The good, the bad and the ugly …..
My full fishing videos – the full catalogue. From my early, crude attempts to my more recent, “slick” productions complete with cool music soundtracks … :-). But definitely some decent fish.
The good, the bad and the ugly …..
My full fishing videos – the full catalogue. From my early, crude attempts to my more recent, “slick” productions complete with cool music soundtracks … :-). But definitely some decent fish.
This was my forth visit to Kuala Rompin this year (including a 5 day mega-trip in August), and my third trip to target sailfish. I was chasing a personal target of 100 billfish and 100 sailfish, and was vainly hoping to achieve this target within 10 calendar years – I first fished here on 27-28th October 2007 and have been fishing here a couple of weekends a year ever since. However, in the past few years the fishing has been a bit erratic, with poor fishing during traditionally good times of the year and sometimes exceptionally good fishing in normally slow times (see my blog entry from June this year here):
Anyway, I needed 7 billfish for my 100 and 8 for 100 sailfish (I’d caught a single black marlin here during one of my early trips back in 2008 ….). I new it was a tough target so was not too confident or concerned about it, particularly as I was fishing with two other people, Jochen and Julian, so it would require an exceptional catch of around 20 sailfish for the weekend for me to get the required numbers as part of my share (not an impossible target but certainly a stretch target!). But the real reason was to chill and enjoy good company and fishing.
We arrived early Friday evening, as per usual, and caught up on the fishing news over cold beers and local food. I had my favoured fried tenggiri, chips and salad. The fishing, which had been good, had tailed off in the week, with typical numbers falling from 6-10 to around 3-4 per day. So, with expectations curtailed, and a few more beers, it was time to retire and be fresh for the following day.
Day 1 (28.10.17)
The day followed the usual routine – stop and FADs to gather bait and then search for signs of sailfish activity. Bait was easy, mainly tamban, but with a smattering of selar (scad) and various small mackerel species. The first stop was at Tok Rahmat, but the water was green and there was very little sign of activity. We decided, after a hour of zero activity, to head further offshore to Pulau Berhala. As soon as we arrived it was clear that the sailfish were about – birds were around in numbers, chasing schools of tonggol (bonito) or moving around with intent anticipating feeding opportunities. We then saw sailfish actively feeding at the surface, and positioned the boat for a drift, and put out two baits on casting rods. Jochen went to the bow and commenced popping.
Almost immediately we got a take, Anthony set the hook and Juliana stepped up to fight the fish, only for the hook to pull about 5 minutes into the battle. Suddenly, I felt my live-bait jerk and free-lined my bait. But nothing. I picked up the line with my index finger, with the bail arm open, and waited. After about 5 minutes by bait was pulled violently and line began peeling off my spool. I flipped the bail and set the hook on a reasonable sailfish for the first of the trip. It put up a good fight but came in with it’s stomach extruded (it was cleanly hooked in the jaw hinge), so we revived it and took a few quick pictures of it in the water:
We re-set our baits and continued fishing. Conditions were good – light winds with no chop, but a large rolling swell signalling the impending monsoon season. After a missed strike, we were on again an hour and a quarter after the first fish. Jochen did the honours and brought in what was to be the the biggest fish of the day:
Although the fishing was not spectacular, we were getting regular attention from sailfish or at least were getting shots at feeding sailfish. Our popping efforts were also probably helping, but despite raising the odd fish they were not striking at the lures. After a couple more missed hits and dropped fish we got our third of the day just before 2pm, Julian bringing in a juvenile sailfish to complete a set of one fish apiece:
Within the hour we were in action again, my turn again to fight a smallish, but aggressive “teenager” for fish no.4 of the session:
This fish proved to be the last of the day. We had two further hook-ups, with Jochen suffering a pulled hook and a broken leader in quick succession. Ominously, the bite seemed to slow into the late afternoon, and we had to leave by 4.00pm due to the long run back to port – we were aided in the journey home by surfing on and with the big swell which made for a very pleasant ride home and made beer drinking very easy …. I’m sorry to say that Jochen fell asleep and Anthony and me ended up drinking his beers too …!
