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Fishing Khaolak - Thailand. Carp Fishing in Thailand.

By Jonas Nyqvist & Neil Robinson.

Here is a round-up of some of the interesting fishing trips we had during July 2007.

July 2007:

Bungsam Lan Lake was the first trip this month with three English anglers Richard, Ross
and Mark. We fished from the new big Bungalow which once again proved that it is one
of the most productive on the lake. Action right from the off with lots of Striped Catfish
to begin with until the Giant Mekong Catfish started to make their presence felt with
some very hard fought battles! Richard compared the power of them to that of the
European Wels Catfish as "They make the Wels feel like Guppies!"

We put out a Carp rod, and around mid–afternoon Richard hooked into a nice Giant
Siamese Carp
. The Carp veered to the left initially, before typically deciding like most of
its species to fight directly under the rod tip. Richard was doing very well fighting the
Carp, which must be for sure one of the most difficult freshwater species to land. It kept
making repeated strong deep dives in an attempt to reach the legs of the bungalow which
Richard countered by keeping the fish on a short line with maximum bend in the rod.
Eventually the fish came up, a splendid Giant Siamese in perfect condition certainly
breaking the 20 kilo bracket. I moved the net slowly into position, wrongly assuming the
fish was ready, but it had us fooled and with a final burst of energy made a last dive.
Disaster; the line barely touched the supporting leg of the bungalow, but that was all the
fish needed, and away it slipped back into the depths of Bungsam Lan. Richard was
disappointed, the fish would have been a lifetime personal best, but he took it well and
was soon back into the thick of the action battling with some more Giant Mekong. We
had another Carp later, but a much smaller species, a Small Scale Mud Carp of around 3–
4 kilos.

The afternoon action with the Cats intensified, with all three anglers taking turns on the
fish, and glad of what little time they had between runs for a well deserved rest, that is of
course when we werenít having double and even treble hook–ups!

Whilst fishing for live–bait, Richard caught a tiny Red Bellied Pacu around 12cm long, a
beautiful little fish and a good sign the Pacu population of the lake are thriving.
All three anglers were overwhelmed with how good the fishing is at Bungsam Lan and
have vowed to return next year with some more of their friends. Richard was on the
phone to his brother whilst we were fishing insisting that he has to come along next time!

The next visit to Bungsam Lan was again with two English anglers, Barry and Nick. We
got off to a good start with a Striped Catfish with the first cast of the morning. The
fishing wasnít as hectic as my last trip, but thatís not to say the fishing was slow, far from
it! Bottom fishing seemed to work best, even the Giant Mekong Catfish seemed to prefer
bottom baits to float fished ones, which is fairly unusual.

Around late morning a huge Arapaima kept surfacing a matter of a few meters from our
bungalow, and at one point two of them came up at the same time right next to each
other, not 10 meters from us. We hadnít intended fishing for Arapaima, but as an angler
itís impossible to sit there watching them surface every five minutes under your nose and
not have a go for them! Hence the live–bait pole came out of the box rather quickly and
fortunately there was plenty of Tilapia around which quickly found their way onto the
live–bait rig and back into the water.

The live–bait was pretty active, clearly spooked by the presence of the Arapaima, but the
huge predator made several passes without touching the bait. We still had some rods out
for the Cats, which were still doing the business, and our attention was not fully on the
float of the live–bait. Barry noticed it first, the float had disappeared. We watched for
several seconds, maybe it was just the Tilapia pulling it down? This thought was
dismissed when then line tightened and the bait-runner started to pay out the heavy duty
braided line. I picked up the rod keeping the tip close to the water pointing at the fish and
let the fish take line. The run was fairly quick, but not overly so, and after the fish had
taken maybe 20 meters of line I wound down and struckÖNo resistance, nothing, I
couldnít believe it! I wound in the live–bait which was now a dead-bait, and almost
completely scale-less. After this the Arapaima disappeared, but there was a few predatory
Giant Catfish around, their elongated dorsal fins breaking the surface at regular intervals,
so we continued live–baiting for a while. This produced a few runs, but as can be the case
sometimes no hook–ups.

We concentrated back on the usual methods for the Cats which were still coming steadily,
plenty of Striped Catfish average size 11 kilos, and Giant Mekong Catfish to around 23
kilos. Not monsters by Bungsam Lanís incomparable standards, but world class fishing in
anyoneís book.

