Thailand

Fishing in Thailand part 1

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I’m not going to write an exhaustive post on every conceivable place to fish in Thailand because quite frankly I have no idea what those guys use to catch fish in the khlong on Sathorn Road or how they plan to land their catch from 20m above the Chaophraya River on Taksin Bridge, without a drop net…the mind boggles…

Rather, I will focus my efforts over the next few posts on my favourite places to fish in Thailand. Including the now, world famous Bung Samran (home to several world records of mind blowing proportions), the tranquil Srinakarin Dam (pictured above), and my particular passion, charter boat fishing off the Gulf of Thailand.

I will also share some tips on how to make the most of your trips,  but anglers beware (and the rest rejoice) for these will not always be fishing centric, but on occasion they will be good for the soul.

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“I have laid aside business, and gone a-fishing.”

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Now I imagine that by now the majority of the very few visitors who ever see this site have already opened a new tab and are well on their way to reading about the latest scientific discovery or sharing a new LOLcat, but if you have managed to keep reading this long, then I’m going to assume that you are at least curious and as such will now unleash a full-on fishing nerd, nostalgia-trip, salvo! You’ve been warned run run run whilst you can!!!’

Izaak Walton (9 August 1593 – 15 December 1683)*

So then… how better to start than with Izaac Walton? OK well yes there probably are quite a few better ways but this’ll have to do. Walton is regarded by many, as the godfather of modern fishing, he was amongst the first to transcribe his angling techniques for pursuing different species in his much celebrated book “The Compleat Angler”, which was first written back in 1653 but he kept on adding to it for the next 50 years of his life.*

"Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery element are made for wise men to contemplate, and for fools to pass by without consideration."*

Many of his techniques are still applicable today, well OK not all of them in Thailand (more on that later) but its still relevant if you happen to be pursuing grayling or barbel at dawn on a winding misty English river.. ahh sigh… which with quite a bit of sadness I have never really got to do.

But Im not looking for sympathy, you see I had the good fortune to grow up by the sea in Plymouth, so it was inevitable that my first taste of fishing (at about 12 years old) would be at the seaside and more specifically on Plymouth Hoe (thats not a funky street jive name for something else, its a place, no really I kid you not!).

Plymouth Hoe, sunset over Drake’s Island

My next door neighbour’s daughter’s boyfriend was obviously out to make a keen impression on her and was exceptionally good to me, and in all seriousness I truly appreciate what he did. He was also a keen angler and whilst i never got to go he noticed my interest in his fishing trips. One summer day, out of the blue he gave me an old 6ft red spinning rod, reel, and a whats more a tackle box of floats weights hooks and trace etc.  From that moment on  I spent every possible spare moment fishing for mackerel, gar, pollock and wrasse off the rocks and at my then favourite place , West Hoe Pier. (when I wasn’t untangling line and hooking myself that is)

From those great days of sitting on rocks in the rain, my ambitions of catching the big one grew and that meant that I had to look further afield from that little pier, and so I upped the ante and began to fish out at sea in Plymouth Sound. It was such a small boat that if it rolled in the waves and you looked straight down towards your feet you could see the bow of the boat! My how I was seasick the first few times! But I got past that and my sealegs did my proud. Never really did catch any monsters though! 😦

I also never really stopped fishing my favourite spots, but as travel opened up to me I did come  to appreciate fishing in all it forms, and whilst I have never yet made barbel or even a chubb my quarry, I did spend time on English lakes after the elusive carp and hard fighting tench. Coarse fishing to me was a wonderful change, and was so much more about the experience of being surrounded by nature, I enjoyed the solitude.

Me 16, on the bank of the River Plym

Izaak Walton once  remarked on why he kept adding to his book “Angling may be said to be so like the mathematics that it can never be fully learned.”  and how right he was, because nothing in all of my experiences had prepared me for fishing in Thailand, it is a truly a world away.

But I think I’ll save my impressions on fishing in Thailand, as well as my favourite spots, tips and tricks for my next post. For now I’ll leave you with a few choice quotes from Mr Walton

As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler.

Doubt not but angling will prove to be so pleasant that it will prove to be, like virtue, a reward to itself

Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery element are made for wise men to contemplate, and for fools to pass by without consideration

You will find angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it.

No man can lose what he never had.

(*thank you wikipedia)

Soooo, I’m back

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Since I set this blog up almost six months ago, Thailand and the Thai people have been through some very rough and dark times. During these times I discovered the power and value of social networking, in particular Twitter.

It seems to me that Facebook is primarily a tool that allows me to stay in touch with friends and family in a very low maintenance way. I post pics and vids of my son for my folks back home to watch and view (I’m strict about who makes  my friends list and when they do get on I control who can see what, with most of my old school friends and acquaintances limited only to basic info and status updates and the odd photo album). But for what it is, its a great tool.

Twitter though, to me, is a very different beast, it puts you  in direct contact with complete strangers. Seriously think about that for a second… WOW.

During the protests ordinary people shared their experiences on what was happening via twitter.  The pictures and videos they shot and tweeted on their smartphones made headlines around the world. Professional journalists were also breaking news first on twitter, very often as it happened. The coverage was sometimes inaccurate and often unverified, but it was indisputably raw and I think for the most part that made the reports honest.

This episode woke my eyes to the power of twitter.

Just recently I attended my first ever tweet up @freakingcat hosted a BBQ which I ended cooking (fine by me I actually enjoy getting the grill out!). On arrival I had no idea what to expect. I knew one person IRL beforehand, and he got lost and turned up late. But to my great delight and surprise there were no Dicks, conversation flowed freely (and so did the booze) and a great time was had by all. Another WOW moment.

Since joining I have followed many different people with shared interests, some have followed me back, and others I have even since ‘unfollowed’ some people whose views I found to be abhorrent (J Bieber lovers you know who you are!), distasteful, and even some whose political or spiritual ideas did not match my own.

But just very recently I have gone back to these two latter two groups and have refollowed many (well okay apart from the complete Dicks).

So why go back and follow those whose views are  politically different or even challenge my spiritual beliefs?  Well, its because I consider myself to be a free thinker, I enjoy listening to challenging views, especially from different and diverse religions and cultures it makes me reassess my own outlook. For me no belief is set in stone, the world is not black and white but a joyous multi shaded world of shades and hues.

Oh I mentioned religion.. hmm so my views on that.. well I can say that I like Jefferson’s take on Christianity. Did you know that a version of his personal abridged Bible is a traditional gift to all new US Congressmen? Well, you might not be a Congressman (or woman) but here is a copy of it anyway http://bit.ly/bPRK0X its basically the Bible and the great teachings of Jesus but without all the superstitious bits. It made me think.

I dont proclaim it to be the one true faith however. I personally am still agnostic, and that perhaps the truth lies somewhere amongst all of the world’s religions. I just find it preposterous to believe that any mere mortal can claim to have interpreted the word of the Creator without flaw. How can we hope to understand the mind of a God? To me  it is our human imperfections that have led to misinterpretation of the teachings and hence to religious conflicts and violence.

Oh and Atheists (yes you) you don’t get off easily either, why can’t you remain open to the possibility that outside the scope of the known universe or universes (no matter how many of them there may be or whatever shape or form they take) that there always remains room for a Creator in both the very large and very small.

Ok so now I have offended the entire world, I’d say thats probably about enough for now, but more random thoughts later.

In the meantime please tell me if you disagree or even if you agree, challenge mine but most importantly:

As Wil Wheaton says “Dont be a Dick”

(Yeah he’s in my blog roll too)

Peace, cheers n beers

Marcus