By Jonas Nyqvist & Neil Robinson.
The Sails are here!!!
The Sailfish season has finally started in Phuket!
On June 25th John Mitander from Sweden fished aboard "Gecko"
at Racha Yai Island together with his fishing buddy.
We struggled to catch live bait in the morning over a reef
between Phuket and Racha Yai.
After 2 hours we had only 6 baits in the live bait tank, and 2 of them died from stress.
We rigged the remaining 4 baits, two on the outriggers and two on flat lines.
It didn’t take a long time before we had a double strike on the outrigger lines,
one was hooked, and the other chopped off the bait from the hook.
The hooked fish, an estimated 30 Kg Sailfish jumped and took a lot of line and dived,
sadly the hook pulled after a long run.
Later on we had 3 more strikes on the remaining 2 baits,
none of them were hooked.
We had much better luck with Swedish anglers Hugo Langen,
his brother Ludwig and their friend Thomas at Koh Rok on the 30th of June.
We fished for bait on the way down from Phuket, and had 40 Tuna and 3 Dorado,
which gave us plenty of bait for the evenings fishing at Koh Rok.
We trolled 5 belly strips behind "Gecko", and after only 5 minutes
the first Sailfish hit one of the baits. I had seen the fish free jumping close
to the island, and it hit the shotgun bait (the middle bait in the trolling pattern)
just after we passed where we had seen it jumping.
The fish was hooked, and when it came close to the transom,
we saw that it had no bill!
This confused the deckie, he had no bill to grip hold of,
and was unable to get hold of anything to pull the fish onboard,
so as to be able to get the hook out and release the Sailfish.
Luckily the bill less Sailfish solved this problem on its own,
the hook came out of its hold when the deckie was wiring it.
Shortly after, Sailfish number 2 showed up in the teasers,
but was more interested in the teaser chains than the actual belly strips!
I screamed to the deckie to get them in quickly, and soon the Sailfish came up
on one of the baits and swallowed it. After couple of nice jumps the fish tired
and was released, it was a beautiful coloured Sailfish of 25 Kg.
In the late afternoon we had a big shoal of Sails in the baits,
most of them small fish between 10 and 20 Kg.
They played with the belly strips like cats do with mice.
It was really frustrating, but good fun to watch.
We also had two Cobia taking the belly strips close to the rocks.
Next morning we had a Sailfish on the northern side of the islands but the hook pulled.
We also had two strikes from Sailfish in the evening but no hook up.
The last day we trolled back to Phuket via Racha Yai,
and caught many small Tuna and a Dorado.
At Racha Yai we put out the belly strips again and caught a nice 30 Kg Sailfish
at the southern point of the island. We also had a couple of fish
biting on the teasers at the same time we were fighting the hooked Sailfish.
The weather was good during the whole trip, and the anglers very happy
that they had all released their first Sailfish.
Freshwater has been fairly quiet this month, probably due to the world cup,
but I was happy to welcome back to Bungsam Lan my good friend
Lee "Leeroy" Sargent from the UK.
Lee met me at the lake straight from the airport and was a little jet-lagged
after his long journey, so we tried to take things a little easy
as Lee had three days fishing to look forward to.
Taking it easy at Bungsam Lan can be a little difficult when the fish are in the mood!
Within a couple of minutes of putting down his backpack,
the first of the Giant Mekong Catfish put a massive bend into Lees’ rod,
giving him a pleasant reminder of what a real fish feels like
after the fish he has been used to back in the UK!
The plan for the 3 days fishing was an easy day on the first day,
followed by 2 days of targeting big fish. Big fish meaning fish over 30 Kg.
Things didn’t quite turn out the way we planned, when after a few hours into the first day,
Lee broke his personal best record with this rather nice Giant Mekong Catfish.
This lovely fish took a small "pigeon egg" sized bait we were experimenting with.
A steady amount of regular fish continued, until we called it a day in the late afternoon.
The next two days we fished "powder bait".
This method can be quite slow, but over both days we had good steady action
all day long, but unfortunately nothing to rival the size of the previous day’s fish.
When I first arrived at Bungsam Lan for the fishing with Lee,
I was very pleased, as I am sure everyone else will be who has fished at the lake,
to discover that the little bridge that divides the top end of the lake
has been removed, and after speaking to the owner, is not to be replaced.
Instead, a walkway around the outside is to be built,
and also 3 more bungalows are to be added.
This great news means that should you be lucky enough to hook a really big fish,
your chances of actually landing it have now greatly improved!
A few days prior to their trip on "Gecko", Swedish anglers Hugo Langen,
his brother Ludwig and their friend Thomas had 2 days fishing at Bungsam Lan.
All three anglers were first timers at the venue, but it didn’t take long
before they were all fishing like regulars.
The first cast brought a nice Giant Mekong Catfish,
as did almost every other cast of this very exhausting day!
The lads were sharing the strikes and were kept busy all day
with many fish, including a few double hook-ups.
Not long into the session, a fish almost "spooled" one of the Baitrunner reels,
stripping all the main line off, and half the backing line as well!
We landed the fish, which disappointingly only weighed around 20 Kg,
but when you hook a Giant Mekong Catfish in the tail,
it seems to have almost double power.
On only his second turn on the rod, Hugo was really put to the test
when this large Mekong decided to take him all over the lake.
Showing great skill, Hugo played out the fish, without once hitting any snags or bungalows,
a marvellous achievement for someone who has never fished the venue before.
The next day we were also joined by English angler Rob, also a first timer at the lake.
The action was still quite good, but not as hectic as the previous day.
Quite a few Striped Catfish were taken along with a good number of Giant Mekong Catfish,
Ludwig also landing a nice Pacu. The three Swedes had to leave around 5:00 PM
to catch a flight to Phuket for their trip out on "Gecko".
That left all the fishing to Rob, who basically didn’t get a break at all from the action
until he called it a day around 90 minutes later.
My next trip to Bungsam Lan was with Johan,
also from Sweden who I fished with last month.
The weather was quite poor with lots of rain, and also fairly windy,
a combination not giving favourable fishing conditions.
The action was quite slow compared to what it can be like,
but with around 300 Kg released, there were no complaints from Johan!
During this session Johan filmed a lot of the action, which hopefully
if suitable we will include on the website.
We now have a new office number which is +66 (0)76 485 606,
and also a new UK number +44 (0)560 288 1126 where we can be contacted
by UK customers at local rates.
While in Bangkok , I met up with one of my old customers
and friends John Phelps from the USA .
He had been on a recent fishing trip for Giant Snakeheads
with his Thai girlfriend Peaceamy.
John was struggling, while Peaceamy was getting lots of strikes, but no hook-ups.
When she failed to hook-up a really good strike, John finally checked her lure,
only to find that she had been fishing with a hook-less lure all along!
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