We arrived back in good time and had a feast of chicken curry and fried kerisi (red bream) – Jochen, Juliana and the deck hand had been jigging them up all afternoon – I’ve never seen so many caught. But they did make delicious eating.
It had been a reasonable day on the water with 4 from 8 sailfish hook-ups landed.
Day 2 (29.10.17)
Despite an abundance of live-bait, the slow-down in the sailfish bit that had started mid-week and was evidenced by the slowing bite the previous day continued with a vengeance into the second day. Once again we went to Berhala Island after gathering live-bait. There was still some sporadic bird activity and signs of feeding sailfish but activity levels were clearly much lower than the previous day. After numerous sets we had nothing to show except for one follow on popper from a juvenile sailfish and one (missed) strike as we were winding in baits to make a move.
By early afternoon we’d move to a nearby FAD to try for tenggiri, again without success. We then decided to return to Tok Rahmat where we’d started the previous day – one of the boats had caught a few sailfish here the previous afternoon. When we arrived, a number of boats from the fleet were fishing and there was sporadic, localised sailfish feeding activity. We started chasing birds and setting drifts near to activity. Finally, after having feeding sailfish passing by us on a number of occasions without a touch (including after throwing a live-bait on a sailfish chasing a popper), the deckie suddenly managed to entice a strike out of nothing whilst soaking a live-bait at the bow.
Juliana took the rod and was involved in a struggle with a large and feisty sailfish on Anthony’s Stella SW10000PG set-up. Anthony guided her through the fight, including helping to keep the fighting belt in place ….
After a good 10 minute battle, as the sailfish inched tantalisingly closer to the boat (and leader range), it made a last gasp series of leaps and managed to shake the hook and earn its freedom:
We were defeated. We’d been fishing hard without success and it was cruel indeed to lose this fine fish right at the end of the day. My mind turned to what seemed to be inevitable, we were looking at a skunk for day 2. We still had around 45 minutes of fishing left though, and we continued to hunt down surface activity and cast live-baits.
Finally, after another half-an hour, when all seemed lost, I heard the elastic band retaining my line snap as a sailfish took my bait (we were drifting with the bail-arm open and the line retained beneath elastic tied around the rod handle). Line was tearing from my Stella SW8000HG reel and I waited a few seconds to ensure the bait was firmly in the fish’s mouth and closed the bail arm to engage the fish. I offered the rod to Jochen but he generously let me take the fish:
I worked that fish hard, determined to get it to leader ASAP to try to avoid another lost fish, and it put up a stubborn fight before eventually coming to be leadered:
After this first sailfish of the day we fished on for a further 20 minutes but without further incident, before making the journey back to port. As usual for a Sunday evening, it was a rush to break down and pack the tackle, load the car, shower, eat and hit the rod to try to get back to KL at a reasonable time before the return to the daily grind.
It had been an uncharacteristically slow trip for the time of year, but it is always a privilege to fish for sailfish off Rompin in the company of friends. We landed 5 sailfish, plus lost the fight to a further 5 fish. My personal tally was 3 fish landed, and my billfish score is now 96. I will be back again next season, so it’s 96 not out!
Me and Noru hit the Natural Exotic at Behrang to target Chao Phraya Catfish. There was a Chao Catfish bite going on (again), but unfortunately not for us ……
I arrived just before Noru, at 3.40pm, to the sight of a local angler in my preferred spot already hooked-up to a large Chao Phraya Catfish. I quickly rigged up, bought my ticket and some freshly butchered keli bait and started fishing as close as I could to my spot. Noru arrived a few minutes later just as the other anglers moved position towards the end of the fishing pier. We took the opportunity to move further up the pier to my favourite location.
