When fishing in Thailand one can expect to fish from a man-made pay pond or out in the wild like in the jungle or at a reservoir. Either way, these non-manned fishing locations will have a lot less to offer in terms of creature comforts and as a fisherman, one must be prepared for all the things when out and about looking for that trophy fish. So here I have compiled a list of things that I usually bring along when heading to the wild.
Sunscreen alone is not enough. Unlike other outdoor sports fishing in the wild can often times get the fisherman exposed to the sun for a much as 12-14 hours depending on the time of the year. Face it, getting heat stroke or sun burn is not fun.
So for me, I personally wear more clothing to cover up my skin. Gloves, long sleeve shirts/removable arm sleeves, buff mask, trousers and a good hat are what I prefer. I’m not a fan of sunscreen, they give me pimples. LMAO.
It may sound counter-intuitive to be wearing more clothes to protect yourself from the sun but I can assure you that ironically, the lack of UV contact actually reduces the heat. Just make sure that the fabrics you wear are breathable and not something crazy like parachute material or disco polyester shirts.
The stereotypical view of fishing is of some lazy looking man in shorts and flip flops hanging by the pier with a rod and a worm on the hook. From my experience FOOTWEAR matters. And no, not in a fashionable sense because there is no fishing fashion show we have to attend but rather for the protection of the fisherman.
Sharp rocks, leeches, snakes, poisonous bushes and other dangerous factors can easily send your fishing trip (or life) to a premature end. Nothing more annoying than a big gash on your foot or poison coursing through your veins ruining your trip so be sure to pack the right footwear.
Another annoying problem regarding footwear is also mud. Many times a fisherman would sink right into the soft mud and in the attempt to pull himself/herself out a shoe would go missing.
So, I would recommend that the best footwear for wild fishing in places with muddy terrain would be some form-fitting, hard-sole, high-cut scuba shoes. They will definitely make things a lot easier. This is especially true for the rainy season.
The Thai sun can get hot, like, really hot. Just a few days ago I went fishing with the sun shining down at 36 Celsius with the weather report saying that it would feel like 42 Celsius, aka butt-whooping-sunstroke inducing levels. Over the course of the day I drank two litres of water and three 500ml bottles of soft drinks. Even with a 3.5L fluid intake I only went to the urinal once at the very end of the day to release some seriously orange pee (sorry for that image).
When fishing in Thailand, stay hydrated. Bring at least a 1.5L bottle of water along but ideally bring another one just to be safe.
Bring two of everything
Picture this scenario: you go to a reservoir to do some lure fishing. After spending the entire day casting with just about every lure in the box you finally find the one lure that works. After a few casts the line snaps because some fish dragged your line into some sharp rocks, the same one that cut your foot earlier. You look into the tackle box and then you realise that you only had no spare lure and for the rest of the day you catch nothing.
Bring two of everything. Rods, reels, lure and line. You never know.
Pics or GTFO!
Ever heard the expression “fisherman tales”? Notice how it is synonymous with “tall tales” and it describes an exaggerated fallacious story? That’s because it’s hard to prove to anyone with just words if something happened or not. It’s like that popular internet expression, “pics or it didn’t happen!”
Get a waterproof camera or…
Keep things dry with a dry bag
At around B300-800 this item is a worthwhile investment. Throw in all your electronics, e.g. phone, camera, walkman, then seal it up tight. Now you wouldn’t have to worry about getting your property damaged by water. You can drop the bag into the water and it will float while keeping your stuff dry. Besides, B300-800 is much cheaper than buying a new phone, camera and etc.
Say you’ve caught a toothy giant snakehead, now what? How do you carry this living bear trap in your hands without losing a few digits? My friend John tried to unhook a giant snakehead once and in a fit of rage, the snakehead chomped down on his finger and drew some blood. Sure some anglers can do this with their bare hands but do you really want to risk it? Just put the gripper into the fish’s mouth so that you can easily remove the hook and have a better grip of the fish when unhooking, releasing the fish or taking the photo.
Coil clip keyring thing
Honestly I’m not sure what this is called but they sell them all over at Japanese discount stores around Thailand such as Neo and Daiso for something like 40-80 baht. Don’t bother buying it from a tackle shop, you’ll be wasting your money on branded material. This coil clip keyring thing is quite an amazing accessory, just attach it to your fish gripper, pliers or any other small thing you’re worried about and then attach it to your body somewhere (like your pants). Now if your butter fingers drops the item into the water you’ll know you can still get it back because it is still connected to you! Even better, if the fish is already on the gripper and you drop both fish and gripper into the water you’d still have a chance at bringing it back from epic fail!
How to carry it all
A small backpack to put in all your required gear would come in nice and handy. It sure saves you the hassle of having to walk back to the boat or encampment every time you need to change lures.
Don’t forget to pack a cell phone armed with a local sim card. A cellphone can make the difference between an SOS call and “found dead in the jungle weeks later” situations.
You’ll never fish alone
Never go into the wilderness alone, it’s just a terribly easy way to die. If you get injured or lost, who is going to save your butt? Also, if you catch a fish of a lifetime you’re going to need someone to give you that well-deserved high-five and take some awesome pictures.
That’s about it for what I usually bring along with me. If anyone would like to add to the list feel free! I’m always done for ways to improve my fishing experience!