Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Mekong!!!!!!!!

 Today, 27th Feb, is Paul, Gillian, Tony and Michelle's final day with us here in sunny Phuket before heading off to Koh Samui tomorrow for a few more precious days of sunshine in The Land of Smiles (LOS).

The team opted for a day at Jez Wilson's Chalong Fishing Park which is just a 15 minute drive from our base!

We were first to arrive and were greeted by another lovely morning with a welcome breeze from the sea which is about half a mile away.


 Jez offers a good menu with both Thai and European food on offer. After a couple of weeks of spicy food and rice, it's very nice for us 'Ferangs' (Westerners) to order up a full English breakfast.


Our charming cook and waitress is called Noiey. She is a friend of Kannika's and was brought in from Bangkok to assist Jez's wife with the catering and cooking etc  during the 'High Season'.

Noiey is an archetypal Thai lady; extremely polite, shy, always smiling, can't speak a word of English and had never, until 6 weeks ago, heard of let alone cooked a 'Full English'.......so good for her for learning!!
 Chalong Fishing Park boats a fine eating and relaxing area with a well stocked bar, plenty of seating and even a couple of full size hammocks!!

And, as are all the best eateries, it is kept immaculately clean and tidy and features an attractive array of local flora.
 There is the added attraction of several pig nose turtles in a large tank within the restaurant.

Well...I've never seen such a creature and they really do have little snouts like a pig! They stay in the water all the time.
 Anyhow...today's quest was for Mekong Catfish only.

Any other species caught was to be mocked and the captor berated for being 'useless'.

And here's Mr Tony Perkins from Sheffield hooked into the first fine fighting beastie.
 An appreciative group of onlookers gathered to admire the skills of retired detective Tony, honed after his two weeks in Thailand which has included quite a few days fishing spread between several locations.
 Tony's 'guide', Khun Egg, leapt into the water to tail the Mekong ready for Tony to enter the water and present his fish to the camera....
 Always fun trying to grab hold of the fish's tail whilst still in the water.
And here it is...the first of the day.
 Being the friendly place it is, Tony was rewarded with a big smacker from Michelle. Hurrah! That's why we go fishing.....to impress our beloveds.
Londoner Paul Pettifer soon retaliated with a good rod bender that raced off to the right hand side of the lake.

These Mekongs fight like mad but are even more fun when played on light tackle. The fish are strong enough to make many long runs and fight right to the end. It's no good trying to bully them...this is all about correct use of the Shimano and Okuma bait runners twinned with the light test curve catfish rods.


 Aaahhh...this is what fishing is all about. Friendship! May the Brotherhood of Anglers forever remain strong!!
 Khun Tedge leaps in to gather Paul's fish, release the hook and add the iodine to the hook area.
 And here's Paul with his first of the day.
 Moments later and just slightly smaller, Paul's second Mekong of the day went racing off. Frazzled by the first fight, this second battle was an endurance test in the increasing heat and was a struggle to lift.

Guide Tedge estimated this fish at 25kg with the one above more in the 30kg range.

Whatever they did actually weigh, they are massive fish compared to anything we catch from lakes and river in UK and so every fish like this is a wonderful experience.


 The Mekongs were all remarkably similar in their estimated size with Tony's second one also in the 25 kg to 30 kg range.
 Khun Boy, lead guide, tackles a Mekong.
 Khun Boy, the lead gillie, was on the other side of the lake and was tending to out third angling friend, Paul (yes, yet another Paul!) Taylor who is from Brighton but moved to Norway 10 years ago.

Amazing what a close knit group we anglers are. Paul had fished with several Brighton skippers including Terry Lee who I met at Jez's lake back in December. We knew many of the same people back in UK and all through our passion for angling.

Paul Taylor's Mekong was estimated at 35 kg!


 And back to Paul Pettifer with another fine catfish.....


Well, I left the team to carry on in my absence as I had a lot of photos of their many adventures to sort out and put on to the memory sticks my guests had provided.

The lads and lasses have just walked in...it's going dark now...full of tales of yet more fish.




We've certainly enjoyed some memorable days fishing and diving and it'll be sad to see them leave early tomorrow after one final dinner together at the wonderful Tamarin Bar in nearby Chalong town.




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