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Fly Fishing for Red Kaloi - Spring 2023 Trip Journal


Fly fishing for red kaloi in Indonesia

Earlier today, I arrived back in Kalimantan, Indonesia, the island known as Borneo in the western world, to fly fish for Red Kaloi again. My first trip here in February of this year unfolded in dramatic fashion and left me certain I would return. Over the multiple days of travel to get here this week, I went over my February trip journal and organized and edited it to align with the format I found effective in sharing the Djibouti trip journals. I hope you enjoy reading this detailed retelling as much as I did this past week. It’s been a thrill to relive the moments  and I can’t wait to get back on the water. 18 hours of car rides remain until the promised land. 


What follows is from my trip journal, written in real time as the trip unfolded. Glaring typos that would lead to confusion have (mostly) been cleared up. Extra clarifications have been added inside parentheses. A massive thanks is due to Fajar and Ming for being great friends opening the world of fly fishing for Red Kaloi to all us.


Note: I write my fishing journals when I first wake up or right before falling asleep. Efficiency is of the essence and thus sentences may lack personal pronouns. It is safe to assume I’m talking about my own actions or emotional state when no pronoun is mentioned. 


Air Travel Day

2/24/23 

6:13am

About to touch down in Jakarta. Feeling solid. Hope the checked bags made it. Gotta believe. 


Qatar - 7kg on carry on. Super strict! Don’t weigh personal item. Had to remove laptop and camera to be close to limit. So just have to have the carry on to weigh at start of check but then can put stuff back in it. Ha. 


Lion/Baitk Air - 20kg checked bags total weight. Lol. Not a bag limit. Just weight. Don’t care about carry on.


Money exchange - better rate if crisp hundo. 


River Travel Day

2/25/23

9:44am 

(Redacted) river 


Coal is everywhere. It is overwhelming the amount and the frequency. 



1:56pm

Lunch was excellent. Stopped around 11:30. So cool. On stilts coming off the bank. Buffet style - select protein then they put it in tray and fix it for you. There was a massive shrimp. Biggest shrimp I’ve ever seen. Got one. It was good. Tasted like a crustacean. 


Chicken was good. People were fun. One lady had us take a ton of pictures. Then had me take another after lunch. Haha. Super low ceilings in a few spots. That was making everyone laugh when I was ducking. 


Makes me want to travel more. More off the grid stuff. Less purely fishing. So glad I’m here. I was wavering after seeing those flats and atolls off the coast yesterday! 



4x4 Travel Day 

2/26/23 

5:40am 

the magic builds. I can feel it. 


2:59pm

the drive in nearly broke me. On the river now. Enjoying the scenery. Water is high but dropping. 


Scenery is unreal. So many butterflies. Such cool patterns. A limb bent over across the river and I watched it and sure enough - a light tan monkey with orange face scrambled across. 


Still doesn’t feel real that a fish like the kaloi exists in these waters. And we are here. The rocks I’m on now remind me of north ga. Flattened golf cart sized boulders covered in moss. I do love north Georgia. 


So lush here. 


Great breakfast on the road today. Houses went on for a long time outside from the hotel part. They love sprawl just as much as Americans! Yellow rice and noodles with chicken. Fantastic. Wrapped up in a palm drawn then paper. An origami-like fold. So cool. 


The insects love the sweat. So many small bees and other insects crawling on my legs at any one time. 


Drive was tough. Took a while. Biggest problem was the low height of cab. Couldn’t sit up straight at all.


Terrain was gnarly. Some of the worst mud I’ve ever seen. Driver did well to get us through. The logging trucks are massive. Such old growth. 


One massive tree when we stopped to refill the radiator. So thick. And a good 60-70 feet above the rest of the canopy. No limbs on the way up. Then a perfect mess of limbs at the top. Like the cloud forest trees in avatar. 


No bites yet. Saw one small silver fish rise in the cove just downstream of camp. 


