Ive got a penchant for Urban fly fishing.  Theres something grungy and cool about it.  Some years back we went to Thailand on a company incentive trip.  So it wasn’t long until I searched Fly Fishing Thailand and Gillhams came up.  Keep in mind this was before the (public) Masheer exploration and the Snakeheads were just too far away.

Solution… Gillhams!  You would have seen the place on Nat Geo or elsewhere on the web.  Its Jurassic Park.  Everything from Arapaima to Golden Dorado to Tigerfish to Tarpon (yip, you read that right).  On the trip there I thought this was going to be like spring break after 12pm, fishing with dynamite.  Boy was I wrong.

The next week was a lesson in attrition.  This is a place built for bait fisherman, and fish that want bait.  As is so so so typical of any trip, it was first the frustration lead by the breakthrough that got me on to the Arapaima.  And what a fish they are.  These guys are basically Arapaima scientists after many years of breeding and caring for these beautiful beast. There were some serious surprises.  And who knows if this stands true for the Amazonian home-grown variety!

1) They are extremely sensitive to water temperature.
2) They are extremely fragile above 150lbs due some sort of artery that runs along the spinal column, which if bent the wrong way causes fatalities.
3) They can swim backwards as fast as they can forwards
4) They “fight” in mating season.  Watching two fish close on 10ft hit each other at full pace is incredible, and sounds not unlike the submarine chlorine bombs I made in school (sorry mom).
5) They are incredibly territorial and intelligent.  A hooked fish here is known to swim straight to a submerged fence post, only to wrap itself around and then sit on the bottom.
6) Although not fast, they are remarkably strong.
7) An amazonian red tailed cat is the fastest thing I’ve ever felt in fresh water!!!

What follows is the learning curve pulled from a much younger Peters original blog.

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Peter Coetzee

Peter Coetzee

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