Cheow Lan Dam - Snakehead Fishing Safari
Fish Thailand's annual group snakehead fishing safari this year was held at Cheow Lan Dam in Surat Thani province of South Thailand, previous years saw this popular snakehead trip held at Temmengor Dam in Malaysia.
The group this year consisted of Richard, Timo, Ian, RB, Chris, Bill & his son Kit for a six day safari with five nights on a floating raft camp at the jungle's shoreline. With no electricity, telephone signal or shower room this jungle snakehead fishing safari is the most remote and adventurous of all and exactly what each angler relished.
The appeal to fishing Cheow Lan Dam was the moving cooler water in the northern reaches of the 'upper lake' whereby diving lures & spoons played a larger part than other lure venues targeting the jungle perch and mahseer. The more typical habitats of the lower reaches allowed for the use of classic snakehead surface lures such as frogs, buzz baits and poppers which could be worked with great effect.
The catch rates averaged four to five fish per day per person and the best catch of the trip went to Richard Evans Jones for an 11lb giant snakehead caught on the very successful 320 diving plug by Evergreen which accounted for more snakehead than any other lure on the trip.
The youngest member of the group Kit, Bill's son deserves praise for being able to tough out the relentless monsoon rains while working his baitcaster propelled lures with repeated accuracy to the jungle's margin and tempting out snakehead. Bill has taken Kit for the past couple of years to many venues around Thailand almost solely lure fishing which was evident on this trip.
John Wilson's Lake Garden
Featuring often in Fish Thailand's catch report & website is John Wilson and his private fishing estate in Thailand called Lake Garden. It is easy to see why with one of most stunning man-made lakes in the country and of course the exclusive opportunity to meet John Wilson himself.
Each week anglers who have booked our John Wilson Jurassic Fishing Safari get to fish this private venue and each week this perfect fishery matures and it's environment flourishes further.
Anglers have so far enjoyed a delightful array of both Amazon and Thai fish species from this truly mixed venue. Alligator gar, redtail catfish, pacu, tambaqui, Niger catfish, arapaima, Chao Phraya catfish, Mekong catfish, striped catfish, Siamese carp & Julian Price carp are just some of the species anglers have been bending into with the guidance from their hosts John & Dave Wilson.
The pictures above say it all.
Jurassic Mountain Resort & Fishing Park
It is Thailand's premiere fishing resort - Jurassic Fishing Park that holds an inspirational recollection of one angler's pursuit for a very specific target. Bill Glenwright who to those who follow Fish Thailand reports will be a familiar name as he has fished many venues and many species with Fish Thailand over the years. His past successes have been Indian carp (rohu) from Khao Laem Dam, Mekong catfish from Bungsamran Lake in Bangkok, barramundi from Boon Mar Ponds and at one point or another most Amazonian predatory fish catchable in Thailand's lakes such as IT Lake Monsters and just recently snakehead and jungle perch with his son Kit from Cheow Lan Dam. Although Bill has caught reasonable size arapaima on baits in the past along with a long list of huge fish his love and passion lies with catching fish on lures - nothing else. So for the past few months Bill has driven the 2hr journey from Bangkok to Jurassic Fishing Park in hunt for one of Jurassic's monster arapaima - but to be caught on lure only. Almost daily arapaima are caught by anglers at Jurassic Fishing Park but always on bait including his son Kit who caught his personal best arapaima of 180lb.
Bill's first four trips lure fishing at Jurassic Fishing Park resulted only in redtail catfish, but he was learning the nature of these incredible fish at this venue and working out how to get closer to his goal. On trips five and six Bill began hooking arapaima but frustratingly lost them shortly after hookup.
On Bill's seventh trip on Saturday 15th November 2014 Bill hooked one of Jurassic's monster arapaima and this time it stayed on - and is estimated to be a whopping 100kg (220lb). To Bill this is mission complete and is one of the very few anglers who has caught such huge arapaima on a lure. Even when the arapaima are ravenously on the feed and bait anglers are catching them regularly, the lure may still struggle to produce illustrating perfectly the enormity of the challenge Bill faced but persisted with until he succeeded.
Others who have enjoyed the fruits of Jurassic Fishing Park include Kevin Bird from Suffolk in England - owner of Birds Tackle Superstore - East Anglia's most comprehensive fishing suppliers. Kevin's first days fishing was simply a red letter day with an amazing catch of three big arapaima - all on dead baits; also several good size Siamese carp and redtail catfish. Luckily for Kevin who forgot his camera another Fish Thailand regular who joined the safari to Cheow Lan Dam; Richard Bray; was in the next swim who kindly took the pictures. Richard's day was much slower for the first part as he watched Kevin play several good fish and there was nothing obvious he was doing differently - just one of those fishy mysteries that keeps anglers returning to the waters edge. However in the afternoon Richard's day turned around with a cracking arapaima of his own - pictured above because he brought a camera with him!
