I'm still very slack with posting updates for things. But here's a post about my most recent fishing trip where I managed to go fly fishing at Pilot 111 fishing ponds in Bangkok.
My work had me over there for 2 weeks and having a weekend mostly free in the city I wanted to do some fishing, having stuck my 8-weight fly rod and selection of tackle into my luggage.
I was planning on doing a self guided trip after doing some research to one of the commercial fishing ponds with Pilot 111 at the top of the list due to the range of species, ease of fly casting and English speaking operators.
However some experiences with the local taxi and hire car companies made me question that logic, so I called up Tap of BKK Fishing (http://www.bkkfishingguide.com/
) who organized a short notice a day out at a very affordable rate, and meant I had a reliable English speaking transport and guide taking care of me for the day.
Leaving the hotel at 6am we had a easy 45 minute drive out to the Pilot 111 fishing ponds, luckily with the early start and long weekend we didn't hit any of the infamous Bangkok traffic that can turn a 45 minute drive in hours.
Getting to the ponds it was a very clear setup with plenty of casting space. There were already a number of people fishing and a few other fly fishers around the place.
I started out trying to catch one of the key species I was targeting, the Giant Snakehead. Fishing for these was interesting as sight casting is a major factor, this is because snakehead actually need to breath from the surface. The key was waiting for one to surface and trying to land a large streamer fly on its nose to provoke a reaction bite. Being a toothy fish a knot-able wire leader was a must and I had some from when I was fishing Pike in Europe. The morning started off slow but by the time feeding time came around where live tilapia are added to the ponds the bite was on.
Landed a small giant snakehead and that was the class of fish I was in for for the day. No trophy snakehead for me but still good quality fish and fun on the fly rod.
After managing to get a snakehead moved on to the other species, the ponds stock in addition to snakehead Barramundi, Chaopraya Catfish, Asian Red-tail Catfish, Giant Mekong Catfish, Pacu and Tilapia which were lucky enough not to get eaten and live long enough to grow to fat to eat.
Moved on to fish the Barra ponds with a small pink thing variant fly that a friend at my local freshwater fishing club gave me for the trip. Managed to hook into a barra that gave one of the biggest fights of the day even if it wasn't the biggest fish. Managed to strip me down to the backing for the first time on my fly outfit before I got it back under control and brought it in.
Kept fishing the fly and within a couple casts after - snip - a snakehead took it off as we had switched to heavy mono leader. Being air breathers which can wiggle over wet land like eels there is no real way to keep the snakehead out of any of the other ponds so they can be encountered in all the ponds.
Moved back to the mixed ponds to try for some of the catfish using nymph fishing techniques, floating a pellet style fly under a indicator. Eventually managed to get a bite and hooked into one of the Chaopraya Catfish which put up a huge fight. There would have to be one of my favorite fish to hook into for the day for the quality of the fight they provided, and can grow to considerable size.
Then back to fishing for Barra landing an impressive fish on streamer before things quietened down again. Had some lunch before moving down the ponds to try for Pacu. These were fished with a large nymph under a popper as an indicator. Having the popper pop the surface makes the fish think something has fallen into the water and grab anything floating in case its edible. In the wild Amazon where they are from they hang out under nut trees and chomp down on any that fall in the water.
Hooked into one that gave a very strong pull away but after a short fight the line went slack, the fish had bit through the very heavy mono leader I had on. They have very human like teeth that they use for biting through things like Brazil nuts so its not a big surprise. Switched to wire and eventually hooked into another for a short time before it bent the hook and got off. That was the last we fished for them, if I go again I'll need stronger hooks and nymphs for sure to tackle these brutes!
Was talking about the Giant Mekong Catfish. Wasn't going to try for those with a 8-weight! Tap had hooked one before on a bread fly and heavier weight rod after a lot of chumming and still took hours to land. I would want at least a 11 or 12 weight with a game reel to tackle those monsters.
Had a tasty lunch in the onsite restaurant, some of the best food I had since getting to Thailand, mostly because my work colleagues kept dragging me out to western-style places. If we caught a smaller barra earlier in the day we could have had it taken straight to the kitchen and turned into lunch but the morning fishing was wrong species or too large for lunch.
Then tried for the Asian Red-Tailed Catfish. These I had seen feeding along the margins. Managed a small barra but still no luck with the catfish.
The snakehead were going off so moved over to those and caught a couple of nice fish on a large bendback streamer.
Then got a hot last-minute tip from one of the other anglers there for the catfish, the CAPS Super Minnow fished on a intermediate or sinking line. So I slapped a intermediate line on my outfit and fished it along the banks. Unfortunately no Red-Tailed Catfish wanted to come out and play. Instead I was straight into fun sized Barra and some large Chaopraya Catfish which really came on the bite with the setting sun!
Unfortunately with the fish on the best bite of the day the dying light and growing hordes of mosquitoes put an end to my days fishing. The air-conditioned ride back to the hotel was a relief after a long, hot days fishing. And my muscles reminded me the next day about spending a whole day non-stop fly casting.
Was a nice days out fishing and I can strongly recommend the services of Tap from BKK Fishing and given the potential difficulties you might encounter in Thailand without being able to speak Thai or having a translator taking a guide is really the best choice, even when you might prefer to guide yourself. I may be heading back in future, in which case a reservoir fishing trip with Tap will be on the cards.