A year ago I started this blog as an outlet to my fishing. A year later this humble blog has reached just over 9,000 views. Yay!
I’ve made some very good friends from this blog and over the past few weeks I’ve made two more very good new friends: David Mailland and Nicolas (Nico) Borreau from Predators Fishing Magazine, France’s only lure-fishing magazine.
Here to make a report about fishing in Thailand our French anglers have found me through this very blog. We made our first physical meeting at Bungsamran. I was at the beginning of yet another painfully exciting Mekong all-nighter. Our two Frenchmen being fresh off the airplane were immediately woken up by the sight of some giant catfish. After hooking a big Mekong, I handed the stiff carp rod to Nico. For the next fifteen minutes I watched the veins bulge out of Nico’s neck as he heaved and pulled in the biggest fish he had ever landed. He squatted down and lifted the big fish up with all his might. Despite never having had a go at a Mekong, Nico successfully landed his fish. His technique was definitely worthy of his corporate sponsorship.
Of course, being lure fishermen this wasn’t their thing so we made ourselves some plans to go do what they do best.
Through my conversations with them I had learned a few things about the French fishing scene. Firstly the practice of being both a bait fisherman as well as a lure fisherman was considered somewhat taboo for them which is quite strange for me since here in Thailand almost everyone I know who goes lure fishing occasionally does some bait fishing on the lazy days (although I wouldn’t consider a day with Mekong catfish lazy).
Secondly, there is a severe mark-up in prices for fishing gear where they come from which could explain why anglers stick to only one form of fishing. Seeing my new friends in a tackle shop was quite similar to seeing a Catholic Priest in a busy schoolyard. They looked really excited.
And finally, fishing in France requires a license and can only be done during the day time. Drunken night fishing is an essential Thai past-time and if that were to be banned we’d have a revolt. Many houses would be burned, people murdered and society would crumble from the devastation caused from the addiction withdrawal.
Yup, the grass is definitely greener on this side of the hill.
Our first stop was selected by the French boys. We headed to Boonma barramundi farm. If you Googled “barramundi fishing Thailand”, chances are your first results would be some expensive fishing tour sites recommending this equally expensive fishing location. As the name suggests the location is a farm and not a fishing pond. At a very high-price of B2,600 anglers can enjoy six whole hours of fishing in this farm while being policed by one of the pond managers or owners. And I do mean “police” in every sense of the word. The three of us were constantly under their watchful eye not even trusted to unhook the fish ourselves although a more positive-minded person would say that they were getting pampered the whole time. With 40 ponds this farm has a crapload of barramundi, in fact I think the owner mentioned this place being the country’s largest supplier of barramundi. Of course the upside to this is that the fish are usually quite big and easy to catch. However due to the recent increase in barramundi prices, the big 8-10kg ones that the pond is famous for have already been sold to the markets to be filleted, prepared and incorrectly labeled as “sea bass” or “white snapper”.
Not to mention the bite rates at our assigned pond was considerably low for the first part of the day. After trying with great difficulty to fish in the pond himself, the owner reassigned us to a completely virgin pond. Now we felt like we were getting our money’s worth. Being a virgin pond it wasn’t long before we landed over 30 barramundi in total within the last hour of the day. They averaged at about 4kg in weight and all put up a great fight.
It was a fun day but I wasn’t sure I was too happy with the high price tag or the lack of toilets but hauling up the shoal of barramundi with my new friends and watching their fishing techniques sure was fun.
Their next trip was scheduled at another tourist fishing hot spot famous for its gigantic foreign fish, IT lake monsters. I didn’t join them but when they returned I brought them to my favourite lure fishing pond in the world: Pilot 111.
We were joined by John-Tom and khun Veera (the fly fisherman we met earlier from Amazon BKK). Our day was filed with lots of giant snakehead and barramundi and some featherback and striped snakehead. We had ourselves a blast. Not wanting to take them anywhere less interesting we went back for more a few days later.
I did want to take them to do some natural fishing but being December, natural reservoir fishing was out of the question as the snakeheads are no where as fierce and aren’t worth the long drive out of the city.
Overall it was an awesome time. Sending them off to the airport sucked but they promised to be back the July snakehead season of 2011 so we’ll have that to look forward to.
See you my friends!
*Check out their blogs in the links section! Lots of stuff about European lure fishing.
On top of everything, I’d like to thank everyone who has come in to bangkokhooker. It has been awesome!