The fish we caught is a species known as the Borneo Red Gourami or locally known as “Kalou”. It’s recently scientifically classified in 1992 with the official Latin name of ‘osphronemus septemfasciatus’. This species is native to Borneo only, they are not easy to find and let alone catching them on flies is very challenging. We were the first people to ever catch this species on the fly.
The species is an omnivore but will be more than happy to eat small fish, shrimps, frogs or bugs that fall on the water. These fish feed very slowly. They do fight hard, they are very similar in style to the Amazon Pacu fish. The species will happily munch on well presented topwater flies ranging from super big foam hoppers to poppers. I run a local fly-fishing outfitter in Indonesia specialized in remote adventure-based fly-fishing experience.
My main job is scouting new rivers and building mutual relationships with the indigenous tribes/villages connected to the fishery. I was told this new river had good numbers and sizes of Hampala Barb and maybe some chances of Kaloi, what we didn’t expect was the good numbers of “Kalou” in the river system, we had about 8-10 solid hookups daily and yet only managed to land 1-2 fish daily.
We ran this scouting trip along with a local fly-fishing Dayak guide named Minggaang. He is the first and only native Dayak flyfishing guide in Borneo and comes from the chief family of one of the villages there. He hopes to protect the amazing but very fragile fishery in Borneo.
I find it very fitting, the very first Borneo Kaloi caught on fly rod in the world by the very first Dayak flyfishing guide.
Article from Fajar Setyawan, check his outfitter out on Facebook Spice Island Outfitters.