It started off slow ….. very slow. The angler to our left got a good strike (on chicken guts bait) and brought in another Chao Cat. At the same time I got a hit on a large keli head bait. I set the hook and the fish ran powerfully to the right, before turning and pulling the hook. It was almost certainly a Chao Catfish. And that was it for the next 3 hours …..!!
The angler fishing chicken guts had a succession of mainly Amazon Catfish from the end of the pier and to our left. He also landed at least one further Chao Cat. In-fact, he was about the only person catching, actually virtually the only person getting strikes.
Noru finally lost his patience and, with around an hour left of the session, moved to the end of the pier to try for Amazon Catfish. He had one good hook-up that broke him off under the aerator paddles and another break off. But it was slow going. I spent ten minutes soaking a bait their too, trying to avoid what was looking to be an inevitable skunk before moving back to my original position.
Then it happened, as darkness fell and with 20 minutes left on the clock ….. my rod tip twitched violently. I picked up the rod and flipped the reel into free spool. Line began paying out. I gave it a few seconds before engaging the bail and setting the hook on a good sized fish. 5 minutes later a tell-tale sickle dorsal fin broke the surface and I had a Chao Phraya Catfish in the net and on the bank:
This was a nice sized fish of c.15kg, and I was grateful with this catch to save the session. I pinned on another keli head bait and cast out again, whilst I started packing up my gear and breaking down my second rod.
Then, with 5 minutes left my rod buckled over under an aggressive strike from another good sized fish. I picked up and struggled to subdue the beast …. it ran left towards the aerator paddles and I could feel my line chaffing on some unseen underwater structure. The rod then suddenly sprang up and I thought I’d lost the fish but as I wound down it was still on. A few minutes later the fish was ready for netting – a fat Amazon Redtail Catfish again knocking on c.15kg that had given a good account of itself. My leader was badly chaffed – the sudden release of pressure that I’d felt earlier must have been the line pulling free from the snag.
These last gasp fish saved my day. Noru (who’s now working close by this location) vowed to return mid-week to have another crack at the Caho Phraya Cats …!!
My second visit of the year to the metropolis of Tokyo, Japan. AS usual, I’ll try an incorporate some references to fish and fishing in the following picture travelogue, starting off with a visit to Sushi Zanmai in Shinbashi for a sushi dinner:
Whilst strolling around Shimbashi in the early evening, we happened across this bar/restaurant with some interesting deep-sea fish species on the menu:
On the second day of my visit the fishy theme continued with an early afternoon stroll around Tsukiji fish market:
And fish were the subject yet again,later in the day, with a visit to Tokyo Sea Life Park, where the main attraction was the large bluefin tuna aquarium. Bluefin Tuna (Hon Maguro), is revered in Japan and intimately woven into it’s food and culture:
A display at the entrance gives the visitor a sense of the size that Bluefin Tuna can attain (although the scale is a little off unless I’ve grown over the past few months …):
Inside there were a number of attractions, including exhibits of sea-life from shallow and deep marine environments, and a number of climatic zones:
But despite the attractions on offer, the centre-piece was the tank full of giant Bluefin Tuna, swimming majestically (if too fast to adequately photograph) around the large aquarium:
The following picture gives an idea of the scale of the aquarium and the Bluefin Tuna inside:
And the video show’s them at their majestic best, swimming effortlessly with barely a flick of the tail:
Shiodome and Shimbashi
The Shiodome and Shimbashi areas where I stayed have some interesting modern architecture:
Odaiba is s a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo and near to my wife’s apartment in Shiodome. The island is home to shopping and entertainment complexes, and is a popular tourist attraction.
We had dinner at a steak restaurant at Diver City where I encountered this interesting White Shark mural:
We finished the day with a visit to Joypolis amusement park also situated in Odaiba:
We used to bring the kids here whenever they visited Japan, usually every summer. We’re still not too old to enjoy its delights ….
