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Fishing Khaolak News 2011 and 2012


Here is a roundup of the fishing trips and fishing news for 2011 and 2012.

Hello and thank you to all our clients who came for fishing trips with us during 2011/12,
and a warm welcome to anyone reading this Thailand fishing news report.

I will start with some very sad news, the tragic death of Michael Andersson.
Michael who was originally from Denmark was very important to our company in the early
days, and if it wasnít for him I and many other anglers wouldnít have known anything about
the fantastic fishing that was available in Thailand. Michael was one of the early pioneers of
fishing in Thailand and will be greatly missed by his friends and old clients who he guided in
both salt and freshwater. Michael was the founder of Thai Fishing Guide and also worked as
a ďdeckieĒ on many of the big game boats out of Phuket before helping to set up
www.fishing-khaolak.com. Michael died after a motorcycle accident in very bad weather in

Michael Andersson 1970-2011

Thailand Freshwater Fishing Report

What a year 2011 has been, I am writing this report in mid Dec, just as the flood water in
Bangkok is finally draining away. Bungsam Lan escaped disaster by the skin of its teeth. The
floodwater was only centimetres away from flooding the lake. The owner had erected net
fencing all around the lake and fitted many extra oxygen machines, but very luckily just when
we thought the lake was about to be flooded, the water levels began to drop. The road leading
to Bungsam Lan was knee deep at its worst point and many of the houses and businesses
were flooded. It was amazing and inspiring to see how well the Thai people coped with the
situation and somehow managed to get along with their lives in such a dreadful situation. I
was at Bungsam Lan when the water was at its highest level, the fishing platforms on the
bungalows were submerged, as was most of the main fishing pier. The fish were still feeding
though, our last cast before we had to leave was this 30.5 kilo Giant Mekong Catfish!

This was also the last fish of a fantastic road trip I had just taken with Andy from Stoke in the
UK. We started our trip in Phuket at Sawai Lake, working our way up to Bangkok fishing at
all the best fishing lakes on the way. The main target was Arapaima, as Andy is a bit of a
species collector. Phuket was great, even though at the time we were having problems with
bait supplies (due to the flooding) we still caught lots of fish including 6 Amazon Redtail
, the biggest this one here. Our non-predator rod was also producing lots of fish, Giant
Siamese Carp
, Striped Catfish and Pacu, even though we were only using chicken food as
bait! Carp pic here, Pacu here.

Next stop on the trip was Krabi, now my favourite stocked lake in Thailand. Andy had fished
1 day with me around Christmas 2010 at the lake when the fishing was tough, we caught a
20kg Giant Siamese on sardine and a big Giant Mekong Catfish, but the lake was fishing
nowhere near what it can do. Being a true fisherman though, Andy wanted a few more days
to have a real good go at the lake. We came this time for 2.5 days, starting after lunch on the
first day, we landed 5 fish, 1 large Giant Mekong Catfish hooked about 7.55pm(you have to
stop fishing at 8pm!), 1 Giant Siamese Carp, 1 Striped Snakehead and 2 Big Head Carp. We
also lost another really big fish which broke the 40lb line! The next day we started at 7am,
and fished until 8pm. We had lots of runs on the carp rod, but the predator rod was very quiet.
Andy landed 2 Giant Mekong Cats, the first one was hooked just before it got dark, then
hooked the last one like the day before at 7.55 pm! With a 12 fish total for the day including
some nice Giant Siamese Carp, a small Thai Redtail Catfish and some Big Head Carp, we
had done quite well. On the 3rd and last day, we fished the same place on the lake that we
had fished the previous 2 days, concentrating our baits on the same spots. The fishing was a
little slower on this day, but we finished the day with a total of around 9 fish, made of mainly
Giant Siamese Carp and Big Head Carp. We lost a huge Giant Mekong Catfish that
disappeared to the far end of the lake. Everything was going fine, but the massive fish passed
over the plateau that runs along the middle of the lake over to the other side and dived,
shredding the line. We still landed a nice Mekong, the run coming again just as it went dark.
A 27 fish total for 2.5 days, not bad for this lake, but still no Arapaima as yet, and Arapaima
were Andyís main priority.

The next morning we had breakfast, and then headed out on the road. Our next destination
was Green Field Valley near Hua Hin, a nice drive taking in some nice scenery.
The next morning we were met at the lake by Dave the manager. Everything was set up ready
to go, and Dave made us very welcome and explained to us about the lake and the fish.
We got off to a few strikes straight away, and after getting stuck in some weeds for a while,
we landed this nice Pacu. There was quite a few nice Amazon Redtail Catfish showing in the
margins right at our feet, we had already had lots of these in Sawai Lake, so we resisted the
temptation and concentrated on our main target species the Arapaima.
After a while, we saw some Arapaima showing at the other end of the lake, so we moved up
there to have a crack at them. Dave pointed out a spot close to the opposite bank near a small
over hanging bush. My cast was a few meters short so I decided to make a re-cast. I slowly
jerked the dead-bait back, and as I was looking around, the rod bent around from a vicious
take. I quickly handed the rod over to Andy, but within a few seconds the line went slack and
the fish slipped away, we just caught a glimpse of its tail, unmistakably an Arapaima. We
recast, this time hitting the target area close to the overhanging bush. We positioned the
second rod a little further to the right and deeper into the small bay area we were fishing.
It didnít take long, maybe 20 minutes before the rod to the right had a screaming run. Andy
was straight onto it in a flash, the rod bending double as the hook was slammed home, Andy
doesnít mess around when he is setting a hook!

