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Fishing Khaolak News 2013 and 2014

Thailand Freshwater Fishing Report

 

Here is a roundup of the fishing trips and fishing news for 2013 and 2014.



Please note this newsletter is updated annually around mid-November each year.
Due to our success and popularity we are too busy to make more regular updates.
There are plenty of non-fishing keyboard warriors and bullshitters on
Facebook Thai fishing pages if you like that kind of thing!


Welcome to the Fishing-Khao Lak newsletter and a big thank you to all our
clients who made it such a fantastic 2013 - 2014 season, one of, if not the best
seasons ever! This year is our 11th year as a Pro fishing company and we look
forward to another great seasonsí worth of guiding and giving our clients the
best impartial advice and guidance on the best fishing available in Thailand.


This season beginning in October 2013 saw the opening of our superb new
freshwater fishing destination: Exotic Fishing Thailand. Conveniently located
within easy reach of Phuket, Khao Lak, Ao Nang and Krabi the opening has
been well timed as we are now very regularly fully booked at other freshwater
fishing options in the South. This is not a marketing ploy, unfortunately we had
to turn away lots of anglers, even regular Fishing-Khao Lak clients due to late
enquiries and lakes being fully booked. Quite simply, freshwater fishing in
Thailand has now become massively popular, with lots of magazine and TV
exposure worldwide showcasing the phenomenon, it was bound to happen
with fishing as good as what we have here in Thailand. For most of our
freshwater trips we donít ask for a deposit, so donít take the risk of missing out
on your dream catch, and be sure to book early!



When EFT first opened, as expected with a new lake and virgin fish, the catch
rate was very high especially for the predators. The non-predator catch rate was
surprising a bit slow, I had missed the first week due to family commitments
and I was itching to get on the lake. My favourite non-predator method is the
Polly-ball rig which can be devastatingly effective when fished correctly. Every
lake is different so you have to adapt the method to suit, and after a bit of trial
and error the non-preds started to come in droves. A very difficult to catch but
much sought after fish in Thailand is the very beautiful Julienís Golden Price
Carp
. Almost every session for the first few months we seemed to catch them,
the best session going to my guide Mr Bang whoís client John landed 3 in 3
casts. John also bagged 2 nice Arapaima, Ripsaw Catfish, Piraiba Catfish, Giant
Siamese Carp
, Pacu and Rohu. Here are few photos from the session. Here
and here. The same day I was guiding Johns friend Joko and amongst other
species he landed 5 Arapaima in one day! Here is a photo of the best one of the
session.



The Arapaima fishing has been incredible. These prehistoric predators used to
be a fairly rare catch in seasons gone by, but this season has gone crazy. Iím
confident to say that when targeting Arapaima our success rate has been at
least 90% for every client we have guided at Exotic Fishing. I think itís safe to
say we are the most prolific guiding team in Thailand when it comes to
catching Arapaima! I am so confident of guiding you to an Arapaima that I will
guarantee any client booking a 5 day trip or more to Exotic Fishing that if they
donít catch an Arapaima, they donít pay!

Itís not just here were our prowess at catching Arapaima has been so high,
after 3 full seasons at Bangkok Predator Fishing we still maintain a 100%
success rate when targeting Arapaima for every client. When I guide at this
lake, my average Arapaima catch rate is still around 3 Arapaima per angler per
day! It is starting to get a little tougher, but I like that, it makes me raise my
game and keeps me on my toes.



Krabi is still producing massive Arapaima for us as well. Cristoffer from Sweden
fished here for 5 days and hooked 10 Arapaima, landing 5 monsters.
Cristoffer fished here the year before, and the first cast of the trip produced a
huge Mekong Catfish. Amazingly the same happened on this trip when after
fishing for only an hour or so he hooked into this colossal fish which took more
than 2 hours of back breaking fighting to land! The same first day also saw
Christoffer losing another monster Mekong which I think he was secretly
relieved about because it was just starting to get dark and thatís when the
predator fishing at this lake can really come alive. This huge Arapaima proved
the theory correct, a torrid dirty fight, the Arapaima repeatedly trying to spit
the hook whilst destroying most of the floating hyacinths around the
restaurant end of the lake.

