I’m pretty sure we’ve all been in this situation before. An amazing opportunity to go on an epic trip arises and just before you leave, you catch a cold, the flu, a stomach bug or whatever and your trip is cancelled. You know, like getting the mumps the day that your middle school teacher decides to take your class on an excursion to the strip joint. What? Didn’t your teacher in Bangkok take you to strip joints?
Last Friday I had the opportunity to go fishing at a friend’s private ranch in Lopbhuri for a 100kg+ arapaima, something twenty strip joints put together can’t compare to. The only problem was that I was starting to get a couple of symptoms including: runny nose, a fever, the chills, disorientation and extreme fatigue. To top it off, my colleague had called in sick that day saying that he had caught the swine flu.
After being in Thailand during the pandemic in 2009 and some searches on google I realised a few things:
1. In Thailand, the media’s name for what is internationally known as simply “h1n1” was dubbed “ไค้หวัดใหญ่ 2009” which literally meant “the major flu of 2009”. Sounds a lot scarier than two letters and two numbers huh?
2. This “major flu” isn’t that bad, it’s sort of like regular flu and statistically less people have died from the h1n1 strain of influenza than the regular flu.
3. The only thing “major” about this flu was the sales of face masks, anti-bacterial handwashes and vaccines.
4. There really is no cure for the flu, there are pills to alleviate the symptoms but there just is no cure so a fit person infected with h1n1 sure has nothing to gain by wasting money at the hospital to be told, “you are sick”. On the contrary, being around even more sick people in a hospital might even be worst for the weakened immune system.
So basically the media’s presentation of the swine flu back in 2009 was all a big fat hype to funnel money into the greedy hands of the country’s Ministry of Health. What’s this? A Thai governmental body reaping financial benefits from the fear of the proles? NEVER! (Sarcasm).
Anyway, stick it to the man! Screw the system! I’m going fishing and I ain’t buying your crappy over-priced medicine! So, I headed to Lopbhuri with some friends that Friday evening.
Come Saturday I was still feeling a little off. All the symptoms were still there but I felt like fishing so what could be wrong with that? Answer: a lot.
In my sick state, I had packed and brought along only half of the necessary gear. My Texas rig setup was missing its spinning reel and my fresh bait setup was missing the fresh bait: a whole cooler full of mackerel that I had left outside my car back in Bangkok. I also forgot to bring along my towel, much to the chagrin of Douglas Adams. Sorry sir. There was a serious amount of FAIL going on.
I started off the morning by doing some Texas rigging with an improvised set up created by combining a spare baitcaster reel that was left in my bag, some 10lb braided fishing line I found from a separate spool and my spinning rod. It was a seriously mismatched setup but hey, at least I caught three striped snakehead before breakfast. One of them was even slightly mutated. I will hopefully post the video of it up sometime this weekend.
With the mackerel rotting away in a cooler beside my car in Bangkok, in the end I had to resort to doing some lure fishing for the arapaima but you know, influenza sort of got in the way and the constant thunderstorm didn’t help either.
Speaking of thunderstorms, 2011 has been a very weird year for the weather in Thailand. In March, the hottest and driest month of the year, we had the temperature drop down to 18 Celsius. Then immediately after that cold spell, our monsoon season hit four months early. So instead of giant snakeheads spawning in July, they were already spawning by mid-April.
So yes, fishing in this crazy weather mean sudden changes from getting punished by the sun’s ray to getting gang-banged by the monsoon in a matter of minutes. Top that off with the flu and you’ve got yourself a triple-decker turd sandwich. That Saturday night’s symptoms included the usual: fever, chills, disorientation, extreme fatigue as well as two more symptoms: overall muscle soreness and bloody stool.
So folks, if you don’t want to sh*t blood like me consider this when you have the flu: listen to your body, stay away from crazy weather, eat well and rest up… d’uh.