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Catches, entertainment and news from Thailand’s only exclusive syndicated sport-fishing venue
5 STAR FISHING AT ITS VERY BEST
Welcome once again to the Jurassic Mountain newsletter that gives you all the news, gossip, catch reports and light hearted anglers antics that relates to this Thailand fishing paradise for the month of February. A big thanks to all the new faces and returning guests who succumbed to the gravitational pull of our ‘extreme fishing gem.’ It was our pleasure indeed to welcome you all to Jurassic Mountain Resort and Fishing Park.
February’s weather was unbelievable. I can honestly say that I struggle to recollect a cloud in those continuous blue skies for the majority of the month. Normally you’d at least get a couple of cloudy days with the chance of an odd shower here and there but February had neither. Not even one little white fluffy bit as far as I can recall for at least the first twenty odd days and even then, all we had was a few white wispy bits here and there.
Taking advantage of this wonderful weather, I continued with my Thailand travels and I nipped off to the River Kwai with Neti where we stayed on a floating raft for a few days. If you’ve never been to this part of the world named Kanchanaburi, I suggest you put it on your bucket list of places to visit in Thailand, it’s truly stunning, and not very far from Jurassic Mountain.
However, the River Kwai also holds a darker side with memories of the infamous Thai – Burma railway that was built under forced labour in part by Allied P.O.W’s who were captured by the Japanese during the second world war. One such monument is Hellfire Pass which derived it’s name from a scene from hell due to the shadows of emaciated men that flickered wildly in the torchlight, relentlessly swinging hammers against the rock face that they were being forced to chisel into. A scene from hell without doubt it surely must have been and a visit here to see and hear how so many lost their lives under the most atrocious and barbaric conditions is a truly humbling experience indeed and for me personally, a stark reminder that we should never forget all those who gave up their lives for us.
That’s enough of the Thailand travel guide so back at Jurassic Mountain ……..
I’ve decided to include a ‘Why we do’ and a ‘Why we don’t’ section within the newsletter which will basically answer many of the questions we get asked by prospective and returning anglers to our fishery. In recent weeks, several anglers due to visit us for the first time have asked:-
WHY DON’T WE STOCK MEKONG CATFISH ?
At this moment here at Jurassic Mountain, we do not stock Mekong catfish and for the foreseeable future we do not have any plans to do so. Whether our plans change in the future, is open to further debate but even so, I believe that our reservations in stocking this species would remain even after we complete a lake extension. Now, before the well informed among you jump up and ask the question, ‘Why have you got two Mekong’s swimming around in your lake then?’ Please allow me to explain this and also give you our reasons for not stocking them in larger numbers based on our own experiences over the years.
Firstly, at our lakes inauguration, we believed it a good idea to introduce a couple of Mekong catfish to coexist with the numerous other species that were happily swimming in it’s depths. We decided on two and two only and since their introduction all that time ago, they’ve never even been hooked let alone landed. This is largely due to the fact that as they are predominantly filter feeders, they begin life feeding on tiny, even microscopic foodstuffs and in a natural environment would carry on in this vein for the entirety of their lives. This is the main reason they’ve never been caught here because they arrived here straight out of a natural environment and were not fish that had arrived from a fish farm and because there is an abundance of this natural microscopic food within the lake and with only two Mekong’s in it to gorge on the plentiful supply, this has resulted in them not needing to turn onto anglers baits.
So why do Mekong’s get caught on a regular basis on venue’s that specifically stock them then?
In our experience this is simply because there are more Mekong’s than natural food supply which, when they get hungry enough as they most definitely will, they will reluctantly have to take most alternative baits offered to them. Unfortunately, being forever hungry and being caught on a regular basis will then result in poor fish quality combined with substantial weight loss. This is why invariably most Mekong’s stocked in sport fisheries are nowhere near the weight they were when they were first introduced within months of being stocked. It’s possible that this may not be true of all commercial fisheries that hold Mekong, but it’s certainly true of the majority. Of course anglers really want to target fish that get bigger by the year, not smaller! This weight loss does not apply to our two babies that we introduced unless we stocked many dozens more, but the likelihood is that we’ll never know their true size except for an estimation of it when they provide us with a tantalising glimpse of themselves as they break surface on the rare occasions that they do. Our guess is that they are both well in excess of 120kg.
