- This was my first ever morning, and my first planned six hour session at the Natural Exotic. I was due to fish with Jon Wood, and Jochen Kassan and a few other anglers were to join us during the morning, although in the end only Jochen made the trip.
- It started off extremely slowly – I didn’t even register a bite for the first hour! Jon and Jochen were also getting no joy.
- I then took an aggressive strike from a small Asian Redtail Catfish that hit a black grub lure, and was soon in the net:
Asian Redtail Catfish on black grub lure
- I immediately followed up this fish with another strike, this time from a much bigger fish. It immediately started to run towards the restaurant structure. I moved the opposite way along the bank trying to turn the fish away from the structure before pulling the hook. It then went quiet – no one else around the pond appeared to be catching anything either.
- Jochen had decided to finish his session early and was enjoying a smoke and a bit of banter. Jon was bait fishing using whole scad (a sea fish) dead-bait. It was, by now, around 10am and starting to heat up. I decided to take a break from lure fishing too.
- I rigged up a running ledger, baited up with half a scad (the head and guts half) and lobbed it out near to the restaurant structure. I set my reel in bait-runner mode and sat back in the shade. Within minutes my drag screamed as a good fish made off with the bait. I jumped up, engaged the gear and let the circle hook set into a good sized fish.
- The fish first ran towards the restaurant and then switched back and ran south towards the aerator paddle structures. However, I was using a 10-20lb class spinning rod with 20lb braid – and, with the rod bent double, I was able to put a lot of pressure on the fish and soon bring it under control
- As I worked the big fish towards me a sickle shaped fin broke the surface – this fish was obviously something exotic and different from the usual fare of Amazon and Asian Catfish. After a few more minutes the fish was in the net – a nice Chao Phraya Catfish of c.15kg, a new (and indeed exotic) species for me:
Exotic catch – Chao Phraya Catfish, c.15kg, on fish dead-bait
- It was Jon’s turn next. His bait got slammed by a spirited Asian Redtail:
Jon Wood with Asian Redtail taken on dead-bait
- Following Jon’s fish I got a slow, cryptic take, gently pulling line against the light bait-runner drag setting. I engaged the reel and had a slow and ponderous “fight” with something big. It didn’t run but was a solid, dead-weight resistance. It turned out to be a big Chinese soft shell turtle (labi-labi) of c.30 kg, nicked in the flipper – he was released unharmed back to the pond. It’s the first time I’ve snagged one of these away from the margins of the pond!
- It then went slow again. Jon decided to try near the aerator paddles, where he’d seen some nice Amazon Cats being taken on his previous visit. He started free-lining baits close to the paddle structure and was soon getting bites.
Topical T-Shirt …!!
- After breaking off and getting run into structure by a number of fish, Jon succeeded in getting a fish to the net, a nicely conditioned Amazon Cat:
Amazon Redtail Catfish from under the paddles
- I gave the paddles a go too, hooked-up, but got pulled into the structure and had to break the fish off. I returned back to Post 6 to finish off with some lure fishing. I took another small Asian Cat, this time on a double-tailed white grub lure:
Stand and deliver …..!
- I then hooked and lost another good sized fish, and that took me up to the end of my six hour session. Meanwhile Jon had got himself another Amazon to close out his session.
- The fishing was very slow today – I don’t know if it is typical for the mornings at the NEFFP or if it was just an off day. Anyway, it was still fishing in enjoyable company and the Chao Phraya Cat made up in quality for the lack of quantity!