By Jonas Nyqvist & Neil Robinson.
December at Bungsam Lan could hardly have got off to a better start when return
customers from Austria, Cenk and his son Chris really hit the jackpot on the first day
of the month.
Cenk had decided to upgrade to one of the luxury bungalows, and opted for two extra
Carp rods. Both anglers have caught lots of the Striped and Giant Mekong Catfish
from Bungsam Lan on their previous visits, but so far the elusive Giant Siamese Carp,
the most prized Carp specie in the world had eluded them.
Fishing commenced at 9.00am, with a few Striped Cats, and in the meantime I was
piling in the bait on the two selected Carp swims. As I was mixing another batch of
bait, my hands covered in the concrete like mixture, the Carp rod behind me to my left
screamed off. I was nearest to the rod, so I sprinted over to it and set the hook. The
fish powered to my right gaining a lot of line and only a meter from the bridge that
would almost certainly spell disaster should the fish manage to get its head around
one of the posts. Chris was right beside me, but this was no time to hand over the rod,
the fish had to be turned before that could happen. I crouched low, the rod tip almost
touching the water, my body angled to apply maximum pressure. I wasn’t wearing a
rod belt, and by this time I was 100% sure that we were into a Giant Siamese, and a
very big one at that. I locked my arms, using all my strength, the rod bent over like a
hairpin, and still the fish wouldn’t turn. It was all or nothing, so I applied my thumb to
the spool; the fish was 35 meters now to our right and it was all or nothing. The rod
groaned as it was bent even further, my thumb burning as the spool removed the skin.
Just as I thought the heavy braided line or the rod was going to break, the fish
changed direction and headed away from the structure back out into open water. I
handed the rod over to Chris, the reel and the rod handle covered in half mixed carp
Chris re–positioned himself back along the bungalow towards the middle of the lake;
the Carp still at this point out in the relative safety of the deep water in front of us.
These fish are clever, very clever and it soon turned back towards us, knowing its’
best chance of escape was beneath the bungalow we were standing on. At this stage of
fighting a very big Giant Siamese, total concentration is required, one wrong move
that gives the fish a fraction of a second and he will "do you," straight away. Chris
was switched on, every time the fish changed direction he responded, countering the
Carps’ every move. Two or three times the fish gained the upper hand gaining a few
meters of line to get below the bungalow. Crucially Chris had positioned himself in
the middle point of the two supporting pillars giving him that little bit of extra room to
turn the fish. Each time it got under us Chris turned it, eventually heading out into
open water before finally surfacing and sliding into the waiting net.
The fish was huge, taking three of us to lift it. The cameras were clicking away, and
after it was confirmed we had some good shots we returned the fish straight back to
the water, without weighing it. We held it steady in the water until it had recovered
and swam strongly away. It was a shame to not know the exact weight of the fish, but
the fish had proved difficult to photograph, so to prevent any further stress to the fish
we released it instead.
Chris was ecstatic, by far the greatest fish of his angling carrier, a Giant Siamese
certainly well over 40 kilos! Take a look at the great fish here.
The Cat fishing was fairly slow, all over the lake it wasn’t producing quite as many as
it usually does. The Striped Catfish were feeding, but the Giant Mekong was reluctant
to put in an appearance.
The mood on the bungalow was fantastic, big smiles all around, which got even
bigger when Cenk struck into another Giant Siamese Carp two hours after the last
one. This one was smaller, but even up against the heavy duty fishing gear it gave
Cenk a real run for his money before he landed this 15 kilo specimen.
Two Giant Siamese before lunchtime, unbelievable, but things were going to get
better, a lot better…
After lunch and a few more average sized Cats, the Carp rod tore off again, this time
Chris’ turn to land another Giant Siamese Carp of exactly 15 kilos, pictured here.
The fishing was scheduled to stop at 6.00pm as they had arrangements for the
evening, so around 5.00pm extra bait was poured in for the last hour.
A few more Cats came our way, and then with only fifteen minutes to go, the bait–
runner sang the lovely tune of a taking fish. Cenk was onto it, setting the hook into
something really big. My first impression was that it was probably a large Giant
Mekong Catfish, but as the fight progressed, the kind of runs the fish was making, fast
and staggered my thoughts changed to Carp. After a few minutes of fighting in open
water the fish came in close, not tired, but full of power with a determination to shed
the hook. The fish surfaced briefly, smashing the water with its mighty tale,
showering us all in the process. Cenk was struggling, he was in control, but his back
was starting to feel the pressure. He battled on, but with no sign of the fish losing
power he handed the rod over to Chris, its not every day you get to fight two massive
Carp weighing over one hundred pounds each! It was the right thing to do, it is
impossible to land a fish as powerful and as intelligent as this if your back is giving
out on you!
