The old adage goes as follows: the grass is always greener on the other side. That is unless of course, if you had physically gone to the other side, brought back some foreign grass seeds and grew it on your own damn side of the hill so that no one else would have to ever go to the other side again. The same goes for us Thai folks with fishing. Sooner or later the same old Mekong giant catfish or giant snakehead is going to start to look as mundane as any other blade of grass found in your backyard. Our solution: open up a pond fishing pond stocked up with fish from somewhere else.
So the desire for something different to fish for spawned the idea of fishing ponds stocked with fish imported from areas with a similar climate to Thailand. Species such as the arrowana, alligator gar, peacock bass, red tail catfish and the monstrous arapaima became really popular with the local angling community.
Unfortunately there is one major problem to fishing for these species: the only place close to Bangkok that seems to stock these species (at least the only one that advertises itself very heavily) is the expensive IT lake Monsters pond in Ratchburi. Sure they have stupidly large fish but what do the rest of us not-so-rich folks do if we want to just experience some Amazon awesomeness without breaking the bank?
This conundrum finally came to an end a few months back when a new pond started posting pictures on www.siamfishing.com fishing forum. Photographs of arrowana, red tail, alligator gar and the arrapaima taunted the angling community. Not to mention that the B500 fishing fee was also amazingly tantalising. Amazon BKK, located in the Putthamonton area on the outskirts of Bangkok, is an affordable alternative to the exotic fishing aficionado.
After seeing the pictures on the forum I quickly gave John of www.john-tom.com a phone call. Prior to the phone call I’ve been trying to get my British friend to come out to do some fishing for quite some time. With most of my invitations turned down for the past few months I finally got him to say yes at the mention of an “affordable Amazonion fishing pond”. In fact it wasn’t just a yes, it was probably the most enthusiastic “YES” I’ve ever heard from the guy.
At 9am one morning a few days after our initial phone call we met up at Amazon BKK armed with our lure and fly rods. Unlike the more exclusive IT Lake Monsters, Amazon BKK only allows for anglers to fish with lures. Apart from that the only other rule to abide by is that all hooks must be barbless or have their barbs squeezed out with pliers.
The fishing at Amazon BKK was very slow. John and I were struggling for hours to get our first bite using just about every lure and fly in our arsenal. Even with the staff throwing live fish into the pond to stir up the appetite bites were definitely not a plenty. I caught a small redtail/tiger shovelnose catfish hybrid while John had caught nothing. Just when we thought about giving up the pond we met Mr. Veera.
Armed with nothing but a fly rod, Veera was pulling in arapaima after arapaima with his technique. Finally we befriended this friendly Thai fly fisherman and asked for him to bestow upon us his wisdom.
Here were some of his tips:
“You need to mimic the small guppies they use to feed the fish so a fly would work best,”
“keep your tippet short, they feed not too far from the surface,”
“the fish don’t stray far from their feeding ground, just keep casting into the banks and retrieve slowly”.
Without a fly rod I resorted to a fly-popper combo while John shortened his tippet line. Soon enough I landed my first two arapaimas while John landed himself this monstrous one.
Just before I left I also found out another interesting piece of information from Mr Veera regarding arapaima ponds: there are more in Bangkok. Looks like your Bangkokhooker will be checking out some more ponds soon.
Well that’s it for today, after an all-nighter at Bungsamran typing this blogpost is becoming increasingly difficult and the thought of a two hour deep-tissue Thai massage (not the dirty one!) seems very enticing. I’ll put up an info page for Amazon BKK soon.
Till next time,
Tight lines and sore backs.