FL10 (All 218 pages) - Page 72



Made In England
(Above) Ben with a huge arapaima –
and looking totally blown away by
the event.
(Below) Lin and me with our first fish
of the trip, hers is obviously bigger!
big that charged down the margins,
requiring Vince and I to both reel in
rapidly, and took almost an hour for
her to subdue, but her patience paid
off and there in the net sat our first
arapaima – a huge fish of just over
100lb! Just like most wives what fish,
Lin usually manages to outdo her
husband, and this looked like being
no exception. Right, time to start taking this a bit seriously.
With the sun rising at six, I fancied
taking a rod and some deadbaits and
doing a bit of early morning stalking,
and it wasn’t long before I’d found a
load of fish in front of the restaurant.
There are rules, apparently, but I just
72 FREE LINE
hadn’t read them, so I saw no harm in
dropping a bait over the veranda, and,
within seconds, had hooked and lost
a big fish. A minute later a big red tail
was leaving with my bait, but that too
came adrift. A third cast was curtailed
by Sean’s confirmation that I was, in
fact, poaching – lucky Stuart was still
abed! I went to the nearest swim and
cast my bubble float and dead bait as
close to the restaurant bank as possible, and in seconds the line was cutting out to the left, but that too came
adrift and I was getting a mite frustrated.
Stalking - I was supposed to be
stalking. I strolled along the bank to
the next swim where I’d seen a disturbance then, bang in front and
10yds away, an arapaima rolled and
my deadbait followed it to the bottom. Seconds later, the line picked up
and the clutch screamed as the fish
made its getaway. Sean and Mun, the
Thai helper, came around to assist,
and after 15 minutes, with my mouth
getting very dry, they netted a 70lb
arapaima for me. Not the biggest in
t h e l a k e, b u t s e v e n t y b l e e d i n g
pounds! After the photos, Ben left and
took his stalking rod to the opposite
side of the bay, and what ensued was
epic. Within minutes of casting he
hooked a fish, and minutes later he
saw it roll, so knew it was an arapaima. Time and again the fish made
50, 60, 70yd runs, and after an hour it
showed no signs of tiring. On half a
dozen occasions either Sean or Stuart
had to swim out and coax it from the
bottom, where it simply lay and said,
“I’m bloody heavy, what you gonna
do about it?”
A further half an hour in the
increasing heat saw it come gradually
closer, then eventually, unbelievably,
it was in the net – and was enormous!
No, what’s another word that’s bigger
than ‘enormous’? Ginormous? Gargantuan? How about ‘three hundred
and fifty pounds’? Yeah, that works.
Neither words nor photos can convey what we were looking at. Not just
the size but the beauty. Ben was incapable of speech for many hours, and
rightly so, and I must admit I had a bit
of a tear in my eyes, soppy old sod.
We’d all said we’d like to catch something over 100lbs (how bloody blasé),
but now we had something that was
beyond reference in freshwater fishing terms. Truly incredible. As if that
wasn’t enough, he then hooked
another at dusk that took him 300yds
into the bottom bay before being netted, an hour later, at a mere 220lbs.
Two fish for almost six hundred –
have a word. My capture of a 60lb
Siamese carp and a 65lb red tail sort
of paled into insignificance, although
not in my eyes. Three different
species over 60lbs in one day – you
ain’t gonna hear me complaining
about that.
That night, Stuart took Lin and I
into town to see the sights, and what

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