A new group descended onto Jurassic Mountain Resort & Fishing Park as part of a Thailand fishing holiday that saw the six visit several venues and target many species. Paul and his wife Deb, Mark & their father John, along with friends Tony & Pete were all new to Thailand and the fishing it promised; although all six were highly experience with big Wels Catfish from River Ebro in Spain to 184lb.
John Holding, the most senior of the group owns over seventy years of wisdom and truth. This alone deserves huge respect just keeping up with the younger guys, giving them a run for their money and fighting monster fish day after day, morning 'til night over 3 provinces of Thailand and taking it all in his stride. That however for someone like John is no big deal, a 'get up and go' man of no fuss, straight talk and bundles of energy. The awe-inspiring and quite remarkable phenomenon is infact that John is registered blind and those lucky enough to spend any amount of time with John immediately gain huge respect for him. John lead the group with the biggest fish of the trip on his first day at Jurassic Fishing Park with a 165lb arapaima - a testament indeed. Being a relatively new Thailand fishing venue the swims around the lake are being named, already a few have been honoured with a title such as 'The Giant Fan' and 'Sam's Sala.' This particular swim where John caught his arapaima is now officially named 'Blind Man's Bluff.' For those familiar with the Jurassic Fishing Park this is the second swim down on the right hand side of the lake also numbered as no:16. Over the coming years the scores of anglers visiting Jurassic Fishing Park will get to choose their swim from the lake map and many will come to learn the tale of John Holding.
This catch report is blessed with incredible catch statistics thanks to Paul who provided very accurate data to Fish Thailand of their trip. For the four days fishing at Jurassic Mountain Resort & Fishing Park the group of six anglers landed 85 fish for over 3700lb in weight. Notable catches were Debbie's 77lb Siamese carp, which shortly afterward Paul had an amazing string of arapaima of 154lb, 176lb, 200lb & 220lb! Just when he thought the friendly but intensely serious competition was in the bag Tony moves onto land a whopping 242lb arapaima along with a couple of 'smaller' 121lb & 176lb specimens!
One of Jurassic's villa owners Steve Byford, his son Jimmy and friend Ben embarked on a few days fishing and relaxing, the timing was perfect as arapaima were coming out in their hordes every day - a very exciting time. Their first day however although produced some good carp catches failed to connect with an arapaima. Ben earnt the party trick of the day by having his rod towed into the drink by an unknown fishy culprit suspected of course of having to be 'the biggest fish in the lake.' A spare rod was quickly cast around the lake, dragging the murky depths for signs of the lost rod to luckily connect with not only the lost rod, but also the fish still on for Ben to resume the battle with what turned out to be a beautiful tambaqui of around 12lb. In the following days the guys went on to absolutely hammer Jurassic and land four arapaima in a single day between them!
IT Lake Monsters - Mixed Amazon Predators
Continuing their Thailand fishing holiday, Paul's group of six anglers fished Bungsamran Lake in Bangkok for a day and two days at IT Lake Monsters. Thanks again to Paul's statistics the results were a staggering 171 fish caught between them in two days totally a enormous weight of 5240lb of fish! Top specimens included Mark's 83lb Chao Phraya Catfish and Paul's 52lb alligator gar.
Boon Mar Ponds - Barramundi Fishing Thailand
This Disney Land of Thailand lure fishing venues just outside of Bangkok was the chosen battle ground for Paul's group to target the barramundi. Being one the least practiced techniques for all six anglers they were keen to give these tail-walking bars of silver a whirl and try their hand at lure fishing. Tony quickly flew into pole position with what felt like a fish a cast straight off the bat, shortly followed by Deb, Paul and Mark. Pete hooked plenty but at first struggled to land one as the barra were pro's at unhooking themselves during the fight but soon afterwards got the hang of it. John's experience was a classic unfathomable angling mystery as he was casting exactly the same surface poppers into exactly the same water as the others and couldn't get so much as a bite - it was bizarre. Fish Thailand guides swapped lure every few casts until a cracking little diver was discovered and John banked a few cracking barra in short succession. The biggest barramundi of the day went to Mark weighing in at 22lb and the total number of barramundi caught in six hours lure fishing by the group were 126 for a combined weight of over 1700lb!
Bungsamran Lake Fishing in Bangkok
The mecca of rod-bending and painful fish action is Bungsamran Lake in Bangkok which provided Paul's fishing holiday group with some serious fun. Some 69 fish totalling nearly 3000lb in combined weight kept them busy for the day.
Fishing Holiday Thailand
In total during Paul's group of 6 anglers on their fishing holiday in Thailand over 8 days of fishing they landed 451 fish for a total weight of 13,600lb made up of 11 different species the biggest of which being arapaima to 242lb. Well done guys!