The bridge across the river at camp is made entirely of timber stacked. Incredible stuff. 



8:34pm

Eric fed one! Oh man is this river magic. Did not connect on hook set tho. 


Took a bit to get on the water. But camp set up is sweet now. The crew got to work once they arrived. 


Currently in my tent. Would be game to sleep on the suspension beds but they rip heaters (cigarettes)  lso hard it’s prolly not a good call. Raining now. Moisture trapped the smoke under the tarp. Looks like some high schoolers in a Honda civic on a dark street.


Feeling how tired I am after laying down. Wow. 


We went up river. Made it to a fork. River left trib is clean! Water is up but not the chocolate milk of the river right. 


Camp post rain storm

Day 1

2/27/23 

6:34am

slept well. In bed at 9pm. Passed out almost immediately. Slept til 3am. Then had to pee so bad. Almost fell in mud outside tent. Ha. 


Back asleep til 6. Such a good sleep! Big rain in the night. Unfortunate. We shall see how the river looks. 


Def a learning curve fishing from the skinny boats. Best to not move feet at all. And the less casts the better. 


Was feeling the jet lag yesterday. Had to fight off being super cranky at multiple points! 


Very misty right now. Slight chill to the air. 


8:36am 

On the water. Went down river but water was dirty. Heading back up now. Checking out river right fork. 


Last night there was a terrifying noise as darkness crept over the river. A cicada. An electrical whine that in no way sounds natural. A torture noise of angry robots. 


9:32pm

wild first full day. So fun. Eric got it done around ten am. So wild. 


“It’s been a while since I’ve felt this Alive”


Eric’s word after landing the bull kaloi. He was flawless on the fight. He Had been casting for about two hours. Maybe hour and a half. Casting to river left. All the sudden a fish appears beneath the fly. It looks at it for an eternity. Then sucks it in. Eric sticks em. Ming yells no line! And then Eric just holds on for dear life and the rod buckles over for two minutes. 


Such a relaxed eat. And then a ballistic fight. Harry and Grown Man Strength were flawless with boat handling and got us away from the logs quickly. 


The power of the fish. My gosh. The fish ends up breaking the rod too but Ming scops it after some boat side drama. 



After Eric’s big fish I start fishing. Not too much happens through lunch. We take lunch around 12:30. Beautiful spot. Shoals way upriver where two tributaries meet. It’s wild. It looks like North Georgia so much. Stacked rock formation. Covered in moss. And then the shoals churning with stained water. Then you zoom out and everything changes. Palm trees. Foliage everywhere. A tree spilling sap which bursts into a Fireball when touched with a lighter. 



I can’t handle the spicey beef. Eat it anyways. Need protein. Get deep in the water after. Cool right off. Magical. 


Then we fish down river. Eric is up. Again not too much happening. We fish the tributary down to the house boat. Then I take over. Fish down to camp.


Soon after house boat, Harry points and a Kaloi is sitting middle of the river just downstream of boat. It’s holding like a trout checking out the leaves floating by. I go to cast and it seems to look me in the eye and then spook. Bastard. 


A little later, I get a tantalizing look just upstream of camp. Fly is sitting there then all the sudden a fish is looking at it intensely. I don’t move anything. And then it turns and gives a big kick. My heart is pounding. 


Back to camp a touch before 4. Get more drinking water. Share the good news. Then head back up. 


Eric starts. Not too much happening. I take over late. Get one splashy rise but never feel anything. Get tight quick. 


Little later I am fishing the same run as earlier. A clear cliff bank that has fast current shooting off then a back eddy. On river left. I cast ahead of boat into the eddy. Fly is floating. It’s been a while. The cig smoke has gotten to me as the humidity has risen and kept it circling the boat. I’m not focused. And boom. Massive take. Sounds like the top water  eats we have heard a few times in the slow water. 


I have too much slack. Strip strip and big trout set. And nothing is there. Pain. That’s on me. Whether or not the fish really crushed it I can’t say. But either way I didn’t deserve the hook up. 


