Fishing can be many things. Some fish to feed their family. Some fish to make a living. Some people find fishing as a therapeutic way to pass the time. Some people find it as a sport. In Thailand some geniuses have come up with a whole new way to enjoy the art of angling simply with this logic: Fishing is fun. Gambling is fun. Therefore, combining the two is LEGENDARY.
In the country of my home, we Thais practice a game I call fishing roulette. Since gambling is illegal in the Kingdom of Thailand, this game is usually inconspicuously named “kaeng tok plaa” (แข่งตกปลา), literally “fishing competition” because hey, if it’s a competition it’s technically not gambling now is it? Thai law is funny.
Fishing roulette or fishing competitions can be found at some of the cheaper pay ponds like Chok Anun fishing pond and are usually held on Sundays.
The most popular fish to be used for this game is the striped catfish aka plaa sawai. Since they are all over the place and ridiculously easy to catch they make the game way more exciting.
The game’s rules are as follows:
- All players must pay a playing fee in order to play, this fee goes to the pot and the winner of the tournament takes it all.
- The game time usually has a time-limit of one hour although some variations may call for more time.
- The judge or an “official” will announce the day’s target weight.
- The players, within the allocated time, must then try their best to catch a fish that is closest to the target weight. So for example, if the target weight is 3.2kg, players must try their best to land a fish that is 3.2kg or a fish that is closest in weight to 3.2kg.
- The player that catches a fish that is closest to the target weight becomes the pack leader and should he remain the pack leader until the time-limit is over he shall be declared the winner.
- In the event a player catches a fish that is exactly on the target weight, he can only be eliminated from the pack leader position when someone else catches a fish that is also exactly on the target weight.
- Should a fish still be on the line when the time is up, that fish will be considered void although this rule may vary according to pond.
There are however, variations to the rule. Some games will not have a target weight but would instead have a biggest catch criteria or most catches criteria but either way winning these games requires a combination of skill and luck.