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Thread: An Isaan Pond

  1. #1026
    Thailand Expat armstrong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    Irony not your strong point, eh?
    No, it's a very well known weakness.

  2. #1027
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    I'm running fast out of time to get the pond sorted... should be off to Norway by around 20th August and have a load of stuff to do... not to mention keeping my lovely young daughter occupied during her school holidays. Ootai's planned to help catch these bladdy pla chon on Thursday so the pressure is on.

    I'm in the habit of keeping a metal vacuum mug of iced water on my bedside table... and I'm also in the habit of sticking my laptop by the side of the bedside table when I've finished typing nonsense on this bloody forum. I should have seen it coming really, but in the early hours of Sunday morning I went to take a leak, and on the way back to bed in the pitch dark I knocked into my bedside table and deposited half a pint of iced water over my laptop.

    It is of course fukked. The Mall says Acer will take a month to fox the bloody thing and I'm off to work in a couple of weeks. I wish I'd fukked it up a few months ago... I've been home for six months, but there you go. I had to get a new laptop, I need one for work, and thank goodness for OneDrive... no files lost. But all said and done, I lost Monday or pond work. Pressure on.

    Today I got up bright and early to get started with draining this bloody thing. I must admit that having a pond in Isaan is turning into more of s life style than just a hobby.

    I set everything up early, before breakfast.



    The dogs were all excited... they knew something was about to happen.



    I had to take the plunge to start up sludge pumping/draining operations. Maya of course couldn't help herself but jump in after me.



    I started up pumping operations around 9am. There was thick mud up to my knees across the bottom of the pond. My tactic was to walk along, kicking my feet upwards and outwards to agitate the mud. I hung the pump off a hook on my harness to keep the base of the pump around a foot off the bottom of the pond... and then just slowly walk about. Swamp gas constantly bubbled up, like continuous farts in a bathtub, and the stench of gas was overpowering but not unpleasant.



    I fixed an empty water bottle to the electric cable for buoyancy, to keep it it up, out of the way from getting tangled under my feet. I slowly worked my way outwards from the jetty, the length of the electric cable defined my maximum perimeter from the jetty.



    The amount of gas coming up was amazing...



    The pump constantly got choked up with crap and stopped working. Almost every time it was small mango stones wedged into the intake... apart from getting electrocuted my main worry was losing a finger clearing the pump intake. This became incredibly frustrating after a while... the pump stopped, the hosing twisted and it wouldn't bloody start again. A couple of times I had to clamber out the pond to turn off the electric and sort it out. Twice I had to take the bottom of the pump off to gain access to the debris blocking it... my daughter heard a few words she shouldn't have today.



    I had to clear it the bloody pump myself each time as after shouting for help for few minutes it was clear that no help was ever coming. Once in the pond and in operation mode it was much easier to stay there... and I contributed plenty of organic matter today while pumping the same out.

    This was my sludge pumping gear for today's operations. I've heard a lot about the aggressive nature of snakehead and also how sharp their gnashers are, so decided against my usual attire of baggy old boxers in favour of a T-shirt, long trousers and proper sport sandals. I didn't want to expose my meat and two veg to a nasty attack, although they're not exactly over-utilised these days.



    There were some rain showers late morning... but I soldiered on. Protection of the electric was considered more important than my comfort.



    And all the while the thick, black mud was pumped out from the bottom of the pond. My plan was to cover the entire pond, kicking up and breaking up the solid layer of mud across the bottom.



    Out the mud went, past the gardener's garage...



    Past Anna and Vigo's houses...



    And expelled at the neighbours' turning area. And no, that's not a euphemism.



    The last time I did this the neighbour got her car stuck in the mud when she tried to do a three point turn. I can see this happening again... but no problem, she's cute and I would enjoy pushing her out. Given the chance, of course.

    And meanwhile my daughter heard more words she shouldn't have...



    I missed lunch because rain was forecast and I had to keep cracking... and after becoming severely dehydrated my daughter came up with the ingenious idea of floating out drinks to me.



    Around 4pm the heaven's opened and it started pissing it down. It felt slightly futile pumping out water from the pond during a rain storm.