After Krabi it was a short journey over to Exotic Fishing for 3 days and we
carried on where we left off. The Arapaima kept on coming with another 4
landed over the 3 days.

This is Cristoffer s astounding 17 species catch for the 3 days at EFT:
Arapaima: 4 / Amazon Redtail Catfish: 3 / Asian Redtail Catfish: 1 /
Niger Ripsaw Catfish: 1 / Paraiba Catfish: 1 / Tiger Redtail Cross Catfish: 7 /
Wallagu Attu Catfish: 1 / Albino Pacu: 12 / Redbelly Pacu: 1 / Yellow Cheek
Carp: 3
/ Rohu: 2 / Chinese Black Carp: 1 / Hovenís Carp: 1 / Siamese Carp: 1 /
Tamaqui: 3 / Arowana: 3 / Aligator Gar: 1


Andreas from Sweden has been fishing in Thai waters for several years and
wanted to expand on his impressive list of species he has caught over the
years. As well as awesome predator fishing, EFT is one of the best freshwater
lakes in the country for building up a list of different species from around the
world. He landed several big Arapaima like this one and some large Alligator
Gar here and here. These are very impressive fish, but not new species so we
focused our efforts away from where they were showing. This paid off
spectacularly well with some of the most difficult to catch species coming to
the net. These included Goonch Catfish here, here Niger Ripsaw Catfish, Yellow
Cheek Carp, Julienís Golden Price Carp and at the time of capture one of
the rarest fish in Thailand, this Chinese Black Carp. The Chinese Black Carp is
very rare in the wild and not very common in captivity, but we have guided to
around 15 of these fish this season for our clients at EFT. For some reason they
love the Polly Ball rig fished over the top of some pellets. When spodding the
pellets out they can sometimes be seen rolling at the surface after the pellets.
Usually if you see them rolling they will get their heads down and more often
than not hit the bait. Here are a few pics of different anglers who have been
fortunate enough to land this species which is known to grow over 50 kg in the
wild. Letís see how fast they grow when they are gorging themselves on high
protein pellets every day in safe pristine water conditions?



Fly-fishing in Thailand is getting more and more popular and EFT has
considered this factor into the planning of the lake. There are many places
covering the perimeter of the whole lake where a back cast can be made,
unfortunately a rare instance at fishing lakes in Thailand.

Our first fly angler Oliver from Australia set the pace when he was the first fly
angler on the lake. He got off to an unlucky start when a nice Arawana took his
fly after only a few casts, but jumped and spat the fly after a few seconds.
Oliverís luck changed dramatically when he landed Pacu, Yellow Cheek Carp, a
massive Tilapia, Alligator Gar and topped it off with this very fine Arapaima.
This set the bar very high for fly fishing, but so far every one of our fly-fishing
clients at the time of writing this have all at least hooked 1 Arapaima on fly.

Tommy from Sweden is a master fly fisherman and makes the art of casting a
fly look effort less. He raised the bar several notches when on his first visit to
the lake on a half-day session he hooked 7 Arapaima on fly! He landed these 4
fish here, here, here, and here. Surprisingly the smallest fish was the hardest
fighter. One of the 3 fish Tommy lost was the by far the biggest, I didnít get a
great view of it, but I think it was a known fish one of the lakes largest
inhabitants a very angry fish known as The Beast. Here is a photo of the Beast
landed by English angler John.



Kevin from South Africa is only 18 years of age but is already a member of the
South African National fly fishing team. I can see why, he is devastating with a
12 weight fly rod in his hands. His technique is perfect and being 18 years old,
fit and highly motivated. He literally took the lake apart. He landed 16 fish on
fly of 9 different species! I was in awe watching this take place, I would spot a
fish, Kevin would put the fly on its nose and the rest is history.

