Freshwater lake fishing in Phuket – Major League Monster Exotic Fish!

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.

dreams come coming true achievement of dream lifelong always wanted to do this in nature harmony happy bliss true exciting happiness single lonewolf solo pirate adventurer spent good money on good fun games in total happy euphoria childfree childless by design going my way in Southeastern Asia guided overcoming burdens obstacles 30+ year old dude man male having the time of his life freshwater lake pond stocked big fish unreal adventure fishing in Thailand

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!

4 rods rodholder fishing bait big fishes exotic amazing thailand inland

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.

Phractocephalus hemioliopterus, is a pimelodid (long-whiskered) catfish game fish south southern american

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!

giant barb Siamese giant carp Catlocarpio siamensis กระโห้ largest species of cyprinid in the world Indochina fish species migatory

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.

Osteochilus vittatus cyprinid fish from Southeast Asia hard-lipped barb silver sharkminnow Indochina fish species

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!

Hemibagrus wyckioides largest Bagrid catfish in Asia Mekong species of catfish (order Siluriformes) of the family Bagridae.

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!”

Mekong giant catfish រីរាជ ปลาบึก cá tra dầu (order Siluriformes) in the shark catfish family (Pangasiidae)Pangasianodon gigas Grey to white in colour and lacking stripes conservation endangered threatened world's biggest freshwater fish

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!

paiche pirarucu large species of bonytongue south american aquarium fish americano sud

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!

catch release arapaima

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.

Atractosteus spatula ray-finned euryhaline fish related to the bowfin in the infraclass Holostei primitive fish fossil fish fossils broad snouts and long, sharp teeth

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.

Alligator Gar didn't want its picture taken

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.

Colossoma macropomum Serrasalmidae black pacu, black-finned pacu, giant pacu, cachama, gamitana south american fish characin

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!

Jumbo sized 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

vundu catfish picture on shoulder of man human lake

Again, like with the Alligator Gar, this fish didn’t want its picture taken.

Heterobranchus longifilis large airbreathing catfish solomon fish, tsuni, mazunda, sampa, cur, lenda, or certa

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!

Striped Catfish Southern striped Raphael, talking catfish, chocolate doradid, chocolate catfish or thorny catfish

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.


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The great advantages of being on a Liveaboard

The reason why I went on a liveaboard even though it was pricier and more luxurious than some of the more budget-minded dive boats was that I was NOT going to be spending my time with some begpackers. Yes, that’s what they are, not backpackers, but begpackers. If you don’t know what begpackers are then you can look it up but they are basically Westerners (or those who come from a more developed country) trampling around in countries begging locals and other tourists to FUND their travel through that country and/or the world. And it’s not holding up cardboard signs, they have all these crowdfunding campaigns to help fund their trips. Now granted, some of them probably did experience some event where they got robbed or whatever, but I think the trend is that they deliberately settled down in a foreign land in order to leech off of the locals even though it’s likely that tourists give them money. There is another term for them as well: freeloaders.

My advice: ignore them.

Unless of course they approach you and get hostile. I’ve had this happen to me once in Lima, Peru, where a dirty-looking American without shoes came up to me asking for some coins. I refused and he started yelling at me to which I started to walk off but it was not to get away from him, instead, I was searching for a local policeman to go call immigration to deport this rangy dude. I don’t know what happened but after a few days afterwards, I never saw the guy again so maybe my actions helped in “re-locating” the bum, on his own dime.

Backpacking/hitch-hiking on the cheap is pretty much well-known and acceptable activity, however, expecting others to fund your trip because you don’t have your financial means, well, maybe you should have gotten a J-O-B before the trip or during the trip. And you can go online to see that they have some pretty unique ways to attract attention (and money) such as providing hugs, playing music, showing pictures, etc. And the worst has to be picking up hitch-hikers…. near a prison. A lot of people are clueless about this. There are actually signs that say DO NOT pick up anyone because there is a prison nearby.

