Sunday, November 06, 2011

Pilot 111 Bangkok

News of the flood in Bangkok has been pretty alarming. The media broadcast on the worsening flood created a panic buy rendering supermarkets and 7-11s with empty racks. Couldn't find any instant noodle, can food or drinking water anywhere.

The Thai government announced a 3 day emergency holiday. Including the weekend, I had a 5 day holiday here. Everyday I peep out my window only to see my streets still dry and the weather sunny. Wanted to go out but kept wondering what if that area was flooded. On the 4th night, I could no longer stand being cooped up in the hotel another day. Called up a fishing guide asking if the ponds are affected.

" flood here lah."

Alright. It's on. Lets do it.
The cab arrived punctually at 7am the next day. Today I was going to Pilot 111 lure fishing pond. A pilot with badge number 111 owned this pond, hence its name. The guide turned out to be some ex army anti media kinda person.

"All lies. They say here flood. Where's the flood? All lies!"

I am really new to lure fishing. Attempted it a couple of times, but never caught anything before on lure. Wait, I did catch a blind haruan before, but that's probably because it was blind. So, this was more of a fishing class rather than a fishing trip. Theory and practical. And I was not disappointed.

01 Bungalow 1

There were 11 ponds here with every pond exclusively having a single species of fish. There were 5 main species here: Giant Snakehead (toman), Barramundi (siakap), Featherback (belida), Pacu and Asian Red Tail Catfish.


Breakdown of what I paid for this trip:
Fishing license : 500 baht
Guide : 1000 baht
Equiptment rent : 500 baht (including a whole boxful of lures)
Cab : 1500 baht

03 Scene1



Even the parrot here goes 'krappp'. One heck of a noisy bird.

My guide for the day, Bad Boy. Speaks pretty good English and almost sounds Malaysian with his lahs. Definitely a recommended guide. His knowledge in fishing is really admirable. He explained in detail the characteristics of the fish, casting methods for each species, and really goes all out to see that you land a catch. And he won't let you take pictures of the fish he caught. "You have to earn it yourself to take pictures" he said smiling.

For 500 baht equiptment rental, I'd say it's pretty cheap considering the ammount of lures available.

Colorful little froggies.

More froggies.

Fish lures in almost any kind imaginable.

First target, the Giant Snakehead, the toman.

The moment Boy saw the way I held the rod, he knew it was going to be a long day for him. He then thought me the correct way of holding it where you have to put out your index finger on the rod so that you can feel when a fish bites the lure.

He caught a toman on his second cast. The theory for tomans, is that you have to piss the fish off and it will come attacking on the lure. He instructed me to cast it off, wait for 5-10 seconds to let the lure sink, then reel back fast, stop for a second, then repeat. Another more advance technique was to keep whipping the rod down while reeling back in. Had problem doing the advance one as my movement was really stiff. Took some getting used to.

First toman caught by Boy.

The razor sharp teeth of the toman which left marks on the lure. He also said that it had the biting strength to crack the lure and also bend hooks. And always to use the tool (I have no idea what the tool is called. The one used to clamp the fish's mouth and also serves as a weighing scale) to clamp the fish before removing the hook.

Boy took in his 8th fish already and I still haven't caught a single one. He was starting to get depressed due to his responsibility as a guide. He kept changing lures, testing them out where he'll easily land one before passing it to me.

Problem was I wasn't sure when the toman attacked the lure. And by the time I realised that was a bite, I'd be too late.

Was reeling back my lure, when I felt a bite, immediately I whipped it back and this time, I felt a feedback. Line started shooting out of my reel, and there it was my prey splashing around the water trying to free itself.

Finally, I landed my first fish. My first ever toman.

Once I knew how the bite felt like, the number of hits started to climb.



Landed my 6th toman, and I decided to move on to the next species, the Featherback.

For the Featherback, it was more relaxing. The technique was totally different, explained Boy. This fish is a slow fish. He changed the lure to a smaller sinking lure (sorry if I am using the wrong terms) and instructed me to cast, wait for it to sink deep and reel back in slowly, really slowly.

A good change of phase. Good time to relax my arms which started to burn and fingers which started to blister.

Felt a small tug, and whipped it back, and started reeling it back in.

My very first Featherback!

Not. Turns out to be a tilapia. Back in Malaysia, I really hate this fish. It always disturbs the bait and they are really puny back there. At least this is quite big, my biggest Tilapia so far.

This fish eats anything. There was once we got bored from not catching anything, so we hooked a ciggarette butt and we caught a tilapia with it. -_-"

Soon after that, I landed this.

