Fishing gear and fishing methods
We would like to describe our tackle and some of the methods practiced in Thailand for catching the fish on our list.We do not use high-tech materials nor the latest tackle available, but rather simple and inexpensive alternatives. We only try to get line brought over from Europe by visiting friends because most of the line we can buy in Thailand is unreliable, often not meeting up with the information given by the manufacturers.
These three reels can catch just about any of the fish that we've listed. The small one, a product of China, is in combination with a light Daiwa rod the ideal item to catch fish up to 5 kg. The baitrunner reel, made in Korea, copes well with medium sized fish, say up to 15kg, whilst the behemoth on the right has proven worthy of the Mekong giant catfish. Whoever hooks a fish with a weight of more than 20 kg will appreciate a strong reel.
We use barbless hooks much of the time, and we don't believe we've lost any fish because of this. The barb is easily crushed with pliers. Some commercial fishing pond operators insist on barbless.
As already mentioned, the set-up of our lines and rigs is easy. We'd like to draw attention to the so-called "cage feeder". The photo on the left shows the most popular cage feeders. The feeder enables the angler to get a pile of groundbait next to his baited hook, with the wire cage serving as as a scaffold for the attractant. For the attractant we use a variety of dough mixtures. Of course there is no mixture that we could call 'the best' as each venue and each fish species seems to prefer something different. One is well advised to check with the more experienced anglers of each particular lake, and follow their advice. Generally, with this method of fishing, all fish are caught on the bottom, but the one exception is the Mekong giant catfish which is usually caught 20-40 cm off the bottom or just below the surface. This can be acheived by using a large float to suspend the feeder in mid-water. We've also found that a free running feeder works better than a fixed one, but some anglers might argue with that and as in many things these are our own opinions, and views vary.
The ingredients for the groundbait are usually composed of a bread-based pre-mix and a little water. One can refine the recipe by adding other ingredients such as coconut milk, sugar, jam , mashed bananas or just about anything - some might work well, others might not.
After mixing the groundbait, form a ball about tennis ball sized, into which one pushes the cage. The mixture should not be too "wet" and sticky because then it won't dissolve in the water, and thus not attract the fish. At best, the ball will explode as it touches the water surface, so that the bait will slowly sink to the bottom around the hookbait. A short hooklink baited with bread is attached underneath the feeder.
After moulding the groundbait ball around the feeder, press the hookbait into the ball - this will help to avoid tangles. It's now ready to cast out. With this method you can catch a variety of fish - catfish, carp, tilapia and other coarse fish.
We use the cage feeder" relatively rarely! On some of the waters we fish it seems to be impossible to catch anything without them, so of course we use them there. We've had good success in the catching of predators using baits such as bacon, prawns and live bait. A piece of sausage or banana is a good bait for pacu, and we've caught several red-tail catfish on bread.
For more information about the fish we've caught in Thailand you can see the article 'Fish in Thailand' !
posted on: 27.09.2012 - last update on: 19.10.2013
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