Note: That you might find these notorious begpackers in hostels while traveling so be mindful of your belongings because if given the opportunity to make a quick cash score, they WILL do it. And they’ll attempt to do without your awareness nor consent. I’ve never had this issue thankfully because I’m pretty sure there would be some blood and broken bones – none of them mine. And what’s noticeable is that these choosy beggars come out when the weather is warm or in places where there is plenty of sunshine – that’s where they generally swarm at.

And in Thailand in general (probably Bangkok in actuality)… there are a lot of these professional beggars who can cry crocodile tears on demand. I ignore people who self-inflict themselves willingly. Unfortunately, they intermingle with the true poor people but I cannot separate the two and won’t make any attempt to. I’m surprised though that some people (or even countries) have not tried to expose some of them which has happened before. I know some of them have threatened to send them to their respective embassies, inflict physical pain, throw them in jail, or forcibly throw them on the next plane out of the country.

That brings me to why I went on the liveaboards, a pricier one, is to avoid those extreme-frugal travelers. I don’t have to subject myself to their crocodile tears because if I go a few classes higher, I don’t have sight of them all. I can enjoy the dive peacefully and even at night, I can sleep well knowing that I won’t have to worry about them trying to go thief-mode on me.

millions of fish tornado water underwater vortex storm diving scuba padi

Is anyone going to steal this amazing scene of millions of fish creating a vortex? I don’t think so!

Whale Shark swimming with other fish

And lastly, no one can take this awesome sight and experience of swimming with a whale shark! Apparently, it’s a rare thing in the Andaman Sea so getting to swim with one and get pictures, you almost have to pray to the Scuba Diving Gods for assistance.

And out on the waters, on a liveaboard, all you worry about is the diving. The crew handles everything. It’s pretty awesome to say it as the workers all know that it’s your vacation/holiday and they want to make it as easy as possible.

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Liveaboard Scuba Diving throughout the Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea

In addition to the fishing, there was another reason why I came to Thailand – to scuba dive on a liveaboard! It’s almost similar to the reasons why I went to Iceland. I didn’t go there for the mass tourism attractions. I went there to go fishing and scuba dive Silfra. Since this was the first time I’m diving in Thailand (or at least the Andaman Sea/Indian Ocean region), I wanted to make sure that it was going to be really good which is why I decided to go diving on a liveaboard! This is probably one of the best things that I’ve done regarding scuba diving – the crew takes care of you really well in terms of food, lodging, diving, relaxation, etc. I totally recommend going on a liveaboard for several days because to me, 2 days is not enough and just going out for a single day out of port, even multiple times, is also not worth it. There are a lot of great locations in the Indian Ocean that are far but yet, they are close to each other and on the plus side, some of the places that you can go diving are in federally-protected nature reserves set by the Thai authorities. So going on a liveaboard means less people overall and more chances to see amazing marine life not disturbed by humans.

And being on a liveaboard is great! The dive boat can take you out to these great, faraway dive sites that nearby one another so you save time of being out there. Because it requires a long boat trip, there are far less pressure on the marine life and environment so that means that there is FAR more to see than you would on a regular diving day trip. And the service, rooms, and food are all awesome. They really take care of you when you are on a liveaboard because the crew know that you are on a vacation.

And what else was also great about this trip was the fact that it was during low season so there weren’t that MANY divers on the boat nor many boats nor divers out at the dive sites. So in my opinion, I think I got the best of it all! And if you don’t believe, just check out the slew of pictures that I have put out for viewing pleasure. Of course, photos don’t do the justice of actually being in the water with diving gear and experiencing but they are more mementos than anything else of an amazing diving trip.

lionfish andaman native species indian ocean

I’ve seen tons of Lionfish but finally, in a body of water where they are actually native!

Gymnothorax isingteena coral reef

I’ve seen moray eels before but this leopard-colored one was different. It’s called a Spotted Moray Eel.