    I had to stop work for electrical safety reasons... but to be honest after 7 hours walking around the pond with a bastard heavy pump hanging off my shoulders, I'd had enough. I was also constantly knocked into by fish... which was slightly disconcerting but also hopeful for our netting operations later in the week.

    I decided to stop ops.



    ... seven hours... knackered...



    Dan... she may be 15 but she's always there.



    This was 9am...



    ... and this was 4pm...



    After 7 hours of knackering work the pond level had gone down about 10 inches... but that time included a myriad of stoppages and delays, and of course due to the sloping sides the level should go down faster and faster...

    Tonight, after the ran stopped I set up the pump again. It's now only removing good, upper water but I want to keep it draining. Maybe to morrow morning I'll get back in and pump more mud from the bottom.



    And before dark... now we're talking. The level is really going down fast now.



    This is really getting exciting now... it's like when these reservoirs dry out in the UK and expose old Roman ruins... this plant pot hadn't been exposed for at least five years.

    Roll on tomorrow.



    Ootai is delayed until Friday now... time to get everything ready. How exciting!
    Last edited by Mendip; 03-08-2021 at 11:21 PM.

  3. #1028
    CCBW JPPR2's Avatar
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    Go Man Goooooo......Clocks a ticking...

    You gonna leave it dry until you return?

  4. #1029
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Rainwater will refill it? Get those fish!

  5. #1030
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    ^ I hope so...if it rains hard enough.


    First thing this morning I turned the pump back on... and then spent a couple of hours doing my usual jobs. I started up on the pond around 9am and it looked like this.



    After spending an hour or so walking around the pond with the pump hanging off my harness to clear an area of mud I missed yesterday, pumping operations ceased and I turned my attention to clearing debris from the bottom of the pond. I also scooped out a few buckets of mud but this was fairly futile... and also bloody hard work as below water level the sloping sides of the pond are smooth cement and as slippery as ice... and nigh on impossible to walk up with a load. This was why I added the rough layer of concrete around the perimeter as a remedial measure a few years ago.



    Many years ago I added pieces of piping and broken flower pots to the bottom of the pond to provide places for the fish and anything else to live in... but everything had long been covered in a layer of clinging, gelatinous mud.

    The gardener also got stuck in and netted out leaves and endless mango stones. Having mango trees by the pond was a definite mistake.



    Sadly, while netting out the debris we also kept finding dead pla ta pien. They didn't float but drifted around below the surface and I guess the disturbance of the mud and resulting lack of oxygen in the water was the cause of their demise. Strangely, when we had the algal bloom emergency last year it was only the pla nin that died and the pla ta pien seemed unaffected. Today it was only the pla ta pien that died and the pla nin seemed unaffected. Very strange.

    The gardener seemed delighted with this bounty and collected the dead pla ta pien for later consumption. I like that nothing goes to waste but this would be like eating a dead bream you found in an English pond, in a baking hot summer... the gardener said that these fish weren't for me... and how right he was... I've tried one before and it tasted like shit... and that was fresh.

    These paving slabs are 40cm square, so you can see how big the fish were. The bigger ones were well over a kilo.



    Here the gardener bagged up a few for a friend... we must have found around 15 dead pla ta pien in all. Even Max looked at the gardener funny for eating these dead fish... and Max eats cat shit.



    The lowered water level revealed the old wall I built to create a 'natural' area some years ago. I filled the area with earth and planted some reeds... little expecting that the entire pond would soon fill with organic debris.



    The bigger plant pots were a b@stard to get out. I want to clear the pond of obstacles to enable easy netting later, but also I want to re-pot many plants and re-install the pots after the fish are sorted out.



    As well as the dead pla ta pien, we netted a few live pla nin during the debris clearing ops. These went into the converted frog enclosure, which did in fact start life as my daughter's sandpit.



    But it was mainly dead pla ta pien that we kept finding. Here's another three that went to a friend of the gardener. I reckon he'll be out late tonight.



