Fishing In Thailand

With a five AM wake up call, I hopped in the shower, head still spinning from (maybe) drinking too much Singha beer at the Thai boxing match the night before…however, nothing can keep me from going fishing!

No Joke, Thai Heavyweight Boxer!!

James and I just finished a 3 week cultural tour through China, Cambodia, and Thailand. I couldn’t travel that far without going either hunting or fishing, so I scheduled a 2 day fishing trip for my boyfriend and I through Fish Thailand.

We were picked up from our hotel in Bangkok for an hour and half drive out to the lake in Ratchaburi, which was full of a mix of Amazon and Thai fish species.

The day started off with our team of three Thai guides putting together four spinning rods for the two of us. They attached chicken liver and pieces of fish before casting them out to the middle of the lake. Within minutes we heard that zinging sound every fisherman loves when the fish grabs the bait and just runs with it! All four lines went simultaneously! The guides run frantically and in their broken English they tell us to grab a line.

Once I grabbed a line, wow, that definitely woke me up! I could tell it was a big boy on the other end, and I couldn’t wait to bring it up! The guides hooked the other lines and held them, waiting for us to bring up our 1st fish. While reeling in my fish, which was giving me a good workout, I looked over to my boyfriend who brought up a beautiful exotic looking Red-tailed catfish! Oh man, I got a little jealous; his 1st fish of the day was the one fish that is on the top of my list. What a beautiful creature. It has to be one of the coolest fish I have ever laid eyes on!

I had to retain focus on the fish I was fighting because he was putting up a good fight and I have been out of practice. Once I got it close to the shore our guides netted a good size silver catfish and handed me the 2nd pole they have been holding for me. No time to rest, the bite was on and we were on the clock!

Silver Catfish

My boyfriend and I were already on our 2nd fish EACH and we have only been fishing for a few minutes! I could feel him hugging the bottom of the lake…must be a catfish the way it was fighting. I got the fish close to the shore and then it just took off on me. I had to let it swim back to the middle of the lake, but I didn’t want to lose it! This fish was making me work! My boyfriend brought up a nice looking Tiger Catfish while I continued to battle my fish. After a mighty fight I came up victorious with a Monster Red-Tailed Catfish!! Holy Cow! This was probably the biggest fish I have ever caught! I was jumping up and down I was so excited. A great fish with a hell of a fight and the day just started! Took a mini photo shoot with my fish while our guides worked on putting the lines back out. Holding such an exotic looking fish, it finally sunk in…wow, I’m fishing in Thailand!! I knew this was going to be a day I will never forget. Such an unreal experience, yet holding this fish made it real.

My Monster Red-tailed Catfish

We had a pretty steady day of fishing; it slowed down from our record breaking morning but the bite never stopped! We caught a variety of fish all day long, with a lot of unique species. It was exciting to hook a fish in this lake because they all fought differently and it was a surprise when you brought each one up. You had to fight with caution because most of these species of fish had sharp teeth that could easily cut the line.

James hooked a baby arapaima (Amazon fish that grows to be over 6 feet in length) that he stole from me while I was busy putting sunscreen on. As he told me the fish aren’t going to wait for you to put sunscreen on. When they bite, you have to be ready! It was a neat fish so I wanted to take a picture with it, but he said I better tell everyone he caught it!

James' Arapaima

In the middle of the day we caught a few alligator gars…reminded me of our alligators back home in Florida. I also caught a piranha with a nasty bite! My toughest fight of the day was a good size snakehead. These fish had some power behind them. It was like I was fighting a python at the end of my line.

Monster Snakehead

After our exciting exhausting day of fishing, the guides drove us back to the hotel to get ready for another fishing filled day tomorrow!

Now our second day of fishing was perfect for the lazy fisherman who loves to catch fish and chill out with a cold beer. On this day we were after the Giant Mahkong Catfish which gets as big as 990lbs! This lake was only 45 minutes from our hotel. The set up was sweet; we had our own private fishing bungalow built on the lake equipped with a fan, t.v., mats to lay down where you could order a Thai massage, food, and beer delivered right to your bungalow.

Loved our Bungalow!

This fishing was completely different from the day before. We were fishing literally with dough balls, which was something new to me. The guide would pack the dough ball above the hook and cast it out to the middle of the lake almost like a slingshot, while trying to keep the dough ball in tacked. Fish would instantly attack the dough ball so if we didn’t hook a big one then we would have to check our bait every 5-10 minutes to replace it. When a Mahkong catfish hit, you knew! I was up first and I have to admit I have never fought a fish this hard. When the guide handed me the rod it felt like a brick wall was at the other end. At first I thought I had it…thinking I should be able to handle this declining when the guide offered me a belt. Reeling it in slowly, I started feeling this fish’s strength . My arms started getting fatigued and sweat was dripping down my face. At that point, I started begging for the belt. This fish was not going to make this easy for me. I worked this fish, pulled up, reeled down, pulled up, reeled down, sweat now dripping into my eyes, my whole body aching, muscles throbbing, mind determined and focused on this fish.

The second I felt I had a hold on this fish it just takes off and I could do nothing but just let it pull out all the line I had just worked so hard to reel in. My arms got tired out quickly and after ten minutes of fighting this fish, my muscles gave out and my boyfriend had to take over. I was bummed that I couldn’t reel in my first fish myself, but boy was this fish a beauty!

My first Mahkong Catfish

I regained my strength and didn’t let another fish get away. If my muscles were giving out, I just fought through the pain because I was hooked on the adrenaline rush and challenge! We seriously must have brought up almost 16 Mahkong catfish that day…towards the afternoon we would have two fish on at the same time. I would have a fish in my arms while James was fighting another one!

He caught the biggest one of the day, close to 80 lbs!

Biggest Mahkong of the Day

Seriously, this was probably the coolest and unique fishing experience I have ever had! If you want non-stop action with some of the most exotic creatures and an amazing fight, you just gotta FISH THAILAND!! I found Fish Thailand to be a professional and well organized business; everything from scheduling my trip, to the end of the day where the owner called to make sure we were satisfied.

About the Author

Larysa Switlyk

Larysa Switlyk is from Sarasota, Florida. Her goals include following her passion for the outdoors, learning as much as possible about hunting and fishing, stressing the importance of regulations, becoming a role model to both men and women, and encouraging women to get more involved in outdoor sports.