Written By Eddie Mounce
Who better to test Thailand's new premier fishery Jurassic Fishing Park than the UK’s greatest angling journalist and TV angling celebrity John Wilson MBE. Having fished and filmed across the globe including several times in Thailand, there is no higher authority of venue appraisal than from John Wilson himself.
Accompanied on the day by his brother Dave Wilson and fishery co-owner Julian Fernandez we all made a leisurely start arriving to the lake for 9:30a.m. With no cameras filming on this occasion the mood was relaxed as four friends enjoyed one another’s company, setting out the stool with two carp rods and two predator rods.
John had already visited Jurassic once back when the lake was being excavated in January 2012 – at the time his sincere however daunted remark was simply ‘good luck’ as he saw clearly that indeed there was great potential but it would take great effort to realise it.
John approached the site driven by his brother Dave and parked between four villas and a clubhouse and took his first glimpse across the lost world of Jurassic Fishing Park fringed in tall marginal vegetation and lush green grass.
John and his brother Dave have done more to raise awareness of Thailand’s freshwater fishing scene than any other angler’s that have visited Thailand. Along with the many other guided fishing tour companies that operate in Thailand; Fish Thailand has put in years of hard work promoting the fishing scene and getting it to where it is today and true gentlemen like John and Dave have played an enormous part in it all.
First baits to drop into the lake were the two carp rods fished with hair-rigged 25mm pellet on a 10 inch hook length rigged up to a semi-fixed 3oz straight lead. Before the predator rods could even be cast out the first run of the day fell to John who judging by his reaction was delighted by the performance of both the Siamese carp and the balanced tackle to which he enjoyed the fight all the way to the net. The day was only just warming up as Dave then took on the second run not long after, resulting in a beautifully conditioned and plump Amazon redtail catfish. Dave shortly became far more interested in working the dead bait rods and casting around to one of the many gigantic arapaimas now residing in Jurassic Fishing Park. Meanwhile John was into yet another Siamese carp for which he took the opportunity to also test a new fixed spool reel by Rovex – to which he was very impressed with the smoothness of the drag.
Even though we were a bunch of old friends hanging out, catching up and enjoying some fishing together – to see the famous John Wilson smile evolve across the most familiar face in angling coupled with the chuckle that has resonated out of so many television sets across the UK and now out across our fishery created a moment of surrealism as it was obvious John continued to be overwhelmed with Siamese carp fishing delight.
A short lull in action was disturbed by a positive run on the dead bait rod for which as John bent into the fish was met with a violent response – sure to be an arapaima! Spirits were extremely high now as Jules, Dave, John and I were all having such a great time – this was truly a very special moment in angling; if for nobody else then for us four. A usually to be nervous moment for anyone playing such a big fish would be as it fought its’ way around the corner into the south-west bay of the lake but in this case for me at least it was rather amusing seeing John crash through the undergrowth keeping up with the fish as he leapt around palm trees; it dawned on me that it could only be angling and possibly one other thing that could lead a man to oust the same physical acrobatics as he did in his thirties with such flawless agility and lack of exertion.
The serious moment was soon upon us after John had tamed the arapaima and was coaxing it in closer as its’ fighting circles were diminishing. Even so – a fish clearly at first glance well over 150lb still would have some powerful energy surges left in store and a failed netting or miss-netting could easily result in a lost fish. John took his time, the fish seemed to follow suit and I kept cool as we all waited for the correct moment which did not come at first pass. Second pass and the fish surfaced much more cleanly than the first and its direction of lie was good with it’s’ body floating parallel to the bank. The net scooped over the fish’s head calmly all the way at which time our lake gillie ‘Mod’ secured the tail and body section of the arapaima – it was indeed safely netted – big relief as who on earth wants to be remembered as ‘the guy who lost John Wilsons’ big arapaima?!’
Angling also has a lot to answer for with regards to nudity amongst men – yes that’s right – nudity. No straight men would incontestably strip down to their underwear, climb in and out of a lake by which this very action can leave behind horrific imagery and splash around in a lake together; except for when a big fish is landed and then all of a sudden everything is unquestionably approved and nothing more is said about the matter!
During the photos and handling of John’s arapaima it was quickly noticed that the hook had actually fallen out of the fish’s mouth during the netting – thankfully great photography was taken and the unthinkable did not occur; instead this fish was returned full of fight again after being held until it had breathed and recovered.
Something that John said next topped off the perfect end to the perfect day ‘well it’s not often I get a new personal best anymore.’ Meaning of course that to my absolute joy and amazement guiding John to Jurassic Fishing Park for the day secured his biggest ever arapaima.
A day of great friends, fun conversation and magical angling moments and look forward to their return in a few months time. I am quite often asked to summaries our venues to clients who naturally want to know what kind of fishing each venue offers. I think John summed Jurassic Fishing Park quite nicely as he enthusiastically said ‘a wonderful well balanced fishery with wonderful fishing – it is a perfect mix.’