Clownfish anemonefish Amphiprioninae symbiotic mutualisms with sea anemones

These Orange clownfish were swimming around in their protective environment, the sea anemones. In return, the fish will clean the algae residue and sometimes drop pieces of food in the anemone.

Alpheus randalli Amblyeleotris symbiotic relationship

Here’s another example of a symbiotic relationship where the Pistol Shrimp, blind, but hard-working will provide a burrow and the Goby, with its excellent eyesight, will be a lookout. You have to scan the ocean floor to see these pair together.

Odontodactylus scyllarus peacock mantis shrimp, harlequin mantis shrimp, painted mantis shrimp, or clown mantis shrimp club-shaped raptorial appendages

One shrimp, even though it’s not really one, with great eyesight is the Mantis Shrimp. Here you can see the Peacock Mantis Shrimp with its two club-like arms, ready to bash something to death. You have to look in holes, burrows, and crevices to find these Mantis Shrimp.

Synanceia venomous

Sometimes you have to look carefully so you don’t get bitten by one of these guys, a Stonefish. They are venomous so take care as they camouflage themselves with the environment to ambush their prey.

turtle swimming solitary lone survivor sea water saltwater lagoon blue

I saw more turtles on this trip than usual diving trips for some reason. Some of the turtles were scared at all of humans as if they knew that divers won’t hurt them.

painted rock lobster, common rock lobster, bamboo lobster, blue lobster, and blue spiny lobster Panulirus versicolor

During a night dive, I saw this Painted Rock Lobster walking around. You usually don’t see these nocturnal animals during the day so night diving is required to get another viewpoint of the marine life.

night diving dive hermit crab

Even a hermit crab will come out at night to feed!

Dasyatidae, of rays in the order Myliobatiformes oval to diamond-like in shape phuket indian ocean

These 2 Whiptail Stingrays were swimming around in this deep area with one of them swimming in a circle around the other. It was very neat to see these Stingrays or any kind of big rays because in the past, they usually swim away when they see humans.

Platax Batfish Indian Ocean Platax teira longfin batfish, longfin spadefish, or round faced batfish

At certain dive sites, there are a lot of these fish called Batfish due to their disc-shaped bodies. Not sure how they resemble a bat but the name stuck. They also tend to show up in your face out of nowhere!

trevally jack crevalle stalk stalking baitfish glassfish indian ocean andaman sea thailand vacation

There were millions and millions of these baitfish-sized fish, called Glassfish, which in turn attracted a lot of predator fish such as Trevallies, Barracuda, and whatever else that I might have missed diving. It was amazing seeing so many Glassfish with the predator fish looking on for an eventual swoop!

glassfish baitfish

Here’s an upclose of the Glassfish as they are tiny but react as an entire big blobish group.

Butis butis, the crazy fish, duckbill sleeper, or upside-down sleeper crocodile fish thailand waters

Can you see the fish? Well, it’s buried in the fish with only the eyes showing. It’s called a Crazy fish or better known as a Crocodile Fish as it has a head like a crocodile.

And probably the biggest highlight of it all – a Whaleshark! Apparently, among all the liveaboards, an average of about 6 Whalesharks are seen per year (or known as a season; diving season runs from October-April/May) so if my group got to see this Whaleshark, that means only 5 more Whalesharks left for the season!

whale shark with remoras other fish following

I got to swim very close to this Whaleshark as it made 3 passes!

thailand thai scuba diving ocean water warm waters seawater indian ocean tropical tropics amazing asian SE Asia asian thais Liveaboard Phuket clear pure blue underwater PADI tourism other alternative fun extreme sport sports fish coral reef reefs Andaman Sea boat dreams come coming true achievement of dream lifelong always wanted to do this in nature harmony happy bliss true exciting happiness single lonewolf solo pirate adventurer spent good money on good fun games in total happy euphoria childfree childless by design going my way in Southeastern Asia guided Rhincodon typus jinbei gurano bintang many stars butanding and balilan

I’ve swam with a Whale Shark before but never have I gotten this: the Whale Shark turned towards me as if it was going to run into me! Instead, it turned again and away from me but before doing so, I managed to get this great front photo of the Whaleshark!

