After having a look at my friend, Carl's photos of his recent trip in Bangkok this year. I decided that i was going to give in to temptation and go fish in Thailand. After convincing my wife and sister that there would be shopping involved, i booked my flight tickets and hotel accommodation. Then I contacted BKKGUY John. Fast forward a few months and it was time for my fishing trip with John.
I landed in Bangkok at about 9pm and made my way to the hotel. Bought some supplies and grabbed a quick dinner and went to bed. Couldn't sleep much though, i was excited. Got a call from John at 4.30am. Went down to the lobby to meet him. After a round of pleasantries, we were off.
For a guy who lives in Bangkok, John is very up to date on the going ons in Singapore. The conversation toggled between our lives and of course fishing. I realized that John is very passionate individual when it comes to fishing and that he sets a high standard for himself. I knew i had the booked the right guide (despite what some people told me prior to the trip) when he GUARANTEED that all three of us would land an Arapaima. Now i have been fishing to a lot of ponds and on lots of boats, but i have never heard the pond/boat operators guaranteeing a catch. If anything, it's always been that there are no guarantees in fishing!
We arrived at a rustic looking place. There were loads of animals around. Horses, Buffalos, Dogs and even a Deer! The pond burst into life as the first rays of sunlight hit. Top water action everywhere. As i was renting the tackle from John, everything was already set up. After receiving some quick instructions from John. We cast out. My wife and sister were sharing a rod, while i had one of my own. Within minutes of casting out the lure, my wife got a hit. We could actually hear the Arapaima suck in the lure. I guess she was panicking with excitement. But with John's guidance the fish was brought in. And what a fish it was. 70kg! I was up next and landed one half the size. The Arapaima's speedy runs are long, and they put up quite an acrobatic show as well. But they tire after awhile and you just have to slowly reel them in. The Redtail Catfish in the pond however, are another story. Powerful, slow and steady. They'll take you round the pond and refuse to coming in without putting up a fierce struggle.
My sister landed her first RTC with John's help. As they were lifting the fish out for a photo. I had a strong take. The three of them only realized that i was on 5 minutes into the fight. The fish was strong and kept taking out line. I would try to reel in a bit and he would take off. After about 15 minutes, i got the fish in. It was a Huge Arapaima. Bigger than the 70kg specimen my wife landed. We tried to call the pond helper to come and net the fish. But he was at the other end of the pond and could not hear us. Though the fish was near, he was still struggling. Thrashing around and shaking his head trying to loose the lure. I had hooked him almost by the skin of his teeth. As the lure dangled precariously, each of his jumps grew stronger. It had been almost 5 minutes since i reeled him in. With one last jump and a shake of his head, he got loose! Bummer!!! Well at least John got it on video. (thats what he said to cheer me up.) We hit a few more Arapaimas after that and a couple of Alligator Gars as well. As the sun rose higher, the bite dropped and mostly Redtails were landed. We had some delicious BBQed chicken for lunch. It was hot. But unlike Singapore, the humidity levels were pretty low. I decided to take a break in the shade while my wife and sister braved the heat. My sister landed a couple of tiger catfish. I was told that this was a hybrid between the Redtail and Tiger catfish. My wife was lucky enough to land a few more Arapaimas. Then as i watched, my sister had a huge take. Line was peeling out from the reel. John, jumped up from his little nap and guided her through the fight. This fish was refusing to come in. The Boss, popped his head out and said, 'Arapaima. 100kg!' This got everyone excited. My sister was in pain from just holding on. But she soldiered on. John was next to her, trying to give her a boost by encouraging her. Little by little, she managed to reel in the monster. It was almost 5 meters away when it made a sudden short run. As my sister reeled it back, it gave one last tug and the braid gave way. (we were using 40lb braid) Oh well. Thats two big ones lost..
10 minutes before we left i had a hook up. Redtail! or so everyone thought. But it refused to come in. in fact it took me from the left to the right of the pond and back! Finally i managed to get the fish in and it showed itself to be a big Arapaima! Bigger than my wife's 70kg monster! This time round the helper was at hand as was the Boss. I was pretty focused on the fish but i could hear John telling me what to do. I followed his instructions and soon after we netted the fish. A foreigner who had come to fish, was watching the whole fight. He told me i had caught a whale on a matchstick! (hahaha what a weird analogy!) We called it a day after that. 11 Arapaimas, a couple of Alligator Gars and countless Redtail and Tiger Catfish (i think at last count it had surpassed 20) What a day. What a rush. We were absolutely knackered.
I got this guy 3 meters out.
My Sister's Arapaima
Double hook up
Built like a TANK!
She kept getting the hybrids
My Wife's RedTail!
Nasty! Teeth i mean!
Not carrying it!
He loved that lure so much
Giant on the line
Ah ha RTC!
Here is a little video
The second day started with a quick breakfast at McDonalds. John told us that Pilot would not be as fantastic as the day before. It has 6 ponds that you can fish. Barramundi, Toman, Asian Redtail, Pacu and something else that i didn't see.
We started out at the Toman pond and quickly landed a few at first light. As the sun came up the fish got wary. They would hit the lure and the moment they felt something had they would release it. That meant that we had to set the hook super fast. Easier said than done! After countless misses and improper hook sets, we finally got some fish. I had a chance to see John in action as he tried to get a fish for my sister. He spotted a Toman rise, cast right infront of it, twitched and hooked and set the hook. All in one swift action. No wonder they call him the Tomanator! He sent me to fish on the narrow platform they used to feed the fish. He wanted to give me a feel of what it would be like to fish for Toman in the wild on a boat. I hooked onto one 2 feet infront of the platform and almost instantly he dived below the platform, bringing me down on one knee as i tried pull him out. John reminded me to remember how he does it and follow accordingly. In a couple of minutes i got him out. My sister has some pics in shutter mode which shows the entire fight frame by frame. (i dunno when she is going to pass it to me. so i will upload that later.)
Feeding time! And it was a frenzy. All you needed to do was to cast into the middle of them and BOOM!!! No slack line or your line will get bitten off. We lost a few of John's lures to this. I had an awesome moment when i was fishing the platform after the feeding. I cast out my lure and as it came back 3 Tomans were chasing it. The biggest one took the lure and i set the hook hard!!! Fish on!!! This time the Fish went away from the platform. ( Thank Goodness! ) As i brought the fish closer to the platform, an even bigger Toman came up from beneath me and took the lure on the side of the first Tomans mouth!!! The take was so ferocious i had two Tomans on the Lure!!! It was short lived though. The main line snapped!!! !@#$%$#@!
After that we had a go in the Barramundi pond. Got some top water action. We tried to get some Asian Redtail but there was a big group of 19 fishing there and it was impossible to squeeze in. So we had lunch there and went to have a look at BSR and visit the famous 7seasprotackle shop.
Once i got to BSR, i felt like fishing there the next day but John already had another booking. So i thought i'd just use a Thai guide and just land a few Mekong Catfish. Unfortunately, after eating at a restaurant @ MBK shopping center, i had food poisoning. !@#$%$#@! I guess that leaves me a reason to go back to Bangkok for some unfinished business. Til the next time, Tight Lines!
First light, first fish!
With John's help of course
The heat was unbearable
Barra on popper
You can contact John Via Facebook.
You won't regret it. I Guarantee it!