FL10 (All 218 pages) - Page 73



Made In England
(Above) My second favourite of the
trip – a stunning tiger catfish.
(Middle) At last! Vince with a huge
arapaima, after much heartache.
(Bottom) And one for me as well – very
satisfying.
sights they were. If you’ve been to
Thailand, you know exactly what I
mean. If you’ve only read about it, let
me assure you, it’s all true! Ladyboys,
lovely girls, all mixed up and scarily
indistinguishable. Four o’clock the
next morning found us tottering into
bed, so we weren’t awake to witness
Ben’s third arapaima, this one of a
similar size to mine. So that just left
Vince. He’d become the red tail king,
having landed five or six monsters,
but he was desperate to land an arapaima. A move to the far end of the
lake late on Tuesday seemed to have
paid off when, after yet another big
red tail, he hooked an arapaima, but
once again the hook pulled and he
was starting to get really wound up.
Stu had a little word about how he
was playing them, saying that these
weren’t like the carp in England; you
can’t bully them, and this morning he
took heed of that advice. For almost
two hours he battled with a big fish,
and it was near to netting on half a
dozen occasions, surging away on a
50 or 60yd run each time it got close.
But eventually it was in the net and
you probably heard Vince’s relief from
h o m e ! Tw o h u n d r e d a n d t h i r t y
pounds! Magnificent! We’ve just had
breakfast, watched the Gooners get
beaten by United, and I’m now off to
see how close I can get to 100lb. We’ll
convene again in a couple of days…
Welcome back. Well, more than a
couple of days have passed since that
last statement, in fact this is the last
full day of our holiday, and more than
a week since my last scribbling. It’s a
pity I’ve left it so long because a mix
of emotions have been endured in
that time. On another early morning
stalking session last week, I hooked
an arapaima from just one yard out,
and after almost an hour landed a fish
of knocking on 180lb. That was me,
that’s what I’d set myself the target of
– a fish over 100lb, and now, here it
was, and I was blown away. More of
the big fellas succumbed to our baits,
and not just fish baits. Vince had half
a dozen red tailed catfish on boilies,
and also took a 180lb arapaima on
sweetcorn. And Lin hooked most
species in the pond on Mun’s carefully prepared sweetcorn baits and
method ball.
But on Saturday we had cause to
think. Stuart told us, at breakfast, that
a couple of arapaima had turned up
dead. At 80 and 100kg, they could
quite easily have been fish that we’d
recently hooked, and we were gutted.
Stuart decided to close the top bay
totally, giving the fish an acre of water
to rest up in and hide away if necessary. We decided to see some more of
Thailand. The plan hadn’t been to fish
non-stop, but it’s bloody addictive
and a week had passed without us
really leaving the premises. That
night Stuart took us to a bar called
‘Kansas’ for a bit of rock, and we discussed the recent events. It tran-
FREE LINE 73

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