Tip: If you don’t have a lot of money, then you can go on those budget ships where you’re basically placed in crammed-and-jammed-sardines-on-a-floatng-tin-can. But for myself, after speaking with a friend of mine who has done this trip, he highly recommended paying a bit more money so I would get more room and comfort not just on the boat but also in the water. Amble elbow space is great to have! And these budget liveaboards are what I’d call “shoulder to shoulder” diving with ratios as high as 1 divemaster to 10 people! That’s why it pays to spend a little bit more money for the more luxurious ones which have a ratio of 1 divemaster to 2-4 people. I would rather pay the extra money especially if there are a lot of beginner divers. One time while I was diving, some newbie landed on my head while descending and I was just pissed that the idiot didn’t even know what just happened. And if it’s not that, then I had to save this one girl from ascending too fast which could have given her the bends. That’s when I learned to go with more experienced divers and get more space if possible. I don’t want to get twisted in that inexperienced lack of safety cesspool. Less people means more elbow room and more comfort as well!

Overall, I would go on a liveaboard again!


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Ocean fishing in Phuket, Thailand

Well, this is a first! First time being in Thailand, first time being in Southeast Asia. And it sure is damn hot and filled to the brim full of TOURISTS! I could not comprehend the insanity of all these people being down there especially since it’s not high tourist season but I suppose that’s what happens when you market it as a tourist haven. So many people… which is why I need to escape to the nearby water to go FISHING!

For some reason, a lot of people don’t really think of doing this activity while in Thailand as they are too interested in the booze, bright night lights, and other stupidity going on (I shouldn’t have to explain the moronic drunken state of people). Also, forget lying on the beach and boozing up the night life…. and then having to deal with a loud, obnoxious drunk or some idiot yelling and screaming stupid obscenities. This ain’t the Balearic Islands! No! I want minimum amount of people with clear blue skies and oceans to go fishing! This was why I came to Thailand – to fish! There weren’t a lot of other people out there on the water but a few boaters, a few fishermen, jet skis… but not enough to jam-pack the waters with people like on land especially on the beaches. Nope! And another great part about all this is that I went fishing for the first time in Indian Ocean waters so this was an exciting time to fish new waters which means that there is a great chance to catch new fish species.

But of course, fishing saltwater species means that you will never know what you will catch out there until you put that hook in the water and set it when there is a bite. So you must always be ready for a long fight and in these waters during autumn, it was practically Dorado / Mahi Mahi heaven! Nothing but feisty, hard-fighting Dorados everywhere! I was actually looking forward to catching other species but I found out that they generally show up later, but that’s fine. I can live with that since we all caught a ton of Mahi Mahi! An ice box full of them!

Thai ocean fishing Phuket Thailand fish saltwater Indian Ocean Talang Tanjung Salang Andaman Sea boat vessel crusing trolling tropical monsoon climate tourist fun tourism beach sun water awesome adventure SE Asia Southeast Asian country big fishes hard to catch fight sunny skies boating party fishin' Thaifishing super excitement fishin' dreams come coming true achievement of dream lifelong always wanted to do this in nature harmony happy bliss true exciting happiness single lonewolf solo pirate adventurer spent good money on good fun games in total happy euphoria childfree childless by design going my way in Southeastern Asia guided

Here’s a photo of a Dorado that I hooked up. Even the small ones at 3-5 pounds, these fish fight unusually hard. And another amazing fact is that they grow really fast but don’t live long (maybe 4-5 years max).

Thai ocean fishing Phuket Thailand fish saltwater Indian Ocean Talang Tanjung Salang Andaman Sea boat vessel crusing trolling tropical monsoon climate tourist fun tourism beach sun water awesome adventure

Just look at how many Mahi Mahis were in the ice box! For some reason, the Thai government has no fishing zones but no daily limits on how many fish you can take and harvest. And another weird thing is that the Thais consider Dorados / Mahi Mahi to be an inferior fish and often sold at low discount rates.