Boy's instructions were spot on. There were a few other guys casting there and none of them landed anything. For a moment, there was a sense of pride. Haha Spoon fed instructions though. I noticed that they were reeling in fast, and guess that made the difference.



The sun was up high by now, and started to burn. Had to wear a long sleeve to prevent major sunburns.


Then I had to borrow a straw hat from Boy. I noticed that the other anglers were prepared for the sun and were stylishly protected. Shades, cap, sleeve extensions, scarfs. I was the only one looking like a farmer there. -_-"

25 Bait for featherback
The lures used for the Featherbacks.

26 Lunch
We stopped for lunch after that. It felt good being out of the sun for a while. Had beef fried rice which cost 120 baht. Pretty reasonable for an outskirt area like this.

Had a go at the Barramundi pond after lunch. Boy didn't give me any guide this time. He wanted me to try and catch one on my own. I tried the previous two techniques and some other ones but I just wouldn't get a bite. The other anglers made it so easy reeling in fish after fish.

Boy's theory was "If you are not getting anything, that means your technique is wrong. The fish will always tell you if you are right."

After an hour, I still had nothing. Decided to move to some other species first. Next pond, the Pacu pond.

27 Pacu
For the Pacu, Boy switched the lure to a noisy one, one that rattles when I shook it. Just reel it back slowly, and this Piranha looking fishes will attack it.

28 Pacu 2
Caught a few here and decided to go back to the Barramundi pond. The Pacu here were smaller than the ones caught back home.

29 Barramundi
Boy landing a Barramundi.

He used a strange technique for this one. I was wondering what he was doing. He was just whacking his lure on the water a few feet from where he was standing. He was slicing the water which swift cutting movements to the left and to the right. I couldn't believe it when suddenly a huge Barramundi attacked his bait and he reeled it back in.

Laughing, he said this was his 'cheap' method of catching it.

30 Barramundi

31 Barramundi
I was skeptical while trying this. Attracted a lot of attention as well. Passerby s were wondering what the heck this farmer was doing. But a short while later, my line shot out of my reel. This technique really works.

This fish gave out a strong fight and jumped out of the water while trying to free itself. I really love this fish.

Boy thought me the method for fishing the Barramundi normally later. The trick was to reel it back slowly while whipping the rod down. Whipping the rod down makes the lure swim swiftly upwards and this catches the fish attention.

Note to self, another angler who was landing a lot of this fish, was reeling in really slowly, while flicking the rod downwards.

33 Asian Red Tail Catfish
Just another species more to go, the Asian Red Tail Catfish.

For this one, the bait was a long rubber worm bait with a huge hook with a sinker. Cast it off and let the lure sink all the way to the bottom. Stand side ways, and just move the rod a foot by foot to the side till the rod is facing you. Reel it back to the line, and continue the process.

This fish is definitely a bottom feeder, and by doing so, it will make the 'worm' bounce on the waterbed.

This catfish gives out a cry when it's out of the water. Went something like 'ngek ngek'.

35 Bait for Catfish
The lure used for the catfish.

36 Goodbye

So, I managed to catch all the main species over here at Pilot 111, many which I have no idea where to look for in Malaysia. Was an awesome fishing class for me and I learnt really a lot today.

Already itching for another trip here.


gooner said...

Thank you for a great blog! can you give me your guide contact? I want to give this place a go!

Angry Panda said...

Hey. Thanks. I've lost his contact, but you can add him on Facebook and message him there. Search Wuttichai Khuensuwan.

terence said...

"Boy thought me the method for fishing the Barramundi normally later. The trick was to reel it back slowly while whipping the rod down. Whipping the rod down makes the lure swim swiftly upwards and this catches the fish attention.
Note to self, another angler who was landing a lot of this fish, was reeling in really slowly, while flicking the rod downwards."

whipping downwards? like having the rod tip almost touching the water?

oh yeah, could you explain the "cheap" method of catching barramundi in detail? :]


Anonymous said...

Is the equipments( rod, reels, lure) rental by the pond or through the guide? And did you just hail a normal cab or were there arrangements made by the guide you contacted? Sorry for the questions but I'm really interested in going this December. Cheers for the good report/review!

Angry Panda said...


Terence, sorry for the 2 months late reply. Somehow missed the comment notification. :p

Also maybe my description of the technique isn't really clear as I am still a fishing newbie. But generally, the idea of catching the barramundi is to swiftly whip the rod downwards which will make a cutting sound. Erm, those sharp cutting sound. Not too sure if that make sense. Same applies for the "cheap" method.

Everything from transportation to equiptment (rod, reels and lure) was provided through the guide. Man, I miss that place.