Catch Report Written by Steve Parfitt
My name is Steve Parfitt from Bristol and I am 40 years old, self-employed & have lived here in Bangkok Thailand for the last 11 years.
Recently, while back in the UK on holiday I was doing some Carp fishing with an old friend of mine who asked me if I had seen a series called Extreme Fishing with Robson green. Apparently they did an episode set fishing in Thailand where Robson Green fished the richest freshwater fishing venues in the country chasing and catching many different exotic giant species from arapaima to Giant Mekong Catfish, Freshwater Stingray and many others. Not only had I never heard of the program I had no idea about the fishing back in Thailand whatsoever, it was simply something I had never even looked into dismissing the idea as a total waste of time.
Upon my return to Bangkok I thought I would get on the Internet and see if there was any credibility in my good friend’s story. Well….was there ever!
About 2 minutes of searching I found the website www.fishthailand.co.uk amazingly not only was I able to confirm my friends story but I had found the actual guide from the television program, an ex-pat Englishman and master angler called Eddie Mounce. It was Eddie who actually looked after Robson and the whole channel 5 team during the making of that particular episode set in Thailand. I had got lucky.
Obviously excited I called Eddie and asked him if he minded if I came out with him and his crew to learn how and where to catch some seriously big exotic fish. No problem, the following Saturday, armed with all the gear I could possibly need, I was out fishing in Bangkok Bungsamran Lake, a very special place indeed.
Bungsamran is a 20 acre lake where the Giant Mekong Catfish grow in excess of 300lb & the world’s biggest Carp was caught (on rod & line) weighing in at 264lb! Yes that’s a 264lb Carp!!! Hell, I would be happy to catch anything over 26lb after fishing in the UK I thought….. I was not to be disappointed!
Almost immediately this unbelievable fishing venue was throwing catfish after catfish anywhere between 20 & 60lb one after another fishing on the bottom using a method feeder on a kind of local version of a bolt rig packed with Ram (ground rice husks) 40lb line swiveled and braided onto a size 2 hook.
After about 4 hours we had caught over 10 good size fish. Eddie was earlier telling me it was not uncommon to catch fish in the 80 and 90lb region and if we were really lucky we might get something over the 100lb mark (fingers crossed)
Early in the afternoon we shifted off the bottom and added a float to the rig and started fishing at about 12 feet (about half depth). The ram stays on the feeder for about 10 minutes before you have to bring it back in, re-pack and cast out again.
Nothing could have prepared me for what was gonna happen next!
About 2 minutes after the second cast the bait runner slowly started to click, click, click before taking off for the hills, just like a good old fashioned Jaws movie. Grabbing the rod I struck with absolutely everything I had to give. However this time was VERY different than before. I was clearly into a behemoth!
I could not budge whatever this goliath was, not a single inch! In fact for the first time ever, holding a rod and reel, I knew I was in serious trouble.
Anyway ‘clutch set’ this thing decided to go for a 30 minute jaunt around Bungsamran. The only way I can describe what it felt like is being tied to an angry rhino that had just been kicked in the balls.
With my heavy rod constantly bent through 90 degrees, a broken back and seriously cramped arms I had been stood there fighting this Cat for a good 40 minutes when I looked up to Eddie, stood behind (& coaching me the whole time) and said ‘do you think he is gonna come in soon? I was seriously feeling beat.
Eddie smiled and replied 'you got at least another 40 minutes of this left.'
Hell, I thought I am in big trouble. I never had 40 left in me for sure and seriously hoped he was yanking my chain!
Anyway, to cut an already long story short, about 30 minutes later the big cat did indeed tire and was within a few feet of where I was stood. Big nets out, Eddie and one other carefully landed the monster for me.
I kid you not, at this point every muscle in my body had cramped, my neck was cricked, arms and legs both had turned to jelly and all my discs felt slipped. On all fours I crouched there in the 100 degree heat sweating profusely.
No time to waste, the, equally exhausted, 160lb fish was gently placed on me by the two others for a quick photo before gently and carefully being returned to its own domain. After a 30 minute lay down in the shade and about 20 isotonic’s later the realization that I had just smashed all my fishing dreams on day 1 at Bunsamran had indeed come true.
I thought I had died and gone to fishing heaven!