Another major downside of stocking too many Mekong’s is that they’re big enough (even when skinny) to bully everything else sufficiently enough to obtain the lion’s share of the food supply, therefore all other species in the lake will invariably suffer as a consequence of being surrounded by hungry Mekong’s and that is one scenario that we’re not prepared to let happen under any circumstances or at any cost. Obviously we would much rather the carp and our other desirable species get the lion’s share of the food.
Another issue with stocking Mekong’s is tackle incompatibilities. By this we mean a rod and reel that is suitable for landing say a 200lb Mekong catfish would seriously outgun a carp of the same size.
The tackle which we provide is designed to give you more than a sporting chance of landing the fish here and to supply you with as much fun and action whilst doing so. That is why we consider our purpose built, 10 foot, 4.2lb test curve, through action T36 carbon fibre rods combined with Shimano OC 8000 baitrunner reels loaded with 65 lbs Power Pro braid weighing in at little more than a 1200grams for the whole set up, perfect for the job and well balanced to handle our monster carp whilst also providing you with the thrill of the fight at the same time. However, the chances of you landing a powerful Mekong on our kit within a reasonable time limit are greatly reduced unless the rods are upgraded to something resembling a broomstick and handling in the same fashion. You’d certainly be able to winch in a monster Mekong with them but where’s the fun in that when a monster of another species picks up the bait which could easily be landed safely with far more finesse on a much lighter outfit such as what is provided here at Jurassic Mountain.
Another major reason in reaching our decision not to stock is that Mekong’s will tend to wipe out half a dozen other anglers lines when they take off monotonously in a single direction, so when you consider that these brutes can give an angler a monotonous tug of war in a straight line for up to three hundred meters at a time, I’m not at all convinced that the rest of our customers would be happy to have to ‘reel in’ when told to do so when they take into account the costs of the fishing itself and of course the limited time that one has on a venue six thousand miles from home. It’s also a fact that the majority of our visitors are seasoned and extremely keen carp anglers. They will of course show an interest in what else is being caught around the lake but I think their interest would soon diminish and most wouldn’t take too kindly if told to ‘reel in’ when instructed to do so every time their neighbours hooked into a Mekong. Therefore, you’ll just have to be content with the exhilaration of fishing for our own alternative monster fish species on a non interrupted basis with tackle that will provide you with the ultimate thrill whilst doing so.
And finally, Mekong catfish are extremely easy to come by in Thailand and are substantially cheaper to purchase than other species. Because of these two factors, there are numerous Thai fisheries that are stacked to the gunnells with them where you can yank them out one after the other to your heart’s content all day long.
So, taking all of this into consideration, it’s a unanimous decision that Jurassic Mountain have no future plans to stock Mekong catfish and even if we did, it would never be in such numbers that every time an angler blows his whistle he’s hooked into yet another one. However, if you still really want to check this species off your list, this can easily and almost guaranteed to be done in a single day at the new Bungsamran lake in Bangkok. Please email Eddy for full details and he will happily organise a day for you in which you can expect to reel in 10 to 20 of these brutes in a single day averaging 20kgs and going all the way up to 150kgs+, but bear in mind that in the opinion of the majority of anglers, this is not fishing, it’s purely and simply catching but it’s definitely worth a one time visit before you embark on a more conventional fishing experience which is provided and enjoyed by the many here at Jurassic Mountain.
Right, let’s now take a light hearted look at some of the antics of a selection of anglers who graced Jurassic Mountain for the month of February. My apologies are extended to those who visited us and who didn’t get a mention, it’s nothing personal, there’s just far too many of you for me to keep up with. Here goes ….
