By Jonas Nyqvist & Neil Robinson.
First of all a big apology again for the news being so late!!!
Also another reminder for anglers interested in fishing at Bungsam Lan,
please note that the fishing times have now changed to
This is a decision made by the management of Bungsam Lan, not us!
We apologize for any misunderstanding.
New Year’s Day got this years fishing underway with a trip to
Bungsam Lan Lake in Bangkok Thailand,
with Paul Rose from the UK whom I fished with last month at Par Lai Lake.
The temperatures were still very low for Bangkok, and the fishing was again
fairly slow with the Giant Mekong Catfish only starting to feed later in the afternoon.
There were still lots of Striped Catfish around that were prepared to feed though,
so until the Mekong switched into feed mode,
we mainly bottom fished for the Striped.
Like many first timers at Bungsam Lan, Paul thought the Striped Catfish
were good fighters...
That was until he hooked up his first Giant Mekong of the day!
Paul was amazed at the sheer power of these incredibly hard fighting fish,
even though we had only caught average sized ones.
Paul was so impressed with the fishing;
he has already booked his next trip with me to the lake,
and is wishing his life away in the meantime!
I didn’t want to spoil his good mood by letting him know that by Bungsam Lans’ standards,
we had had a well below average days fishing!
You can tell how much he enjoyed himself by the look on his face in this photograph here.
Next it was a fishing trip to Par Lai Lake in Phuket with UK angler Errol Mustapha.
Errol had fly fished only for the last 16 years, and hadn’t landed
a fish bigger than 3 kilos during this time.
Par Lai Lake in Phuket soon put that right with some nice sized Pacu to 6 kilo!
Also the best fish of the day, this lovely 12 kilo Striped Catfish
that fought for over 10 minutes on the light tackle we were using.
Errol was so pleased with his days fishing he gave me a nice bottle of
Chivas Regal 12 year old whisky!
Cheers Errol !
Cheow Lan was next up with Swedish angler Mats Heljestrand.
It was a sunny day, but not too hot, so I was fairly confident we may have good fishing.
We started fishing at the furthest point we could reach in the boat up one of the rivers.
We were straight into Hampala Barb on the spoons, before the shoal got spooked,
although we still managed to release one each.
The biggest was this one here, just over a kilo in weight.
We slowly drifted down the river about 100 meters, and as we approached
a big bend in the river, a huge Giant Snakehead struck at something very close to the bank.
We both quickly changed to surface lures, and Mats proceeded to cast to where the fish
was last seen. I didn’t cast, it was Mats fishing trip and I always give
the customer the best chance themselves to catch a located fish before I attempt to myself.
After several casts from Mats, the fish didn’t strike, so I cast my “Gay Pride” surface lure
close to a half sunken log and this time the fish came up.
It snapped at the lure a couple of times, and at the third attempt it took it.
I set the hook, and held my rod high in the air in an attempt
to keep the furious fish away from the sunken log.
Thankfully the fish came up to the surface thrashing around and jumping,
which gave me the chance to drag it more towards the middle of the river where
there are less snags
Once I managed to get the fish close, it kept making repeated dives under the boat,
and I had to be very careful that the braided mainline didn’t touch the boat,
which is easier said than done when a Giant Snakehead this size makes
a bid for freedom. Even though my reel was set with a fairly tight clutch,
I still had to slow the fish down by holding the spool with my left hand!
The rod was fully bent double and I punched the air in triumph when
I eventually netted this awesome 5.3 kilo Giant Snakehead.
Two hundred meters down river, I switched back to using spoons
as there were a few Hampala Barb showing.
I cast my spoon beneath an overhanging tree in the same spot where
I had caught a nice Cobra Snakehead a week or so before.
They say lightning never strikes in the same place twice, but Cobra Snakeheads do!
I was quite amazed to catch another in exactly the same spot as my last one.
Here is the photograph of another one of these very beautiful but rare species.
Although we had got off to a good start, we were not getting that many strikes,
however the strikes we were getting all seemed to be from big fish.
Mats especially was getting some really good strikes, but like they often do,
they once again proved difficult to hook-up.
About 15 minutes before last light, things got even more frustrating for Mats…
He had switched to a quite large surface lure, and had
the best strike from a fish I have ever seen!
It was as if a hand grenade had exploded at the surface when this monster hit the lure.
There was no mistake about the hook-up this time, but the fight was to be short lived…
The fish was massive and just took off, diving deep really fast
taking line like I have never seen a Giant Snakehead do before.
Even our vastly experienced Thai captain who has seen more
big Snakeheads than most people was surprised.
He doesn’t normally bat an eye-lid at 5-6 kilo fish, but he was shocked
by the size and power of this one!
It has to go down as the most disappointing fish losses I have ever witnessed.
This was a potential world record, and I was absolutely gutted to see Mats lose the fish
when the taught braided line hit a submerged snag, and broke.