Kevin landed the following, 2 Arapaima here, here, 4 Arawana, here, here,
here, 1 Alligator Gar, 1 Albino Pacu, 3 Red Belly Pacu, 1 Tiger Shovelnose
Catfish
, 1 Giant Gourami, 2 Yellow Cheek Carp, 1 Tiger Redtail Cross Catfish. I
have yet to see any fly angler in Thailand get anywhere near this catch in a 1
day session. Kevin in action here.



This is a photo of the best fly caught Arapaima of the season at EFT by Swiss
angler Rico. He hooked 6 fish, the first 5 spat the fly before landing this
monster.

Here are a few a couple more photos of EFT fly caught Arapaima.
Here, here, here, here, here.



As much as I love the commercial fishing lakes all over Thailand, personally for
me, my real passion is Jungle fishing. This season has been by far the best for
years. Sometimes itís easy to get stuck in a routine and keep fishing the same
old places. I have been fishing this lake and its rivers for over 12 years and I
thought I was fishing all the best spots. At one time they were, but my new
Thai captain has taken me to several new places that I had never seen before
and the catch rate has multiplied. Whilst fishing these new areas, we have not
seen any other sport fishermen. They are all still doing as I was, going to the
old hot spots and finding that they are not so hot anymore. This suits us just
fine, we are predominately catch and release, so hopefully this area wont got
plundered by the kill everything we catch anglers.

The old areas do still produce good fish, but strikes are harder to come by.
Here is a photo of Tommy a regular Giant Snakehead fanatic who was so
pleased with this catch he has decided to have a tattoo of it on his forearm!


In May 2014 we made another fishing show for Italian TV with Valerio Morini.
Valerio is only interested in lure fishing and had heard all about the Giant
Snakehead and its legendary reputation as one of freshwater fishingís most
aggressive and ferocious predators. The weather conditions were good,
overcast and light rain, the fishing had been good the previous months so all
was in order for a great trip.

We had a few days to make the film so we first headed to the old area were
the rivers enter the dam as Valerio wanted to try the river fishing for Thai
Mahseer
and Jungle Perch. The rivers were still very low; Thailand was just
coming out of one of the driest weather droughts for 30 years. We tried fishing
for a short time, but conditions were quite bad for fishing so we decided to
concentrate on the lake fishing, predominately targeting Giant Snakehead.

Where the rivers enter the dam can be good fish holding spots, so thatís where
the fishing started. The water has quite coloured with very little weed around,
not ideal, but there was a few fish showing as they came up to breathe. We
opted for diving lures with lots of vibration and a bright colour. Strikes were
hard to come by, but I nearly had the rod pulled from my hands when a
massive fish struck the lure close to the boat. The rod doubled over and the
clutch screamed as the fish took off stripping line at an unstoppable rate. We
were fishing in an area with lots of tree stumps in the water and the fish
headed straight for the nearest one and cut the line.

Too bad, it would have been a great fish for the cameras but thatís fishing! We
went off in search of some weed beds, the favourite ambush position for our
quarry. We struggled to find many good spots but I knew of a great spot that
had produced a good fish nearly every time over the last few months. However
the best fishing time in my opinion is the last hour before it goes dark so we
waited until the time was right before arriving there just before it went dark.
There is a large hole in the weed bed, but you can only cast into it with a
chance of landing the fish from one position. Itís very tempting to start casting
straight away, but I told Valerio to wait until he was perfectly in position and
he knew for sure he could cast accurately into the weed hole. We crept up
silently in the boat, my captain knew exactly what to do without being told, we
had done it together many times before. Valerio readied himself then cast
perfectly putting his surface lure right at the back of the weed hole.
A massive Giant Snakehead smashed the lure straight away but spat the hook
after a few seconds when it snagged itself on some rope like weed.
Not a great day, just a couple of small fish to show for our efforts but with a bit
more luck on our side things could have been much better.

