This is probably the grand finale of all the major fishing that I’ve done this year or even in the last 2-4 years. All those days that I went out to go fishing was just practice for the grand daddy of them all: all for this event of fishing this special lake in Thailand. And in this Thai lake are monster fish and I do mean monsters in this lake! Kind of like the Carp that I caught in the stocked lakes of England and Czech Republic but on complete steroids, this is a lake that has giant and exotic fish that break your rod and pull you into the water if you are not careful.
And the fish don’t just feed on bait, but rather they inhale and swallow it whole where the giants will make your arms go through an entire workout to make them suffer in agony and pain! But I was ready for this because I did my workouts, I did my fishing practice, tried to maintain a good diet so I did my part of preparation. It’s just time for me to deliver. No failures are allowed like that occurred in Scotland and Slovenia. It’s a first time success this time around! The fishing gods have to shine brightly upon me. I hope… I pray… because it’s time with all the successes and failures involved in my journey that it’s finally time to go win the Super Bowl of fishing by catching some real giant monsters.
I arrived in the afternoon to this lake doing a quick tour to see where I’d be fishing. I later found out that this 10 acre lake was 4-5 meters deep and all man-made! What’s also surprising was that there were all kinds of exotic fish with some of them REALLY big!
With my guide helping me out, I had 4 fishing rods to get my fishing underway!
Initially, I caught a bunch of catfish, carp, and some odd fish.
My first fish of the day! An Amazon Redtail Catfish. There are plentiful numbers of these fish as I caught a bunch of them and they are fun to catch!
For some reason, a lot of these fish don’t want their picture taken with the fisherman. Oh well, I still held onto this Siamese Carp (Giant Barb) despite the whipping of the tail in attempt to squirm out of my hands.
I had no idea what this fish was. Even my guide had no idea that he had to go get the identification poster to see what it was. Initially, I thought it was a Black Carp but with its red eyes, I found out that it was a Bony-lipped Barb and this one was actually trophy world record-like size! Amazing what you can catch in this lake!
As the sun started to fall, I caught more Redtail Catfish but this one was a different one – Asian Redtail Catfish. A bit longer and slimmer than the Amazon Redtail Catfish, the Asian-version was still fun to catch.
And then! The Fishing Gods have responded in FULL FORCE with their wrath! “Here’s a 120 kilogram Mekong Catfish, Wisherman!”
And then it happened… I hooked onto a fish that I initially thought was another Redtail Catfish but bigger. Once it started taking line and line again, I knew that I had something REALLY big. After several minutes of watching, my guide then told me that I had a Mekong Catfish on. One of the biggest freshwater fish in the world, this was the hardest fish I had ever fought. Unlike being on a boat where a fish can take line and then you can reel in the slack with the boat going towards the fish, I was on stationary ground – I can’t move other than my legs! After over serious 1 hour fight where I was in pain and misery all over my body, I finally won – my guide and other staff came in to help me net this enormous 120+ kilogram (over 264 pound) fish. What a fight. What a fish. This fish was now my biggest fish of my fishing career!
Overall, the first day was 11 out of 15 fish landed with 6 Amazon Redtail Catfish, 2 Asian Redtail Catfish, 1 Siamese Carp, 1 Bony-lipped Barb (world record trophy size), and 1 Mekong Giant Catfish at 120 kg – breaking my previous personal best record of 110 kg! If the fishing was this good, what will the next day bring???
Well, the second day started off as a slow one… I didn’t think that this day would be productive after hearing about several other fishermen showing up all at once so I knew that it wouldn’t result in catch after catch like the previous day. So after catching the first fish of the day, another Amazon Redtail Catfish, to eliminate the “blank,” it was about an hour and half when something exciting hit. Initially, I thought it was another Redtail Catfish and then my guide said the keyword, “Arapaima!” And then he went to blow those 3 sweet whistle blasts signaling that I had an Arapaima! After several minutes of fighting and careful direction, the fish was in the special net, the second time used in 16 hours! And another epic fish within 16 hours of each other! Yessss!
After about 10 minutes, I landed this 80+ kilogram fish! They fight well but because they breathe actual air, they tire out quickly. It was still an epic fish especially 15-16 hours prior to this fish was my Mekong Catfish!
And here’s my guide safely releasing the Arapaima so it can be caught again in the future.
The rest of the day was pretty slow after the Arapaima. I think it was a few hours before I finally catch another fish. And the next two were some weird ones that I’ve never seen in the flesh.
I had trouble trying to get this “primitive” fish to pose for me. Alligator Gar have these nasty sharp teeth that I had to wear gloves to hold the fish properly.
And of course, even with gloves on, the Alligator Gar made its escape out of my hands. I was going to release the living “fossil fish” anyways but a little too early though.
Now this was a fish that I had never seen nor heard of before: a Tambaqui! A South American fish that eats nuts and fruits somehow it came for the bait consisting mostly of grain, rice, and other wheats.
So overall on this second day was 5 out of 10 fish landed with 2 Amazon Redtail Catfish, 1 Alligator Gar, 1 Tambaqui, and 1 Arapaima weighing in over 80 kg! For some reason, other people were having problems as well on this day catching fish. Two Italians had a string of bad luck ranging from a broken rod, lost fish, no hookups, etc. They were across the lake from me and got a great view of me hooking up 5 fish including that Arapaima!
However, the last day was a slow day that everyone on the lake didn’t get much action. In fact, I didn’t get any bites in the morning at all until about 1-2 PM when I got a few bites and then finally, at last I caught something. The first being a bigger Siamese Carp!
I could barely hold this huge Siamese Carp but I was happy to take that “blank” off releasing the pressure to catch something
Again, like with the Alligator Gar, this fish didn’t want its picture taken.
After giving it a few “shhh”s, I was able to calm the fish down to where I could pose with it. This is a Vundu Catfish and gosh, was this fish super slimy!
Usually Striped Catfish have long horizontal black lines across its body but this one didn’t have any. I guess it must be a baby still meaning that these fish can get really big! This was my last fish of the day along with an Asian Redtail Catfish to finish my day with a Double!
So last day’s count was 4 out of 6 fish landed with 1 Siamese Carp, 1 Vundu Catfish, 1 Striped Catfish and 1 Asian Redtail Catfish.
Overall, the fishing was extremely great! Especially when I hooked and landed two epic fish in both the Mekong Giant Catfish and the Arapaima. I would definitely go again because there are a lot of fish species in this lake that I still haven’t caught yet!
Tip: You should be on a long-term workout program before you go to this lake or any other lake with absolute monster fish. It’s just not worth going there to hook a huge fish only to completely give up because you got tired! I’ve had my share of large, heavy fish meaning going the distance of 30+ minutes! So be ready for a fight, you might go from a 20 pound (almost 10 kilograms) fish to over 200 pounds (almost 90 kilograms) fish! You just don’t know but you better be ready for them by ensuring that your body and muscles can go the distance, stamina-wise.
Tip: Don’t have high expectations that you will catch big fish every time, all time being at this place or fishing in general. It’s better to have low expectations that you’ll catch some fish but NOT giants. The giants are what I’d call unexpected, awesome surprises if you manage to land one such as my Mekong Catfish or my Arapaima! The thing about fishing is that you really don’t know what is out there until you cast the line out with bait and hook. And I wasn’t really thinking that I would catch an Arapaima or Mekong Catfish on my first time go at this lake (and within 15-16 hours of each other!). I just happened to have the right skills, experience, luck, and prayed to the Fishing Gods enough to make the opportunity happen! Everyone who comes to this lake is generally hyper-focused on catching an Arapaima but I was more into enjoying my time fishing.