’s.
I will have a better internet connection signal soon and will be doing my best to get through all the emails, some new fly design work and mountain of web work as well as trying to finish the rough script just from this adventure for that never ending book.
Please note that the online shop is
OPEN for all your fly orders and for this coming season's bookings. I really appreciate all your great support and understanding as without it all, none of this would ever happen.
If you have any friends that need some flies or guiding or tuition please also send them my way or let them know by social media or in the pub.
Cheers Stu & Trigger.