Chris took control, his experience with his previous fish coming in handy, matching
the fish as it turned and dived before we netted the best fish of the day.
It was the end to a perfect days fishing, take a look at this stunning 49 kilo Giant
Alas, time was up and it was time to go. I saw them get off safely back to their hotel,
and then ran back to the bungalow. I still had plenty of bait, so I piled most of it in
saving some for re–baiting. Being on my own I only dared use one rod, so I fished the
swim that had produced three of the days’ Carp.
I had to be off the bungalow by 9.00pm, and around 8.30, the run came. I hooked into
a really good fish that I fought close to the bungalow. My first thoughts were Carp,
but as the fight went on longer and longer it was clear that it was a Giant Mekong. It
was the best Mekong of the day weighing in at 35 kilos, not what I was hoping for,
but a great fish none the less.
Some of the big Carp battles were filmed, which will be added to the site when I
Bungsam Lan has produced some great days fishing over the month of December,
temperatures staying relatively high for the time of year. Cold weather can really slow
the fishing down at Bungsam Lan, but most days have seen plenty of fish.
Anglers heading to the Phuket area of Thailand have two fantastic new fishing
destinations to go alongside Par Lai Lake and Cheow Lan;
The new improved Sawai Lake in Phuket, and Gillham’s Fishing Resort in Krabi.
Sawai Lake is situated 25 minutes drive from Patong Phuket, and Gillham’s Fishing
Resort is a 2 hour 15 minute drive.
The lake is controlled and managed by our very own Jonas and his wife Toon.
The bank side is surrounded by landscaped gardens, and the fishing positions have flat
concrete areas to set the chairs and rods on. There are also basic thatched picnic tables
to provide a bit of shade when things are getting hot.
Early results are very promising at Sawai Lake, lots of fish being caught, action all
day, best enjoyed on light tackle in the snag free lake. Many species stocked in this
lake will take fly, and is a better option for fly–anglers than Par Lai Lake, having less
restricted casting than at Par Lai.
The lake has modern facilities; toilets, shower room, a luxury restaurant serving Thai
and western cuisine and a comfortable bar area. There is also an on site tackle store
that sells the essential bits and pieces.
The stocking table and future stocking that will be happening in the next month or
two are as follows.
1200 Pacu (800 small and 400 2–4kg sizes)
500 kg Asian Red Tails (Pla Kot Kang)
500kg of Striped Catfish (2–4kg size)
20–25 big Striped Catfish 20kg size
160 Mekong Catfish (7–20kg size)
500 kg of Tilapia
200 kg of Red Tilapia
500 kg of Gunther’s walking catfish
480 Rohu Carp (1.5–3kg size)
200 Giant Siamese Carp (2–7kg size)
Planned future stocking:
3 big Arapaima (40–70kg size)
10 small Arapaima (15–20kg size)
200 Peacock Bass
15 Alligator Gars
20 big Amazon Red Tail catfish
20 Leopard Catfish
20 Tiger Catfish
1000 small Barramundi
Gillham’s Fishing Resort in Krabi is one of the most beautiful fishing lakes not only
in Thailand, but would rival anywhere else you care to mention. The resort consists of
luxury bungalow accommodation complete with a good sized swimming pool to keep
the wives and children happy. The whole lake is surrounded by a stunning landscape
of jungle covered limestone karsts.
Stuart Gillham and his son Shawn run the resort, and have created a fantastic
fishing destination with some of the biggest and best fish anywhere in Thailand.
Below is a list of just some of the fantastic fish stocked into the lake.
160 Mekong Catfish 40–120kg
47 Arapaima 40–150kg+
Siamese carp 6–70kg
Amazon Red Tail catfish 10–30kg
Julien’s Price carp 10–40kg
Black Pacu 12–26kg
Giant Catfish up to 50kg
Spotted Featherback up to 8kg
Here is the old stocking from Stuart below:
Arapaima 150 kgs plus. Stingrays up to 80kgs, Chitaia (feather back) up to 7kgs, Chitaia Lapis (black feather back) up to 15 kgs, Siamese carp up to 70 kgs, Wallago Attu up to 25kgs, Wallago Micropogan (black Wallago) up to 25kgs, Mekong Catfish up to 120 kgs, Chao Phraya cats up to 50kgs, Red tail Amazon cats up to 35kgs, Red tail tiger cats up to 20kgs , Tiger cats Amazon, Red tail leopards up to 15 kgs, Giant Gourami up to 12 kgs, Alligator gar up to 20 kgs, Julian’s golden price carp up to20 kgs, Silver and Green Araowana up to 8 kgs, Giant Snakehead up to 8kgs.
We are offering trips to Gillham’s Fishing Resort from Phuket, details to be added to
the site shortly.
Please click here for December 2007 saltwater fishing report.
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