Part 5: After the show
After the event, a group of special guests and committee members left for a fly fishing session at a very exclusive, no-fishing private property in Ipoh. It was a privilege to fish here and made possible by CK Ling’s connection. Many of the foreign guests caught exotic fish species for the first time in their lives. I hooked and landed a very nice pacu which gave me a very hard time and a lot of satisfaction. Dron Lee even caught a Red Mahseer.
Following this unique privilege, a small group continued their journey further north to try their luck for giant snakehead (toman) and huge jungle perch deep into the rainforest jungle of the Royal Belum Forest Reserve. Not only I, but the entire group, were in complete awe. Being so deep in pure rainforest is quite surreal. Marc Petitjean described it as: “Watching it on National Geographic is something, being there is totally incredible”.
It was not just the fly fishing for the giant snakehead and other local species, but also the company and the breathtaking scenery of the thick, tall rainforest trees, the wildlife, the air, the sounds of the jungle, and our nights on the houseboat that made this trip an unforgettable experience for everybody. Together with Dron Lee and our guide we were extremely lucky and for nearly 40 minutes observed some wild elephants playing on the shore of the lake. The guide told us that even local people living in the reserve hardly witness that!
Paul Arden beat us in numbers by successfully landing five giant snakeheads. For sure his strategy and experience from last year’s trip made him the absolute master of this visit. All of us hooked snakehead and some large ones too, but hooking a giant toman is one thing, landing it is something completely different. Firstly; the snakehead has such a strong, plentiful and sharp teeth that it requires heavy wire trace between 40-60lb. Secondly; the Belum Reserve is a dam that submerged millions of jungle trees under water making it a lot harder to play the snakehead without losing it. It was Paul’s knowledge about equipment and the way to play the fish which put him far ahead of us. Finally, after losing a very nice jungle perch and three snakeheads between the trees I developed a few tactics of my own and safely landed an estimated 6kg (13 pound) toman caught with one of my favorite size 2/0 lake trout flies. It was the biggest fish of the trip.
All Parts of The first International Fly Fishing Festival, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2012