    And we found one dead pla jalamet... must have been around 3kg I reckon. A lovely fish and shame that it died, but will doubtless add substance to a jungle curry or some such dish. I still can't understand how these fish all survived our algal bloom last year yet die when I now pump out some water. It's been pretty cool lately as well... relatively.



    All said and done, it was pretty back-breaking work today. As well as clearing debris from the pond I want to take the opportunity with low water level and cut bag all the waterside plants. This will be the main focus tomorrow, as well as re-potting plants. Friday will be the big netting day.



    And another live pla nin heading to the holding tank... although to be honest the gardener took an awful long time doing this... makes me wonder at times.



    I had to finish up at lunchtime today to spend some time with the daughter... this was the status at end of play. This bladdy pond is really starting to take over and I can't help feeling that this patch of ground would be an awful lot more enjoyable if it was... a lawn, for example.



    This is the sort of shite we dragged out of the pond... almost all of which originated from the mango trees I would say.



    And here's around 20 nice pla nin resting in the frog enclosure... plus a couple of lucky pla ta pien that we found alive. There's also two pla gabor (?) which look similar to the pla ta pien. These fish were all accidentally netted during debris clearing ops... I even found one in a plant pot I dragged out of the pond. It makes me wonder how many fish we'll catch once that is our focus. Hopefully these fish will all be returned to the pond once operations are completed if they survive, although there's a few nice fish an' chip suppers there...



    I would have to say that one thing has really pissed me off. The entire purpose of this operation is to rid the pond of pla chon... the dreaded snakehead. I would also like to remove the pla siwai since they now dominate the fish population and don't taste great. Today there was no sign of either. The gardener tells me that the pla chon are very fast and we will have to drain the pond completely to catch them... something I've been wanting to avoid because all the other fish will then die. We've found 1kg (2 lb) pla nin bitten in half, se we know that big snakehead are in here.

    As I was winding down at lunchtime I noticed a big shoal of small fry swimming close to where there used to be an area of pond plants.



    I found a small net and tried to catch a few. Dan joined me but she's way too old to tackle these steep slopes now, to be honest.



    And after just one scoop...



    Yeah... it was a big shoal of these bloody snakehead fry. This made me wonder whats the bloody point of all this. It seems pretty futile when, even if I manage to catch the big snakehead, there's all these little buggers waiting in the wings. Each one will be a pla nin chomping killer in a couple of years.



    And I haven't even seen a big snakehead yet... and the water's only three feet bloody deep now!

    Bollocks to it.

    Anyway, let's see what tomorrow brings. I set up the pump to keep the water aerated over night, hopefully reducing further fish fatalities.



    And had a gin and tonic to relax me. It's been a hard day.

    Last edited by Mendip; 04-08-2021 at 10:21 PM.

  6. #1031
    Thailand Expat helge's Avatar
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    1. very good pictures
    2. didn't you have a waterfall ?
    3. wasn't the netting supposed to be tomorrow ? Tease !
    4. drain it all, and start fresh (easy for me to say)

    Cheers

  7. #1032
    A Cockless Wonder
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    ....Looks hardcore steamy south east Asian marine combat mode Mendip

    An Isaan Pond-screen-shot-2014-02-05-5-a


    Get Norton to swing by in the PBR if you run into trouble!

    An Isaan Pond-001928368e5b9921d7971a5ae980d3a1-jpg

  8. #1033
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    this patch of ground would be an awful lot more enjoyable if it was... a lawn


  9. #1034
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    this patch of ground would be an awful lot more enjoyable if it was... a lawn
    But what of the Pier/Jetty?


    An Isaan Pond-into-unknown-nobody-around-europe-scandinavia

  10. #1035
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Should have drained the swamp and then built the jetty instead of mucking around in all that water

  11. #1036
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    Your going to have to poison the pond! What your doing is futile, as you know many future snakeheads await.

  12. #1037
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    I'm running fast out of time to get the pond sorted... should be off to Norway by around 20th August and have a load of stuff to do...
    After all the work you have done at the house. a few months at work should be a good vacation LOL
    We will all miss your pond and dog stories, I know I will.

  13. #1038
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    And had a gin and tonic to relax me.
    Finally, a part of the story I can relate to.

