Fishing in Thailand at TopCats By Rick Humphries
Rick Humphries with
Giant Mekong Catfish
Rick Humphries with
his Carp Catch
Having fished in Thailand for several years as a holidaymaker I fell in love with the Thai lifestyle so last year I made the decision to move here permanently. I was a keen Carp angler in the UK; in the winter months I would brave the elements and try my hand at Pike fishing. Predatory fish always held a fascination with me but it was the cold and damp I couldn't tolerate.
My trips to Thailand where bliss year round warm temperate Thai food and the charming Thai people, even when it rains here its still warm, the only ice you see is floating in your drink. As a tourist I fished the ugly dirty and crowded fishing parks in and around Bangkok. The fish without doubt are huge, but the crowded smog laden city is depressing.
The fishing was good with huge Mekong catfish, Giant Carp and the awesome Arapaima. It wasn't long before my knowledge of fishing in the UK started to pay dividends, slowly my personal bests started to take off beyond my wildest dreams Mekong catfish to 150lbs plus, Giant Siamese carp over 100lbs climaxing to a pb Arapaima over 150lbs.
The one problem was the city life and surroundings where depresing, no way could I live in that hell hole even a week of fishing despite the fish was to much so I would hit the Beautiful island of Koh Samui to chill out. I took the decision to move here and venture to Bangkok for my fishing only the longer I stayed in paradise the less I wanted to return to Bangkok. Then my prayers where answered when the island's first fishing resort opened in April 2006.
Mike at TopCats had stocked his fishing lake with young healthy fish some in excess of 100lbs they are truly awesome clean mint conditioned fish and piling on the weight at an incredible rate there are at the time of writing August 2006 Arapaima to 200lbs plus, Mekong catfish approaching 200lbs, Giant carp over 50lbs,Julians Golden Pride Carp in excess of 40lbs, beautiful Red tail catfish over 100lbs which incidentally for you record chasers is over the current IGFA world record. Also the tiger and leopard catfish are now coming out around the 50lb mark yet another two potential world record species.
There are other species of fish in the lake nudging record proportions. Over the next year we all believe TopCats will produce several world record freshwater fish. Bangkok and the hellholes are a thing of the past for me I have it all here at my feet. How I fish here is bait more bait,location the fish respond best from miday onwards once the sun has warmed the water. Being on my doorstep I am on the banks most days not always fishing but studying the little hot spots that are being left alone then its in with the bait and as with all big fish wait. My first target fish was the impressive Harry the red tailed catfish I was fortunate to catch him early on one of my ever faithful Heathrow baits boilies he was around the 100lb mark but as I am not a record chaser his weight was estimated, I personally don't like to put fish under any more stress than is at all possible these fish are so immaculate and are a credit to the owner Mike, I feel it is better to go for a quick release to preserve for others to catch in the same condition.
My other target fish is one of the big Arapaima I have a good idea where the big fella will come from as they are territorial when they become giant's. Every trip sees me having one big fish bait out in my chosen spot, but I cant help placing my other rod out for the Mekong's don't be tight with your bait for these boys they can really put the grub away which is why they are gaining such incredible grove rates. It certainly is not an easy water the lake are so perfectly balanced Mike really understands his fish's needs that it is a case of studying where they show and presenting your bait to them, the only frustrating thing is they tend to move off when they see there mates get hooked which is why you need plenty of method mix to hold them. I do believe you could catch more if you baited a couple of spots and moved between them but as I am targeting the big Arapaima I am fishing where I have seen him move it makes me reluctant to fish the way which would be most productive for the Catfish.
For your holiday here I would suggest choosing the Mekong's as your target fish they are more obliging and in bigger numbers and size let alone the superb fighting quality of these fish you will still pick up arapaima on the method but certainly catch more of all the other species. The carp are really packing on the weight and seem to be growing by the day this is why I am saving these as my next target, they don't show them selves very often but the highly experienced full time fishing guides have an uncanny knack of knowing where they are hanging out come to that they know where most of the fish will be on any given day. This is another thing which sets TopCats above the rest the guides are carefully chosen by Mike and trained on site they are full time guides to the fishery only. But please remember they rely on the anglers tips so when your guide has helped you catch your fish of a lifetime don't be kehnow (Thai for tight) tip him to show your appreciation make the guide happy and he will certainly try his hardest to make you happy.
All in all TopCats is a wonderful venue, the fishing can be hard and sometimes easy that's up to the fish and your effort. Every day you will catch fish but effort bait and listening to the guide will catch you more fish. As a regular with time on my hands my approach will pay off for me in the end but my suggestion to the visiting fisherman is get on the method listen to the guide and keep that food going in you will pick up all of the 20 odd different specimen fish on the method. I deliberately haven't mentioned rigs as the regulars guides and Mike are constantly updating them pooling all our knowledge and learning in an effort to help you to enjoy your stay and catch that fish of a lifetime. As for the restaurant food and accommodation well what can I say its as good as the fishing even us lucky expats eat here more than at home. When you se me at the fishery don't cast over my lines and I will be happy to help you in any way I can as will all the staff here mines a cold lager enjoy your trip.
Yours Rick the lucky expat.