I made the decision the next day to head to our new hot spot area which was a
long way from our current location. Good decision because with a lot more
weed beds around, the fish started to come more regularly. With so much
weed to fish and no other anglers around we had the whole massive area to
ourselves. I hooked into what we thought was a big fish. I had hooked the fish
at distance so I had little control to stop the fish diving deep and burying itself
in weed. We got over the top of the fish in the boat, but could not move it.
Without being asked, my captain dived straight in, going down about 4m and
pulled the fish from the weed with his bare hands! The funny thing was, the
fish was only small, and its aggressive strike fooling us into thinking it was
really big! Deep into an unexplored area we found a nice weed bed with a few
tree stumps scattered around with several good fish showing. It looked
perfect, no sign of any previous human presence. A few well-placed casts
resulted in a couple of good strikes for both of us but no hook ups. I spotted a
good fish surfacing to breathe in fairly open water and alerted Valerio who
quickly cast a few meters past the circle of ripples the fish had left. The surface
lure was smashed as it entered the strike zone and the fish was on! Valerio was
wearing 2 cameras, one on his head and one on a harness from behind his
shoulder. My job was to net the fish and film at the same time, a bit tricky as
Valerio was understandably very anxious not to lose the fish. I finally netted
the fish after a dirty fight, the fish repeatedly diving under the boat trying to
get snagged up in any trees or weed it could get to. Once in the net Valerio let
out a huge cry at the top of his voice and started beating his chest like King
Kong! I have never seen anyone so pleased to land a fish and after 10 seasons
of guiding thatís a few thousand anglers and tens of thousands of fish!
The TV show The Last Minnow Tour will be broadcast on Italian TV
sometime in January 2015.



A week later Aussie big game charter captain Josh Bruynzeel of On Strike
Charters came for a jungle trip, his main target species Giant Snakehead. We
had a few days of fishing and according to Josh all he wanted was 1 Giant
Snakehead regardless of size to cross off his list. Josh and his wife Jay had
fished with us earlier in the year at EFT where his main target was Arapaima.
He did this spectacularly when he landed this monster on the Polly ball rig! He
also landed several other cool species like this Yellow Cheek Carp.

Josh is a very successful saltwater angler and captain, and his charters from
Exmouth Australia are legendary. His freshwater angling is pretty good also (for
an Aussie!) and between us we absolutely took the place apart. Pretty much
right from the start we were straight into fish. We fished the new area for the
first few days and landed many, many Giant Snakeheads and a few Striped
Snakeheads
. I had explained that the old area was not as good as it used to be,
but if you are prepared to work hard for not a lot of strikes then it can still
produce really big fish. Josh was up for it and prepared for hard fishing.
Travelling to the old area we encountered several shoals of Jungle Perch
crashing at the surface. This can happen a lot, but you have to be close enough
to cast to them straight away because they disappear after a few seconds. This
happened a few times but Josh finally landed this nice one on a deep diving
lure. After lunch on the floating bungalows we headed out on the boat for
another session. We had only travelled about a kilometre when the Captain
spotted Giant Snakehead fry breathing at the surface. The fry were quite large
so I was a bit sceptical whether the parents were still around to protect their
young. We started casting at them, Josh using a deep diving lure, myself a
surface lure. The fry were so large they were actually attacking the lures but
there was no sign of protecting adult Snakeheads. We kept hammering away
with the lures for about 5 minutes before deciding to give up and move on. We
agreed to make one more cast and luckily for Josh he did. As his lure got deep,
his rod bent over, banging violently as his reel struggled to keep up with the fish as
it dived deep. Fortunately we were in very deep snag free water at the time, so
as long as the hooks stayed in place the fish would be landed. The Giant
Snakehead fought like crazy staying really deep and trying to keep under the
boat. Eventually I gratefully slipped the net under this awesome beautiful fish.

Check out the colours and markings on this fish, totally stunning. When you
compare the wild Giant Snakeheads of Cheow Lan to the dull fish from other
parts of Thailand or from commercial fisheries they are in my opinion by far
the best looking of all. Here are a few more photos, here, here, here, here,
and here.

We also made a quick visit to one of the rivers to try for a Thai Mahseer. The
water was a bit low, but we both managed a couple of fish, here is Josh with a
fish caught on lure, I caught mine on fly.



