It happened one fine April afternoon 4 years ago, when a bunch of fly fishermen who were targeting GT’s stumbled upon what was described as “an orgy of gluttony” in a secluded archipelago of mini islands in Langkawi, Malaysia.
Few failed hook-sets later, they realized this is something rather different from the GT’s they were looking for. One hefty bugger managed to be brought to boat and many a photos on Facebook later, the place boomed with fly fishermen coming all over Malaysia & the world to have a go at these unsuspecting speedsters.
Schools of juvenile rabbitfish were the main reason. That time of year, these ladyfish (and some other species) were apparently coming exclusively for it; gorging & feasting on this helpless baitfish endlessly. And while they’re so occupied doing that, the fly fishermen came up with the closest imitation of the prime food source, and hauled up one massive Ladyfish after another.
The 8WT-10WT were selling like hot cakes at the adjacent fly shops. The 1st (known) run of the Ladyfish lasted for 2 months ‘til the end of June 2014 and almost all of us had a taste of what it’s all about. Then came 2015, and they were nowhere to be found. Small pods appeared here & there, and some lucky guys managed to land a few, but the size were nothing close to the ones we had in the previous year. 2016 also marked more disappointment as the fish was getting scarcer and the alleged run lasted less than 2 weeks.
By this time, all of us have lost hope, as the unique species that is partial to fly fishing, is as good as gone. Come 2017, Beq Zubir, the only guide in Langkawi, whose life is specifically dedicated to learning & looking for this fish, came upon a huge school just further up form the usual spot – and we were only in April, by early June, the fish were everywhere. Specimens up to 8 kg were recorded.
We anticipate this season would be as good as, if not better than the one in 2014. Looks like the Ladyfish are gonna be around for another month or so… As I am writing this I am thinking about when I will have my next shot at a giant Ladyfish…
For more content from Riki, make sure to check him out on Instagram @riki.liskandarsyah.