Thailand is a very welcoming country for foreignors. With our high English-speaking proficiency (more like TINGLISH proficiency) many tourist hot spots are very accomodating to international visitors. However, when fishing in Thailand one should know some of the local slang and some basic terminology.
Why? Well there are several reasons. Firstly, it’s great for making new friends. Secondly, it’s a great way to avoid making enemies. Thirdly, it’s a lot easier to make orders for things like food, bait and drinks. And lastly, well you know, it’s nice to sound like one of the cool kids. So without further adieu here are some basic Thai fishing slangs and terms.
* Also to make it easy these words will not be spelt with the confusing semi-official Thai-English spelling (e.g. sawatdee NOT sawasdee). They will be spelt the way they sound. I’ll add more when I can think of some.
Rum (รำ) - the Thai word for rice husk/bran. This stuff is grinded down into powder and used to feed vegetarian and omnivorous fish. It is also used as a popular bait for many Thai fish species such as the Mekong giant catfish, striped catfish and the Siamese giant carp. Some people call it “lam” (ลำ). Though it is not wrong, this pronunciation is not so common among Thai people. Also some Thai people may spell it “ram” or “lam” but this is incorrect and misleading as the pronunciation is not “r-am” (แรม) or “l-am” (แลม) but “r-um” and “l-um”.
En tok plaa (เอ็นตกปลา) - Fishing line. People can say “en” (เอ็น) for short.
Tok plaa/ Tok bet (ตกปลา/ตกเบ็ด) – The Thai word for fishing. Be careful how you use the latter version of this word for if used in the wrong context it can mean “manual female stimulation”.
Kun bet tok plaa (คันเบ็ดตกปลา) – Fishing rod. “Kun” on its own means “stick” or “rod” and when speaking casually it is the preferred word for referring to the fishing rod.
Yeu-ah (เยื่อ) – Bait.
Yeu-ah plom (เยื่อปลอม) – Lure.
Sa-wing (สวิง) – Landing net.
Rog (รอก) – Reel.
Yur (เย่อ) - To fight the fish and pull it in. This word comes from the Thai word “chak-ka-yur” (ชักกะเย่อ) which means tug-o-war.
Atd (อัด) – Same as “yur” but more intense.
Wat (วัด) – To set the hook. This word in Thai also means “temple” and “measure” but when used in a fishing context it is very obvious that it is not about religion or measurements.
Check sai (เช็กสาย) – This means to check the fishing line during a fish fight. This is an important one to learn when fishing at payponds. As a fight with a fish continues it may sometimes go to the side and cross over other anglers’ lines. So it is common courtesy for the active angler to lower his/her rod to splash the water with the fishing line in order to notify other anglers of where his/her line is. This is to prevent tangling with other lines.
Plaa sai!/Plaa kwaa (ปลาซ้าย/ปลาขวา) – Literally, “fish left” and “fight right” respectively. The “sai!” is marked with an exclamation mark to note that there is a rising intonation in the pronunciation to differentiate it from the word “sai” สาย. Once again these phrases are very important to learn at fishing ponds. When fighting a fish at a paypond, it is important to notify other anglers if the fish is heading to the left or right side so that other anglers can reel in their lines before any tangling can occur.
Mai? (หมาย) - Yes the question mark is there to signify that the word must be pronounced like a question with the tone of the word going down then up at the end. “Mai?” means fishing location.
Mai? Tummachart – Natural fishing location.
Kah muerr (คามือ) – Literally, “in your hands”. This term is used to describe when a fish takes the bait straight after casting while the rod is still in the angler’s hands. When this happens it’s pretty awesome, obviously.
Kaad (ขาด) – Literally this means to rip or to be severred. Used to decribe the fishing line being snapped.
Haew (แห้ว) – This word means water chestnut but it is a slang for failing to score or catch something. When an angler has a day of fishing with no catches, that’s called haew. An impolite and casual variation is to say that “daak haew” (แดกแห้ว). “Daak” is the rude way of saying “eat” in Thai. This term can be applied to anything that involves scoring and is quite a popular way to describe a fruitless night at the clubs.