The fish had to come back past us on our left out of the bay, and then just kept going straight
down the lake. There is a channel down the far side of the lake that goes out of the main lake,
a real danger area if the fish was able to reach it.
The first run was incredible, the fish just kept on going and going, I was getting worried the
fish might reach the channel, but with only a few metres to spare the fish finally turned.
Arapaima either come in very easy, or fight like hell, this was one of the latter! Twisting and
turning, head shaking, the fish was doing everything possible to win the fight. Itís really easy
to lose an Arapaima, their hard boned mouth makes it difficult to hook them properly, and
easy for them to spit the hook, so my heart is always in my mouth until the fight is won!
After the long runs, the fight continued in the margins, Andy had to walk around the bank
following the fish as it constantly tried to weed him up. Eventually the fish was netted and
after a few back slaps I photographed a very happy Andy in the water holding his prize.
Arapaima was the main target species of the whole road trip, so it was a nice relief to cross
this most sought after species off the list. As sometimes happens in fishing, once you have
caught one, more tend to follow, and less than an hour later, Andy was into another
Arapaima! This one was even bigger and fought even harder than the first one. We fished the
rest of the day until around 7pm, landing Barramundi, Pacu, Tiger Shovel Nose Catfish,
Amazon Redtail Catfish and also Thai Redtail Catfish. After fishing like this, the next day
couldnít come quick enough, and at 7am sharp we were back on the bank of this fantastic
fishery. The fishing was a bit slower on this day, but our next target species Alligator Gar
was crossed off the list with a nice fish taken late morning. During the fight, the poor fish was
constantly attacked by two Cheow Phrya Catfish all the way into the net. I donít know why,
but Cheow Phrya Catfish really donít like Alligator Gar, and also sometimes attack Arapaima
much larger than themselves.

For this reason, most of them have now been removed from the lake in Krabi leaving only a
few world record size ones in the lake. We were still trying for Arapaima, but they didnít bite
until it went dark. As soon as it was dark the first Arapaima was landed, quickly followed by
another. One more new species for Andy to cross off this day was Walking Catfish.
We staid the night in Hua Hin, then a short drive the next morning brought us to Cha Am.
There are two fishing lakes at Cha Am, one is a high catch rate lake with lots of Striped and
Giant Mekong Catfish and also some very large Giant Siamese Carp. The second lake is a
predator lake holding lots of Arapaima, Alligator Gar, Amazon Redtail Catfish, Pacu,
Suribim Catfish, Tiger Shovel Nose Catfish and some very large Cheow Phrya Catfish. This
is the lake we fished. Fishing time is 9 am to 4 pm, but we still managed 3 Arapaima and 2
Alligator Gar. We also got snapped by what I think was a very large Arapaima. We could
have caught lots of Pacu and Redtail Cats, but again we sacrificed these and tried to catch
some of the bigger species. Just as the fish were coming on the feed in the late afternoon, we
reluctantly had to stop fishing.

After fishing we headed towards Bangkok to our hotel not too far from the next lake on the
road trip. This is a brand new lake and I am not going to say where it is or what itís called.
This is because itís absolutely fantastic and I want to save it for our clients!
The new lake is a predator lake with all the same species as mentioned for the Cha Am
predator lake. We had the whole lake to ourselves, and fishing with only one rod we caught
fish all day from around 8am till 6pm. Lots of Amazon Redtail Catfish, Suribim Catfish, two
7 kilo Pacu, Alligator Gar and five Arapaima! What a day, between 25- 30 fish, all predators!
Time was running out on the road trip, and also with the flooding situation in Bangkok
getting worse, although we wanted to fish more days here we knew we had to move on to
Bungsam Lan before it was too late.

I had told Andy many tales of Bungsam Lan, and how it was very different from all the lakes
we had fished so far. Fishing here you really do fight the fish! Fishing from bungalows on
poles in the water makes fighting the fish much harder. The fish know they can beat you if
they can get around the poles, so they fight much more determined. The tackle used at
Bungsam Lan is the heaviest at any of the fishing lakes in Thailand, one piece 7ft rods with
heavy duty Shimano Bait-runners and heavy lines being tested to the maximum by the power
of the Giant Mekong Catfish that want to pull your arms off!

The water level was the highest I had ever seen in my many years of fishing the lake, only a
few bungalows were still fishable. The morning was a little slow, but as usual the afternoon
action was high catch rate, Andy going toe to toe with lots of powerful big cats.
The next day we had decided to try a different fishing style and try for one of the Giant
Siamese Carp or the larger Giant Mekong Catfish. The Carp in this lake are the biggest in
Thailand, and also arguably the most beautiful due to their very dark colouration. The water
had risen overnight and now all the fishing platforms on the bungalows were under water.
Our only option was the main pier which was also mostly under water except a small area
that we could fish from. The style of fishing we were using requires a lot of bait, you must
keep feeding all day to build up the swim to pull in the Carp. We baited patiently all day
slowly building up the swim, landing a few Striped and Giant Mekong Catfish. As it got to
late afternoon, arguably the best time of day for the Giant Siamese Carp to feed, we noticed a
lot of very loud fireworks beginning to be set off. It got louder and louder as more locals
joined in until it sounded like World War 3! Not the best conditions for close range Carp
fishing, so we quit that and just concentrated on the Giant Mekong out in the middle.
We didnít land any monsters, the best being a 30.5 kilo specimen coming on the last cast of
the trip, making it a nice way to finish our great road trip adventure.
Anybody interested in a Road trip taking in the best of the lakes between Phuket and
Bangkok please contact here at the usual address. Trips can start either in Phuket or Bangkok
and are for a maximum of 4 anglers. A new webpage will be made to showcase this awesome
fishing adventure.

We look forward to seeing you, so until then,

Tight Lines!

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