Smiffy Takes Pallatrax To TopCats, Koh Samui, Thailand

Smiffy Takes Pallatrax To TopCats, Koh Samui, Thailand

In March I was lucky enough to embark on a holiday to Thailand, and a fishing trip I had been waiting to complete for years. After travelling around sightseeing I was able to complete my holiday with three days fishing at TopCats, Koh Samui. Before travelling out to Thailand I touched base with the owner of the lake, Shaun McNutt, discussing the facilities and most importantly making sure that I would be able to take and use my Pallatrax essentials. Being limited on what I could take out with me, I decided on taking a mix of 3oz and 4oz Stonze, rubber beads and large swivels, Size 2 The Hook, Jungle Pop-Ups in mixed sizes, Jungle Flarze Pop-Ups, Jungle Overspray and Glug. Before leaving, I glugged the Jungle Pop-Ups, by pouring the Jungle Spray over the Jungle Pop-Ups in order to intensify the smell attractant in the aim to draw in the fish. I made sure that I then sealed the pots carefully to avoid any spillages!


Thailand was a sunny 35-40 degrees which made fishing a hot experience! That being said, TopCats provides a great service with shaded areas and food/drink facilities, and the staff were very friendly and welcoming. The resident Parrot even said “hello” on arrival. Every fisherman gets allocated a guide who can help with tips and advice on the best techniques for the lake. Initially Chaiyot (my guide) tied the first rig, to show me how they do it there normally. This was a simple set up: in line running pear lead that was used as a method system. Similar variant to the Pallatrax Stonze system but with the use of lead. I have cracked open my supplies straight away, showing them the Stonze and explaining that I would prefer to give it a go using the Stonze instead. A new rig was put together using the Stonze system consisting of a 3oz in-line Stonze with a length of heavy duty tubing, Pallatrax rubber beads and 80lbs hair rig braid with a size 2 barbless the hook tied knotless knot style. I had taken 30lb Pallatrax Snaglink with me but was advised that the breaking strain wouldn’t have coped with the size of the fish! On the hair there were two TopCats homemade boilies and balanced off with my 18mm Jungle Pop-Up. Admittedly, my guide didn’t look convinced at the start questioning whether it would cast as far, however his concern was quickly put to bed when I cast out perfectly about 90 yards first time! After this, he seemed converted, saying that this would also work great for his personal river fishing, as it would blend perfectly with his local river substrate.

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Day One and Day Two were solely carp days. The mornings, being the hottest part of the day both started slowly. My first Siamese Carp on Day One arrived around 10.30am which was a relief, and well deserved as it took a good half an hour playing. After this I was well rewarded with a steady stream of Carp around 30-45mins between each fish. I stuck to the Stonze system as it was working well. The highlight of Day One was seeing that the fish were taking to an unknown bait which proved successful for me as I had the highest tally of the day! All in all I had around 16 fish in on the first day; Siamese Carp and Mekong Catfish (I lost a Pacu – Gutted!). Out in Thailand they don’t weigh the fish like we do religiously in England, instead giving their estimates, but it was obvious that I had some beasts out of the water. All were large specimens, with my Mekong Catfish weighing in approx. 50lbs and the Carp at around 70lbs. I was really pleased to have caught so many and to that size!

Day Three was solely Arapaima fishing. TopCats have a specific package for this, which was six hours focused on Arapaima. This was my first time, so I took my lead from my guide Ben. We kept to a similar design on the rig, with everything upsized due to the size of the fish. Pop-Ups were initially swapped for dead bait consisting of small fish, however later in the day the bait fish and Pop-Ups were interchanged to keep it more interesting for the Arapaima. My first Arapaima was the smallest of the day, around 40lbs, which to be honest I struggled to get in! It was jumping up into the air out of the water and, in doing so, getting a fresh burst of air in its body which refuelled it for the next fight in the water. I was chuffed when I secured it in the net, not only as it was my first Arapaima ever but also because I was worried I was going to lose it in the fight. Following this, I landed another five beautiful specimens. My favourite of the haul being a massive 120lbs, with lovely symmetrical scales with a torpedo shaped body. A massive highlight was also landing a baby Alligator Gar which had diamond interlocking shape scales. This one was only little, but Ben assured me that there were much larger ones in the lake.

aligator gar cropped

All in all, I had an amazing time and would highly recommend a visit to TopCats Resort, Koh Samui Thailand. I will be making a return sooner rather than later.120 arapaima

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