FL09June - Page 212



From Horton to Paradise
on Friday 17th Oct, I wanted to be up
at the crack of dawn the next day, so
a fairly early night was had by one
and all. For my birthday I had asked
Stuart and Sean and their partners to
join me in a celebratory meal down in
Ao Nang. Of course Steve would be
joining in the fun too; we didn’t
expect him to stay behind and cook
for himself. Stuart had recommended
the Indian for the meal, which I for
one was more than happy with – after
all, I didn’t know the area, and Stu
likes his Indian meals, so that was the
plan made for my birthday evening
meal. There was just the small task of
trying to bank a really decent fish on
the Friday for the birthday boy.
As planned, I was up early and
eager to get the rods cast back out on
their spots. Gollock had already set all
the gear up for me in the swim, so
without further ado I was soon fishing
out on the plateau. The Tutti Frutti
had paid dividends for me on the first
day, so I decided to stick with the
same approach. After a very slow
morning with not much happening, I
decided to pull them in and go for a
nice breakfast. The arapaima did not
seem to be as active that particular
morning for one reason or another.
Anyway after another fantastic fryup from Steve, I decided to have a few
beers. Well, after all it was my birthday, and it would have been rude not
to really. I suppose it must have been
getting on for 1.30pm when I eventually left the bar, and as I walked back
round the pathway towards my swim
I noticed that the water in the right
hand corner of the lake had gone very
pale coloured. I’m blaming the Tiger
beer, but I didn’t really take to much
notice of it at the time. I went and
fished on up in my swim for a further
three or so hours with no action, then
out of nowhere Stuart came along the
footpath and told me to bring my
live/deadbait rod with me as he had
just seen a huge arapaima take a frog
right in the edge. Yes, you’ve guessed
it, in that corner I took no notice of,
the lakebed was still really stirred up,
and Stuart pointed me in the right
direction to place the dead bait. It
could only have been in the water for
a minute or so before the float tore
away, and I struck into a mahoosive
arapaima that was the most powerful
thing I’ve ever hooked in my life. With
me hanging onto the 6lb test curve
Cat Tamer rod for dear life, the fish ran
straight out towards the centre of the
lake, then turned and headed for the
opposite corner. All of a sudden there
came that nasty feeling of the hook
being spat out, and I was left shaking
like a jellyfish, wondering what, if
anything, I had done wrong. Stu said
hard luck son, but that’s the way the
cookie crumbles with these fish; you
tend to lose as many as you catch.
So after baiting up the rod, I was
out in the margin once more. The light
was now starting to fade a little, and
time was running out for my birthday
fish. I managed to hook and lose
another arapaima, albeit a smaller one
this time. The rig went out again, and
the float was immediately gone. This
felt a very good fish, but was not the
same type of fight; the fish was keeping low, but it took a very quick 40yds
of line from the spool on its initial run.
I really did not want to lose this fish,
so I played it with my hand on my
heart for a while. In the end Sean, who
A very happy me with my first Amazon red tailed catfish – time to celebrate!
212 FREE LINE
My first fish from Gillhams, a pacu of
20lb.
was in the water with the net by this
time, caught a glimpse of a very good
red tail catfish, and after what can
only be described as the fight of my
life with a fish, into the waiting net it
went. I was jumping up and down
like a lunatic on the bank, and I could
tell Stuart, Sean and Gollock were
over the moon for me, as the fish was
one of the ones on my wanted list. I
went on to have another red tail of
around 35lb that evening, but the first
one was estimated by Stu and Sean at
55lb (happy birthday, “Ladders” boy)
That night we all went out to Ao
Nang, and had a fantastic Indian
meal, then on to one of the bars that
had a pool table to shoot some pool.
Things really couldn’t get much better for me; I’d caught a fish of a lifetime on my birthday, plus earlier in
the year had three amazing fish from
Horton, with still ten days of my holiday in Thailand to come.
On waking up the following morning slightly worse for wear I decided
not to fish first thing but to go and
have one of Steve’s brekkies. I really
needed to get rid of the hangover
before attempting to do battle with
any of those beauties in the lake. I
must admit that not a lot of angling
took place that weekend due to football on the Sky box, and the usual
banter that goes on between Chelsea
and Man United fans, Steve being
Man U, and me being a lifelong Chav
supporter. Anyway I still had plenty of
time on my side, and the place is just
so laid back with the most gorgeous
surroundings, so who wouldn’t want

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