The advantage of fly fishing for Toman/ Giant Snakehead

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The advantage of fly fishing for Toman/ Giant Snakehead

Post Number:#1  Postby Paul Arden » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:34 am

What a week of learning for me. I always thought that fly put me at a disadvantage for Toman, mainly because of the need for a backcast. Well having fished with three German spin fishers I now realise that fly has one major advantage - the fly lands more delicately because the weight is in the line and not the lure. I watched lots of fish spook because of the spinners and poppers landing. I’m now of the opinion that fly fishing is an advantage and not a disadvantage. Not only that, but for the short range casts I’m actually quicker with the fly. I can use speed and still get a gente landing - yes the fly is actually quicker up close.

Of course it’s really fucking difficult and undoubtedly the hardest fly casting there is. But it’s nice to know that when the chips are down it’s the fly rod that will pick up air breathing Snakehead in greater numbers. Quite a lesson!!! And best of all I got paid while learning this :D

(Fucking hard work by the way: a day of organising in advance. On call 24hrs/day. Campfire cook, entertainer, guide and tour organiser. Will take a couple of days of sorting shit out and recovering. But I learned a lot and I reckon at least one will take up the fly. In fact I’m sending him to see Bernd :D )

Stefan is over soon. Really looking forward to that. It’s really on at the moment. Great times!!!!

Cheers, Paul
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The advantage of fly fishing for Toman/ Giant Snakehead

Post Number:#2  Postby Bernd Ziesche » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:37 pm

Great to see you still getting such enthusiastic every time, mate! About spin vs fly anglers... It all depends on the level of skills of each angler. No doubt there are professional spin fishermen out there who outcast us. They are incredible fast, precise and will have special lures matching perfectly. No doubt you outfish the average bear! Are there any bait anglers hunting Toman?
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The advantage of fly fishing for Toman/ Giant Snakehead

Post Number:#3  Postby Mangrove Cuckoo » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:41 pm

Paul

There is an advanced technique used by flats anglers around here that might challenge your opinion.

They use a "splash-less" cast on their spinning rods and they are deadly with it.

Essentially, they fire a straight-line cast with tremendous speed straight at the water surface, but then feather/grab the line with their finger at the last moment. They plan on and allow the rod to bend and absorb the energy in the cast when the lure (usually a flats jig) is inches from the water surface.

I've seen it done. A guide friend is a master at it. I tried it. I'll stick to my flyrods.

But it can be done!
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The advantage of fly fishing for Toman/ Giant Snakehead

Post Number:#4  Postby Paul Arden » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:35 am

Ah well, at least it’s an advanced technique then :D

Yes there are bait fishers throwing live catfish at them. By all accounts that is deadly.

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The advantage of fly fishing for Toman/ Giant Snakehead

Post Number:#5  Postby flickingfeathers » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:57 am

That's interesting we spoke a bit about that when I was over. I think if you got a good bass angler they'd be able to pitch a lure silently to a rising fish, but a pitch is actually pretty slow compared to other spin casts, maybe still faster than fly but tricky to do well, and quiet.
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The advantage of fly fishing for Toman/ Giant Snakehead

Post Number:#6  Postby Paul Arden » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:21 am

The three I took fishing were not bad anglers at all, and certainly they could make far longer shots than I can, however the problem with that approach is you can’t see the fish, only the rise and so you don’t know if the fish spooks, turns, saw the lure or not. I catch very few Toman that I cannot see descend. For the first few years it was none, in fact the returns were so ineffective that if I couldn’t see the fish, I would reposition for another shot. It’s only in the last couple of years have I actually taken fish that rise at poor light angles but it’s still a rare shot that takes a fish.

What I think most of the spin anglers is attempting, is to cast beyond and in front of the fish, so that as the fish descends the lure appears in front of them; in other words they are not trying to catch them while they are still visible at the surface. This of course eliminates the problem of the spinner landing and spooking the fish, because it’s not landing so close to the fish. Also it illuminates such a critical accuracy requirement because then you need a target line and not a target itself. Is it as effective? I don’t know.

It’s certainly not as clinical. Out of a community of Snakehead you might get one or max two fish. Then the shoal is spooked. Under these circumstances I will target only the larger Snakehead, picking them off deliberately. There might be ten fish but there is only one or two I really want. Catching a smaller one spooks the bigger one. So this is close quarter fishing. For close quarter fishing with the Snakehead shot I think fly is now an advantage. Of course then you need stealth, camouflage, and you have to be able to position the boat in the right place. I’ve watched spin anglers trying mostly to catch fish from the outside of the stumps, but they don’t have highly mobile boats that can sneak through the stumps. The only time I’ve seen thrusters on the lake is when someone brings their own boat.

When I was hosting the Germans, I wasn’t guiding, and the agreement was I could fish but you know how it is, (I need a third boat!) and it was only on the last day did I have a few shots. Sometimes Snakehead aren’t on and sometimes they are. In 15 minutes I had two chases, one spook and one eat. They were on. When they are on I expect a fish per session, so in five days I might have had 10 fish. It never quite works out that way but there were some seriously good money shots every day including a couple of 5KG Snakehead that were paired. I can’t say if I would have landed one because that’s never a given but I’m almost certain I would have had an eat.

I was fucking ill this week. Might have just been dehydrated - not sure. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks while Stefan is here I can set about them. With the fly I use speed and trajectory to make the fly land slightly hard with a deliberate plop. If that is spooking fish (usually it attracts them) then I switch to a Gurgler. I don’t see how any spin bait can land as gently as a Gurgler!

It’s probably not a coincidence that the conditions I love, low water, high water temps, are the exact opposite to what the spin guides think is best. They like rising water levels, not falling. I have a few spin guides I’ve promised to teach fly fishing. I’ll make sure I do this this summer. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot in the process. I think I’ll do this up North in Belum :)

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The advantage of fly fishing for Toman/ Giant Snakehead

Post Number:#7  Postby piffilus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:02 am

So when you find a shoal, do you hang around for a while first and look for the bigger fish before actually taking shots? I guess I was there too early last year for them to come together in groups? It was rather high water too compared to what it is now, am I right? I guess that you have seen Stefans fig fly? It's nothing but extraordinary. Give him my regards when you see him.

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The advantage of fly fishing for Toman/ Giant Snakehead

Post Number:#8  Postby Paul Arden » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:39 pm

Absolutely!! I always wait on the outside of the bays to see what is there. In 5 minutes you should know them all :) I either work my way through or plan how to take the big one. It depends on the situation.

Yes I have some figs. Hopefully it will be fig time over the next two weeks!

Stefan sends “his best”! :cool: I didn’t realise Stefan is still living in the snow!

The way things have been looking fingers crossed you will be fishing for free-risers. You’ll love it!

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The advantage of fly fishing for Toman/ Giant Snakehead

Post Number:#9  Postby piffilus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:09 pm

I didn't realize that you could spot the whole group that fast. Are they coming up more frequently than adults with babies? It will be very interesting coming back to what seems quite different conditions compared to last year,there were no shoals to speak of with only the odd free riser showing up.

Very well, I brought my rings to my girlfriend who lives 200 meters from the sea to do some target practice. I am watching her dogs while she is away to Cyprus so I can train every day now until she comes back. :pirate:

We had snow here too a couple of days ago and it's below zero C at night and early morning still. Stefan lives 700 km north of me though....

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The advantage of fly fishing for Toman/ Giant Snakehead

Post Number:#10  Postby Paul Arden » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:44 pm

When they are active they rise approx every five minutes. How often they rise with babies I believe depends on a few things - whether they are sighting for direction and how much oxygen is dissolved.

That’s great - good training mate!

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