This was my third visit to the New NEFFP at Behrang in the past month. The aims of this visit were as follows:
- To fish different parts of the pond to understand where the fish are holding and which areas a favoured by the different species present
- To fish the pond on a weekday afternoon to check out how busy it gets (I prefer to fish when it’s not too busy – more choice of fishing spots, less hassle with tangled lines, etc).
- Get Wong a fish or two
- To try out live-baiting
- To give my new Shimano Saragossa SW6000 reel a test
- Attempt to catch a Chao Phraya Catfish
- To give my FG Knot tying skills additional testing (I’m starting to become more confident in my ability to tie this knot, but a few more trials will certainly help)
I was taking my mate Wong from the office on his second ever fishing trip (he was sea-sick on our last trip and skunked) and get him to land a decent size catfish or two. I spent an hour preparing tackle and tying new 40lb mono leader with FG knots onto my Stella SW6000HG and the new Saragosa SW6000 reel, with the plan to head out of KL by 2.30pm to fish from 3.30pm. At the last minute, just before we were due to leave KL, the wife decided she’d like to join, and I decided we’d change and use her car as it is bigger. After packing an extra rod and reel we loaded the car and, after going to the garage to top up the Touch n Go card, finally headed up the North-South highway to Behrang in light mid-afternoon Friday traffic.
We were behind schedule, and finally arrived at the pond just after 4.00pm. It was busier than I expected, but much quieter than on my previous two visits. I put together four rods (one each plus a back-up), we signed in and collected out baits – 10 small lampam live-baits and 5 keli (catfish) to be butchered and cut into thirds to use as dead-bait. I rigged up two rods with ledger rigs for Mako and Wong and fixed a sliding float rig for fishing live-bait for myself. I plumbed the area we were about to fish – I wanted to fish about 1m off bottom – and found the depth was deeper than my c.4m of leader and hook-length, so I could use the leader knot as my float stop knot ….. perfect! This was the rig I was going to use to try to entice a Chao Phraya Catfish (I wanted to be off bottom to try to avoid amazon Redtails).
After I completed rigging-up we finally commenced fishing at about 4.40pm. We opted to fish at the end of the jetty, fishing the north-western corner of the pond. Whilst I was helping out Mako and Wong with their gear and baits, my live-bait was snatched. I picked up and started working the fish but pulled the hook. I reset and waited. It wasn’t long before I had another take and brought in the first fish of the day, a spirited Asian Redtail:
Twenty minutes later, Mako got a good strike on her catfish head dead-bait and picked up to do battle with a powerful fish. She was using the new Saragossa reels, and it was up to the task of handling the big fish. Mako did a good job of turning the fish and bringing it was from the aerator paddles and associated metal-work at the northern edge of the pond. After an good fight, she brought in a big Amazon Redtail Catfish to the net, a fish of at least 15 kg:
We now entered into an active feeding period. It was Wong’s turn next, he had a good strike fishing on the west side of the jetty, and was surprised at the power of is first Amazon Redtail, a modest fish of c.6 kg:
The hits were starting to come thick and fast on ledgered dead-bait. Mako was in action again next, bringing in a spirited Amazon Redtail:
Barely 5 minutes later she was in action again.. This time she was into a prolonged battle with an obviously big fish, the second of her monster fish for the day. This fish fought long and hard, doggedly putting up resistance even when close to the jetty. It was a good test for Mako, the Saragossa SW6000 reel and my FG knot:
After at least 5 minutes of tug-o-war, a large Amazon Redtail Catfish eventually succumbed to the pressure and was finally brought to the net. This was a big monster fish, the largest Amazon Redtail that I’ve ever seen caught at either this or the old Natural Exotic Pond. It was at least 20 kg. Unfortunately, the pictures don’t do it justice as Mako was unable to pick it up properly to hold it, as it was too heavy for her:
Meanwhile, I’d moved across to fish the north-eastern corner of the pond – Wong had told the ghillie that I was after a Chao Phraya catfish, and he’d told me to try that area. I soon had a bite on a small lampam livey, but pulled the hook. I re-cast and was bit almost immediately. I set the hook and was in battle with a powerful fish that made short, strong runs and frequent changes of direction. After a short battle, I saw a sickle -shaped fin break the surface as the fish neared the jetty and I redoubled my concentration as I knew it was my target species. A few tense minutes later, the ghille was able to slip the net under the fish and I was able to relax, content in my trophy catch – a fat Chao Phraya Catfish probably touching 15 kg. Another trophy fish on what is turning out to be (after a sort-after Alligator Gar on its very first outing) a very luck Stella SW6000 fishing reel:
Immediately after I landed my fish, Mako was in action again, bringing in yet another large Amazon catfish:
She quickly followed up this fish with an Asian Redtail:
It was now only just after 6pm and it was shaping up to be a very successful visit (we had until 8.20pm left to fish on our 4 hour ticket …!). The pond was now, however, starting to get busy as people turned up to fish the early evening. Some anglers to our left were starting to have frequent strikes on earth-worm baits. Wong, was not faring so well though and was unable to get a bite, despite switching to worm baits. Eventually, he did get a hit from a decent fish (on a worm-catfish chunk bait cocktail) but unfortunately got dragged under the aerator wheel structure and got broken off.
I was still doing ok at the NE corner as I used up the last of the live-baits. I landed two Asian Redtail’s in quick succession, one slipped out of my grasp before I could get a photo, the other was a darkly coloured specimen:
We now started to enter a lull as the later afternoon dusk approached. Other anglers were starting to have success, one group in particular were getting a strike a cast – they were using offal from cow or pig – stomach and heart as far as I could gather. Each time they got a fish, they were pulled towards the north of the pond, frequently crossing Mako’s line and disrupting her fishing. They were smashed a number of times but also started landing a succession of good sized Amazon Redtails. I also lost another fish on live-bait ….. I was bitten off and could feel the line getting sawed through within seconds of hook-up …. gar??
As dusk approached, and the live-bait supply had been used up, I switched to a ledger rig to go for Amazon’s. It was slow going but I started to get the odd bit of attention and picked up my first Amazon Redtail of the session after about 20 minutes:
After a quiet hour for us, we started getting strikes again. Unfortunately, both Mako and Wong got smashed by decent fish – Mako lost two to structure whilst Wong pulled the hook on one fish and then got broken off by structure. I,on the other hand, managed to land a succession of good sized Amazons, all in the 10-15 kg range:
With broken rigs, the clock running down and exhaustion from the heat and battle, it was time to wrap-up the session. And what a great session it had been – we’d landed 14 fish to 20 kg +, with many fish 10 kg + in weight, and had got a coveted Chao Phraya catfish. Mako had landed two monster Amazon’s on the Saragosa SW6000 reel and Wong had caught his first ever catfish. My FG knots had been given a punishing test and past with flying colours. Finally, I’d learned a lot more about this new fishery, and now have a much better idea of where to fish and what to expect from different parts of the pond. All objectives had been achieved.