Thailand conditions require fishermen to be properly equipped with the necessary hardware and clothing to achieve success. Preparation for our unique style of angling starts from the moment you leap out of bed. What you wear will have a direct bearing on your success rate for the day!
Recommended Clothing & Accessories;
HAT – Preferably a broad-brimmed cowboy-style hat, and it must be a dull colour – this is the 1st thing that the fish see as you are approaching the river! It must have a wide brim to protect you from sunburn, reduce glare by keeping direct sunlight off your Polaroids, prevents hooks in your ears, head or neck!
Polaroid Sunglasses – Bring a top-grade pair! Most popular colours are yellow or amber in our region, these improve contrast on dull days. Dark green or brown make life difficult on rainy days. Those with side panels give you an additional advantage, preventing light entering from the sides.
SHIRTS – A light-weight fishing shirt, fast-drying micro-fibre is best. Dull colours are essential! Long sleeves can make a difference when casting to a fish in clear water. Rolling down your sleeves helps prevents the white ‘flash” of your arm spooking the fish…. and also minimises sunburn.
T-SHIRTS or SINGLETS – Polypropylene, micro-fleece
PANTS: Either hi-tech polyester outdoor track-pants/trousers, or shorts over polypropylene long-johns. We prefer to wade wet because water temperatures are mild and waders are hot and uncomfortable on long hikes. Choose pants that dry quickly.
BOOTS – Sturdy wading boots, because the terrain is rugged, and we often cover quite long distances. Wading boots with felt or felt + studs are ideal.
JACKET – A lightweight 100% waterproof nylon jacket – dull colours, that you can slip in your backpack in case of unexpected wind/rain. Mountain weather changes rapidly, here as well.
SUN-BLOCK SPF30+ It gets hot here, late in the season, and on the rivers the reflected rays adding to the potential to burn. Bring SPF30+ sun-block, water-resistant.
INSECT REPELLENT – There are very few troublesome insects here. However, at dusk and dawn there are sometimes mosquitoes. A repellent with about 25%+ Deet content is a good start…. Buy an aerosol, not a cream, to prevent getting repellent on your fingers – Deet destroys leader and tippet in a heartbeat…
RODSA 9ft rod,of either #7 or #8 weight, is the best choice for our conditions. Mahseer are very strong fish, and even a 2kg fish is hard to manage in fast bouldery water. A 10kg fish is almost uncontrollable, even on an #8 rod with heavy tippet, and you need solid gear and a lot of luck to land a bigger fish.NB: All the rods we use for guiding are rated 7/8 weight, and are loaded with #8 weight-forward floating lines.
REELS A matt black reel is preferred, not a shiny chromed one which will send reflections off like a mirror and alert fish for 100 yards in all directions.
Basically, you want a reel that has plenty of capacity for extra backing, zero start-up drag, and is impervious to a dunking in the creek e.g. the drag is sealed and remains completely unaffected by water. There are many brands that deliver on that, and a lot that don’t…
9ft, 1x or 2x plus a good supply of 2x & 3x tippet material. Fluorocarbon is ok, but it must be matched to fluorocarbon leaders to reduce the chance of the tippet cutting through the leader.
Weight-forward floating lines which are weighted to match your rod, or 1 size heavier. Colour should be a dull olive, grey or green to reduce the chance of it being seen in the air.
Fluorescent orange or green, or the shiny new “clear” lines are not the best choice…. We like Rio Carp lines!!!
FLIES – If you tie your own, these are favoured local flies.
Dry – #4-6 Royal Wullf, #12 and #14 Elk Hair Caddis
Streamers – #6, #8, #10 Black or Olive Woolly Bugger with bead or cone head, and a little pearl Flashabou
Wear a matte black watch, not a stainless steel one. Likewise for forceps and zingers. The more you can do to not attract attention, the better the chances of success.
It is important that clothing is in subdued jungle colours, preferably olive, sage, or camouflage. Because of the water clarity, fish can often spot you from 30+ metres, so everything you do to reduce your visibility will aid in your success. Background is usually classic jungle, bush, scrub and/or mountains, and you must do your best to blend in.
Just as for angling in New Zealand, the UK or US, either dull olive green, or woodland camouflage colours are most suitable for stalking wary fish in clear mountain streams.
Visiting anglers never cease to be amazed at how alert our Mahseer are to the slightest danger.