  14. #1039
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Now Mr Mendip, I know you love poking around stirring up the detritus of the pond however, it takes just one broken pot plant to scratch your skin, some bacteria from the pond water, or a snakehead fish bite, a small infection in the tropical heat could grow into this ...

    An Isaan Pond-001-img_20180826_113435-medium-jpg

    ^ First night in Hospital. The lines were drawn to see how fast it spread. Look how the hole in my skin above on my calf appears later below.


    Below is my leg from behind was about 2 weeks after I was discharged from from Hospital (in the West)
    An Isaan Pond-002-img_20180909_132558-medium-jpg


    We have midges in my parts, they bite me, I scratch, work in the garden a bit and then this, most likely bacteria picked up from the soil.

    It's my leg, it's called Cellulitis ... hurts like fuck

    A common and potentially serious bacterial skin infection.

    With cellulitis, the bacteria enter the skin.
    Cellulitis may spread rapidly. Affected skin appears swollen and red and may be hot and tender.
    Without treatment with an antibiotic, cellulitis can be life-threatening.
    I was on antibiotics for over 6 months ... I'll write up my experience one day.

    This and the damage from 3 DVT's hasn't mixed well.


    I'd be leaving the Pool to the Gardiner ... under your supervision of course
    Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago ...


  15. #1040
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalEden View Post
    Your going to have to poison the pond! What your doing is futile, as you know many future snakeheads await.
    Yeah I know Cal... but can't resort to poison. I would rather lob in a few of your hand grenades than use poison. Once that posion is in the pond there's no going back... rather like sticking in a few pla chon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buckaroo Banzai View Post
    After all the work you have done at the house. a few months at work should be a good vacation LOL
    We will all miss your pond and dog stories, I know I will.
    Yes, BB... work will be a very welcome relaxation. Nice conditions with aircon, I get a meal every 6 hours without having to cook myself and there will be people older than 10 years old to converse with... and I get paid to boot! If quarantine is still in force at the end of the year I'll even get a two week ASQ holiday before coming back to wor... I mean back to home. It's all good.


    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    Now Mr Mendip, I know you love poking around stirring up the detritus of the pond however, it takes just one broken pot plant to scratch your skin, some bacteria from the pond water, or a snakehead fish bite, a small infection in the tropical heat could grow into this ...

    It's my leg, it's called Cellulitis ... hurts like fuck

    I'd be leaving the Pool to the Gardiner ... under your supervision of course
    Wow, David... that looks nasty. I always thought cellulitis was something women got on their thighs?

    I'll be careful but as usual I find that I have to lead from the front... leave it to the gardener and it just won't happen.


    Now, I think that everyone can look back on defining moments in the past that changed the course of their lives.

    I've had two... when I lament the first, my daughter is quick to remind me that had I not met the wife then she wouldn't exist. A fair point I reckon.

    The second was on April 30th 2017. To occupy a mundane Sunday afternoon I took the daughter down to the Flower Market in Korat and bought four nice pla chon. I even had to prevent the girl from knocking them on the head... said I wanted them live. Paid top dollar as well.

    Half an hour later we released them into the pond to control the pla nin fry which were getting out of control.



    That was around 17 fateful years ago, and I often wonder how different my life would be if... hang on, that was the first... I mean that was over 4 fateful years ago, and I often wonder how different my life would be had we not introduced those b@stard snakehead.

    Today I have spent the entire day clearing the pool and cutting back pond vegetation. Knackering work and my hands are cut to ribbons from pulling out the dead reeds.



    But at the end of the day it was looking a lot better.



    No sign of any snakehead today... apart from the shoals of fry. This picture caught the moment immediately before Tommy and Yogi went off at each other. Tensions are high with all this excitement.



    The good news is that all the pla nin in the tank have survived so far. I added extra aerating tubes and they seem happy, but let's face it, if they get a problem we have plenty of room in the freezer.



    Tomorrow is the day... the net is ready and Ootai is set.

    Finally, the snakehead will be gone.
    Last edited by Mendip; 06-08-2021 at 06:38 AM.