Steve from the UK came to fish in the Jungle and also a Day at EFT with his son
Ben. Steve had fished with me for 2 days a few years ago and is a nice guy, but
more importantly, a very lucky one. He wanted to see the jungle with his son
as both are passionate about nature and the environment. We only just
managed to fit this trip in because it was very close to the Thai festival of
Songkran and is one of the busiest times of the year for fishing in Thailand. We
could only fit in a 1.5 day jungle trip, but Ben managed to catch this fish on lure
all by himself. We were also lucky to see a wild elephant taking a bath, a bear
and a huge monkey fight when 2 troops of monkeys came together in the trees
close to where we were fishing in our boat and proceeded to have the mother
of all fights, they were screaming and falling out the trees everywhere! The
bear sighting was incredibly rare and we managed to get very close in the boat.
We watched the honey bear for a few minutes, he was digging at the ground
and actually turned around and saw that we were there and just carried on
with his digging. It was only when the captain started the engine that he ran
away. This year elephant sighting while on our jungle fishing trips have been
very common, around every 2 trips we would see wild elephants.

Elephant photo here and here. Bear photo here.

After the jungle trip, Steve and Ben fished a day at EFT. As usual the fishing
gods were smiling down on them and they had an incredible day. They landed
lots of different species including several Giant Siamese Carp, Pacu, lots of
Redtail Catfish, here, here, 2 Vundu Catfish, several Ripsaw Catfish, a very rarely
caught Jau / Zungaro Catfish and an Arapaima. More than any other fish Steve
wanted an Arapaima. I was highly confident we would get one, but as the
afternoon turned into evening Steve was getting a little worried he wouldnít
get one. I reassured him that the best time was the last 2 hours, but he wasnít
convinced. He had already had a great day, but an Arapaima would be the icing
on the cake. Around 6.15pm with only 45 minutes of fishing left, a slow
nodding run came on the fish dead-bait on the predator rod. Steve hit it with a
well-executed hook up and the fight was on. After a massive first run Steve
started to get line back on the fish and the landing cage entered the water. The
fish got a second wind and headed off on another long run, before turning and
changing tactics to head shaking and attempting to tail walk. This is the most
dangerous time when most fish are lost, so I had my fingers crossed that the
hook would hold. Steve eventually steered the Arapaima into the cage, but the
fish immediately jumped straight back out and continued the fight. Next time
around we had him safely in the cage; you can take a look at a very relieved
Steve and Ben with this lovely Arapaima. Please note we offer discounted
fishing trips to EFT for parents fishing with children aged 16 years or under.



Palm Tree Lagoon has been producing some absolute monster fish again this
year, this monster of monster Giant Mekong Catfish possibly over the current
IGFA world record, but ineligible due to a technicality was landed by one of our
clients on a 1 day session. Andy and I spent a few days there last November
and had a fantastic time landing all sorts of different species.
Here are some other great catches from this incredible fishery.
Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.
here, here, here, here and here.


Saltwater Fishing Update.

Please note that November and March are particularly very busy months for
saltwater fishing in Thailand, so if you are looking for a saltwater fishing trip
around these busy times, be sure to check availability before you book you
flights.

This season in March 2015 we will once again be offering our multi-day fishing
safaris to the Burma Banks. This trip has not been available for several years,
but will the loosening of restrictions in Burma the trip will now be available
again. Places are limited and bookings are based on a first come first served
basis. Please click here to find out more information about this unspoilt fishing
heaven.



We are also now offering saltwater fishing from local boats targetting Dorado,
King Mackerel and Giant Trevally. More information to follow soon on a new webpage.
The trips are based from Khao Lak and will be priced from 5,000 thb depending on
the number of anglers and which target species.



Well unfortunately thatís all Iíve got time for to put in the newsletter at the
moment. I have very many photos and reports to add, but time has run out. I
have tried to cover as much as I could of the most important news in the short
time I had available to do this report. I will try and get some more information
online as and when I get the time. Now itís time to continue with what we do
best, guiding our clients to spectacular catch results around all the best fishing
destinations in ThailandÖ




We look forward to seeing you, so until then,

Tight Lines!

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