The February angler of the month award is bestowed upon Sunderland’s Anthony Heron who you’ll see depicted in the main newsletter photo. Our Anthony has been a regular here for quite some considerable time and during his second visit to us he’s managed to land quality fish as a matter of course including the fine tambaqui that made a great shot for Anthony’s angler of the month award. This fish was hooked using a ball of ram on a method feeder which is a rice based bait and is readily available for your use here at Jurassic. Young Anthony has a definite preference for using ram, (perhaps he can relate to the name) but also, seeing that the alternative word for ram is ‘lum’ and the word ‘lum’ is also would you believe an early nineteenth century slang word for that highly prized asset that’s only found on the female anatomy, I’m maybe beginning to understand why?
You may recall in January’s newsletter that I wrote about Claudia Darga, the very lovely and accomplished female German angler who joined us here in January and who’s probably got a bigger following than what Bayern Munich Football Club itself has. I mentioned that one of her many ambitions was to promote angling sufficiently enough so that females worldwide would join her in taking up the sport. Well, my Neti certainly didn’t need telling twice…….
It was about 9.30 in the morning as I strolled over to the clubhouse where I found Peter from Harlow (above) who was halfway through his ten day visit staring intently at the lake and obviously deep in thought.
‘What’s up Pete?’ I casually asked, ‘why aren’t you fishing mate?’
“I’ve got a major problem Steve and it’s killing me” said Peter. He then explained that his wife was in mid air on her way to Bangkok for her first ever visit to Thailand and he was torn between going to the airport to meet her or sending her a taxi and carry on fishing just as he’d been doing for the last few days.
‘Wouldn’t be so bad under normal circumstances’ he added ‘but she’s a terrible flyer and chances are they’ll be carrying her off that plane in a bloody strait jacket.’
‘Seems like you’ve got a bit of a dilemma there Pete,’ I said sympathetically but then I added ‘ but if you want my advice, there’s really only one logical answer Peter, you should do the proper thing ….you’ve drawn a good peg, send her a taxi and get your arse fishing.’
Peter looked at me to see if I was joking but my dead pan expression didn’t betray my tongue in cheek comment. He sighed in agreement ‘Yeah you’re right Steve, it’s all but criminal to give up a day’s fishing at this place,,,,,,,but my conscience tells me I should really get in that taxi to the airport.’
After a further few minutes of heart wrenching deliberations, ‘Right, I’ve made my mind up’ he said getting to his feet, ‘toss a coin for me will ya? Heads I go to the airport, tails I’m going fishing.’
So always ready to lend a helping hand to someone in a quandry, I flicked up a coin, caught it and slapped it on the back of my hand.
With his eyes closed and with a grimace on his face, he asked ‘What is it?’
What d’you want it to be Pete?’ I asked just to prolong his mental suffering for a few moments more,
‘Piss off Steve,’ came his reply. ’Where am I bloody going?’
‘Looks like you’re going fishing mate,’ I said showing him the ‘tails’ and with the broad smile that automatically appeared across his face, he picked up his rods and skipped off whistling as he went to continue his Jurassic Mountain experience. Now that’s what I call a man with balls.
Mind you, I bet he was glad it didn’t come down as ‘heads’ because he then went on to have a red letter day catching half a dozen carp and his very first arapaima that he’d been targeting estimated to be around the 250 pound mark.
Judging by the ear to ear grin he was sporting all night in the Anglers Rest, it was obvious that his decision was well worth the right hander and the ‘deaf and dumb’ dinner that was surely forthcoming from ‘er indoors’ even though his excuse for leaving her dumped and wandering aimlessly around the taxi ranks of Bangkok was ‘for having his hands full of an arapaima.’ Sounds like a pretty valid excuse to me mate!
Footnote:- The above, including my advice and Pete’s eventual decision are for guideline purposes only. In the likely event that you find yourself in a similar situation, the Jurassic Mountain management (and me) will accept no liability for any injuries sustained from irate spouses or be held accountable within any divorce proceedings that may invariably follow.