Our next trip was a first for me and Jonas to Dream Lake in Chaing Mai Northern
Thailand. After being picked up from the airport, it was a short journey to the lake and
our comfortable bank side bungalow. After settling in and a light lunch, we set about our
task of setting up the rods, and preparing the bait. We had yet to meet the owner of
Dream Lake, a likeable German man called Reiner, so initially we opted for similar
tactics that are successful at venues like Bungsam Lan and Par Lai Lake. When Reiner
eventually arrived back from his fishing trip, he came over to our bungalow to welcome
us and to tell us a little about Dream Lake.

What surprised me first was the amazing variety of species in the lake, all stocked in
sensible numbers so in future years the fishing should remain well balanced. Reiner is
very honest about the fishing, and is the first to tell anybody who is interested in fishing
Dream Lake that it is not a particularly easy water, and plenty of patience is required. Do
not expect a fish a cast at Dream Lake; it is more about quality rather than quantity.
There are many predatory species in Dream Lake, such as Arapaima, Alligator Gar,
Featherback, Giant Snakehead and Peacock Bass to name just a few!

After speaking with Reiner about fishing methods, it became clear that methods used at
other Thai fishing venues didnít work too well, and we should try some of his methods. I
always like to keep an open mind when talking to other anglers and although I was quite
surprised by some of the best methods and baits he suggested, I re–rigged some of the
rods, and switched baits to give them a try. We did however keep one rod set as it was that
was rigged and baited for some of the larger Carp species that are in the lake.
It was mid–afternoon before we started fishing properly; the conditions seemed quite
good, not to hot or sunny, a slight breeze and a few nice fish showing at the surface.
I left the rods in Jonasís capable hands and went to catch some Tilapia live–bait with a
lightweight pole. This took a while, but eventually I had a net of small Tilapia to last us
through the night.

Not much had been happening so far, so I took over the rods whilst Jonas went for his
evening meal in the on–site restaurant. Around 30 minutes after darkness the rod nearest
to me screamed off, I took up the rod and found myself fighting a fish that felt a little
unusual. It felt similar to fighting a reasonable sized Eel or Walking Catfish, the fish
appearing to swim backwards shaking itsí head. I netted the fish and was delighted to
discover this beautiful Featherback. I and Jonas swapped over again, and I went to the
restaurant. I had hardly finished my meal before Jonas shouted me over and I slipped the
net under another really nice Featherback pictured here.

We both settled down behind the rods and relaxed waiting for the next slice of action.
We had a few runs that failed to hook–up, before the next fish, this lovely Leopard Catfish
pictured here was landed. Jonas re–baited the rod, cast out, and the bait had barely hit the
water before it was taken! The fight was from a slow moving, but not a particularly
powerful fish. When it came up after a minute or so, we were both surprised and
delighted to see an Alligator Gar. The massive length of the fish made netting a little
awkward, not to mention the un–hooking, with its mouth full of nasty looking teeth! You
can take a look at the amazing fish here.

Later Jonas retired to the bedroom, whilst I opted to stay awake all night watching the
rods. Everything went dead until just before first light when one of the dead–baits was
taken by this nice Pacu. I had to awaken Jonas to take the picture, not a pretty sight first
thing in the morning!

Typically though, Jonas had only been out of bed 30 minutes or so when the Carp rod
went, and he snatched up the rod to hook into this very well conditioned Giant Siamese
pictured here. The fight was also filmed; you can take a look at the video here.
During the day we mainly concentrated on live–baiting, which produced a few runs from
Arapaima, but unfortunately no hook–ups.

Later in the evening I had my best fish of the trip, this fantastic Alligator Gar taken on
live–bait pictured here. Certainly one of the slimiest fish I have ever held, with scales like
armor plating!

All in all a great trip that I can highly recommend to anglers who are prepared to wait for
fish. Nice comfortable bungalows, good food at very reasonable prices, and one of the
best chances to catch a very diverse range of species that may prove more difficult to
catch at other Thai fishing venues.

For anglers interested in fishing Dream Lake, please contact us at the usual address:

Please click here for the latest saltwater fishing report.

Tight Lines!

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