Thai ocean fishing Phuket Thailand fish saltwater Indian Ocean Talang Tanjung Salang Andaman Sea boat vessel crusing trolling tropical monsoon climate tourist fun tourism beach sun water awesome adventure SE Asia Southeast Asian country big fishes hard to catch fight sunny skies boating party fishin' Thaifishing super excitement fishin' dreams come coming true achievement of dream lifelong always wanted to do this in nature harmony happy bliss true exciting happiness single lonewolf solo pirate adventurer spent good money on good fun games in total happy euphoria childfree childless by design going my way in Southeastern Asia guided

I caught a fairly decent-sized Dorado on this trip. I’ve caught bigger but these fish just kept coming and coming for our baits!

And at the end of the day for both days I went fishing, I took one of the smaller Dorados to get it cooked Thai-style!

Dorado with garlic and peppers

This was Dorado with garlic and pepper which was tasty. It had a nice taste to it. The cost to have a Thai restaurant cook it was so minimal – just 100 Thai Baht (less than US$5 or about 4 euros)!

Cooked Coryphaena hippurus Mahi mahi dolphinfish thai style mode method spices seafood sauce

This was Dorado with 3 spices. This was by far, the best of all the Thai-cooking of fish that you catch and bring it to the kitchen experts of any Thai seafood restaurant.

mantis shrimp in thailand ugly sea bug white colored stomatopods Stomatopoda sea locusts prawn killers thumb splitters Oratosquilla oratoria Edible crustaceans

And you can also get your seafood live as some restaurants will have tanks with fish, crabs, lobsters, and even these guys: Mantis Shrimp! They are not true shrimps but more like lobsters – which they do taste like lobster. These mantis shrimps were cooked with garlic and pepper. And by the way, these mantis shrimps don’t have the punching ability but rather they use spears to hunt their prey. This species is farmed throughout Southeast Asia and they have a more whitish/gray color compared to other mantis shrimps which may come in a variety of colors.

Panulirus longipes longlegged spiny lobster Edible crustaceans thai restaurant food awesome tasting dish asian thailand phuket

Another awesome dish is to go with lobster. Even though it might be pricey, get the biggest one possible as it will have the most meat and most juiciest of all the meat in those tanks! Most of the lobsters are not the rainbow colored ones but more like brownish-white colors. I think they all taste the same though… like lobster!

Tip: If you’re going to fish in Thailand, bring sunscreen, water, camera, and know what you are doing because it’s going to be hot out there in the water! Make sure you drink water the day prior to fishing – you will sweat a lot! I also recommend book 2 days of fishing because you never know with the weather that you might be forced to stay on land. Also, some fishing boat captains like to rotate locations which result in catching different fish species. I remember fishing in Slovenia where the first two days were at this one stretch of a river but different parts of it and then on the third day, off to a completely different river. It was quite nice going to the other river since there was no other fishermen and I caught one rare Hybrid Marble/Brown Trout! I wished the same as I boarded the fishing boat in Phuket!

Tip: It’s best to go out at least 2 days of fishing out on the open seas because you never know if the weather might play a nasty role in ruining your chances like it did when I went after Whitespotted Char in Japan but never got an opportunity due to severe wind and rain. We went to the same fishing area 2 days in a row and the second day was far different from the first – more and bigger fish around! You just never know as the fish were there today but gone tomorrow and back again the day after.

Tip: Ensure that you bring a rain jacket (or at least a full-body condom) and hearing protection when you go on what’s called a long-tail boat. Thais have a very different type of fishing boat out there that doesn’t look anything like I’ve seen and that includes the pangas in Mexico. They are called longtail boats where a propeller is connected by a long pole to an engine that is exposed. Some are really loud so bring that hearing protection! And rain gear is a must – it’s the jungle/tropical area so a massive rainstorm can come in and despite the hot, warm weather… you will be very cold when it’s windy and rainy. I learned my lesson from being in the jungles of Nicaragua fishing for Snook and Tarpon there.