Another interesting fella who fished here this month was a guy called Paul Lasenby Paul’s from Marlow, that nice part of old England in Bucks. And you won’t believe what this fella’s doing? Being an ex professional mountain biker, he flew out to Bangkok with nothing much more than his bike and he’s cycled all through Thailand, into and around Cambodia, into Vietnam from the south right up to the north near the Chinese border, into Laos and back through Thailand again. Pretty impressive stuff eh? That’s nothing! From here he intends to cycle through Burma, through Nepal, India and through every other bloody country until he gets back to England again. Is he nuts or what?
Anyway, after he told me this, it inspired me to go and get a mountain bike for myself which I duly did. It’s nothing of the calibre of Paul’s bike ‘cos his one cost five grand. Yeah, five thousand quid would you believe? Not for me mate, I’d want a bloody engine and four wheels on it for that! Nevertheless, I wish Paul nothing but the best of luck and my premature congratulations are extended to him because if he completes this marathon, I’m pretty sure that there ain’t many who have!
We welcomed returning guest from The Northern territory in Australia, Police Sergeant Ian Young.
Ian, a dedicated member of Australia’s boys in blue and an extremely accomplished angler to boot was keen to tell us about his exploits in Australia and how he manages to catch one after the other with relative ease.
Mind you, it took me a few minutes to realise that he wasn’t talking about with a fishing rod but was referring to his bloody speed camera instead.
However, this Chao phraya (below) catfish was observed causing frequent major disturbances and had been on the run evading capture for some considerable time. Police Sergeant Ian Young’s long arms of the law finally ensnared this runaway catfish that had taken the bait and was subsequently apprehended safely into captivity. Despite putting up one hell of a fight and making numerous bolts for freedom whilst continually resisting arrest that had Sergeant Young calling for backup from the gillies, we’re pleased to confirm that the use of a taser or pepper spray was not required during the arresting process and that the suspect was eventually let off the hook and released safely back into society but not before the mugshot procedure had been duly completed for I.D. purposes within the Jurassic Mountain rogue’s gallery.
It was a fair cop indeed for the Australian boy in blue.
Now, the following description is for one of the most vicious looking, ugliest, predatory creatures that I’ve ever seen in my life……. No, I’m not talking about the ex wife, she was far worse than that! No, I’m actually talking about alligator gars. So take a look at that brute that Tony Heron has got his mitts around in the above photo. It’s very similar to a giant pike apart from the fact that it’s got the head of an alligator with attitude…. and bundles of it! This is just one of five alligator gar that were introduced in February along with a few more arapaima at almost 2 metres in length apiece. The gar pictured above was around 24 kilos but the biggest gar we introduced weighed in at a very tasty 38 kilos which is almost 83 lb’s in old money. Unfortunately, they nominated me for the job of introducing it into the lake and whilst I was attempting to get the sod out of the net for the photo, it decided that he’d had enough of all this crap and it engineered a jump out of my arms like an epileptic torpedo with teeth almost taking my bloody head off in the process … I told you they had attitude didn’t I?
In spite of that, this brute will certainly be a cracking catch for the next lucky angler who gets him to the net and you never know …… it could well be you! So, if you’re the fortunate one or the unfortunate one (whichever way you care to look at it) and you’re posing for the photo after landing this psychopathic, razor toothed lunatic, here’s a friendly word of advice ….… make sure the gillie takes the bloody front end!
Finally, I’d like to finish off with a short story of one of my shark fishing experiences many years ago in Cornwall where something happened that day that made me truly believe in miracles. This readers, as unbelievable as it may seem, is 100% fact….
It was just another normal day in Polperro, Cornwall. The sun was shining and the sea was fairly calm. I’d recently became the owner of the village chippy which I’d basically bought on impulse. Well put it this way, I’d gone over for a bag of chips and I came back with the shop so I suppose you don’t get a lot more impulsive than that. Anyway, the wife was busy in ‘The Chip Ahoy’ which I’d eloquently re-named, preparing for the day’s onslaught of hungry tourists and I knew that it was time that I made myself scarce.