The next day the strikes from the good fish kept coming, but again proved difficult to hook-up.
That was until we released this fish that was caught from another of the rivers.
Back to Bungsam Lan Lake Bangkok and the cold spell continued to effect catch results
for Swedish anglers Daniel and Jonas on their first visit to the lake.
The Giant Mekong Catfish were only feeding sporadically and the bulk of the catch was made
up of Striped Catfish of which there were many.
After mid-afternoon we eventually hooked up a really big fish…
The two friends took turns on the rod for around 45 minutes, doing very well to keep the
huge fish under control, until a rather unfortunate incident happened.
The fish kited to the left and went through the line of one of the Thai style un-attended
carp rods that are regularly left strewn along the walkway between bungalows.
The Thai guide who’s’ line we went through thought he had a run and ran over to the said rod.
I shouted to him that it was our fish, but he just looked at me
and struck the rod fiercely non-the less.
He cut straight through our line, and the the fish was lost. To us anyway…
Somehow he had managed to sever our line but had hooked-up our fish at he same time.
He handed the rod over to his customer who then managed to land our fish in
5 minutes flat!
The fish weighed 58 kilos! The boys were very disappointed, but accepted it and just
got on with their own fishing.
The following day I fished with Jamie and Sue from the UK.
The fishing was now starting to improve, and we had a really good day
including 2 Pacu pictured here and here. Also 2 Cheow Phrya Catfish on live-bait tactics.
here and here.
Plenty of Striped, and also some Giant Mekong Catfish thrown in as well.
Next a flying visit to Cheow Lan with Hungarian angler Istvan.
We could only do a 1 day session due to other bookings, so we fished a different
area of the lake to where we usually do.
We had lots of strikes from mainly small stuff; Istvan also missed a strike from a 4 kilo+ fish.
Istvan did however keep up our good run with Cobra Snakeheads
landing a nice fish of just over a kilo.
We had quite a few fish, but no really big ones.
Next a return visit for 3 UK anglers; Rob Joe and Steve to Cheow Lan
who wanted to continue there run of good luck after their good fortune
on their trip to the Similan Islands aboard Gecko with Jonas.
I didn’t fish on this trip, due to room in the boat and the lads tried many new techniques.
Lots of small stuff was caught from the weedy areas, but no real big ones.
Back up to Bungsam Lan Lake Bangkok with Swedish angler Bjorn.
The fishing was really getting back to normal and we almost broke my own personal record
for different number of species in one day.
We had Striped Catfish, Giant Mekong Catfish, River Catfish, Tilapia, 2 Pacu and also lost
a Cheow Phrya Catfish later on live-bait.
Next to Cheow Lan with Meik our Danish guide and his good friend Peter also from Denmark.
The two Danes are avid fly-fisherman, so with this in mind we walked up the rivers in search
of fish. I however stuck to the lure fishing and was really pleased with a lovely
2 kilo Striped Snakehead taken on a spoon.
Fly accounted for a few small Hampala Barb
but it soon became apparent that there were not many good sized fish
around in the upper parts of the rivers, so we went back to fishing the main lake.
This paid off with the second big fish of the day when Peter released this 4 kilo Giant Snakehead,
not long before last light.
I gave the 2 kilo Striped Snakehead to the chef, as it is one of my favorite eating fishes…
Halfway through our meal I thought there was something wrong, the fish we were eating was
the same size, but a Giant Snakehead, not a Striped one???
The chef had swapped it and hoped we didn’t notice as he wanted to eat the Striped one himself!
We didn’t mind because as usual the food was superb, and we all had a
good laugh about the fish swapping incident.
Only in Thailand !!!
The next day got off to a perfect start when just after first light Peter landed
this Giant Snakehead, just under 4 kilo.
Sometimes during the hottest time of day, the action can really slow down,
but on this day that wasn’t the case, when in the space of less than an hour we released
this and this 4 kilo fish. One was from exactly the same spot
that one had come from on my trip to the lake with
Mats earlier in the month!
Another bizarre twist to this months fishing report was my next customer Andrea from Austria.
Earlier in this report, I mentioned about Daniel and Jonas losing a big fish at Bungsam Lan…
It only turned out that Andrea was the guy who actually landed the 58 kilo Mekong!
It’s a small world!
Andrea kept up our recent good run of catching Cobra Snakeheads with this one
After my last trip to Cheow Lan, I was expecting really good fishing, but on this trip,
strikes were harder to come by.
Bertie and Stig from Sweden rounded the freshwater fishing off for this month with
their first trip to Bungsam Lan Lake Bangkok.
Nice steady fishing all day long, with the Giant Mekong Catfish starting to feed again.
Here is a pic of Bertie with one of his best fish of the day.
We were also very unlucky to lose a nice Giant Siamese Carp just as it was about to go in the
Saltwater report to follow shortly...
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