We fish til about 6:15pm. Hear a few rises here and there. Then back to camp. 


I share my praises for how great everyone was. And my concerns on the cig smoke. I can’t do it. Fajar takes it well. 


Dinner is good. Fried chicken. So tasty. 


These boats are so perfect for the water. Can scoot around all these log jams no problem. 


Day 2

2/28/23 

6:28am 

Slept well. Woke up at four and had to pee. Relented. Once back in tent it was chilly! Put on Patagonia sun hoody and used Simms bottom down as blanket on legs 


Lots of fishing drama yesterday. 


8:34am

in the boat. Bout to take off. 


8:37am

cruising. I must pitch this story/place to a magazine. Who could say no. Got some good b roll pics this am. Need a few more. 

  • Flies 

  • Boats

  • Camp 

  • Food 

  • Birds 

  • Butterflies

  • Mammals? Monkey would be sweet. 

  • Transport car

  • Water taxi



The tributary’s are spooky. So steep and narrow. The power of the water being forced through them is daunting. 


8:57am

just a saw a massive lizard! On the sand bank. Huge. Green and gold. Slithered along and into the water then disappeared. Then saw a monkey soon after. 


9:14am 

awesome tactics lesson from Ming this am. Drew out scenarios with pen on cardboard. Biggest take away is select the shots. Focus on slow water before and after structure. Get 1m from shore. Don’t just cast non-stop at slow water. Have to pick the spots. 


And don’t cast into fast water before structure. 


Fish are sitting right off the structure looking at slow water. They will move to the slow water to eat. 


So Eric’s fish was sitting off a log upstream of his fly cast. Then it moved down and across the submerged logs as Eric’s fly was drifting over. Then ate. 



2:36pm 

Grrrrrr. Been slow on the hookset on two Kaloi. Saw one in a cove and put fly down in front of his face but he dipped. Landed a couple eating fish. Looks like mahseer family. 


Right forearm is dying. So tired. A more flexible rod would be nice for the volume of casting  here.


Stomach feeling stable. Oh my was it bad this am. Was casting the popper thru a rapid where we were tied off at the top of river right trib. Then I grab the wipes and sanitizer and took off downstream. Holy shot. Like the first round in Djibouti 2022. Just sprayed everywhere. Lesson learned. Dont spray into water because it will bounce back up. My butt and thigh were covered. Took like four wipes just to clean that up. 


Asshole hurt so bad. Took about five minutes to stop burning. Fuck that spicey beef. Never again. The small fish loved my stomach issues. Feeding frenzy. 


Fly fishing in Borneo
The joy of casting - right before my stomach threw a fit

Fishing was interesting. Lots of rises. Lots of small fish. Hooked two early but both came off when dragging to boat. Small ones. Then landed decent sized eating fish. Then a few more kaloi possible rises. It’s tough. Tough to stay engaged the whole time. Two of the kaloi takes have been when looking elsewhere planning the next cast. SMH. 


I am grumpy. Fair to say. Usually, I fish solo (on-foot) if fishing the whole time. So easier to get over failures on my own. Trickier when there’s other people. 


4:26pm 

fuck this fish. Let me repeat. Fuck. This. Fish. 


Running back up river right now. Just ate. That lessened the rage a touch. But it’s still there. 


Had one on for a second. Hit him hard. Still got off. Then another that was eating slow I guess? And I ripped it out. Got into it a bit with Fajar. Because yesterday I asked multiple times do we need to let them eat it like a dry fly with a big trout.


No No. They will spit it out if they feel it.


So been trying to set immediately. Think I’m gonna do strip sets. The biggest issue is not being able to mend the line. He doesn’t want me to mend the line at all. And that does seem to lead to more bites but if there’s a ton of slack the hook set blows. 


Day 3

3/1/23 

3:21am

Been raining steadily since at least midnight. Not good. So very not good. This will certainly add to the drama. Still have to believe. 


