I Went To Thailand And Caught Something Big
It all started on a cold December day when I was trying to catch a carp in a cold windswept lake near Watford, Herts, UK. I had read that there was fantastic fishing in Thailand's lakes. So I went on the web, and found a site published by people who seemed to know what they were talking about. After an exchange of emails I thought lets spend some of my children's inheritance and have a go.
As I am pensioner I needed to save cash, so I booked on EVA Air from London direct to Bangkok. I felt that the extra money saved by taking an indirect flight was not worth it, given the extra time taken. Although I am nearly six foot tall I found the cattle class seats OK, the food was a bit sparse, and getting a drink was hard work. But we did arrive in Bangkok on time. I was met by Damien of Siam Fishing Tours and taken to my accommodation which was fine.
Early the next morning Damien and Jules picked me up in their flash four door truck and within fifteen minutes we were at the Famous Bungsamram lake. One of my friends has described this lake as "The Las Vegas of fishing". I found it was a mixture of Las Vegas and Butlins. This lake is about 20 acres in size and contains about 50 species of fish adding up to 30,000 density, and everywhere you look you see fish moving on the surface., I felt my pulse rate going up. On one side of the lake are straw roofed bungalows with staging for fishing in front.
There is also a long shaded pier running down the centre of the lake known as the shed. We were met by our professional Thai fishing guide who started to get our rods set up while Damian went off to get some ground bait. He soon came back with a massive sack of rice flour which they call lumb. At my lake we are allowed one kg so the sight of a barrow-load amazed me. The rods used are around seven foot as anything longer would foul the roof of the shading. The line is about sixty pound braid, although thirty pound mono can also be used. The Thai guide set about mixing the ground bait with water and all sorts of magic flavourings. When he gets it just right he packs it expertly around a spring feeder which is about eighteen inches below a pike type float six inches below the feeder is a large bare hook on mono. The Thai guide expertly casts the rig out at least 50 meters. He uses an off the floor cast with a continuous smooth motion. Any jerk would eject the ground bait from the feeder. Believe me it was a pleasure to watch this skill particularly with such a short rod.
Then the fun starts! Almost at once the large float starts bobbing around, sometimes going down then coming up quickly. I rushed to pick up the rod and strike, but Jules said that with all the line out and a short rod I would not connect with the fish
so I waited with the reels bail arm oped. Then the line began to strip off the spool. My hands were shaking as I picked up the rod, closed the bail and struck. The fish off taking line from the already tight drag. I put the butt of the rod in
the gimble belt I had around my waist and held on. When the fish stopped I lowered the rod winding line and gaining a few yards and then the fish screamed off again. After five minuets I had pumped the fish close the staging only for it swim under
it. Under instruction from the guide I stuck my rod straight out and shortened the line. The fish swam out towards the rod tip and the guide netted it. My hands were shaking after the fight and at the sight of the 50 lb Mekong catfish lying on
the unhooking mat. On that first day I must have landed about 18 fish as well as loosing about five. One fish took off so fast that the spool was practically out of line. The Thai guide took the rod from me and ran along the staging under everyone
rod until he got the fish under control. He handed back the rod to me and unfortunately the hook came out yards from the bank. We spent 3 days fishing at Bungsamram including one day in a bungalow where I managed to land a 12 kg carp. Bungsamram
has a cafe and a bar and lots of vendors came around selling food and cold drinks. The other fishermen are mainly Thai, the odd farang, some with young ladies. The general atmosphere was friendly and fun and I would recommend it to anyone who
wants a fun day out – and the chance to catch the fish of a lifetime.
The fourth day of my trip we went to shadow lake, a bit further out of Bangkok than Bungsamram. Shadow lake is not as developed as Bungsamram and is more like an English lake around nine acres with high density of Mekong catfish, striped catfish and a fair density of carp. We had a good day and I caught a near record striped catfish, about 20 kg, a beautiful silver fish like a fresh run salmon. Also caught were Mekong and a big mouth carp. There is a cafe on site and they deliver to your fishing station which has a roof for shade. All in all another excellent day.
The following day we went to the amazing Lake Monsters in Rachaburi province, about two hours drive from Bangkok. About seven acres in size, this lake contains some amazing fish. We started fishing using live bait and I landed some really nice red tailed catfish and a beautiful record size Baramundy. As this lake is stocked with predator type fish all sorts of styles of fishing can be tried including fly fishing and spinning. In the afternoon we tried dead bating with fish from a grassy bank on the far side of the lake. I cast out my dead bait into a likely spot about thirty yards from the bank and sat down and lit my pipe. I told you I was old! After about fifteen minuets the line started to move slowly off the reel. I picked up the rod closed the bail and struck hard. The fish powered off towards the middle of the lake. I held on with the rod bent and the reel screaming, Damian from Siam fishing asked me if it was big. I said it was powerful but not that big. The fish swam around in an arc and swirled on the surface. It was enormous, the biggest fish I had ever hooked. With me holding on to the angry fish, Damien called to the Thai guides at the other end of lake, and they came rushing up on their mopeds. I had hooked a big Arapima. The boys pushed a large cage into the water and one waded out with a landing net. I carefully played the fish towards the bank. I was afraid that the fish would jump which would dislodge the hook. I managed to bring the massive fish in to the shallow water and the guide managed to get his net around it and guide it into the cage. The sight of this six foot long fish looking like a giant pike safely in the cage. They made me get into the water to be photographed with the fish and it took four of us to hold it out the water.
While I was recovering from the fight the Thai boys stayed in the water and pushed the cage round to the fishing lodge. At the lodge we hoisted the cage up out of the water to weigh it with the Siam fishing Tours' certified scales. We then waited for the fish to recover and weighed the cage. The net weight was over eighty six kg, heavier than me! It was over the current world record! For me, the fish of a lifetime! In all I spent seven days with the Siam Fishing guys, six days fishing and they looked after me well.
I would recommend anybody who wants to catch a big fish to try Thailand. I believe you can arrange day trips and I know you will be impressed with their expertise and the skill of the Thai guides they employ. At the end of fishing week I was dropped off at the Mothership for a bit of rest and recreation. The only comment I would make is that at about 4 AM I went to the bog and saw small creatures about one millimetre in size running around the sink. I zapped them with my deodorant spray on the basis that even if it did not kill them at least they would smell nice.
Tight lines from PISCATOR.
That huge fish look like it could feed a whole village!