A Thailand fly fishing chronicle
-No flies, no fly rods, what is fly fishing? Asked the fishing shop owners , followed by a Oooh!!! when we did show them our fly boxes and after explanation of the art the guys would go like :”Thai fishes do not eat insects”
Yes, they were quite right, a fish bigger than a sunfish would not take insects imitations.
Fly fishing the most common and popular Thai fish the piscivorous and batrachivorous stripped snakehead with mayflies can’t do.
It would not take the fly!
So we had to observe (takes time) and gather information fishing with an ugly stick and look for stomach contents.
We tied flies with the proper size, colors, actions and adapted to the local fishery from traditional patterns for bass, pike, saltwater patterns, all poppers and made a lot of experimental flies but a few worked.Years after years we got in contact with fly tiers like Captain Dan Ayo from Flyfishing Louisianna , Alain Barthelemy from Abfly or locals like Jon Ingi Agustsson from Targus who send us free materials…
We did this for all the fish we had around in the lake and the streams, it was alright we had our selection in our flybox for the high plateau hot country lake and river fly fishing were we live .
Until the day we met with Giant snakehead (pla shado) in the Jungle…
Uncle Gnop said: “Nobody can take them on a regular basis with a fly, if you get one it’s luck.” He had witnessed an english bloke casting big poppers and streamers with a two-handed fly rod with no success. At the end of three days with Uncle Gnop we caught only one smally.
Too few Giant Snakehead are caught using the flyrod in the wild. You can look around at flyfishing guide websites in Thailand, not much pictures right?
But take a moment to scroll back up and take a good look at this picture that Oncle Gnop gave us. Do you see that beast?
The large fins…The missile shape…The camo on the back with some turquoise you know it’s a male…Ambushing … exploding, grabing a bird, rat, snake or fish and cutting it in half with its terrible teeth. But won’t take the fly!?
Don’t forget that this part of the creation can breathe air and crawl on the ground.
Baitcasters with their buzzers, propellers lures are successful with catch of a dozen fish a day (of course we tried to make and fish buzzer flies ).
Nobody knows what is all about the giant snakehead and fly fishing.
We know big Giant Trevally poppers and a bunch of other flies that do not work.
We know by studying astonishing magazines like Wild on the Fly, Plaisirs de la Peche, Peche Mouche, Catch, This is fly or community websites like Global flyfisher, Flies and Fins, The Drake that many fly fishermen and fly fisherwomen are living for/from fly fishing. But how many would stick with a riddle this size?
Taimen, Peacock bass, Tigerfish, Aymara, Golden Dorado, Pike or Black Bass are not Giant Snakehead (what a great sense of observation (lmaol)).
We pretty sure that it takes the heart of a Steelheader to catch a Giant Snakehead .
You may think we know shit about Giant Snakehead but it’s untrue: we know a bit, just enough to get driven crazy like a Permit fisherman with a propeller plastic duck fly at the end of the shock tippet.
We are looking for sportsmen willing to take a real challenge.
Lodging on Teak motorized raft or Bamboo bungalow raft or Tent, we can provide a trip for almost all budgets.
Well, an another discovery was the Jungle perch or hampala macrolepidota or in Thai :”Pla kassoop”; for the specie that grows big (kassoop kit) and the smaller specie (kassoop choot).
Jungle perch at least the smaller specimen will rush for your poppers and other surface flies.
Kassoop is the perfect fish for the beginner, the take is frank and long runs makes your reel scream even on a 9 weight.
This slender fish would not jump as much as a peacock bass but has more stamina.
It is a very good fisherman called Big Frank who introduced me to the chase of the Jungle perch. Big frank had fly rods and tied flies, after several trips together in 2003 we decided to create the Thai Flyrodders Club (first flyfishing club of Thailand).
Thai masheer or “pla vien” is a fish present in mountain ranges from south to north Thailand.
Asian bonytongue specie similar to Arrowana or Saratoga called “pla tapat” in Thai is present in south Thailand but rare.
To find them you need to go in seculed jungle rivers quite easily accessible through national parks where sometimes conservation primes over sportfishing or you need to be ready to camp. For Thai Masheer some dedicated outfitter in Chiang Mai offers you with this opportunity.
Present but also rare are:
Fishing parks of quality are numerous in Thailand you may find them quite easily. Fishing parks are fun. Fishing parks are really enjoyed by beginners and kids.
To this day we have caught a lot of non-trout fish on the fly, we have met with wonderful people.
We would like to continue this endeavour and rewardingly fill this website with photos of you and the fish you catch with us.
And if you are a bit rusty with your casts then we will take the time to teach you and enable you to become a fly fisherman.
Fish in Peace