Disaster Flood Claims More than Another Days Fishing

by | Dec 2, 2023 | fly fishing in Borneo



Both photos taken from nearly the same exact spot 15 hours apart.  To help with the scale of things, if you look close at yesterday one of our boat man is at water’s edge.  You can also use that branch dipping down into the water.  A 25 foot rise!  Disaster!







When Austin Kane, Fajar Setyawan, our four boatmen, the cook and I went to bed last night we were at the high point of this Borneo fly fishing adventure.  On a trip that was delayed two days at the start then pummeled with bad weather, we finally hit our groove.  We managed back to back full days on the water and both Austin and I landed our target fish, the red kaloi.





Today we expected to get ahead of the game and catch a lot of fish under perfect conditions.  But no.  Less than an hour after we retired last night the rain began.  By midnight it was coming down so hard the guys had to retie the boats and continue to do so every hour because the river was rising so fast.  It was dark.  It was complicated.  It was miserable.


BorneoAt 4 am camp flooded.  All week we’ve had streams of water passing through but this was serious.  Both Austin and my tents started filling with water.  First it was a mere ¼ of an inch.  I wasn’t too worried being I have an inflatable mattress that’s about four inches thick.  But by daybreak I had a good two inches of standing water and rising.  Most of my clothes were soaked.


BorneoIt continued to pour after day break.  I procrastinated leaving my tent.  Such conditions aren’t fun in case you didn’t know.  Once up, I learned of more bad news.  Around 4 am we lost a boat and with the river this big there was no doubt it was sunk miles downstream.  Gone for good.


Kaloi-campWe’re fortunate that at 8:30 am the rain eased and by 9 it was done altogether.  It was another day trapped at camp however.  The cook treated us to a big breakfast of numerous eggs, corn, sardines and rice.


bee-stingsAt 10 am the sun came out and as usual, temps rose into the mid 90°s.  Along with the heat came the bees which are extremely aggravated.  No doubt their hives are underwater.  If you got through an hour without getting stung you were lucky.  I’ve been stung more than a dozen times now as I write and by several different species.  Some hurt more than others!


off-the-grid-flyfishingBy noon was true misery.  Not only did the reality of losing yet another day of fishing set in, but the heat, the humidity and the mud were tough to navigate.  Flip flops were no longer an option because of the gunk.  The mud is like paste and you can’t get it off anything once it’s on there.


red-kaloiAt 2 pm, despite the rain being stopped for hours, the river continued to rise.  For the first time this week we needed to move our tents for higher ground.  The highwater mark we had Tuesday that broke a 2012 record flood, is surpassed.  The return of “Monsoon Currier”.


BorneoBy 4 pm the bees were so bad they were landing all over you.  They like our sweat.  As long as you don’t take a swing at them you’re ok but every once in a while you can’t take it.  Add a few more stings.



Drake-MagazineAt 6 pm the sun finally set and temps slowly dropped back to the 80°s.  Fortunately the bees retreated and we could relax.  I broke out a Drake I’ve been nibbling at and drank my last two beers.  They’re hot but after today they hit the spot.


Tonight is our last night.  If it doesn’t rain and the water drops, we’ll take the one boat and fish till noon tomorrow then pack camp and head for Melak.  The journey home will begin.  It will take four days to get to my front door in Hayward, WI.


gifts-for-anglersIn the meantime, please visit my webstore for “Christmas Gifts for the Angler that has Everything” and stuff those stockings with my fish decals from “Pescador on the Fly”.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!