4:55am

Rain is relentless. Slightly terrified. Somewhat given up on going back to sleep. 


Humidity is brutal. Any fart simply doesn’t leave. Just stays suspended in the tent. 


Tent edges are starting to soak. The tarp is at its limit. 


Looking over calendar. Really good tides in (redacted)  first week of May. I know I was looking at doing Nica then. But financially if I have a few guys that could be a really good option. Flight should be a bit cheaper as well. And could still do the camp for a few days before. 


Think do Puerto Rico guiding march 24–April 9. Sounds like that is busiest time. Then do either bonefish or Nica that first week of May. Then Slovenia. Haha. This isn’t really trip relevant. But hey. This is a trip journal! I like the lean into one platform instead of notes vs regular journal divide. 


8:26am

the fart lingering in the humidity observation got a roar out of Eric and Fajar. 


Laying half way into the tent now and reading. Glad to have a physical book to kill the down time. 


No fishing yet. River is super high and rising slightly. Can’t go out due to safety concerns. If it rises rapidly while we are out there we are screwed. 


1:33pm

Sweating buckets. Went for a nice road hike. Lots of mud. Lots of birds. And one gorgeous butterfly. Massive. Black wings. With yellow on the bottom edge. Light green body. 


Water is dropping. So very exciting. Still a ways to go before we can fish. 


2:39pm 

The walk. The book. The high water. I’ve relaxed finally. Into a more zen like stance on the whole thing. A kaloi will be landed by me on fly. It’s only a matter of time. 


9:34pm

Trying day. But learned. And took care of myself. We hit the water around 4. Up and to river left. Eric is up first on my insistence. I lay down for most of it cus my back is dicey. Then I fish from the houseboat down. Start with popper as Hampala are crushing bait on far shore river right. 


No luck. 


Then switch to Hardy 8wt that has been rigged since last night. Waiting. Oh my. It’s a revelation. So fun to throw. It’s magic. I’m fly fishing again. 


Hit lots of spots. Water is still super high. Low lights are fogging. Need catcrap next time. 


Work river right almost exclusively. Then back to left. Cast in front of big tree. Leave for a sec then clear but it’s stuck. We are moving to fast. Get below. Harry grabs a branch. Prolly 80 ft below. 


Fly gets stuck down deep. Harry is brilliant with the oar stepping down to free line then hook. Tip loop is split. Welp


Close up on Eric’s first Kaloi

Back to popper. Then Fajar propose using Thomas and Thomas. I oblige. Fun to cast. Get hang of it quickly. 


Keep working spots. Harry points out one spot on river right. Looks super good. Back eddy upstream of big log. Over hanging vines. There’s only one gap for the cast. I nail it. Loop unfurls in the 8 foot by 6 foot square that is open. Plops down. 70 foot cast. 


Wait wait wait. Almost to the point of having to rip it out. 


And a rise. Big gulp. I set like hell. Fly hurtles back to me. 


Pissed. Keep casting. After fifteen min I’m calm enough to ask Fajar. He says to early and too much movement on hook set. I’m slightly livid. Certainly perturbed. I go “so I do need to let them eat it!”


I’ve been asking since the first day if I need to let them eat it like a trout. He covers by going Tasmania trout or American trout. Bullshit. Trout dry fly eats are all the same. I respond how a big brown takes a dry. 


Let them close their mouth. 


So that settles it. A breakdown of communication. I’m pretty sour until I get through a nice lift (workout) with a big water storage bottle after fishing. 


Hookset is extra odd because ideally the fly isn’t moving. So you don’t know which way the hook point is facing (like you would if stripping or swing the fly). Honestly I think a down stream set may be the move. The trout set is garbage. Fuck that. Because generally you are pulling it upstream almost with the boat angle. 


Things to play around with!


Day 4

3/2/23

6:27am 

Slept well. Angling the bed really helped. 

