By Neil Robinson.
First and foremost, we here at South Coast Marine Co., Ltd.
would like to wish everybody a very Happy New Year with lots of tight lines.
Things have been so busy this month that I have hardly slept in my own bed,
but that´s enough about my sex life, and on with the fishing report!
Bungsam Lan didn´t disappoint Marcus and Fredrick from Sweden
when they fished the venue for the first time.
They enjoyed constant action all day, and into the evening.
The biggest fish of the day was a 35 kilo Mekong that put up one of the best fights
I have ever seen from a fish. Right after hooking it up, the fish did 2 laps
in the small lake before going under the bridge
and wrapping the line around one of the pillars.
We gave the fish "free spool", and thereby won enough time to cut –
and then re–tie the line on the other side of the bridge,
so the battle could continue in the big lake.
However the fish had other ideas and headed straight for the pillars under the bungalows.
We tried as best we could to keep the fish out of them, but with the fish going to our left
all the time we had to follow it and free the line from the pillars of two bungalows
before we finally landed the fish 9 bungalows from where it was hooked–up!
Thanks to everyone who helped us to land the fish, and to everyone
who let us pass around their bungalows to land this incredible strong fish!
The total catch was around 16–18 fish each, with several fish well over the 20 kilo mark.
Eric from America, also a first timer, had "a day beyond his wildest dreams" at Bungsam Lan.
Constant action right from the first cast took its toll, and when he landed a 25 kilo,
a 30 kilo and then another 25 kilo one after the other with hardly a break
between each fish, he had to call it a day a 3.00 pm as he was completely exhausted!
Eric showed fantastic control, and it was hard to believe
he had never fished for Mekong Catfish before.
John Manifold from the UK has fished all over the world, including the river Ebro in Spain
where he has caught numerous Wels Catfish over the 100lb mark.
However this had not prepared him for the awesome power
of the Giant Mekong Catfish.
According to John, a 23 kilo Giant Mekong Catfish has more than double the power
of a 100lb Wels Catfish! This is a statement from a man who managed to land 21
of his 22 fish he hooked, losing only one fish all day, when the biggest fish of the day
took him under the small bridge before slipping the hook.
This is one of the best performances I have ever seen, and was a real shame
we didn´t manage to land the final fish of the day to make it a 100% record.
18 year old Axel from Sweden also showed great control on his first visit to the venue,
landing most of his fish. He finished a great days fishing with a total
of around 12 Giant Mekong Catfish and 6 or 7 Striped Catfish.
The best fish was a Mekong of around 23 kilos.
Lee "Leeroy" Sergeant, our old friend from the UK
seems to have ridden himself of his old nickname "Bungalow Bill"
(given to him because of the number of fish he lost in the bungalows of Bungsam Lan)
when he gave a much better performance on his latest trip to the lake.
Par Lai Lake fished very well when John Manifold
and Lee "Leeroy" Sergeant fished the venue this month.
After a fairly slow start, a change to a new bait in the afternoon
brought spectacular results with the Pacu. It was difficult
to keep a line in the water for more than a few minutes
before it went tearing off on a lightning fast run.
One mighty Pacu, at first didn´t seem to know quite what to do.
It swam around in a circle for a while before shooting off to the left
on an unstoppable run which ended when it rammed a small island at full speed.
There was a huge splash and the fish (estimated 8 kilos) slipped the hook.
John soon experienced something similar when a Pacu he hooked
immediately stripped around 60 meters of line on its first run,
even with his thumb on the spool the fish still wouldn´t slow down!
He managed to turn the fish back into open water where unfortunately
the barb–less hook came out to leave a very disappointed John.
John landed a good number of Pacu; with 3 fish over 6 kilos.
Lee also caught several nice Pacu and a small Giant Gourami,
but he seems to be an expert Tilapia angler.
He can even manage to catch them while he is fishing for Pacu!
Cheow Lan is looking more beautiful than ever now that the rainy season has finished
and the good weather has returned. The water levels are still very high,
but John Manifold caught a good number of small Giant Snakeheads,
and also a couple of nice ones, with the best being a 4 kilo specimen.
We also had plenty of Hampala Barb, including one
caught from the floating bungalows on a Toby spoon.
John was totally blown away by the natural beauty and wildlife of Cheow Lan
and couldn´t stop taking photographs of the place. Whilst there,
we were lucky enough to hear the very rare Barking Dear.
We also saw many Hornbill birds, Eagles, Kingfishers and monkeys,
and the Gibbon calls were an almost constant background accompaniment.
Hakan Olofsson and his family had "the strike of the season" in Phuket,
after losing an estimated 250lb Black Marlin whilst fishing the drop–off
between Phuket and the Similan Islands.
On the second day they had a "double header"
of an estimated 650lb and a 350lb Black Marlin.
The bigger fish unfortunately took the smallest lure on only 30lb line,
jumped and landed on the double line which then broke!
The 350lb fish hit an "Aussie Nightmare" lure and jumped all over the place
during a tremendous fight that lasted for over an hour on the 50lb equipment.
The fish measured 335 cm in length!
In total the trip produced 10 Yellowfin Tuna, 2 Wahoo, 5 Trevally and many Skipjack Tuna.
We had strikes from 4 Marlin, of which 3 were big fish.
Lee "Leeroy" Sergeant tried his hand at Marlin fishing on his trip to the drop–off
between Phuket and the Similan Islands. As we were passing Patong Beach
about a kilometer from shore, we came upon a shoal of small sardines
that were being attacked by Tuna and also 4 or 5 Bull Sharks.
The first strike of the day was missed when a decent fish tore off
a lot of line on the 30lb equipment. This was followed by a succession
of Skipjack Tuna and also quite a few Yellowfin Tuna.
At one point Lee had to struggle with 4 Yellowfin at the same time on 15lb equipment.
The biggest being a fish of around 4 kilos.
The days haul was 44 Tuna, and 1 Rainbow Runner but unfortunately no Marlin.
We had seen a good fish jump earlier in the day,
but it didn´t show any interest in the lures.
The December total on "Gecko" ended with 8 Black Marlin over 100 kilo hooked–up!
New items to look out for on the website include the description
of more freshwater species, and a gallery of some of our most productive flies
used when fly–fishing in Par Lai Lake.
Also coming hopefully before next month,
is the German translation for the main website pages.
Happy New Year & Tight Lines!
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