Although photo’s are not allowed, we did manage to get a few snaps of out computerised images:
As usual, the quality of the food was outstanding. For dinner on this day we chanced across the “Amazing Wagyu” whilst exploring Ginza:
I made a late evening visit to Roppongi with my son as he wanted to take some photographs of the area:
After getting hassled by foreign touts trying to get us to go into strip bars (I’ve heard that it’s a scam and once inside you will be menaced into buying extortionately priced drinks or get robbed … or both – I’m not sure why the police and authorities tolerate this, I’ve certainly not experience it before in Japan) we decided to move on. We came to the Roppongi Hills area, which provided us with good views and photo opportunities:
Benkei Fishing Club – Akasaka
Surprisingly, we even manage to get in a fishing trip. My wife found this place on the web, and it was only a few subway stops away from where we were staying. We visited first to do a recce and then returned a few days later to try our hand at spinning for large mouth bass.
The lake is part of the Benkei Moat which was formerly a part of second circular moat to Castle Edo ..!!
Interestingly, the road adjacent to the lake acts as an emergency road in the even of a major earthquake. The sign signalling this road bears the image of a catfish – it was once believed that a giant catfish, the Namazu, lived in the mud under Japan. The Namazu was thought to cause earthquakes when it thrashes about trying to escape its guardian, the god Kashima …!
We spend an enjoyable few hours rowing around the lake casting soft plastics, but without success. It was very odd to be in the middle of the city but in such a pleasant natural environment:
Once again another later start to the day saw us taking the train from Tokyo to Kamakura around 1.30pm. We didn’t help ourselves by taking the wrong train ….! Still, we got to the picturesque city of Kamakura around 3.00pm, just in time to see a couple of it’s many wondrous ancient sites.
I’ve visited Kamakura only once before, way back in the summer of 1991. On my previous visit, I don’t recall seeing the tsunami warning signs with height above sea level information and I suspect these are new since the devastating 2011 Tōhoku earthquake. Interestingly, I remember being overawed by the main attraction of Kamakura, the bronze cast Daibutsu (the Giant Buddah) statue, and reading that it wa s once housed in a temple that was washed away by a tsunami in 1498 A.D. …… and the statue itself is situated about 16m above present day sea-level:
The Great Buddah – Entry tickets
The Great Buddah itself is awe inspiring and still in remarkable condition, considering it was constructed in 1252 and has survived a number of storms, tsunamis and earthquakes, including The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 ….!
Daibutsu resides within the Kōtoku-in Buddhist temple complex, and is a regal figure at 13.35m in height:
An information plaque gives the key dimensions and history of the statue:
Despite our late arrival and the dreary rain, we managed to squeeze in one more attraction, the Hasedera temple:
Hasedera Temple is another of Kamakura’s Buddhist Temples, this one possible dating back as far as 729 A.D. It is famous for housing a massive wooden statue of Kannon (Goddess of Mercy). Key information is given in selected pages from the temple information pamphlet:
I found this warning sign interesting – Red Kites are making a come-back in many places in the UK, and used to be a common sight over Elizabethan London where they fed on carrion and rubbish in the city. It’s interesting to see that they’ve adapted to the presence of man here too, stealing food from the hands of unsuspecting tourists …
Midori Sushi (16.10.17)
And what better way to finish off a pleasant visit to Japan than to enjoy the delicious fare on offer at Midori Sushi restaurant in Ginza:
This was our son Siôn’s first visit to this restaurant (one of me and the wife’s favourites). Guess which beer was his ….
We mostly feasted on chūtoro (medium fatty bluefin tuna) ōtoro (fatty tuna), ebi (butterfly style cooked shrimp) and sake (salmon), but we also enjoyed ika (squid) and hotate (scallop).