Misty and overcast but sounds like water looks good. Super exciting. 


Asleep around 9:40. Up at 1 to pee. Generator was still going? Then slept fairly soundly again until now. 


Had a dream that 21 Savage was running after me and throwing a glass vodka bottle? And that I was fishing in Florida without a license and a sexy DNR agent approached me and didn’t check my license. Instead, gave me contact info to send my bonefish pics from 2017 for their magazine. Lol. 


6:43am 

Feeling really solid. First time all trip. Makes sense as now almost a week into it. No more jet lag. But also did all the self care yesterday evening. Really solid workout with the massive water jug. Did a Neti pot. Took the sleep enhancers and got a great nights sleep. Angling the mattress is a game changer. 


8:24am

On the water. So much for the early start. They’ve got their own pace they like to work at. 


Slight mist coming down. (Redacted) was too high. Heading up river again. Should know the spots by now. Ha. 


Going up right fork. Both boats. Sweet. 


2:36pm

Time for new water! Super excited. Just did lunch at camp. Thirty min turn around. Very nice. 


Morning was solid. Angled well. So that feels good. Hooked and landed a nice eating fish, same as third day, on the third cast. In the river left back swirl covered in foam. Real soft eat. Felt great about that. Stick em. 


Kept going down. Not much action. A few  

kaloi rise / eats nearby but nothing would come to my fly. 


Ran up river left fork after. Again not much. 


Then main river. Had a nice follow after casting across in to middle to a rise. First cast nothing. Then plopped it down again. Letting in drift. See a big outside swirl from the far side and spin to face it. Then it dropped down. Bastard. 


Right above Camp I get another follow in under the branches. It looked, noses it, then moved forward  and down. Fly disappeared. I did a solid downstream set. Nothing. Must have been a refusal and the fish wake sucked the fly down. Wild. Looked like a big carp. May have been a big version of the eating fish. 


Going to switch flies. Ming tied a black and orange on a massive saltwater hook. Not a curved surgical point but bigger gap and sharper point so I like it. 


Ming tying big cockroach flies

Going up (redacted) now. Bridge is sketchy lol. Eric is right. Love his engineer problem solving. Angling the bed. How he just tipped over the water jug when it was super full. Efficiency. Love it. These jugs pour smoothly like that. Look like big barrel Jerry can tubs. Much easier to pour than the five gallon cylinder ones I’m used to ha. Can’t tip those over at all. 


Gosh my bag isn’t air tight at all. Sucks as a Pillow. No wonder it leaks easily. May be time for a replacement. 


Nice to not worry about weight here. I do love my on-foot fishing but gosh is the gear amount easy when you don’t have to choose. 


3:24pm 

Shit, just had the thought that the eat may have been like the shoal bass that day with Fletcher. So ducking slow. It makes no sense. That they would be this slow. But it’s so easy to pull it out of their mouth when they don’t close it!


The water noise and ripples is just them opening their mouth. They need a beat to close it. 


8:48pm 

I’m getting sentimental! That’s nice. I told Eric I could do another two weeks here. And that I wasn’t feeling that way a few days ago! Haha. 


The time change really does suck. The body just can’t adjust. Makes me concerned for (redacted). Maybe I should go a few days earlier so I can actually enjoy it. I could leave Baja early and do that. Can prolly find somewhere to fish on foot fairly easy. But don’t want to feel like ass for the first half of the trip. 


Today was good. Highly satisfied with how I angled. And really that’s what matters deep down. If the fish are rude, that’s fine. It’s about mastery. Making mistakes is much worse than a fish refusing a fly that is well presented. 


The guys put out tree hanger lines with leaves for kaloi. They ate around the hooks! How wild. Also blows my mind that they eat leaves. Actively eat them on purpose. Wild. 


Leaves eaten by Kaloi

(Redacted) was cool. Two crazy encounters with kaloi. We met Eric and the smokehouse (nickname for boat crew) around 3:30. Hung out on a beach. And decided to fish together. Pick a side. With water high there’s plenty of room. 


