The One Fish I Almost Missed

The One Fish I Almost Missed

Bernd Ziesche | Friday, 13 March 2020

Travelling to Thailand I didn't put much (if any) expectations about catching fish into my bag. Only it was hard to keep my mind from thinking about Arapeima!

Arriving in Thailand I started fly fishing different ponds and rivers.

Fishing ponds is quite common in Thailand. Some of the ponds are spin and fly fishing only while others are totally free to chose one's favorite method of angling. I tried both, but prefer those offering the limitation to spin and fly fishing. Nearly all fish in the ponds were stocked ones. Some of them were naturally river born while most were not. Compared to all the European stocked fish I have fished for, most fish in Thailand were in pretty fine shape! Those ponds offering to catch serious big fish came along with a pretty good guiding service for landing and properly handling all fish.

Fishing both serious big as well as small rivers it seems fair to say, that the fishing pressure by net fishermen and anglers was strong. This of course didn't make it too easy to find the fish.

Comparing both fly fishing for stocked fish in the ponds and fly fishing for naturally born fish in their home river you may ask which I prefered. Simply I would not want to miss any of the fishing I had!

The highest fishing pressure was in the ponds of course. Due to that all fish had very well learnt how to use all their senses to avoid getting hooked again. Now it's exactly this what forced me into a deeper understanding of how these fish use their senses. I truly learnt a lot these days!

No doubt I very much loved to see some remote spots coming within a brilliant nature aside from the ponds coming in much less intense nature obviously. That aside it were the fish in the ponds forcing me to significant think outside my box in the first place.

In summary I caught several different species of fish like Silver carp, Tilapia, Giant Pangasius, Barramundi, Snakehead, Striped Catfish, Amazon Redtail and Alligator gar.

On my last day I fished a nice water holding some serious Arapeima! I worked hard on getting a first hook up. Arapeima have to breeze air to get oxygen. So it wouldn't take long until you'll know where they are and how much they move (or not). After I tried to cast several times to the same fish every time I saw one, I decided that this wasn't going to work out. I switched strategy to only have one maybe two casts at a time and instead searching another fish then. This way I thought to have a better chance in meeting the one fish willing to eat in the perfect moment without totally having him spooked before! An hour later I saw a large Arapeima of about 100Kg moving close the surface. I did a very quick cast and my fly was perfect in position. I gave it a soft short pull and let it stop. The Arapeima aggresively took it, but the hook came out in the same second. My heart was about to stop working, I think. I set another cast and the fish took it again. I set the hook and for 15minutes there wasn't much I could do but giving more line to the fish. Then the hook came out. In that moment I was happy to have seen this incredible fish taking my fly twice. I'll never get this film out of my head ever again!

It happened and I had one more day before leaving back home. Only the Arapeima lake was quite a long drive for one day. Well, I couldn't sleep all night and decided to give that magnificent fish another shot. I just had to!
On this my serious last cast day I fished ten hours in 39 degrees Celsius stalking Arapeima again. Quite tough conditions. After stalking one and the same fish for about 2 hours (no more than 20 to 25 gentle presentations being made here) I got him to eat my fly. This time I strongly set the hook and after a serious strong battle on my 12wt. rod we quickly could release the fish. Fantastic experience. The guides estimated the fish to have been between 60 and 70Kg.

No doubt one day I need to fish the Amazon river for Arapeima. Most probably it would be much easier to get a hook up here in such a remote (much less fished) place, but it's here where these outstanding beautiful fish come from. The surroundings alone must be fantastic!? For the fishing itself I love to be facing fish that have learnt not to eat everything crossing their way. Simply I love to be forced into improving my fly fishing skills.
So yes, I love the mix of all different kind of fly fishing challenges. Can't wait for the next one.
Sure I'll return to Thailand. It was a fantastic trip for sure!

Thanks a lot to Tomasz (pike terror flies) for providing me the fly which the Arapeima took!

Great weekend to all of you!

All my best

P.s.: Thanks so much Nisa, I couldn't have done this without you!

Some pictures as always.... ;)

flyfishing arapeima