And that was the end of my holiday. One last delightful memory of Japan – I had an excellent meal in JAL economy washed down with an ample supply of red wine and Asahi beer whilst I enjoyed a string of unexpectedly good films. One of the most pleasant flights that I can remember …
Back, for the third time in as many weeks ….! The target for this trip was firmly set on Chao Phraya Catfish. I wanted to see if the previous weeks success was just a lucky one-off or if we could replicate it using the same approach and tactics. No messing around with pelllet mix this trip – it was purely carnivorous catfish fishing with big chunks of fresh dead-bait! Once again we arrived, mid-afternoon and planned to fish until dusk.
I kicked things off with the first strike, and was onto a good fish barely 15 minutes into the session, and I suspected a Chao Phraya Cat. But, I’d lazily tied on a hook-length that I had in my tackle box from the previous session. A few minutes into the fight I felt the line go slack and reeled in to find that the 50lb hook-length section had broken at the swivel (an unusual place to fail) – I suspected it was one of Siôn’s knots (we fish 40lb wind-on leader and a 50lb hook-length – Siôn has been tying his own knots, for the most part well, but had a similar failure the previous week). But I cursed myself for not retying a new section of terminal tackle …!
It was Siôn’s turn next as he brought in the first fish of the day. From the fight it was evident that this wasn’t a Chao Cat, the power and stamina just wasn’t there and he soon had the fish under control and on the bank:
It was slow for the next half an hour until Siôn got another big hit. This time it felt like the target species – powerful runs and dogged determination. After a lengthy fight the fish was ready for netting, the first Chao Phraya Catfish of the session:
Barely 10 minutes later we were in action again. This time it was my turn to coax and bully another fat Chao Cat to the net:
The action was now steady and consistent. I was soon hooked up again, this time to an obviously smaller and less powerful fish, an Asian Redtail:
In-between hook-ups we were also missing a number of fish that we failed to hook-up before Sion set the hook on another powerful fish. After an arduous fight he brought in the biggest Chao Phraya Catfish of the day, another fish estimated to be near the 20kg mark:
We then entered a brief period of hiatus – no bites for us and not much action for the adjacent anglers. Then, it was as if a switch had been turned on and the was a sudden flurry of activity. First I hooked-up Chao Cat number 4, another good-sized fish, that pulled my boga scales well past the 30lb limit. After estimating the weight and subtracting 7lb for the net, this fish was around 17kg:
In quick succession I added two more Asian Redtail Catfish to my tally:
I then hooked another Caho Cat and was sledging my son about being top angler when, just after the fish breached to reveal itself, I pulled the hook …. instant karma. We then entered another, more prolonged drought – the bite just switched off.
After almost an hour without a fish we were contemplating packing up early and returning home before the weekend return traffic to KL built up when Siôn got another big strike. Whilst he was fighting this fish, and as I was on stand-by with the camera, my rod buckled and the drag screamed as another good fish took the bait. I had to dash back to my rod and take on the fight. This was a powerful fish and I was convinced that we were onto a double Chao Phraya Catfish hook-up. But my fish, despite making a number of runs and putting up determined resistance, was subdued quicker than Siôn’s fish, and I had it to the net just before he landed his fish, a fat Amazon Cat of about 15 kg:
Siôn’s fish was on the bank – he took a quick photo for me before rushing back to take some pictures of his own catch. I quickly released my fish an returned the favour to Siôn, taking a couple of shots before it was released:
After releasing these fish we were just at the end of our time. We quickly packed up and headed off back to KL. It had been a good session – we’d achieved our aim of catching good numbers of Chao Phraya Catfish. The final tally was:
Flushed with success after my Siamese Carp the previous week, and keen to experiment and learn how to effectively mix pellet/ground-bait and flavourings, I made a return visit to the Natural Exotic on Sunday afternoon to fish with my son Siôn. I was hoping for a quiet pond and the chance to catch a Mekong Catfish or possibly another carp. My son on the other hand was going to fish cut dead-baits for the carniverous catfish that are the main residents at this venue.
