If you can imagine one of the best days of your life…what would it involve? It is a tall order and I just lived out one of mine while fishing for the Giant Mekong catfish in Bangkok, Thailand.
My wish was to just pull in one of those pre-historic looking mystery beasts that bear the distinction of being one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. The day played out far beyond the moment I had in my mind for so many years. After nine action-packed and exhausting hours, I reeled in 25 giant catfish, many topping the scales at 60 – 70+ lbs.
Tucked in the middle of a tiny Bangkok neighborhood, is Bungsamran Lake. Operated by Fish Thailand, visitors are in for a full day. For a set price, I got a day of fishing, a local professional fishing guide, a comfortable bungalow, all of the fishing equipment and bait for the day as well as lunch and water. Comfort was at my fingertips, and I needed it because visiting the lake on a good day means rarely finding a moment to rest. For fishing die-hards, this is like the Super bowl!
My guide Alley can size up a fish quickly. Just by setting the hook, he knows the approximate weight of the fish. And, as impressive as the size of the fish, is the size of the bait! It is a rice mixture that Alley scoops out of a bucket, mixes with water and forms into something that resembles a snowball. You can imagine the size of fish that eats that.
The physical exertion necessary to pull in the massive Giant Mekong catfish is staggering. It is truly like trying to pull a bus through the water. Each catch took me approximately 20 minutes to wrestle to the bungalow where Alley lifted it with a net. As I pose for photo opps with my fish, some of them were so heavy I could not lift them. In fact, I think I even rested on top of me for the photo.
My muscles were withered for about two days. Every part of my body aches and my back muscles are so fatigued that Alley literally held onto me during the final catches of the day. This moment—right now—is one I have thought about for all these years. It is so surreal to see that moment come to life.
I fished the entire day—9 hours and caught 25 massive fish. Alley tells me that most people never make it to the end of the day –and what few women they see at the lake only make it a few hours. Even the hard core men who fish here usually catch 12-15 fish on a really good day. So, I beat the odds in every way.
The facility and the staff of Fish Thailand make this an incredible experience. They are so confident in your experience that they guarantee half of your money back if you do not at least catch a 30lb. fish. It is a top-notch operation. Fish Thailand plans to open a new Lake called Jurassic Fishing Lake by March of 2013 in Thailand. I am excited to return someday and see what lurks beneath those waters.
Rarely do dreams ever compare to the moment we’ve made in our minds. The experience of fishing for the Giant Mekong catfish in Thailand was made even better by exceeding my every expectation.