  16. #1041
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    Tomorrow is the day... the net is ready and Ootai is set.
    Blood hell, like a never ending netflix series!

  17. #1042
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    The good news is that all the pla nin in the tank have survived so far. I added extra aerating tubes and they seem happy so far. But lets; face it, if they get a problem we have plenty of room in the freezer.

    Great you've up the O2 ... the PlaNin will thank you

    Oh, isn't great looking back at images of your kids when they were younger ... yours is a definite cutie!

  18. #1043
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    ^ She certainly was a cutie back then... she still is to be honest though she's fast turning into her mum...

    If there could be another!

    Anyway, I found this video last night... yes, I recorded the fateful moment 4 years ago...

    Apart from a lovely video of my daughter it makes me feel quite sick seeing what I did... and I wouldn't be quite so reckless letting my daughter play with these guys again, now that I know what their teeth can do.



    Maybe we'll be seeing these snakehead again later today!

  19. #1044
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    She certainly was a cutie back then
    Super cute!


    But aren't you supposed to be outside doing something now, rather than posting on TD?

  20. #1045
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    But aren't you supposed to be outside doing something now, rather than posting on TD?
    It is now the pause between Season1 and Season2.

  21. #1046
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    Quote Originally Posted by thaiguzzi View Post
    Only happened due to the wrong flip flops........
    Itís the wrong flip flops, Gromit!

    Not as nasty as what happened to you...

    My daughter skinned her knees this morning, while running around the outside of the house with the two puppies. I was picking beetles off a Thai olive tree and throwing them into the pond, watching with satisfaction as the fish took them. I heard the wailing from 100 meters away.

    Even less dramatically, yesterday my wife sensed rain and have me some vague instructions "in case it rained". Two minutes later a downpour ensued and I followed my wife outside, she had a 10 second start.

    I exited the back door onto the porch and turned left. My plan, based on my interpretation of my instructions, was to head for the top loader that is, of course, set up in the car port. I noted my wife was nowhere to be seen. She had moved pretty fast. My sandals were at the bottom of some stone steps - removed so that I don't get the steps dirty - and the run off from the roof was landing right on them. Down the steps, into the rain, holding the hand rail. Stepped on the towel/ mat - that must be stepped on when going up the steps in bare feet, having removed them at the bottom - and it slipped and I fell on my backside. Undaunted, I got up and stepped under this outdoor shower, which was very warm. As it soaked me and my clothes, I put on my sandals and heard my wife say "what are you doing?" in her "stupid Farang" tone. Had I looked to the right as I stepped onto the porch, I would have seen her working to move the industrial-sized clothes horse out of the rain.

  22. #1047
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post


    But aren't you supposed to be outside doing something now, rather than posting on TD?

    KW he wasn't meant to be out there that early (when you posted) he was waiting for me to come along to help him.
    To get to his place I have a 100km drive and needed to do all my chores at home before I left.

    Anyway I won't spoil Mendip's glory as I am sure he will post up something some time this evening and he is a much better storyteller than me.

    What I will say through is I had a great day, probably one of the best I have had in Thailand and I was absolutely amazed at how many fish were in the pond and I'm sure we didn't get them all.

  23. #1048
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    Quote Originally Posted by ootai View Post
    To get to his place I have a 100km drive and needed to do all my chores at home before I left.
    that's a serious trek!



    Quote Originally Posted by ootai View Post
    he is a much better storyteller than me.
    He's gotta be part Irish with the gift of the gab that he has!

  24. #1049
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    ^ Not a drop of Irish blood in me... I hope!

    The big day arrived yesterday and while we waited for Ootai to do his 'chores' and drive over, Yogi took a rest on, appropriately enough, an empty sack of fish food.



    Eventually we set up for the first sweep... Ootai on the far side and me on the near side. This was uncharted territory and we didn't know what to expect.



    The idea was to extend the net as close to the sides as possible to prevent fish slipping around the sides and with the chain hopefully dragging along the mud there should be no escape. Steps have been built into the sides of the pond to put plant pots on so it was impossible to close all gaps.



