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  1. #1
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    A weekend fishing trip in Isaan

    I'd just got back from a couple of debauched days in Bangkok when my mate in Korat called and asked if I fancied the weekend at his 'jungle' house. He said he'd had a hectic week at work and needed to get away.

    My mate lives and works in Korat, but previously built a house in his wife's small village, about an hour SE of Korat, ten minutes the other side of Khon Buri. He now uses the house as a weekend getaway. My daughter goes to school with his son, so it was all set for a nice weekend. No wives invited of course, but I did call in at home for a couple of hours... long enough to drop off my dirty washing from Bangkok and to pack up the car. He's previously told me the house is on the edge of a reservoir, so in went the fishing rods. No need for food... I was going to catch all we needed.

    We arrived at about 8pm... and the inevitable happened...



    Thank God for 7Eleven... I wasn't fishing until the morning so dinner was a takeaway. It was surprisingly nice to be honest... mind you, what isn't after six bottles of Leo?



    And a view of our drinking venue. Doesn't look anything special at night, but me mate said I should be up to watch the sun rise in the morning...



    Well, I missed the sunrise by about 5 hours... but was pleasantly surprised at the morning view nonetheless!



    And a couple of views from our drinking spot. It doesn't get much better than that!

    Out across the reservoir.



    Down to the left towards the village.



    And the only thing separating his land from the reservoir is this small, deserted soi.



    And no, he assures me that flooding isn't a problem!

  2. #2
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    After rehydrating and taking onboard several cups of coffee I gave in to the kid's nagging and set up a fishing rod.

    But first things first... where's me lucky fishing hat???



    The word was out... there was a farang softy staying at the village so every cat and dog in the area came for some free food.

    It was particularly nice to see this guy... I found him a home in the village a year ago when he was about six weeks old.



    So anyway, back to the business at hand. I set up the rod, stuck some bread crust on the hook for bait and cast out. The kids started to lose interest after about two and a half minutes... threw a few sticks in the water and then fooked off back inside to play Minecraft.



    So it was soon just me... my mate hung around long enough to take this pic, then also fooked off to look at Facebook...

    Just me and me lucky fishing hat covered in cat hair...



    I wasn't completely alone to be honest... down to my left was this chap...



    And over to my right was this old gal...



    Who occasionally pulled up her net to check for fish...





    How could I not catch fish? If these guys were hopeful using this old-fashioned equipment surely I couldn't fail. I was getting my bait out way further than them!

  3. #3
    CCBW JPPR2's Avatar
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    Nice Pics Mendip. I am right on the Wang river for fishing but I wish I was closer to a reservoir. We have 2 lakes by us but they are 45 mins away or so. One is fun to trek too because you have to 4 wheel it to get to it and when its raining it a mudfest which adds more fun. Never caught a thing in either. The river I have caught 4 or so. Did you catch anything?

    I do have to ask, How can you (or anyone for the matter) stomach that much Leo? 55. Good Lord.

  4. #4
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    After a couple of hours with not a bite or even a nibble my hangover was effecting my concentration... and interest to be honest. About the only thing to keep me occupies was watching this chap in a ridiculous pink hat go back and forth carrying wood on his cart. He seemed to be carrying wood in both directions and I was wondering if he did it just to relieve boredom? I couldn't see any purpose to it.



    The heat was building, so I moved the rod to a new swim 20m along the bank, where I could watch it from the shade of our drinking table.



    And on I waited...

    And then, to break the monotony these two kids swam past, right over my line. One was splashing away inside her car inner tube, scaring away every fish for miles. It was just the excuse I needed to wind in my line and go find my mate to inquire about the possibility of a late lunch!


  5. #5
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    We headed off for lunch at a little expat bar in Soeng Sang. We made it a large lunch on the off chance that I caught no fish in the evening.

    When we returned I drove around the reservoir to see how the other fishermen (and fisherwomen of course) were getting on.

    There's a neighbouring reservoir, with the two separated just by the road way. In this one, there were loads of wooden platforms to fish from. I'm not sure if you can just go and use one, but with my weight at the moment I decided against trying. It looked a bit precarious to me.



    On the way round I stopped to chat to one guy... well not really chat but we brotherhood of fishermen don't need a shared language to communicate. He hadn't caught anything either (I think) but 100 Baht bought me some yellow paste he was using for bait, along with a fishing rig comprising a small cage to put the paste in (a swim feeder for any fishermen reading) with a few small hooks with polystyrene balls attached. He assured me I would catch something with this (at least that's what I assume he was saying...).

    When we got back to base I set up my second rod with this new set-up and cast out. Both rods were strategically placed to be visible from the drinking table, and we set about finishing up a bottle and a half of Hong Thing that had been left over from the village New Year's Eve party.

