Recently I was sitting on my porch, having a little relax with a nice cup of tea, enjoying the late afternoon sun as it started to slip down behind the Coconut trees, when a guy from next door just wandered over and sat down. We had a little chat in Thai about what we had been doing all day, My Thai language skills are getting better after a few months so when he said do you want to go fishing of course I said yes, “what fish (plah araigh) ?” ,”(Plah chon) “Striped Snakehead” he said.
So I grabbed two rods, a couple of lures, my bits and bobs and followed him. About 5 kilometers up the road we stopped and turned down a track which runs next to a lake that looks like a canal but flows out to the sea. I have been past countless times and its never really looked that inspiring as a fishing spot to me, its on the list but not very high up. I pointed over at it, and asked if this was the place. (mai chai) no, was the answer. He pointed towards the mountains and gestured across a few fields.
OK, I thought, I have never been over there, lets go. We started walking towards where he had pointed and I asked if it was a big lake (sa yai), no he said it used to be a shrimp farm (liang Gung). When I reached the brow of the small hill and looked down, I started to get a little excited, as there were 5 ponds, all square in shape with high banks and lots of weeds, grasses and sticks poking out from the surface and from what I have learned so far about Striped Snakeheads ( Pla Chon) this is the exact sort of environment that they like.
I unpacked my two rods gave my friend named “sai” first choice of rod and lures. He chose my 10ft Evolution power rod which I bought here in Thailand for 300 Baht (about £5) and my trusty Shakesphere reel( packed with 10lb line) which I brought with me from home and my rubber frog lure with a hook protector clip to stop it from catching any snags.
That left me with the 7 foot spinning rod and reel both bought from the tackle shop in my town here in Thailand. I also had two lures, the first was a Mango Jig head that I had modified and added a propeller blade to the front of the lure. Second was a popper lure with rubber dressing which I had also added a propeller to the front of. So on the first cast,using the modified popper lure I aimed at a little spot directly in front of me about 40 feet away, cast much too far and immediately got the hook embedded in some thick rushes. After five minutes of pulling and waggling the rod around, I was about to do the rod straightener when I thought I might as-well wade in and get it. The water was not cold and the lure was only 50 feet away, the only problem was the leeches that were bound to be waiting for me when I got in there ( its a good idea to wear underpants rather than boxer shorts when wading in Thai waters as Leeches have been known to crawl up where the sun don’t shine). Anyway, I striped down to my daks and waded over , got the lure out and was on dry land again within 60 seconds. The problem now was that this nice looking spot was wrecked and any fish that had been waiting for my lure to go past would have been long gone.
I could see my friend sai over the other side of the same pond, so I headed over there. He had found a nice little spot with lots clumps of oxygenating weed just under the surface and was casting 20 feet past it and then retrieving the lure back through it. I didn’t want to take over his spot so I had a wander around to the next pond, which looked equally as inviting as the previous one.
On the first cast I had a take and the fish jumped all the way out of the water, I think I struck to quickly or to hard and missed it. A few more casts into the same area produced a bit more interest from the residents but no proper takes and nothing hooked. I tried other runs through different parts of the swim but to no effect. So I changed the lure over and started to use my modified >Mango fishing Jig head lure. On the first cast I had a take as I was pulling the Jig upwards, there was a big swirl in the water and the fish was on.
I feel I must say here that the size of the fish was not big at all and probably a juvenille less than a year old, but he didn’t give up. The size of the fish and my tackle meant that there was not really any contest and this fish was quickly on the bank and unhooked. My first snakehead in Thailand and it was all my own work with a little thanks to my friend Mr Sai for showing me such a nice little spot right out in the sticks.
We fished on for about another hour or so and I moved around three of the pools that did not have nets across. Even so there were many nice hiding places for snakehead and I had a number of strikes on both my lures a few more clearing the water and a few more misses.
At dusk I moved back to where Sai had started the evening and had a few casts over the weedy section with the modified popper, this produced a take on the second cast, right in the middle of the weeds, again the fish was rather small but at least I had caught fish on both my lures and I could go home knowing that I was now in the club. The second Snakehead in Thailand was a bit larger than the first and was caught on my modified popper lure right on top of a thick bed of weeds. Sai had one fish a bit larger than my two and from what I gathered he also had a few misses. All in all a great first snakehead experience, and a place that I will go again as soon as the weather is right. I cant wait to long because as the water level goes down and down the locals will move in with their nets and electric prods and clean the fish out for this year.