One of the big challenges associated with finding fly-fishing in Asia is the lack of information available on the web. I am very lucky to have fished with series of fly-fishermen linked from one to the next throughout Asia, starting with my good friend Captain Keiichiro, in Yokohama, Japan. While fishing with Capt. K he informed me of his friend in Hong Kong: Lefty Hama. After having an awesome morning catching Giant Trevally in Hong Kong, Hama informed me that he had a fly-fishing friend in Singapore named Kelvin. It was as if the fly-fishing gods aligned to connect me with fly-fishermen from port to port while traveling on Semester at Sea‘s Spring 2014 Voyage. After a few email exchanges with Kelvin, we set up an afternoon to go fly-fishing for Peacock bass.
Some time ago, Peacock Bass, native to South America, were introduced into Singapore reservoirs by bucket biologists. Peacock bass are considered an invasive species because they compete with native species like snakehead, catfish, and Tiger barb . To anglers, they are a superb game-fish. Akin to Hong Kong, it is quite a commodity to have a quality fishing opportunity involving wild fish so close to a major metropolis.
After we arrived, my wonderful wife and I checked out a little of what Singapore has to offer
Hawker Centers are popular among Singaporeans as common place to grab a bite to eat.
She handed me the coveted kitchen pass and I set off to meet up with Kelvin. We drove on the left side of the road (thanks to Singapore’s British Colonial roots) about 20 minutes into the jungle north of the city. After meandering up a winding road draped with high green canopy, we parked and hiked about 30 minutes through the jungle to a reservoir. Kelvin handed me one of his custom tied orange eyed tan clousers striped with green, orange and black markings, similar to the markings on a Peacock bass. He instructed me to cast my 6 wt near a man made structure, let the fly sink for 10 seconds and make medium paced long strips pausing between each strip. On about the 10th cast I felt a large bump, at first I thought I had caught the bottom, but then I felt a stout pull. Adrenaline rush through me as I yelled “FISH ON.” It was a good fish. In-between thinking about grabbing my camera and stripping line to keep this nice fish tight when I missed a strip and the fish came unbuttoned. I couldn’t believe I blew my opportunity to land my first Peacock. I looked at Kelvin in disappointment saying “lets get another.”
We continued fishing the same spot with no more action when Kelvin made the call to venture further into the jungle …
After about 30 minutes, Kelvin showed me a spot where he has had success before. About 15 minutes into casting Kelvin yelled “FISH ON.” I ran over to see a nice bend in his rod.
Once it turned dark we hiked back experiencing the tropical jungle at night, walking through spider webs, loud exotic birds chirping and flying over head, while keeping an eye out for what is in front of you. It can get creepy in the jungle at night, especially when you see a large black snake quickly slither across the trail in front of you. When the local you are with is obviously concerned about this big ass snake I almost stepped on its probably a good sign that you should get the hell out of there. Bushwhacking through the dark and treacherous jungle did not stop us from trying another spot on the way out at dark. It wasn’t more than 5 casts before I hooked up and landed my first peacock.
It is not everyday you get a chance to catch a Peacock bass at night, so once again I felt blessed by the stars that aligned to make this uniqued experience happen.