    Needless to say, not a bite on either line was had... but after half a bottle of Hong Thong, who cares!

    I'd let the gang down badly on Saturday, so to make amends I cooked dinner. All I could find was a bag of chicken nuggets in the freezer, along with the loaf of bread we'd bought from 7Eleven for fishing bait.

    But no problem for a cook of my calibre! Chicken nuggets for the kids and chicken nugget sarnies for the adults! It's worth mentioning here that this was left to me as I am significantly more skilled in the kitchen than my mate... which I guess doesn't say much for the level of his cooking!


  6. #6
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    Sunday morning, needless to say was hot. My daughter and I woke early and I was feeling OK. I've noticed before that Hong Thong doesn't give hangovers so long as you don't mix drinks and keep drinking water. I don't thing it's anywhere near the 35% they promise on the label.

    There was no sign of my mate or his son, so I persuaded my daughter to come for a walk around the reservoir.

    Sunday seems to be when the serious fishermen come out. We saw several with six plus rods set up. This kind of put paid to my mate's theory that they were all subsistence fishing for food. This was expensive fishing gear, and I paid 20 Baht for the day's fishing. Maybe they weren't charged so much, but it was supposed to be 20 Baht per rod, so the money mounts up. Must admit I forgot the extra 20 Baht when I set up my second rod...



    It was a beautiful morning, and noticeably cooler by the water than at my home in Korat. There always seems to be a breeze by water.





    Another guy was on one of these platform things...



    And my daughter desperately trying not to smile! She was grubby, still wearing the same T-shirt from the previous day (which she had also slept in) which to my mind is exactly what a kid should be like... but I guess it's easy to say that when mum is back in Korat!


  7. #7
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    We continued on... past another old gal fishing with her net contraption. I never did see a single fish caught by one of these. They must do sometimes or why bother... unless they also use fishing just as a good excuse to do nothing.



    And then hello... what's this???



    The first piece of action of the weekend! This was the chap who had ripp... I mean sold me the fishing tackle and bait the day before.

    And the first (and only) fish of the weekend I witnessed being caught (so no, JPPR2, I didn't catch anything... or go swimming for that matter!)

    A little pla nin that made him very happy! He put it back which was nice to see.



    As we walked on back I watched another old gal check her empty net...



    And when we got back to my mate's house, yet another gal was fishing in my spot! How dare she!

    To be honest I was secretly relieved... there was no way I was going to catch anything. How could I compete with guys with six rods, who knew what they were doing... and had special bait recipes to boot? This was all the excuse I needed to pack up my tackle.



    So then I sat at our drinking table, waiting for me mate to get his act together so we could go back to Korat. I wanted a decent meal.

    As I sat there, the pink hat guy passed again with some wood on his cart...



    And then an old crone appeared from nowhere and started collecting sticks. I idly wondered what she was doing, until she emptied out a bucket of plastic rubbish on the sticks and set fire to it all. Yep, directly upwind of where I was sitting...



    Then she fooked off as well... leaving me alone with the smoke.

    That was when I yelled to my mate to get a move on... I wanted to get back to Korat. I don't think Isaan village life would be for me.

  8. #8
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    I don't think Isaan village life would be for me
    Has it's upsides and downsides. On balance I quite enjoy it. Nice pics and words Mendip. Thanks for another great thread!
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    I'd just got back from a couple of debauched days in Bangkok We arrived at about 8pm... and the inevitable happened...

    Mendip, er hum do i dare ask why you each had a small bottle of Johnsons Baby Oil.

  10. #10
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    Aaahhh... you have to be very careful when posting pics!

    Naah, nothing like that. It was mosquito repellent, honest!

  11. #11
    Custom user Neverna's Avatar
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    I think the one on the left is actually pink lipstick. Your secret's safe with us, Mendip.
    Nev has style

  12. #12
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    Has it's upsides and downsides. On balance I quite enjoy it.
    Special breed, connections, and acceptance.


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverna View Post
    I think the one on the left is actually pink lipstick. Your secret's safe with us, Mendip.
    It shouldn't really be necessary on a forum with grown adults as members... but I want to nip this in the bud immediately!

    This was a beer drinking, whisky drinking fishing weekend for real men bonding with their kids.

    The reason we each had a bottle of mossie spray is that real men don't share stuff like that!


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuangLao View Post
    Special breed, connections, and acceptance.
    It's morning time in America and that can only mean one thing, Jeff's just woken up and starts posting like he's in Thailand

  15. #15
    Custom user Neverna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    It shouldn't really be necessary on a forum with grown adults as members... but I want to nip this in the bud immediately!
    Consider said bud nipped!

    Nev has style

  16. #16
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    I couldn't see any purpose to it.
    He probably thought the same of you with your rod.

