By Jonas Nyqvist & Neil Robinson.
Please click here for the latest saltwater fishing report.
Sawai Lake is approximately 180 x 120 meters in size
with trees and vegetation surrounding a lot of the perimeter.
Set in a quiet location a short distance from the main resort areas of Patong,
Karon and Kata, Sawai Lake offers anglers a great opportunity to catch Pacu,
Giant Mekong Catfish, Striped Catfish, Giant Gourami, Striped Snakehead,
Schwanenfelds Barb and Tilapia.
Sawai Lake is almost completley snag free, and there is plenty of room
to land the fish. The fishing methods are similar to European Carp fishing
techniques and those used at Bungsam Lan Lake in Bangkok,
scaled down to match the size of the fish.
Sawai Lake has basic facilities, which include toilet, a small restaurant
that serves Thai food, soft and alcoholic drinks.
There is also a small tackle shop that sells basic essentials.
All fishing trips include:
Round trip transfer between your Phuket hotel
and Sawai Lake.
Full assistance of a fishing guide.
All fishing equipment and bait.
Unlimited fishing from 8.30 until 18.00.
Soft drinks and alcohol
(these can be purchased very cheaply at the lake).
Total price per person:
2000 THB + 7% VAT per day.
Two or more anglers, 1850 THB + 7% VAT each per day.
Extra rods including bait: 250 THB each.
We are now offering inclusive salt and freshwater fishing holidays!
Please take a look at these great money saving deals by clicking the links below.
The freshwater fishing in May got off to a great start at Bungsam Lan Lake Bangkok,
with two fishing buddies; Joe from Canada and Jay from Texas USA. We practically had
the lake to ourselves, and the quiet conditions soon started to pay off. The Striped Catfish
with them until Joe hooked into his first Giant Mekong Catfish of Day. What a Mekong it
was too! At Bungsam Lan it is always nice for first time anglers at the lake to catch
Striped Catfish first, so they get a feel for the equipment before the big fish turn up, and
thankfully this was the case when Joe had hooked into a very impressive Giant Mekong
Catfish. Joe is a very good angler, and he demonstrated his skill at landing big fish during
the hard fought battle he endured with the fish. To his great credit he managed to keep the
fish out of the snags under the bungalow at all times, which is a lot easier said than done
with a Giant Mekong Catfish this size.
It was a reasonably cool day for Bangkok, and a little overcast. The ideal weather
conditions for Giant Siamese Carp, and with the lake being so quiet, we just had to have a
go for them. All day we had seen many Carp surfacing close to our bungalow, so the
signs looked good. We carried on fishing for the Cats, a nice steady catch rate continued
and after an hour or so I decided to check the Carp bait. I re-baited and cast back to the
same spot as before, and as I was setting the bait–runner, it screamed off. I handed the rod
to Joe and he firmly set the hook. The fish started to fight in the typical way a Giant
Siamese Carp does, a series of short sharp staggered dives, but Joe appeared to have
everything under control. He fought the fish carefully and firmly until it neared the
bungalow, but to our dismay, the barb–less hook slipped out just before the fish was ready
for the net. We were disappointed, but the Cats were still feeding. Here is a photo of Jay
with a nice one. Just before it got dark, we had another take on the Carp rod. This time it
was Jayís turn and thankfully no bad luck this time, we were all very pleased to net this
incredibly beautiful Giant Siamese Carp.
The next day we fished the same bungalow, but overnight Jay had become ill, so his wife
Melanie also from Texas stepped in instead. The weather was a lot warmer today, which
the Striped Catfish in the morning really seemed to approve of. First cast produced a nice
one for Melanie, and Joe let her catch seven of them before he had his turn. This didnít
take long, after approximately only an hour and a half and we had taken this picture of
Melanie holding her seventh Striped Catfish of the morning. Melanie was amazing and
looked like she had been doing this all her life, but at this stage, still no Giant Mekong
Catfish. Around midday this changed. Melanie hooked into something really big, and the
start of a very long battle began. The fish just pulled and pulled, taking line almost non
stop for over 30 minutes! Lucky for us the fish was staying out towards the middle
of the lake most of the time, and when the fish did decide to turn,
Melanie was capable of turning it back on track.
The fish didnít appear to be tiring, but Melanie was starting to feel the strain, so
she sat down on the floor for a while to fight the fish! Here is a short video clip of her
fighting what is the biggest freshwater fish landed by a lady angler guided by myself.
Here is a link to the second video clip where the fish is landed.
I thought the fish was never going to tire, and it was over fifty rod bent double fighting
minutes before we finally netted this monster. I canít emphasize enough how well
Melanie fished this day, the huge Giant Mekong Catfish not once touched any structure
whatsoever before it was netted, an accomplishment many men would be very proud of!
After we released the fish and Melanie had got her breath back, she called it day and went
shopping with Jayís wife. Melanie described fishing at Bungsam Lan as The Perfect Day
Care for men!
I and Joe continued fishing, which continued to be excellent, but our Carp line remained
untouched. Joe did however hook onto an absolutely massive Mekong that was towing a
broken line. The fish was so big I donít think it even noticed that it had been hooked
again. After two minutes we lost the fish, and recovered the line, hook and rig the fish
was towing around. I removed around 60 meters of very heavy braided line
approximately 50kilo plus breaking strain that amazingly the fish had managed to break that
the last angler to hook the fish was using. We lost the fish, but were both happy to free it
from the mess it was dragging around with it.