‘Let’s go shark fishing’ I said and I managed to round up six of us on board my boat being myself, my pals Tony and Paul, my son Jimmy with his friend and last but not least Suki, my beloved faithful little Shi-tzu. They were all fully aware of my seamanship skills which were basically ‘zilch’ and my maritime disasters were well and truly documented within the fishermen fraternity of Polperro who would regularly shake their heads in anticipation of my next mishap as the ‘Timothy Philip’, which my mahogany 23 foot clinker built boat was named, would disappear out of Polperro harbour more often than not into a pea soup sea mist. This occasion was no different as I waved to the harbourmaster who was no doubt wondering what new disaster would befall me for him to have a good laugh about with the locals over a few pints of cider or maybe whether he’d ever see us again anyway as I set off on a due south course out to sea.
I knocked the engine into neutral about two miles outside Polperro and we proceeded to fish for the mackerel to use as bait. Loaded up with a good fifty or so fish which every single one of them had been chased around the deck by an excited Suki, we chugged out a further six miles or so where we set the shark lines out whilst depositing a steady stream of chum hopefully to attract the Blue shark or maybe even a Mako as one or two of these had been caught recently off the south Cornish coast. Having recently landed a Blue weighing in at 155 pounds, we felt pretty confident of getting some further action.
We could see the oily chum slick that we left behind us for miles as we drifted eastwards but alas, it was to be one of those days that the sharks weren’t coming out to play and after five hours of basically sitting there drifting in the breeze, we decided to call it a day and head back to Polperro because I knew the lunchtime chaos in the chippy would be well and truly over by the time we got back and therefore being no need for me to muck in.
The wind was getting up a bit as I started up the engine and we set off on a northerly course home.
A good hour or so later and we were about a mile or so outside Polperro when young Jimmy said ‘Dad, where’s Suki ?’ The last time I’d seen her was ages ago doing her normal stuff of jumping here there and everywhere and what Jimmy had just asked me hit me like a thunderbolt and made my blood go cold.I stopped the boat and we searched every conceivable place on board that she could be but she was nowhere to be found. She’d obviously slipped overboard whilst no one was watching… and she was gone. I looked back out at sea and all I could see was the white horses on top of the waves as the wind began to pick up speed.
‘Jesus Christ’ I said, my best mate had gone and I knew I had no chance of finding her. She could be anywhere between where we were and another six miles out and I felt physically sick.
Jimmy and his friend were crying their eyes out as I spun the boat around in a desperate but forlorn attempt to try and find her. I had no such thing as radar, only an old compass to work with so I set off on a south easterly course making an allowance for the easterly drift. I knew it was only a token gesture to try and find her but I had to give it a go.
To say that I’m not the world’s most religious person is a definite understatement but I can clearly remember the silent prayer that I uttered as I steamed back out into the channel…….‘God, I know I haven’t been your most loyal subject on this planet, but I’m not that bad a person, for f–ck’s sake help me find my dog!’ Almost an hour later of scouring every breaking wave and knowing that she could have been overboard for around two hours and could be at least a couple of miles east, west, north or south of where we were, I stopped the boat and gave up. I put my arms around a sobbing Jimmy and said ‘She’s gone boy, let’s go home.’
I could feel the cold steel of the fish knife that the wife would be plunging into my jugular when I broke the news that I’d lost our dog and apart from being absolutely distraught, I was also terrified of the consequences to come.
I started up the engine doing my best not to join Jimmy and his friend shedding buckets of tears and I spun the boat around to head for home. A good ten minutes went by as I steered the boat almost in a trance heading back to Polperro to face the wrath of the wife and the mirth of the fishermen of Polperro who could add yet another of my maritime misfortunes to their ever growing list. I couldn’t believe I’d lost my dog who’d been my constant companion for the last five years and the thought of her swimming around in the sea watching me as I steamed away from her made me feel sick to my stomach and made my heart seem like a lead weight. I knew by now that if she hadn’t drowned already, she’d be easy prey not only from the predators below the waves but also from the Black backed gulls who constantly patrolled the ocean looking for easy pickings and who I’d seen fly off with baby Herring gulls the size of my dog on numerous occasions.
