First fish of the day. Not too shabby.
Phillip is on the board with a beauty of his own.
The Siamese Carp took a bit of wind out of Danny with its long hard runs but finally gave up after about ten minutes of running around the whole lake. Considering the weather conditions we were facing, a carp was a big achievement that day since there were no direct sunlight and the wind was calm and humid.
In the meantime, Philip has been enjoying float watching as there seems to be a fish interested in the bait at all times. At that moment, line starts to peel off of Danny's predator rod in a gentle kind of way which signalled an Arapaima may be at the end of the line! There is a possibility of landing a Siamese Carp and an Arapaima in the span of thirty minutes? You better believe it!
As we know there was an Arapaima at the line, I had yelled over for Phillip to come join his father for a picture with the Arapaima but once Phillip came over, the fish was not going to allow the pair to take a picture together. Phillip's float had disappeared on the other side of the lake. Phillip starts to sprint down the side of the lake and circles the lake with all his might. Its a double hookup! The Arapaima took Danny about 25 minutes to land and Danny was showing signs to fatigue after two big fish.
One thing that I cherish from being a fishing guide is the wealth of new knowledge we could exchange whether it is a new word or fishing techniques. For this particular day, the word was "eski" which I later found out was what Australians calls a cooler or ice box or ice chest. My two clients this day is the father and son tandem of Danny and Phillip.
It didn't start out too good with pouring rain greeting us early in the morning while we were fifteen minutes away from reaching Palm Tree Lagoon. As we approach Palm Tree Lagoon, rain shows no sign of stopping with the staff at the lake taunting me about my ability to bring the rain with me every time i visit the lake.
As we began to set up and prepared ourselves for a fun filled day of fishing in the mud, the rain suddenly stops. There was no time to waste and my helper quickly casted the predator rod into the weeds by the bank. Even before I was able to equip myself with a camera, line starts peeling out of the reel and its fish on! Barely five minutes upon arrival, we hooked our first fish! Danny was responsible for playing this first catch and it was the host of the lake that always are the ones to welcome anglers to the lake, the Amazon Redtail Catfish.
Danny was already on the board with his beautiful Amazon Redtail Catfish but Phillip was about to get even with an Amazon Redtail Catfish of his own. We didn't have to wait long for Danny's drag to start screaming out of the reel which was heard from across the lake. Danny picked up the rod and set the hook with all his might with no signs that the fish would give up easily. Judging from the long hard runs and the bent of the rod, it can be nothing else but the Giant Siamese Carp.
Danny landing a Siamese Carp was definitely a fish of a lifetime.
A Giant Freshwater Stingray
At this point, we had two rods dedicated to fishing for the Giant Mekong Catfish hoping to land one for the father son tandem and it was not a disappointment. A Mekong Catfish finally took Philip's rod! From my past experience at Bungsamran, a fish averaging 20-40 kilograms doesn't take a lot of time to land the fish but the present fight was different. ten, twenty and thirty minutes had passed and the fish showed no sign of giving up. Phillip's face is starting to turn red with signs of discomfort yet he insists that he is doing fine. Approaching the 40th minute, the lake owner walks over casually to offer some pointers to fight the Mekong. That technique has now been dubbed the "Mekong Tango". Its walking back a few steps to pull in the fish and walking forward while reeling in line. Do that repetitively with background music and its certainly a tango. All in all, Phillip took 50 minutes to land this Mekong Catfish that everyone thought was going to be much bigger. Its still a big fish but the fight surely felt doubled that size.
One of the smaller Arapaima in Palm Tree Lagoon.
As we finished landing the Arapaima and releasing it safely, we are hearing chatter from the across the lake that Phillip was hooked on to a stingray! Considering the size of the stingray, its ability to grab hold of the bottom of the lake really adds to the difficulty of the fight. Phillip did a great job with steering and pumping the fish out of the bottom.
As a guide, I've always wanted my clients to land various species of fish especially those that are highly sought after such as the Arapaima, Mekong Catfish, Siamese Carp, or Stingrays. However, we're not half way through the day and we've already landed three of the four mentioned!
Fishing slowed down considerably with a few more Redtail Catfish and a rare Tambaqui which was perfect timing for us to sit down and enjoy a bountiful lunch. We're going to need all the energy to keep on fighting whatever monster fish that is going to appear next.
Thats a Tambaqui.
The fish put up a much bigger fight than what his size suggest.
The day capped of with a few more Redtails for Danny and Phillip with a good size Rohu for Phillip while the sun starts to set. Its going to be hard to beat a good fishing day like today.