Another bizarre thing happened on this tripÖWe were float fishing for the Cats when we
got a line bite. I wound down slowly and tightened up to the fish. 50% of the time if you
do this, you can actually land the fish. I gave the rod to Jay, and after a 10 minute fight,
the fish came up, a nice 20 kilo Giant Mekong Catfish that was actually already inside a
broken landing net head! We landed the fish and released it minus the trash! Itís a good
job somebody did actually land this fish or it would have starved to death.
Australian angler Kieran joined me for a day at Par Lai Lake in Phuket and had some
good sport with the Pacu. The Rohu are also being caught a lot more regularly these days
which is a good thing as they put up a really good fight for their size. Float fishing one
meter deep with small bait seems to be the most effective method of catching them. This
method also accounts for many Tilapia, many of which are touching the 1 kilo mark.
My old friends ĎLeeroyí and Dez from the UK joined me for a few days at Bungsam Lan,
fishing from the private luxury bungalow. Our main objective was Giant Siamese Carp,
and the predatory Giant Catfish.
During the day, we landed a few Striped and Giant Mekong Catfish, no really big ones,
but enough to keep us occupied until later in the afternoon when it was time to get the
live-baits out. The Carp rod remained still all afternoon, not even the Striped Catfish
which can be a real problem when Carp fishing at Bungsam Lan touched the bait.
Around an hour after dark, we had a screaming run on the live–bait rod, Leeroy snatched
up the rod, but failed to set the hook properly and the fish was lost. Fifteen minutes later
the bite alarm on the Carp rod went, and being closest to the rod at the time, I struck into
a nice fish moving at pace out into the lake. I handed the rod to Leeroy, the fish still
tearing line from the reel. The fish soon turned and headed straight back towards us, a
good sign that it was a Giant Siamese Carp and not a Catfish. Fighting the fish close to
the bungalow, it started make the short staggered runs, so I was certain now that it was a
Carp. This proved correct when I netted for Leeroy his first ever Giant Siamese Carp that
pulled the scales down to 17 kilo. This beat his previous personal best Carp by half a kilo.
Just as the Giant Siamese went in the net, within seconds the live–bait shot off! Leeroy
reacted first and this time set the hook. I had told him what to expect if we got a Giant
Catfish, but he was shocked by the speed and aggression that this one displayed during
the fight! Not bad, two new species for Leeroy within 10 minutes!
We decided to end the day on a high, and after a celebratory beer we headed home.
The next day we arrived around 11.30am, putting the Carp bait out first. After only being
in place for an hour, it produced its first run which was really fast but didnít hook up.
Before we put the live–bait rod out, we used the time to catch a few Giant Mekong
Catfish, and a few Striped Catfish. Late in the afternoon we put out the live–bait and very
soon it was getting some attention. We started to get many short runs, but nothing you
could strike at, it was frustrating and we eventually found out whyÖThe float went down
and staid down, Dez struck but thought he had failed to set the hook, then realized that he
had, when he caught this tiny Giant Catfish on a 12cm long Tilapia! How the fish
managed to get the bait in its mouth I donít know, but it did!
I later spoke to the owner of Bungsam Lan about this and asked him if he had stocked
any into the lake. He hasnít, so they must be successfully breeding in the lake.
After dark, the live–bait was getting attention almost all the time. Many of the baits were
coming back badly chewed; here is a picture of one of them that was decapitated! Giant
Catfish donít have teeth, so it was a mystery as to what species was doing this. We were
getting what appeared to be proper runs, where the fish would take 20 meters of line, but
we couldnít hook anything. After another missed hook-up, the mystery deepened when
on the hook I found a fish scale of around 7mm diameter. Now I was completely puzzled,
but next cast I found out why. After another good run, Dez finally hooked into a fish. It
was very fast, and at first I thought it was a smallish Giant Catfish, however it turned out
to be this Pacu! So much for them being vegetarian!
Around midnight the Carp rod went off and Dez hooked into something really special.
The pace of the fish was awesome, and 50 meters out the fish exploded at the surface. It
was a massive Giant Siamese, and it was going ballistic! Then the fish dived, turned and
headed straight back at us. We were using our heaviest Carp equipment, but there was
nothing we could do to stop the fish going deep under our bungalow. The fish became
stuck, but in the darkness we couldnít see anything. After a few minutes trying to tease
the fish out from the snag, it shot off again and broke the braided line against the legs of
the bungalow. I was devastated; this fish was massive, certainly on the plus side of 50
kilos, possibly a world record???
I didnít however have long to feel sorry for myself as the live–bait started to get a lot of
attention once again.
It screamed off with 40 meters of line at lightning speed, and when Leeroy hooked it up it
went mental! At first there is not a lot you can do but just try and hang onto the rod. This
fish was jumping clear out of the water 70 meters out! The more of this incredible species
that I catch, the more I like them, they are one of the most exciting fighting fish I have
ever experienced, and I donít understand why more people donít target them.
Here is the picture of Leeroy with a really fat specimen.
By this time we were short of live-bait, and I had to go halfway around the lake in the
pitch black to try and catch some with my little fishing pole. It was worth the effort
though when Dez landed another Giant Catfish an hour later. Here is the photo.
Leeroyís girlfriend also caught another baby Giant Catfish pictured here, and a Striped
Catfish which took the Carp bait is pictured here with Dezís young lady.
Fishing at Bungsam Lan is often exciting, and I highly recommend night fishing for the
different species that the lake holds. People who have fished the lake before and have
experienced plenty of Giant Mekong and Striped Catfish really should give it a try.
Anyone interested in doing some night fishing at Bungsam Lan, please send me an email
to the usual address and we can try and arrange something.
Please click here for the latest saltwater fishing report.
Receive the News instantly!
Subscribe to www.fishing–khaolak.com's newsletters
and receive it "straight from our news–desk"
Sign up here