My plan was to soak a dead-bait whilst I attempted to prepare a satisfactory pellet mix (I had to get the water-pellet hydration mix correct so that the bait would be soft enough to mould onto the hook and the feeder spring, but not too sot that if wouldn’t withstand the force of casting and hitting the water …. a delicate balance indeed). I had pellets, strawberry flavoured ground-bait and a nasty plastic bottle with concentrated strawberry flavouring oil.
We arrived at 3.30pm and it was relatively busy , so we started off on about 20m along this fishing platform on the right hand side. Me and Siôn set up our respective dead-bait rigs and cast out. Within a few minutes though, some anglers were leaving so we move further along the platform and re-cast our baits. I then set about preparing the pellet mixture. But almost immediately my rod buckled over under the weight of a good fish. I jumped up and started working the fish. It felt large and was making powerful runs, each time changing direction.
It took a while to bring the fish to the bank, but even then it proved stubborn, staying deep and making repeated powerful surges trying to escape. Finally, after a good 10 minutes the fish broke the surface of the murky water to reveal a sickle shaped dorsal fin – a Chao Phraya Catfish:
This was a good sized fish, of around 15 kg+, only my third ever of this species and a very welcome catch:
I continued to fish dead-bait as I waited for my pellet concoction to fully hydrate and mature. Suddenly, Siôn got a big strike and started doing battle with another big fish. Just a few minutes in and he lost the fish. When he wound in the line had snapped at his swivel knot connecting his 50lb hook-length. He had only just learnt to tie his own rigs and I suspect that he forgot to moisten the knot as he cinched it tight, hence the failure of the knot in the heaviest line in the rig … A tough but valid lesson to learn ..!! We figured that, given the power of the fight, this was probably another Chao Phraya Cat, an annoying missed opportunity. An even harsher lesson to take for improper knot tying technique.
Whilst Siôn was ruing his lost fish, I got my second bite of the session, this time a more modest Asian Redtail Catfish that was soon brought in for a picture and release:
Siôn re-tied his hook-length, re-baited and cast out, close to the opposite bank wall. I was still tinkering with my pellet mix – I’d over-watered it and wanted to thicken it up with some powdered ground-bait, particularly with a small batch that I was going to use as the hook-bait (the main portion would be ground-bait in the spring feeder). I sent Siôn to go and get me a small bucket to prepare the hook-bait portion. Within minutes of him leaving, his rod took a big strike from another big fish that I had to take on, a good fight on a light spinning rod and Saragosa SW6000 combo:
I called to Siôn to come and take the fish but he was too far away and didn’t realise. By the time he returned I was well into the fight, and duly brought in another hard-fighting Chao Phraya Catfish to the net, another good sized fish approaching the 15 kg mark:
With 2 good Chao Phraya Cats under my belt, I now turned my attention to fishing pellets for Mekong Catfish / Carp. My bait mix seemed to be of the right consistency and could withstand the rigours of casting. Not too bad for only my second ever attempt at this type of bait mix.
Meanwhile, Siôn continued to fish cut-baits and was soon rewarded. First he snagged himself a small Asian Redtail:
He then followed up this fish less than 10 minutes later by a much more powerful fish. This fish put up a characteristically dogged fight, with long powerful runs, moving from side-to-side as Sion gradually worked it closer to the bank:
Once again the unseen fish put up strong resistance and by now we knew the suspect – another good-sized Chao Phraya Catfish. It was another 10 minute fight before the beast was finally on the bank, a big Chao Cat probable approaching the 20 kg mark and a species first for Siôn, although I didn’t do it justice in the pictures:
I’d been fishing pellets for the best part of an hour without as much as a sniff of a take (although Siôn had seen the rod twitch at one point whilst I was busy prepping tackle). It was now evident that we’d encountered a good Chao Phraya Catfish bite, after 3 from 4 landed. Following the old adage to “never leave fish to find fish” I prudently decided to switch back to dead-bait and target another Chao Cat. I was rewarded barely 15 minutes later with another aggressive take, and once again was in battle with a powerful adversary that put a wicked bend in my 15-25lb class spinning rod:
After another arduous struggle, we slipped the net under Chao Cat number 4. They really do look like pugnacious, snub-nosed sharks:
After another brief 15 minute hiatus, we were in action again. Siôn’s turn again to bring in yet another Chao Cat, another large fish north of 15 kg:
It was now 6.20pm, and this was our last fish of the session. After this the catfish bite went off. But we’d done very well – 5 Chao Cat’s and 2 Asian Redtails in less than 3 hours fishing. I finished off the session by reverting to pellet baits, but had no further activity.
