It’s Time to Get Prepared
Chris Millar (The Highlander) – Future Image Dublin Member
The crazy months of Xmas and New Year are over and hopefully you received that special gift of a rod and reel. There are many varied fish species in Thailand and therefore many different baits and tactics are used to catch them. Here are the some of the more common baits, it is by no means a comprehensive list but it is at least something to think about and a good starting point for anyone who wants to experiment with different combinations and mixtures when fishing in Thailand.
BREAD (Thai - Kanom bang): There are two main types of Bread you can buy in Thailand both are usually mixed with powdered, ground baits or something to add attraction: The first , which can be bought from most supermarkets is normal sandwich bread which is edible for humans. All the varieties are available, white, wholemeal, rye, thick sliced, thin sliced, no crust, added vitamin as well as chocolate bread, coconut bread, bread with jam and banana bread.
The second type which is not edible for humans are smell-enhanced bread .This is special bread made to use as fishing bait. It has flavour enhancers mixed into it that make it very potent and not suitable for human consumption. You can buy this bait from any fishing tackle shop as well as at fishing parks. There are 4 common flavours: banana, vanilla, strawberry and pandan. It’s quite easy to tell which is which by the colours.
GROUND OR POWDERED FISHING BAIT ( lam or Lum): This bait is very similar to European ground bait or method mix, can be used alone or mixed with bread and is packed around a feeder and cast into the water. Again they can be purchased from any tackle shop or fishing park. The four main flavours are Banana, Vanilla, Strawberry and pandan but there is also a flavour called Nom meow in Thai which basically translated means Cats Milk. Fruit baits can be a very good bait to use for certain fish species, obviously very easy to buy as most street corners will have a fruit stall. They need to be chopped and mixed by you. The fruit is then usually mixed with normal unflavoured Sandwich bread. Getting the right mix is important so it will produce a very strong smell that will last a while when submerged in the water. Some popular fruits used are: Raisins, Bananas, Mangoes, Grapes, Apricots, Pineapples, Durian, Jackfruit and Papaya. Experimentation is the key and some will work better than others in different locations or at different times of the year when certain fruits are in season.
Ground bait or powdered bait known as LUM in Thai language is a very popular fishing bait and used together with a method type wire cage feeder. It can be mixed together with any of the other bait types or used on its own. Experimentation is the key if you have time and patience.
SOFT FISHING BAITS: These are easily purchased from markets, they need to be mixed by you into a dough together with normal un-enhanced bread . Some good ones to try are: Coconut milk, Chocolate milk, Creamy Cakes, Eggs, Milk Powder, Butter, Cocoa, Coffee, Cheese, Condensed Milk.
FLOUR FISHING BAITS: Include - Noodle flour, Tapioca flour, Yam flour and Rice flour. These need to be mixed into dough together with Bread or Powdered bait additive called "cats milk “These small bottles of very strong flavourings can also be bought from most Fishing tackle shops and Fishing parks, although very cheap to buy and come in numerous flavours its easy to get over excited and add too much of this stuff. Adding to much will distract the fish and will not have the desired effect. If you don't know how much to use, its best to ask somebody nearby.
If there is no one around you can experiment but this could be very hit and miss and leave you will mounds of useless bait. It’s usually 1 x bottle of flavour mixed with 1 x container of bait. Most places have different sized containers so that formula is not always good to follow. When mixing your own baits it really helps if you can leave them mixed inside a sealed container like a bucket for about 7 days so the smells and flavours really soak into each other to enhance the whole mix. So far the baits described are mainly for Catfish, Carp and Barb species. It’s not that those species only eat Bread, Fruit and ground bait, but as Thailand also has predatory species there is one last group of baits that are very effective, these are the FREE Found Baits.
FREE FOUND FISHING BAITS: Free found fishing baits are very varied and as 90% of fish are in some way predatory you could really try anything you can get your hands on. Some of the more common baits for species such as Snakehead are Frogs (both live and dead), Crabs (both live and dead), Prawns (both live and dead), Small Fish (both live and dead), Mussels, Worms and Grubs. Worms are always a dead cert and pretty easy to find in the garden. classic bait that seems to be guaranteed all around the world.
NOW WHERE TO GO - LAKES
Are you ready to get out on the lake and catch some fish? Before you go you might want to read and use some of our lake fishing tips below. While these won’t be specific to any certain Thai fish species, they can be used in combination with our fishing tips to make you a more skilful angler.
Inlets and Outlets are your Friend – Like humans, fish like specific temperatures and will generally hang around areas of a lake that they find comfortable. Places where water enters or drains from a lake will generally be much cooler and favourable to fish. Bait fish like to hang around these areas, along with the big monster fish that eat them.
Choose the Right Bait – You can’t go wrong with natural freshwater bait such as cricket, worms, minnows, and leeches. Live bait can also be quite affordable from Thai markets. For artificial lures, we recommend fishing jigs. They are the most versatile in lakes because they can catch just about any type of freshwater fish
As the Heat Index Rises – The hotter it gets outside the deeper you’ll need to fish. This is because fish tend to like cool temperatures and will retreat to deeper, cooler water as the temperature outside rises. During dusk and dawn fish will come to more shallow water to feed, some more shallow than others. You should research the specific type of fish you’re trying to catch in order to learn more.
Find Sunken Structures – Fish like to hang around structures that make them feel safe and that provide the opportunity to ambush other fish. Structures such as downed trees, branches and even man-made fish habitats are a great place to fish.
Look for Weeds – A lot of big fish, like Snakehead, like to ambush their prey from a nice comfy weed bed. Locate some weed beds in the lake your fishing in and try getting your bait and/or lure in that area to see if you can coax a fish to bite. The weed beds that lead to deeper water and create a break line are the best honey pots.
Work with the Wind – On days with a strong breeze you can expect the bait fish to get pushed closer to shore, meaning the big fish will come closer to shore to feed. Watch for drift lines and follow them, they will lead to bait fish, which will in turn lead to big fish.
Safety Information for Lake Fishing
When fishing on a lake it’s important to always wear a life vest and follow all local and state regulations when boating on that lake. If you plan to fish from shore and wade into the lake make sure you use a wader belt to prevent water from rapidly filling up your waders in case you fall. Make sure not to leave behind any hooks where you fish or near the shore of the water, they can hurt wild life, domestic pets and even other people. Remember, we share our lakes with fish, wildlife and other humans, so keep them clean and don’t leave or toss garbage in the lake.