Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bangkok-style Fishing: Giant Mekong Catfish

This blog has been so neglected and sad. So ronery. But I am determined to whip it back into shape. I have photos from approximately 700 activities/trips/happenings, dating back to our February trip to Cambodia and May adventure in New Zealand, that I have yet to post. I'm thinking I'll start with the most recent and go backwards, messing with the space-time continuum as well as your brains, anyone out there who is still reading.

But first, an update from the blog's namesake, Monsieur Lincoln (or Khun Lincoln, as the Thais might call him). Hmm, looks like he's too busy with this lizard to provide you with any meaningful update. Such is the life of a cat in Southeast Asia:


On to our most recent adventure: fishing!
Be warned: this is a GIF-heavy post... turns out fishing is quite GIF-able. Also: I make funny faces when fishing. Finally: Mr. Ben has a hat that he calls his "adventure hat."


Mr. Ben decided that, for his birthday weekend, we wanted to do something outside. We'd been talking about trying out this place, Bungsamran Fishing Park, just outside of Bangkok.  The fishing park basically guarantees that you will catch a ginormous fish.  Plus you get to chill out in a little bungalow with some beers. None of us being serious fishermen (fisherpeople? fishers? fisherfolk?), this sounded pretty awesome. And awesome it was.  Here are some non-fishing shots from our catch-and-release day trip:


The fish in the lake (set amidst the rice paddies and suburbs of Bangkok) are mainly Giant Mekong Catfish (a seriously enormous fish that is critically endangered in its natural habitat, the Mekong river, but is plentiful in this particular lake), Giant Siamese Carp (also critically endangered... my my, this post-fishing research is getting depressing!) and the Arapaima (not native to the Southeast Asia region; it's an Amazon River fish). But only the Giant Mekong Catfish seemed to be biting during our outing to the lake:


Only in Southeast Asia does fishing involve someone to bait (with a softball-sized ball of rice flour mixed with a buttermilk/coconut oil blend) and cast your line, and then help you reel it in, too. Niiiiiiice!


Mr. Ben, the birthday boy, was the first to fight and bag an enormous catfish.  Here he is, getting help from our trusting fishing guide with his safety harness thingy (which we affectionately referred to as "the strap on").  Our guide also provided helpful fishing tips ("Right hand strong, left hand not strong." and "Quick, quick!"):


Here's Mr. Ben close to winning the battle with his fish while Tim was just beginning his:


Hauling in and posing with the 24 kg (almost 55 lbs!!) beast:


Tim was up next... bwa ha ha ha:


Heavy fish!  This one = 21 kg/46 lbs.


Returning the (crazy-eyed) fish to the lake to hang out with his friends, perhaps not as gently as the fish would have liked:


Here are the boys, covered in fish goo, but ecstatic about their respective catches:


Now my turn!


My 55 lb fishie... hard to reel in and hard to lift!  


Erin was next up.  We were worried these giant fish would pull her in, but she showed them who's boss:


Her fish tried to outsmart her by going under the dock and getting tangled in the uprights, but with a little help from our guide, he was pried from his hideout and Erin pulled that big sucker in:


High-five:


Ben and Tim each caught a second fish, so we went for some group shots!


Erin and I each fought and lost mighty, simultaneous battles to our next fish, both of whom were quite wily, tangling themselves under the dock until they were able to cut their lines:


And, fin:


2 comments:

  1. Me! Me! I'm still reading! These fish are absurd. I'm glad to see that Baby didnt' fall in and get swallowed. Did your thighs hurt from reeling those beasties in? It looks like quite the workout!

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    1. Yeah, these fish are outrageously large! Dude: my thighs, my back, my forearms... all are sore. It takes like 10 minutes of pulling and reeling to pull those fishies in! Exhausting!

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