Held on 16-17 September 2012 in Malaysia, this I think, is the first of such event organised in Asia. Definitely the first in the region. And what a success it was.
The team at the United Fly Anglers Organisation Malaysia (UFO) have really outdone themselves on this one. Newly qualified FFF CCI Dron Lee, and first FFF MCI in the country CK Ling worked tirelessly to put everything together. Their dedication to the Organisation and sport is truly admirable.
Prior to the event, workshops were conducted by Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) Master Casting Instructors (MCI) to prepare candidates for their tests. Among some of the testers are Paul Arden, Peter Hayes, Simon Zerifah and Bill Higashi who is also a FFF Board Of Governance (BOG) member. Another FFF BOG who travelled all the way from America to lend support to this event is Mr Soon Lee.
Except for some initial hick-ups, the event is generally a huge success. The turn out from local and foreign invited guests was incredible. So too was the visitor support both local and foreign. Local visitors who came from across the country speaks volume of the large participation of the sport of fly fishing in Malaysia. Many fly-fishing enthusiasts also came from many other countries. These are all healthy signs for the future of the sports in Malaysia and the region. Sport Fishin’ Asia is proud to lend its support in promoting this landmark event with international coverage leading up-to and throughout the event. (Editor’s note: I shot quite a bit of video footages. Just got to find some time to put them together. – JW).
Kampung Budaya or Cultural Village located in Taman Botani Negara (National Botanical Gardens) is the setting of this historical event and it is an appropriate venue for the host country. Built within rolling hills of tropical rainforest complete with lakes and ponds plus traditional structures, it shows-off the beauty of Malaysia to its foreign visitors. Many taking the opportunity of using this event as their first visit to Malaysia. This is another fine example of how recreational fishing can help in generating tourism income as already visitors are talking about coming back for the next event, coming to experience some of the local fishing and other attractions while those who heard about the event but could not make it this time have expressed their interest.
One unfortunate thing I would have to highlight is the chalet accommodations at Kampung Budaya that was used to accommodate the invited foreign guests. These are beautifully built traditional buildings modeled after Malay homes from different states and the visitors would be thrilled to spend a few nights in them. Alas, only three out of the six were ready on time plus their conditions left much to be desired with leaks, water problems, stained furniture and so on. As a result some guests have to be put into hotels outside the venue.
This is an embarrassment to all involved as the host. Though our guests were somewhat polite about the situation, I somehow feel nausea just thinking why history always repeat itself whenever some government body and facility are involved?
After The Show
What do you expect when a bunch of avid or even hardcore fly fishers gather? It was all fish… Eat, sleep, talk and catch fish!
On the evening the event ended, a group consisting of some organizing committee and guests left for a fishing session at an exclusive no-fishing private property in Ipoh. It was a privilege to fish here made possible by CK Ling’s connection. Many of the foreign guests caught, for the first time in their lives, fish species new to them. All on fly, of course.
Hans landed a very nice pacu which gave him a hard time and much satisfaction. Dron Lee even caught a Red Mahseer.
Following that, some of them went further north deep into the rainforest jungle of the Royal Belum Forest Reserve. Again, many had an absolute blast here. Not only fly fishing for local species but the breathtaking scenery and settings. Marc Petitjean describe being in the rainforest is quite surreal. Watching it on National Geographic is something, being here is totally incredible – the thick, tall rainforest trees, the wildlife, the air, the sounds and Hans even successfully shot some photos of wild elephants. How cool is that?
Meanwhile, Paul Arden had a score to settle with the local giant snakeheads, the toman. Having had some time to strategies after last year’s experience this time he successfully caught some nice giant snakeheads. Hans probably outdid most again with an estimated 6kg (13 pound) toman caught with one of his signature flies. Incredible.
Nick Ooi of Tacklebox Adventures also contacted yours truly to join him, VV and Marc Petitjean for a quick morning fly fishing session at Sukida one Monday morning. The plan was to try putting Marc onto a nice pacu. Marc did hook one but it managed to bite through the line towards the end of the fight. I had a bite-off, too and another which bent the hook on the nymph on the bank and got away. Note to self (again!): Bring landing net!
Also not missing out in some fishing action are FFF MCI and BOG, Bill Higashi and Yusaku who joined Dennis Pat for peacock bass.
What some guests and visitors had to say…
Hans Van Klinken (Holland)
I have to thank you all, making this show very special for me too and give a lot new friends a place my heart. The Malaysian hospitality is enormously and it really felt as if I was backhome again after 7 long years. To be honest I must confess that your first show was one of my best ever. You all did it together and I am absolutely sure the fly fishing, casting and fly tying skills were far better then I seen in many western countries.
I can tell you I will be sure I will be back when invited for next show…
Nico Prasetio (Indonesia)
Very successful event, awesome work and effort by Dron Lee and the team to put such a great event for flyfishermen in the Asia Pacific region. I will surely be back next year.
Ng Chan Chiew
I would like to congratulate the whole team for a job well done. You guys really have done much for fly fishing in this region. My only regret is I could only join in the fun for 1 day. thanks.
Saya amat puashati dengan ilmu yang saya dapat dari 1st IFFF ini. Tq so much for organising it. Berbaloi….Memang Berbaloi.
Great work done by Dron Lee and the committee. Well done!
It was a great event! Even though I didn’t meet Dron Lee at least I managed to go and visit the place. Such a great place, such nice people’s and I can already feel the aurora coming from Fly Fishing. I really enjoyed it. :))) Thanks!
Most of those involved with the event felt it is a highly successful event and talks are already rife for next year’s event which could be healed in a neighboring country.
Here are more snapshots from the event. More photos can be found in our Sport Fishing Asia Facebook page.