Tuesday, August 16, 2011
You ever see that bad action film with Nicolas Cage that takes place in Bangkok? You know, the real bad one when his career was truly in the tank, it was released in theaters but was a true “B-film”? Nope, me neither. I just like the title of the movie.
So if you know my stories about Bangkok, yes it can be a dangerous city. It can be a ton of fun too. So finally on my fourth visit I have a chance to line up some fishing for Barramundi and some of the other larger species of fish. I had caught carp and small cichlids when I lived in Thailand but nothing that was notable. This Sat the goal was to go after some of the more noted fish.
I left Denver at 7pm Friday and caught a 17 hour direct flight into Bangkok. I landed around 6am and taxied over to my hotel. The fishing guide, Mark, meet me at 10 am. Was I jet lagged? Yes, I just spent 17 hours on a plane, but I knew was that I was going fishing. I had always wanted to get a shot at an Arowana, but the water for Sat didn’t really have much for that. We headed over to a Barramundi hatchery. Yes, I was basically fishing a fish hatchery, a small pond with 2000 fish in the 6-15 lb range. No it’s not sporting, but it’s not like I was going to line up these opportunities on my own. So we start out with bright streamers on heavy wire. The gill plates are apparently very sharp. We are talking a fish on every cast kind of stuff. As long as you knew how to bury a hook on a strip set, you were fine. Caught a bunch that way. Barramundi are a fun fish to fight. I’m using an 8wt and they have a ton of pull. The leaps they make are amazing. Largemouth bass style but much bigger fish. One fish leapt 8’, seriously 8’ up in the air. Pretty cool stuff. (I’ll post videos when I’m home.) So after hooking plenty I went to a surface popper to get them on top. This was more like a fish every 2-3 casts. You would throw the fly out and start working it aggressively and then let it pause. Sometimes on the pause the Barra would crush it, sometimes while it was still moving. These fish are so big that any time they took from the surface they were startling. It was epic. The water had no visibility so you had no warning to the take. After plenty of this, we went back into town to hit the Amazon fishing park to finish the day. The goal was to target a red-tailed catfish or an Arapaima, or both. I spent an about an hour slinging flies with a sinking tip and some good movement from fish nearby with no luck. No bumps or anything. I switched back to a floating tip with an Autumn Splendor about 18” from the tip. I needed the fly to sit near the surface where the baitfish why. About 10 minutes in with the floating tip I had a fish take. I stripe set hard and the fly comes out of his mouth. Huge lurch on the surface and I’m just in shock. Can’t believe I finally stung something but that I missed it. Dejection. I talk to Mark for a minute and toss the fly back out. Bam. I’ve got one on the next cast but I didn’t get a chance to set the fly on the take so I go and give the rod about a dozen hard jerks to bury the fly. Mark looks at me worried after I do it 3 times. Now the fight is own. We see that it’s an Arapaima quickly and get set for this being a big fight. I have him on 1x and a stiff 8 weight. He fought hard for about 10 minutes plus, maybe 15. I’m exhausted. From the fish earlier in the day and the total jet lag is finally catching up. Just worn down. The fish would be close and then take all the line out again. We finally worked him close and netted him. That fish was a beast.