First Billfish on Fly in the Malacca Straits

The small but growing fly-fishing community in Malaysia reacheda milestone when it landed a billfish on fly for the first time inthe busy Malacca Straits. Three fishermen aboard the GTChaser captained by S.H. Toh were having a ball tagging andreleasing sailfish around Jarak Island, 30 nautical miles off theMalaysian coast, when one of them, Christopher Tan, the onlyfly-fisherman in the group, decided to try for sails on fly"just for kicks."

Although none aboard had ever tried blue-water fly-fishingbefore, they managed to raise and tease the sails to four hookupson FPF flies. The first hookup broke off almost immediately at thetippet when the shooting line wrapped around the reel foot.

The second was successfully fought until they brought it to thesurface where it quickly pulled the hook and cut the celebrationshort. The men fought the third sail for 30 minutes before itsuccumbed to the "light" pressure of a 9-weight. Thevictorious fly-fisher, Tan, was thankful that the Pacific sailfishwas a small one, about 30 pounds.

The fourth sailfish was hooked up on the last day of fishing andbroke off at the tippet 10 minutes into the fight after taking 200yards of line. Tan said he did not expect to get so many hookups,considering they had used only artificial bird and squid teasersand the crew had never fly-fished prior to this trip.