    Nice thread, thank you

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post

    The reason we each had a bottle of mossie spray is that real men don't share stuff like that!
    The fact that is it is "floral fragrance" kind of kills the "real men" aspect of that.......

    5555

  18. #18
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    We arrived back from a day away in Pak Chong this afternoon, and the wife had to go and see how her sick mum was doing... took the car... what to do?

    I still had some unfinished business with animals having a brain the size of my left testicle, so I thought I'd catch some dinner for me and the daughter. Couldn't really see the wife coning back in time to cook...

    But... I took some sausages out of the freezer... just in case.

    The daughter and I prepared for our fishing trip and ... ha, who am I kidding. I prepared for my fishing trip to the bottom of the garden while daughter caught up on some much missed Minecraft time (the little bugger).

    As I set up the fishing gear in the workshop, Dan looked on. She loves fish and knew what was happening. But sadly not today Dan... Anna and Vigo are still in the pond area (with Anna on heat) and no way will Dan allow another girl on her patch without a fight.



    So, all tackle and provisions ready...



    Simple set up... float with bait set to about 3ft depth to keep out of the way of the surface fry.



    Bread for bait... can't see the daughter ever eating that brown bread anyway, to be honest.



    The grieving pigeons look on... recently bereaved after their young offspring flew into the garden one to many times... I'd rescued it over again, but the dogs had it in the end. They've already started another nest... life moves on.



    And that's it... all ready to go... spot the float!


  19. #19
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    A few minutes later... a pla tabtim. These pink tilapia are probably the best for a fish and chips. Firm, white flesh.



    Not long after, a pla nin...



    And then a long break between catching any more. Occasionally a stream of bubbles come to the surface to indicate where one of the big catfish is rummaging around in the mud... but they weren't biting...



    Another small pla nin... this one went back.



    And then... hello... a decent pla nin. Things were looking up!


  20. #20
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    After running out of provisions I called the daughter on Skype to come and sort me out... she's a great kid but I don't want to revisit this picture in ten years time...



    She saw my small catch and of course decided she did want to fish after all...

    I cast out for her...



    Big concentration on the float (the line was a bit slack but I let that pass!)



    Watch the float...



    Come on Anna... show some interest!



    And then... FISH ON!!!



    It's a big one... play it out ... and ffs, can ya bladdy believe it... so typical when a complete amateur comes along and catches the biggest fish.



    OK, ready now...



    And one very happy little girl! This beats bladdy Minecraft!



    The biggest fish of the day! I asked her if she minded if I knocked it on the head... ever sensitive these days... and she said she wanted to do it herself! I dispatched the fish to save it any unnecessary suffering, while daughter watched on. I like that she appreciates where her food comes from.

    Anna and Vigo watched on... (aren't dogs just great!!!)



    And the catch today... and that's a large Leo bottle, by the way! The biggest fish are around a kilo (or 2 lb in real money). The daughter's is top left. No antibiotics, growth hormones, etc etc. Gotta be good.

    Last edited by Mendip; 27-01-2020 at 08:58 PM.

  21. #21
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    Fish and Chips? with peas of course

  22. #22
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    And can ya bladdy believe it... the daughter wants the sausages tonight!

    Bangers and mash with beans she says!!!

    FFS... if I hadn't have taken the snags out the freezer, I wouldn't have caught anything... sod's law!

    But anyway, for any of those living in Isaan who miss fish and chips... Pla nin and pla tabtim have firm white flesh and make a great fish and chips. Never the same as a sea fish like cod or haddock, but a great second...

    All you have to do is fillet them... demonstrated by my second. wif.. I mean gardener!

    First cut off fins, scrape the scales off... scraping from tail towards head with a knife...



    Make a deep cut behind the head...



    Then cut along the backbone... either side of the dorsal fin...





    Then cut along the bones... slicing along them...



    And off comes the fillet...



    If you're gonna fry... then even after descaling, it's best to pull the skin off (if you're gonna steam, no problem)



    And voila!!! A fillet all ready for 'fish and chips'!



    And twelve fillets from our six fish!



    And the final stage... fry up the sausages because the bladdy daughter still wants bangers an' mash!

    Fish and chips tomorrow!

  23. #23
    Custom user Neverna's Avatar
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    Nice catch.

    I'll be 'round in half an hour. I'll have fish chips and peas, please.
    Nev has style

  24. #24
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    Mendip, top work and agreed they do make fairly passable F&C. My Mrs salts them a bit before frying.

  25. #25
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    ^^ Bangers and mash with beans tonight mate! The little lady's the boss!

    Forgot to mention... filleting is by no means a waste. All the heads and bits go into a tom yam soup. The rest goes to the chickens,
    Last edited by Mendip; 27-01-2020 at 07:16 PM.

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