We fish river left. I tied on a massive bbc that Ming tied on a saltwater hook. Looks like a 6/0 Kona. Wide gap. No curve. But nice point. 


Nothing happens for a while. A few small bites. Then floating a drift and it gets pushed. Then pushed a again. Then a swirl. Then another push. Like something is trying to capsize the fly. A kaloi is nosing the fly and follow it. I cast prolly 30-40 feet and end up of feeding another 30 feet or so to keep the drift going. It feels like ages. But the fly never disappears. The swirls and bumps from the fish stop after prolly 4-5 seconds. Current picks up and fly floats quickly along sunken log parallel to current. 


Wild. A little later a big rise happens right in the upstream corner of a big half submerged tree. Single thick vine hanging down in stream directly between us. I nail the cast. Just downstream of vine. Fly plops in the wake circle. Smack. Right in the middle. A wake comes from underneath. The fly wobbles and is nosed again. Wtf!! 


Nothing much after that. Incredible scenery tho. God rays through the overhanging canopy and mist rising off the water. Incredible. 


Saw a group of monkeys right before main river junction on ride back. So cool. Way high in a tree. 


And a massive hornbill flew over real close on ride up to (redacted). So big. Couldn’t see details tho. 


Day 5

3/3/23 

8:32am 

I’m all hopped up on Indonesian coffee and self belief. 


On the water. Headed down river to (redacted). In Ming’s boat today. He’s got the magic. 


Slept well enough. Asleep by 9:30 or so. Awake around 3 to pee. Steady soft rain. Nothing like the prior night. Pop the rain water collection off the tarp. 


Generator is still going. Only our light is on tho. It’s swarmed with bugs. I imagine set as a distraction from the big tent. I get covered walking out of the tent. Brush them off. Tons of tiny moths. Quick piss. Rinse the feet. Accept that I should pump up the mattress. Get clobbered by bugs getting the pump. Again no bites. But it is eerie to feel that many on my skin. 


Pump it up. Rinse feet. Back on mattress. And oh no. It’s a serious leak now. I lay straight and feel the sensation of the gentlest cloud slowly lowering my body to the firm ground. My hips hit first. An affirmation of why soft mattresses annoy my lower back. 


Accept my fate. It’s not that bad on the ground. Just need to maneuver around the hard mounds. 


Lots of grand thoughts. Some wonky dreams. Have to put on a shirt and pajama pants as the chill arrives. I slumber on and off til the alarm. First time I’m not wide awake. Laying on stomach. The emergency sleep move. Put on brothers in arms by Dire Straits. And then it’s time for packing.


9:19am 

Ming told Eric that when the water is super high as it’s been, the kaloi are able to reach the leaves readily and likely are well fed and thus less aggressive. Still can’t get over that they eat leaves. 


Ming told us that he can read and write English fairly easily but talking is tougher. Said he learned by chatting on video games. Lord of war I think he said. 


It was a funny moment for me. You have the collision of worlds in the 21st century. Here’s a man steeped in knowledge and passion for the natural world, royal heritage from the native tribe that is deeply connected to the wild, with leopard fang earrings to show it and working hard to protect his home despite most other areas being pillaged for natural resources. And yet clearly Ming has a strong passion for distinctly modern activities. It’s easy to have an idealized version of people that still live with the land and know how to thrive with the land. But the lure of modern thrills is universal and what a gift it has given us by making communication possible. 


Resting the river before floating downstream to fish

9:26am

So many hornbills on (redacted)! Amazing. Just had two fly off super close to boat. 


Mmm daydreaming about (redacted). Classic fumble of the bag on that one. So fine. 


1:52pm

Holy fuck. What a fish. What a place. What a challenge. I’m obsessed. 


9:34pm

Today was insane. 