Tip: Make sure you take a fish whole to one of the seafood restaurants as they will cook your fish for a very cheap price. There is usually a variety of ways you can have it cooked but my favorite so far has been the 3 spices – get that! I wished that I could have had some tortillas and bring to La Paz, Mexico for a Thai-Mexican food fusion!


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In the midst of the crowded Streets of Seoul, I found solace in a fishing café

Like all big cities, Seoul is blisteringly full of people, loud noises, and bright lights at night – maybe, more than most cities out there as there are just LOTS of humans since the city does not sleep and hums brightly and noisily all day and night. For the day walkers and night owls, this is a major city for everyone. Originally, it was a capital city with walls built by the Han River to protect the citizens and provide a trade route through the Han River, but Seoul has evolved over the years into a megapolis like Tokyo with a population in the millions to where walls are no longer there (except some of its gates as tourist destinations) as the city has overgrown its boundaries and beyond. The streets of Seoul to me always seem to be cranky and restless because of the sheer number of people and vehicles which has contributed to it overall of positives and negatives.

The positives: Lots of great places to go eat Korean food and if you’re into the nightlife and drinking – there are plenty of places to go for that.

bbq barbeque meat sheep restaurant kabob style meats 양고기

Here’s another one that people miss as they usually go kalbi, bulgogi, noodes, or something simple like that. This is sheep meat which is why you should go for something more… irregular! Sheep meat kabob! And the best part is that the meat moves back and forth as it spins so it cooks equally.

fugu blowfish sushi sashimi shabu soup korean fish dish rare expensive fishmeat

Know what this is? It’s Fugu! Yes, blowfish can be eaten in Korea! And no, I didn’t die from it so it’s safe to eat as long as you don’t eat any of the Fugu blood or eggs.

The negatives: Everything that comes with a lot of people such as overcrowded conditions, traffic, pollution, noise, etc.

Buddhist temple in Seoul 절 도시의 불교

As I’m at this Buddhist temple, I see nothing but lights pouring in from all sides of tall buildings. It’s one thing that you cannot get away from – lots of people and buildings while in the city of Seoul.

Never mind that the natives and tourists in this humongous city are rumbling around like ants and generating so much noise pollution like a sticky mach truck going full speed through a very dusty road. That’s why I looked for places to find some peace and quiet in this massive city. And the one activity where I might some solace through fishing. And yes, there are places in South Korea which allow people who have never fished a chance to catch a fish.

First, I headed down to Incheon, a major port city, which is also where the major airport is located at (Seoul-Incheon International Airport). There are a lot of boats that go out fishing but the major problem is that the weekends (and holidays) are overcrowded and completely booked up.

There is a website where you can look around in (, but the website is entirely in Korean as I’ve found out that Korea overall is not the most foreign-friendly place. So trying to get a spot on a fishing boat is not exactly the easiest thing to do. You can walk around the area to see if there are any walk-in availabilities but as I’ve stated before, the general off-days will not be productive. My friend and I did find a 1 hour fishing course but we would have to go on a 3 hour cruise to Palmido Island where it would be a 1 hour boat ride, 1 hour spent at the island, and a 1 hour boat ride back. It wasn’t that expensive but in order to get some fishing in, so we went ahead with it. I didn’t see any website associated with this place as you have to walk in, register, and pay for the scheduled cruise.

Once we arrived at the island, everyone else got off the boat to go exploring but my friend and I stayed behind as it was FISH ON time! At first, we had to get used to the gear and location but within 30 minutes, I’d already learned the best, most efficient way to catch fish as my friend caught one Reef fish and I ended up with 7 small fish (3 Goby-looking fish, 3 Rockfish, 1 eel) in the 1 hour allotted. The crew onboard the cruise ship was amazed at my ability to catch fish as they were not used to having such an experienced fisherman there.

