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Diary of a Carp Fisher
close by. These include James Bond
Island, made famous by Scaramanga
in one of the old James Bond films,
and also Phi Phi Islands, which
became well known when Leonardo
Di Caprio filmed The Beach, which hit
the screens some years ago. There are
absolutely beautiful and unspoilt
beaches with miles and miles of
white sand, and hardly anybody there
at all. We all went as a family about
three quarters of an hour out to sea on
one of these boats, and they set us
ashore with a massive great bunch of
bananas that we’d purchased for
about 50p on the side of the road. We
were just wading out into the shal-
100 FREE LINE
lows, surrounded by literally thousands of the most beautiful fish imaginable, every colour under the sun,
and eating these bananas out of our
hands – it was a great day.
He then took us across to another
island where there was a small
restaurant up on the cliffs overlooking
the sea, and we all sat and had a big
buffet lunch together. It was help
yourself and eat as much as you can,
which worked out to be about £3 or
£4 per head; it really is so cheap in
Thailand when you’re there – it’s difficult to spend any money at all.
Obviously fishing was on the
agenda as well. I had learnt from my
previous trips that the first couple of
hours in the morning at dawn and the
last couple of hours in the evening
just on dark are the best times of the
day, much the same as in England.
Once the sun really gets up, it’s difficult to catch fish off the bottom. It’s
not impossible; I mean certainly you
can stalk the margins, and I’ve caught
fish in over 20ft of water in temperatures touching 100 degrees, but
they’re the hot times. As I was on holiday, the thought of getting up at 5am
every day wasn’t really that appealing, but I did try and make use of as
many of the afternoon and early
evening hot periods as possible.
I made my mind up this trip that it
was the Siamese carp that I wanted
to target. It seems strange to think of
fish in treble figures, but that’s what
you do on a venue like this. There are
about four species in there that go
over the 100lb mark; the arapaima up
to 400lb, the carp approaching 200lb,
the Mekong catfish definitely go over
200lb, and there are sting rays too. I’m
not sure what the biggest rays in
there are, but they grow to 1000lb in
the rivers in Thailand. I think that the
largest ones in Stuart’s lake are prob-
(Top) 70lb Siamese carp.
(Below left) Ash latches into an
arapaima but unfortunately loses it.
(Below right) Ash with a nice
sorubim.

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