We motor up to (redacted). Takes nearly an hour. Eric and Fajar decide to go further up instead of waiting. I appreciate the courtesy of allowing me to fish first! 


We sit for a touch. And then Ming gets the rod and shows me exactly how he wants me to fish. 

  • Only pick your shots. No extra casting. 

  • Land fly One meter from bank or log or submerged tree. 

  • Get the slap. 

  • Don’t allow slack to build. 

  • When the main current shoots off structure and towards the middle with lots of leaves - cast into it ahead of boat. 


Nice to really confirm the things we had chatted about the second morning in camp and see visually how he does it. 


I was certainly too eager on casting the first and second day. Wore myself out. And then you have the risk of fly catching things in unproductive water right before the honey hole. 


After demo we go to a small beach and wait 15 min. Ming switched to 60 lb fluoro straight instead of the 50lb mono - Fluoro taper. 


Then it begins. We are a well oiled machine. Ming calls each shot or I ask him what he wants. Boom boom boom. 


Get a bite on third spot. I’m patient. Wait for the fly to go underwater and away. Fish is swimming hard with fly but I can still see the fly. Solid downstream Alaska style set. Fly comes out. It never had the hook. Never really see size of fish but likely smaller. 


Keep going. Boom a massive eat. Fish is on. Stripping in line. Get through a couple of surges. Looks like a female. Maybe 5-6 lbs. So dang strong. Rod is vibrating. Leader inside tip. Fish is boatside. Almost to boat. Dives below boat in middle. Rod fully in water and angled under the boat. Then nothing. Fuck. Hook is fine. Just came off. Ming says maybe ripped out of mouth. 


Keep going. Really good structure. Upper (redacted) is loaded with logs and submerged  trees. 


Cast to river right in excellent structure. A fish rises, and rushes the fly. The midday sun scorches the narrow, wooden slat floor of the Ketinting. The kaloi turns away. Ming shouts “Again! Again!” Current coasting us away, I cast upstream now. The bull rises two feet to river left as the fly lands. It swipes towards it. Current catches the fly and the fish disappears. A third cast, 80 feet upstream, smacking the last known sighting. The big red bull kaloi chargers and engulfs the 2/0 hopper like a bull redfish. 


0-2 so far on fights four hours into the final day, Day 5, I hold onto the the 60lb straight leader for dear life. My 8wt, my favorite rod ever, hums under its greatest fight yet. Chaos. Controlled chaos. It happens. It finally happens. An energy I’ve never felt. My body racks with noise. 


Believe. Believe. These words echoed in my head all morning. Calm washed over me after sundown on day 4. I had angled well. The fish had refused. I can take that. Before bed, I walked back barefoot to the river, careful in the fading, buzzing light. The stars choked the strip of sky that split the trees. A quick chat. I asked for another chance on the final day. A chance to right myself. To show that these fish are worth chasing after. To help bring more anglers here, help create sustainable jobs, help these master watermen, loggers and miners now, have a chance to become fishing guides. Maybe stop that neighboring river from getting diverted, drained, and mined, and keep the structure loving kaloi from a slow death in a barren canal. 


I told Ming I chatted with the river gods. He laughs and says “No, you finally fished with me!” A Guide’ guide if I ever met one. 


Four days of travel, four days without a target fish to hand, and then I became the 8th person to land a Red Kaloi on fly.


Fly fishing the jungle for red kaloi
A dream come true!

Departure Day 1

3/4/23

8:06am 

the smells of the city are returning. No thank you. 


In the car headed towards (redacted). 


Fajar has great idea to bring American artists over here and work with local artists and wood carvers and then auction offf works to raise funds for the rainforest. 


1:37pm

Eric goes “still waiting for that on ramp” hahaha. I’m dying. We are driving through absolute garbage right now. 


5:46pm 

Halo Chan tik 


Departure Day 2

3/5/23

9:00am 

On plane to cgk. What a trip. 


Final day was insane. 


Team work makes the dream work!

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