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Mahseer Fly Fishing in Thailand’s Jungle

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Joined: 01/Mar/2010
Location: Thailand
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    Posted: 07/Jun/2016 at 4:38pm

Mahseer Fly Fishing in Thailand’s Jungle


Many fly fishermen travel the world in search of the fishing adventure of a lifetime, this search might take them all over the globe. If you're the type of fisherman who likes: Hiking along streams, in pristine wild nature. Fly fishing in crystal clear rivers for truly wild fish that like nothing better than grabbing a well-placed dry fly as it drifts by. Read on as you might have found your next fly fishing destination!

Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles, tropical beach holidays, delicious food and the hospitality of its people, not as a fly fishing destination for the adventurous fly angler. But the country has some fly fishing in the jungle you will not find elsewhere. It all began when we heard rumors of numbers of big Mahseer in the jungles of Thailand. The only information we received was the remains of third hand stories and after having chased the Mahseer over most places in Thailand, we finally found what we today call the Mahseer capital of Thailand, which was hidden deep inside the jungle of Khao Sok National Park in Southern Thailand. These protected rivers are home to both Thai Mahseer (Tor tambroides) and the Blue Mahseer (Neolissochilus stracheyi). Mahseer is the common name used for the genera Tor, Neolissochilus, and Naziritor in the family Cyprinidae (Carp).

The nutrient rich environment and unspoiled habitat provides the perfect setting to host the largest population of Mahseer in Thailand, the quality and diversity of the Mahseer is absolutely incredible, it is not uncommon to have multiple shots at big Mahseer on the same day. These remote rivers are a great example of if the best fishing was easily accessible then it would probably very quickly cease to be that good,

If you are a fly-fisherman "you know who you are" this is one of the most amazing experiences you can have with a fly rod, these jungle rivers flow crystal clear from the mountains and all are very different from one another, which is a great challenge and they offer some great sight fishing with floating line in pursuit of the Mahseer. Nymph fishing is often used, but it is the excellent dry fly fishing, which makes these jungle rivers so special. Success with a floating line and a dry fly, are for many fly fisherman the ultimate in fly fishing. Mahseer behave like a Brown Trout, they can be caught on dry flies, nymphs and streamers and they will often take your fly very aggressively. They also respond to the phases in a caddis or mayfly hatch in the same way as trout do. You can many times find them in front of or behind boulders and stay below the foam lines. The Mahseer is a wary fish and are always aware of danger, so normally they are very unforgiving of poor presentation. But first time you hook one, you’ll know that you have come in contact with one of the fiercest fighting freshwater game fish in existence - pound for pound they have unparalleled strength and endurance. The average size of the Mahseer is 3 to 5 pounds, exceeding most anglers’ wildest imagination and each year Mahseer in excess of ten pounds are hooked. When you make a jaunt like this into the beating heart of Thailand, where you will fly fish in some of the most pristine scenery in the world, not to mention the spectacular wildlife sightings, it will place a permanent reminder in your soul.

Fly gear for Mahseer Fly fishing; fly rods with a fast action between 7 to 9 ft. in Class 5 - 8, with forward weighted floating lines with relatively short heads of 7-9 meters are preferable. Short shooting heads are also fine for the purpose and turn over the big dry flies without problems. The fly reel must have a good and smooth drag, since the larger Mahseer, will make some long runs. A hook remover pliers and barbless flies are a must during this fishing.

Khao Sok National Park is located in Surat Thani Province, Its area is 739 km², and it includes the 165 square kilometer Cheow Lan Lake contained by the Ratchaprapha Dam. The park is the largest area of virgin forest in southern Thailand and is a remnant of rain forest which is older and more diverse than the Amazon rain forest. Beautiful sandstone and mudstone rocks rise between 300-600 m above sea level. The park is traversed by a limestone mountain range from north to south with a high point of 950 m. This mountain range is hit by monsoon rain coming from both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, which makes it among Thailand's wettest regions with an annual rain fall of 3,500 mm. Heavy rainfall and falling leaves led to the erosion of the limestone rocks and created the significant karst formations seen today. The park is estimated to contain over 5% of the worlds species of wildlife. Wild mammals include Malayan tapir, Asian elephant, Tiger, Leopard, sambar deer, bear, gaur, Banteng, serow, Wild boar, Pig-tailed macaque, langur, white handed Gibbons, squirrel, Muntjac, Mouse deer, Barking deer. Just to name a few of those living in this jungle. What the famous travel book Lonely planet compares to Jurassic Park, we like to call a piece of paradise. 

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Edited by Thai Fishing - 07/Jun/2016 at 8:13pm
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