English by nationality but living the past 19 years in Portugal, Annabel Worthington made angling history today. She came with Fish Thailand pro-guides Alley & Eddy Mounce in search of the largest species of carp in the world - the Siamese giant carp. Understanding and accepting the fact that a single fishing session for this particularly hard to temp carp species is at the very least a demanding challenge.
Over the past 2 weeks Fish Thailand has guided clients into numerous carp upto 93lb - hence some deep knowledge of the carp's location and feeding habits for this week had been gained. It just so happened that what was likely to be the most productive area for feeding carp today was in the swims occupied by Bungsamran's larger more luxurious bungalows. Annabel was happy to upgrade bungalow and so the day began.
It is quite common for a girlfriend or wife of a fisherman to also participate in playing the odd the fish and 'have a go' while with Fish Thailand; this goes for farang and Thai women alike. However it is very rare to receive a booking for a specimen fishing trip from a lady angler alone. Annabel is all about the outdoors, she has been a dive instructor & an underwater archeologist in past years; having a passion for angling since she was a child.
One extra rod was setup for Annabel to experience the power and fury of the Mekong giant catfish. This technique quickly hooks up with standard size catfish of around 40lb, a few of these and Annabel was ready to drop this second rod into the baited margins alongside the other for carp.
Early afternoon crept along with the first and what was to be the only run from the carp rods during the entire day. Striking into a viscous and dogged fight, the carp ploughed towards the adjacent bungalow along the margin. Quickly turning the fish out of the snags and shaking violently from the fish's head shakes, Annabel was as ecstatic as the guides as the carp surfaced throwing its mouth up for us all to see. The Siamese giant carp is not as powerful in long runs as the Mekong catfish, and although the fight is much shorter; it is a much more crafty fighter utilizing a catalogue of 'dirty' tricks in attempt to throw the hook.
With some assistance from the guides at a rather heart stopping moment involving a heavy marginal snag - the fish was looking almost ready for the net. At this final stage a Siamese giant carp still has it's last & most effective technique of ridding itself from the hook. Looking lifeless and beaten it will glide on the surface towards the awaiting net, only to exert an enormous surge of power from it's tail and dive back down to the marginal snags. Many big carp are lost at the net by this as the angler is caught off guard, luckily this time the carp did not reach the snag and control was re-gained. Now with the netting, there is very rarely more than one shot at securing the head in the net. If missed the likely hood is that the hook will end up in the net and the carp will merrily swim away! Knowing this and seen this so many times, Mut timed the netting perfectly and the fish was secure!!
The Fish Thailand Team never like to take a fish of this size out of water but felt that it was best to ask Annabel first whether she was comfortable with entering the water. Before we could ask Annabel had already changed her shorts and was on her way in! What a sport! The guides quickly went to work to make the handling, photo shoot and releasing of this giant carp as quick as possible. A second net secured the tail end of the fish as Eddy and Alley swam the fish together into the shallows.
At around the 60Kg (130lb) mark - it took two guides to handle the fish and help raise it into Annabel's arms. As a large crowd of spectators gathered and snap shots from cameras and telephones were being taken by all - the moment for Annabel and realising her achievement was sinking in.
It is believed and most likely that this is the largest carp ever caught by a female angler; a moment in angling history.