Casting out into Palmido waters for fish

I cast out and see what I could get…. I wasn’t a fan of the right-hand reel retrieve on this spinning reel rod.

fishing 인천 낚시 바다 incheon rockfish eel fishes find the fish catching searching

A double hookup which surprised a lot of the crew because they weren’t usually to seeing people actually catching fish. But I know better…. and once I spent about 40-45 minutes figuring it out, that’s when the fish started biting en-masse.

But the problem was the time – it was too short, I’m sure that I could have caught a LOT more. And I would have caught more quality fish if I were on an actual fishing boat. However, not all is lost as there is a PLAN B: A Fishing Cafe where you can catch Carp!

I’ve already caught Carp before in the UK and in the Czech Republic, but if you’re in a big metropolitan city that is swarming with people on almost street then this can be a relief. You might not even think about it at all but blending in with all the stores, restaurants, apartment buildings, and offices – there is an indoor fishing pool!

There are several fishing cafes in and around Seoul (as well as other major cities in Korea) and basically all the fish in their indoor pools are Carp. The fishing is not quite to what I’m used to such as I generally use a fly rod for Carp OR I’m setting out some smelly baits and waiting for them to take my hook on a regular fishing rod. Instead, the rod and bait that they give you is quite different as it reminds me of hooking piranha at a certain angle in order to hook them. So basically the bait sucks and you’re fishing tenkara-style with no reel and just a rod with a line on the end of it.

cafe fishing indoors Carp carps fish specialized crowds of people Korean men women something different loud screaming of a catch slimy indoor SE Asia Korea Seoul daylife tourism nature city block

So that’s what it looks like inside a fishing cafe…. a dark place with lights to either help you or slow you from fishing better.

putting on bait for carp 미끼를 입고

Putting the bait on is a real hassle to put on the hook but it’s part of the game.

quiet silence in loud city megapolis metropolis capital of Corea del Sur Hauptstadt Grose Stadt ciudad muy grande pescar angeln divertido super fun non-alcoholic interesting fishing trendy

You have to net your own fish but it’s pretty easy. One time I almost lost a fish but the net saved me.

Cyprinidae carpio cypriniformes going my own way singlelife childfree no kids single dude happy in crazy world life too fast traffic of peeps feel mentally free healthy in wild quick environment the road to peace

This was probably one of the biggest fish that I caught. The biggest fish that you can catch is about 2 kilograms (about 4-5 pounds max) with Grass Carp, Mirror Carp, and even Koi as possible fish species that you can catch.

Once you hook a fish, you net it and walk over to the scoring machine where you scan your bracelet (which they give you) to register and score that fish that you caught. You can keep fishing which they charge by the hour and once you are done fishing, they tally up your bill and final score. Whatever your score is, they might give you a prize for a job well done. Of course, you need to catch a lot and the bigger ones give you more points which will help you get a better prize so it’s up to you to get ’em!

fishing cafe scoring score machine carp fishes

I actually threw my first fish back into the water until I was told that you have to put the fish through the score machine. I had a feeling that I caught some of the same fish over and over again.

prizes gifts gallery fishing cafe carp

You get prizes for catching fish and you get better ones if catch more and bigger fish. All based on points!

Tip: Cost of an hour being in a fishing cafe is roughly about 9,000-11,000 won (US$10 or €9) per hour depending on which cafe that you go to so it’s best is to give it a go for about 2-3 hours to learn the basics because one hour is too short. The first time I went to a fishing cafe, I landed 32 Carp in 2 hours! But of course, I’ve been fishing for awhile so your experience may vary as the owner told me that generally most people don’t really catch that much even if they are experienced fishermen… so that should tell you something. Gotta have skill but I also think it’s more of having a fast lift and hookup like setting it up with a fly on a fly rod.

Tip: Fishing cafes, like regular fishing trips, are crowded on the weekends so take note if you decide to go to one. Also, in most internet search engines, fishing cafe doesn’t come up so make sure you input the Korean word for fishing café (낚시 카페) which will then pop up more search options.

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