Return Fishing Holiday to Thailand
Roy & Pete came fishing in Thailand for their time on a fishing holiday in April 2008 and thoroughly enjoyed the venues they fished and the species they were up against - view their triumphs from their last catch report.
This time Roy & Pete accompanied by a third friend (Roy's nephew) Scott embarked on a slightly new game plan. Fishing in Bangkok at Bungsamran for a few more days this time allowed more concentration on bigger Mekong catfish and Siamese carp. Being Scott's first ever experience fishing in Thailand, the first day at Bungsamran was for Mekong action using the standard method feeder beneath a float set at half depth. Needless to say all three caught Mekong catfish averaging 45lb all day long - a cracking introduction for a rather bemused Scott!
The next two days were tough - that's the short way to describe it! The game plan was that being November - a traditionally classic month for big cats and carp, fishing all 3 rods for specimens from the larger less frequently occupied bungalow would offer a decent chance. Prior to their visit this is exactly what had been working, and although lots of Mekong's were caught up to 60lb and one big carp was hooked and lost - there was nothing tremendous to mention. This however was not the end as in the fishing holiday itinerary was written that the last two days would be used fishing again at Bungsamran.
For now it was off to fishing in the Khao Laem Dam jungle after carp - a three day trip in total offering two full days for fishing. Things were looking good on arrival and a lifting of spirits amongst the group as this was a welcome break from Bangkok to split up the fishing holiday nicely. The first day we arrived and ran the echo-sounder over the pre-baited swim all were feeling confident. The next morning at first light the six rods were cast into position and to the joy of the group the rods began bending over as a shoal of black carp moved through the swim - infact throughout the day a good number of fish were landed. The plan for day two was to move to the second pre-baited swim.
Day two in the jungle and as the rods were cast into position over the new swim it didn't take more than a few minutes before strange soft bites were indicated. The culprit turned out to be smith's barb - beautiful small fish and plenty of them. The smith's barb left the swim as quickly as they entered followed shortly by yellow catfish - another absolutely stunning Thai freshwater fish species.
A short wait and the black carp turned up which are always a welcome treat but so far no rohu (Indian carp). The enjoyable aspect of lots of black carp and other random fish was that the turns between the three kept rotating regularly and the anticipation was kept high of what fish was to take the bait next. Pete was up and after a little while the strongest run of the two days exploded onto the middle rod. Pete kept the rod high and tightened the drag but this fish was just not slowing at all, a sure sign of a decent rohu. A few seconds later after a long long run it was inevitable that the rohu found a snag, quickly the boat was dragged near enough to stumble aboard and Mr.Ay rowed out to above the snagged fish. Fishing in 30ft of water littered with aging jungle usually means a snagged fish is game over and this case unfortunately was no different - everybody was gutted for the loss.
Back into Bangkok and a fun day's barramundi fishing was next on the list at Boon Mar Ponds. For all three anglers this was a first and a most enjoyable day of BIG barra action reaching over 10Kg (22lb) on light lure fishing tackle with the exception of Pete who fly fished - and extremely successfully taking the first few fish very quickly.
Next on the wish-list of fishing venues in Thailand was IT Lake Monsters in the Ratchaburi province of Thailand, a lake made renowned for it's incredible diversity of fish species by international TV angling shows and tabloids. Roy was certainly looking forward to this venue the most and an early start proved fruitful with a fast & furious flurry of redtail catfish which luckily enough was Scott's 'most wanted.' As predicted the first few hours of action slowed right up with only the odd invasion from pacu until later in the day when the action came back slightly. Nearing the end of a great days fishing at IT Lake Monsters a meeting was held between Roy, Pete and Scott to discuss the best approach to the last two days at Bungsamran. On one hand as Roy pointed out they had waited until November to try for big carp & catfish which Bungsamran is so famous of producing. On the other hand if the big fish strategy doesn't work out then they could have fished for the 'action' size (40lb+) Mekong's which is a guaranteed success. The decision was made - they would stick it out only for the big stuff - let's do this!
Day one of the last two days back on Bungsamran and anxiety was high, especially amongst the guides who HATE failing the anglers. The morning was typically slow but at lunch time the wait was over and it was Scott's turn on the rod - to his joy.
A powerful and tricky struggle between Scott and fish which was obviously a big carp had everyone shacking in their flip flops. It was one of those fights with one of those fish that you want to finish quickly with the fish safely in the net - which it soon was. A cheer was cried as the big Siamese carp was lifted onto the wetted unhooking mat and the photo shoot began - an amazing feeling and a happy moment for all. Weighing in at exactly 70lb - this was a huge carp by anyone's standards. The rest of the day produced nothing more to mention (only a few cats up to 50lb!) Today was a result however and the correct decision was made to stick out for the biggies - tomorrow was a much more relaxed day to go into with this under their belt.
Today - the last day of Roy, Pete and Scott's fishing holiday in Thailand would bring the best fishing day at Bungsamran for them to date. Roy hooked into a monster Mekong catfish and although he was playing it perfectly, taking his time and concentrating on the direction of the fish; he got rather nervous when the guide mentioned that the 110lb scales would not be big enough to weigh this fish! Perhaps that was not what Roy needed to hear at that moment! However with no problems and a long exhausting fight the beast was netted and this was fast turning into a cracking two last days fishing in Thailand. An estimate of 120lb was given and Roy got into the water to take photos with this fish in the shallows. The tally of trophy fish in the last two days was Scott with a 70lb carp, Roy now with a 120lb Mekong and with only a couple of hours left Pete needed his trophy catch to ensure all three anglers went home satisfied.
Would you believe it? Pete's turn on the rods and bang, he hit into a big Mekong catfish which unknown to the crew, was about to take him around the houses! In and out of the bungalow this catfish knew all of the tricks, with one guide in the water for the best part of 40 minutes chasing the fish in and out and one guide up on deck with Pete this fish has all our heart's in our mouths! With darkness drawing in there was no way the guides or Peter were going to lose this fish - absolutely no way could we allow that to happen. Sure enough Pete tired the fish into submission and laying in his arms soon afterwards was a 93lb Mekong catfish, Pete still says that the scales must have been 7lb light!