This had been one of my most enjoyable sessions at this or the old NEFFP. But it raised a question in my mind – did we just luck into a Chao Phraya Catfish bite or would we be able to replicate it using the same tactics?
Mahfudz (owner of Reelology Reel Workshop) contacted me earlier in the week – he and Noru (Fishyology.com) were going to be hitting the new NEFFP at Behrang on the coming Saturday and asked me to join the trip. Mahfudz was planning to target Mekong Catfish using his Matsumoto pellet and groundbait mix recipe. I was interested to fish with him and keen to give the magic bait a try – Mahfudz and Noru had previously had success with Mekong Cats at the old NEFFP:
I also wanted to give Mahfudz the first set of my reels to be service. So, I turned up at 4.20pm on the Saturday with my son Siôn, who was making his first visit to this new venue, my tackle for the day plus a Tekota 700 and a Saltiga Z4500 (after using it for this session) to pass to Mahfudz for servicing.
The session started off slowly – me and Sion started off soaking prawn baits whilst Mahfudz prepared the Matsumoto bait mix. Siôn got the first strike, which he missed. I then followed up with take number two – I set the hook of but it pulled 30 seconds later. 0 from 2. The pond was initially quite busy, but some space became available near the end of the fishing platform so we decamped to the new location. It was still slow going.
Then, after about an hour into the session, Mahfudz got a bite on the pellet bait and set the hook on a decent fish. It didn’t seem to be as powerful as a Mekong though, but still put up a good fight. Unfortunately, after a few minutes, the hook pulled and the unseen adversary was gone. He then followed up with another take on the pellets, but failed to connect.
Encouraged, I then switched baits to the magic pellets, as I was keen to catch a legitimate Mekong (I’d landed a few good fish previously, but always foul hooked). Mahfuda advised me to fish with an open bail to allow the fish time to pick up the bait. As we were about to fit an elastic band line retainer to the handle (and with the bail arm already open) line started to pull slowly but steadily from the reel. I flipped the bail arm but felt noting. I re-opened the bail and after a few seconds line starting peeling from the reel again. I closed the bail and set the hook. At first it didn’t feel like anything significant. But it then made a short run to the tip of the platform and then started jigging violently and making short, powerful runs. It was only a few minutes of intense battle before I had the fish ready for netting – a good sized Siamese Carp, a very welcome new species for me:
Following this success, I continued to fish the pellets with the hope of another carp or possible a Mekong Cat. Siôn, on the other hand, had moved to the tip of the fishing platform where there were signs of activity on cut baits.
First Siôn got smashed by a large fish that took him under the aerator paddle structure. Then he went through a crazy half an hour where he landed 3 goood sized Amazon Redtail Catfish in a row. Each providing a brief, but intense battle, as Siôn tried to keep the fish out of the nearby structure (he was fishing prawn baits hard against the aerator structures):
Sandwiched in-between Siôn’s fish, Noru got his first fish of the session, a spirited Asian Redtail Catfish:
Siôn closed out our session with his third Amazon Redtail:
We packed up after our 4 hour time period was up. The Fishyology boys decided to continue for a couple more hours. It had been a slow session at the pond, but Siôn was happy with his late surge of fish and I was more than content with my lone Siamese Carp. A big thank you to Mahfudz for the invitation and the bait.