    I'm not one to complain but Ootai had it pretty easy... he didn't want to get his feet wet so stuck to the far bank with no jetty legs to clamber around. As the first sweep neared it's end the fish started splashing in the net and several jumped over to freedom.



    The daughter took video of the end of the first sweep...



    This was the big bugger Ootai got excited about... a pla jalamet. It was the only one we caught and sadly we had found one other of similar size dead the day before. I hope they weren't a couple.



    And then we swept in the reciprocal direction, from south to north.



    It wasn't easy clambering around the jetty and tripping over steps. The rough concrete ended just below the waterline and the finished concrete was smooth and as slippery as ice. Ootai didn't get this problem!

    We were getting similar results each sweep... around 10 to 15 fish a time. Some sweeps were more productive, some less so.





    And again... north to south.







    The majority of fish were pla nin. These all went into the converted frog enclosure holding tank. They were joined by occasional pla tabtim, many pla ta pien and also lots of pla gabor.



    The pla siwai went into a cement mixing tray. We are getting rid of these apart from just a few to keep the variety going. They have been dominating the pond lately and they're not great eating (for me...). I was hoping they'd get a swift knock on the head but this wasn't happening.



    The cement mixing tray soon got filled up and the pla siwai started jumping out. They ended up joining the wife's pla dook in the catfish tank.



    We continued on, and sweep after sweep caught 15 odd fish, with man5 escapees jumping over the net and slipping around the sides each time.



    I'm kind of hoping that the gardener had kicked up some mud here and wasn't slyly contributing to the organic matter.



    All hell was still breaking loose at the end of each sweep and I saw at least two pla nin jump over the net and twat the gardener on the head. I promised him a bottle of Hong Thong for his efforts.



    Another good haul.



    The holding tank was fast filling up.



    It was soon time for a traditional Isaan lunch (but without the Lao Khao), over which we discussed tactics.



    Every sweep was producing a good haul of fish... although noticeably with no pla chon. It was clear that many fish were escaping around the sides of the net so we decided to turn the pump back on and reduce the water level further. This made the gardener happy as he'd been saying all along that the pla chon would be sitting in the mud and there was no way we'd catch them using a net. Ha... what does he know?

    The water level started reducing noticeably but while the steps were still covered they proved to be successful tripping hazards and I took several stumbles and swallowed a few mouthfuls of green pond water. No such problem for Ootai...



    The first haul after lunch with the lower water level was a good one. This was probably around the tenth sweep... and there were still loads of fish.



    There was no sign of the numbers of fish reducing with successive sweeps, but I guess now that the water level was lowering, each sweep was more efficient.

    There were several escapees...



    But still a good haul.



    I must admit I was amazed at the number of fish in the pond... despite appearances it has been supporting a very healthy population of fish. I was also amazed that I haven't been catching many lately.

    Off these went to the holding tank.





    And another sweep... the gardener earnt his money yesterday!





    And the last sweep of the day. The water level became too low to make the net efficient and despite alterations made to the net rigging it was time to change to hand nets.

    The last sweep was still a good one... maybe I should make that two bottles of Hong Thong!





    So... we must have caught around 200 pla nin, 40 pla siwai, 20 pla gabor, 10 pla pa tien and 4 or 5 pla yeesok (?)... a bueatiful orange carp-like fish. Plus a few other odds and ends.

    But no bladdy pla chon! The only reason for doing this entire operation was to rid the pond of pla chon... we know they're in there... there are pla chon fry and we find regular pla nin savaged by some evil predator. I was starting to think the whole operation a waste of time and one that had cost us a lot of fish...

    And speaking of costing me fish... I'd promised Ootai a few fish as a thank you for helping... and being an Aussie he brought along an eskie the size of a road train. This was half filled when he had to depart in the afternoon.



    Only joking mate... it was a pleasure! I hope your car's suspension could handle the weight of the eskie.

    I could also tell that Ootai was very skeptical that we even had any pla chon in the pond... what would the next few hours bring?
    Last edited by Mendip; 07-08-2021 at 06:19 PM.

  25. #1050
    Thailand Expat lom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    I hope your car's suspension could handle the weight of the eskie.

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