Now, whether it was the thought of facing the wrath of the wife with the fish knife or whether it was simply fate or, dare I say it, divine intervention from above that prompted me to stop the boat once more in that precise spot and in that exact moment in time, I really couldn’t tell you, but stop it once more I did and as I sat bobbing up and down in the waves with my mind in a complete mess, a miracle occurred that there’s no way on earth I’d be writing about now had I stopped the boat a split second later and a few metres in distance further on.
After a couple of minutes of consoling the kids and trying to work out the best way to break the news to the knife wielding lunatic, I was just about to restart the engine to head off into the lion’s den when all of a sudden … ‘What’s that?’ shouted Paul who was where he’d been for the last hour standing on top of the wheelhouse with his eyes glued to each and every wave. His shout momentarily jolted me out of my suicidal depression and I jumped up to look at where he was pointing but what he’d pointed to had vanished. A couple of moments later it appeared once more and all I could describe it was as the size of an orange …… and it was moving.
It took me a good few seconds of trying to decide what the hell it could be when I realised exactly what it was.
‘Jesus Christ Paul’ I shouted ‘ It’s Suki’ and with that Paul dived in and swam to an all but drowned Suki where all that was visible was the top of her head that she was desperately trying to keep above water. I’m not sure who grabbed who first but all I know is that when he got her on board, I’d never been so happy in my life to have a crying shaking dog in my arms and I can’t describe the feeling of utter elation that came with it.
Jimmy and his friend were now crying even more but thankfully these were tears of joy and they must have heard my huge sigh of relief in Plymouth as we set off again for home.
Having quickly discarded all thoughts of trying to dodge the wife’s fish knife and with a quick look and a wink up to the heavens being my way of giving thanks to the big fella above for answering my earlier prayer, I now concentrated on turning this situation to my advantage. After all, I reckoned I’d have more chance of winning the lottery twice in a week without buying a bloody ticket than finding that tiny ball of fluff in the middle of the English channel again, so with my mind now firmly set in business mode, I picked up my mobile phone.
‘Could be a nice bit of free advertising for the chip shop’ said I as I telephoned the Daily Mirror. ‘They might just like this story.’
Like it ? They loved it ! They had cameramen waiting for me as we entered the harbour and we ended up as an exclusive in the next day’s edition. Not to be outdone, Cornwall’s South Western TV news got wind of it and turned up as well along with the local radio and, for a couple of days at least, Suki, who was found in a billion to one chance became the most famous dog in the UK, my fish and chip shop got nationwide recognition and unbelievably, yours truly, who didn’t know one end of a boat from the other and who’d wrecked more of them than the Great Barrier Reef and the German U boat’s put together…….. for one fleeting moment in time, I became the UK’s most skilful skipper.
Sadly, Suki has long since departed but I still think of that little seadog with much affection. Rest in peace my little friend.
I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter and I sincerely hope that it tempts you to sample the delights that Jurassic Mountain has to offer. Hopefully we’ll have the pleasure of your company in the future where you might just realise your dreams and catch the fish of your lifetime. However, in the event that the fishing gods decree that the monster fish lurking in the murky depths eludes you on the day, at least you’ll return home safe in the knowledge that you’ve just fished at what is widely considered to be Thailand’s number one fishing resort and the closest place resembling paradise that you could ever imagine possible.
Well readers, that’s it for this month, if you have any comments regarding this newsletter whether they be complimentary, constructive or critical, they’ll all be very gratefully received so kindly post them on the Jurassic Mountain newsletter post on our facebook page.
TIGHT LINES, SEE YOU ALL ON HERE NEXT MONTH.