Jean-Francois Helias’ Fishing Adventures Thailand team is known internationally to be the most professional pro guides for freshwater sport fishing in Southeast Asia.
That team of pro guides has accomplished numerous angling achievements, including up to today racking up an amazing total of 129 IGFA world records (114 homologated + 15 currently pending an homologation), or setting several non-official records such as the record of the Southeast Asian biggest fish ever caught on rod and line. A record they still hold up to this day and certainly for many more years to come, for the catch on August 26, 2001 of a gigantic 185 kg (407 lbs) Arapaima gigas or Pirarucu.
Very recently, on July 2, 2007, Jean-Francois Helias’ Fishing Adventures Thailand team did it again in a very impressive way!
This time with the catch by Fishing Adventures Thailand pro guide “Kik” of the world’s biggest carp ever caught on rod and line in the history of sport fishing. Kik who has been guiding in Jean-Francois Helias team since its inception is known locally as the most complete local angler of the country. He is also Thailand’s top rod builder and top handmaker of top water lures. Though he does not fish much as he used to do in his younger days, nowadays prefering guiding visiting anglers and making them catching our Thai fish species, he still has it under his skin.
On July 2, 2007, while guiding an American client at Bung Sam Lan Lake, Kik had brought with him a brand new fishing rod he had just finished to custom build. His intention was only to hook up and to play one or two Mekong giant catfish so he could test his rod. His karma on that day was gonna turn in a way he would have never expected.
Instead of a hardfighting Mekong catfish, Kik hooked up the kind of catch of a lifetime some anglers would sell their soul to the devil for. A Siamese Giant Carp or Catlocarpio siamensis we estimated weighing just over 120 kg (265 pounders). She may be a tiny bit bigger but to give her 120 kilos is already very fine with us. On the opposite of lots of anglers we have always prefered estimating the weight of our fish catches at the minimum rather than exagerating or hyping it.
Even with a bunch of kilos missing from her real weight, Kik’s catch is anyway the biggest Siamese carp ever caught here in Thailand on rod and line, and on top of it, the world’s biggest carp ever caught on rod and line!
Isn’t that catch twice bigger the size of the current 52 kg IGFA All Tackle world record for that species? Yes it is!
Has the fish been caught according to the IGFA rules? Yes!
Does it qualify then for a new record? No!
The only scales we had that day at the lake were our usual certified 100 kg scales. No way we would have thought we were gonna catch that gigantic carp.
Knowing she was weighing well over the 100 kg mark there was no need for us to bother with the weighing procedure. We had no other option than accepting losing the opportunity to submit that exceptional catch with the IGFA for a record. Shame is I have purchased last month a set of 500lb digital scales from the USA. I bouth them especially because I thought we may have to weight one or two fish catches over the 100 kg mark some of these days. The brand new 500lb digital scales are still at my home…. waiting for me to find free time so I can bring them to the calibration institute to have them certified. Too busy guiding and fishing, as usual not enough time to do everything I would or I should!
Kik’s gigantic carp catch is the second carp ever taken at Bung Sam Lan Lake from the 5 “super biggies” stocked at the lake 23 years ago. These 5 carp coming from the wild, exactly from the Chaopraya River in the Ratchburi province where they got netted, were already all weighing above the 90 kilos (almost 200 pounds) mark when sold to the lake owners.
In over two decades, only one of them has ever been landed by an angler. It is the estimated 110 kilos Siamese giant carp caught by our local friend Lung Dam. Any dedicated European carp angler knows about that famous photo showing Lung Dam with a straw hat posing behind his capture. A picture which has been published in almost every European fishing magazine.
For the anecdote, that very giant carp caught by Lung Dam was so close to be caught a second time last year. We were guiding a return client from England, Nicholas Dean, a lovable guy and a very experienced angler as well. Nick hooked up Lung Dam’s over 200 lb carp – no mistake about it – it was her 200 % with her very unique pattern of dark brown scales nuances on her body. Nick played her the right way all along the fight. He did not let the powerful carp entangling his line around the close neighboring structures. He was doing very fine. The carp got finally tamed, almost ready to be netted.
Apparently, the gigantic size of the carp appearing at the surface in front of him had Nick losing his focus for a few seconds….enough for the carp to play the usual Siamese giant carp trick which is to play tamed, and all of a sudden doing a last and unexpected rush towards the angler, passing just under his rod and his feet, and escaping under the bungalow by running through its wooden stilts. Next the line is entangled around the stilts. The carp got free by either getting unhooked or breaking the line….
Nick had lost in a split second a catch of a lifetime, his rights to be proud of his achievement, to deserve fame and exposure in the angling press media. Sad, very sad situation. We were all sad about it. Having someone you like losing an exceptional fish is not only mentally painful for the angler but for his guide too. It was the kind of day you wish everything you had just experienced did not happen….
Though Kik had no problem to land successfully the grandma carp, we had to cope next with a bunch of difficulties to manage a proper photo session. For such a catch of a lifetime no need to say how much one wants to immortalize both the fish and the moment of life at its best. We are in the monsoon season. It was raining and a heavy storm was coming. So we had to be fast and to hurry everything. Also when like us you are totally into conservation and into catch and release you do not want to keep that kind of exceptional fish too long. You want a few good pics and release next the fish in the very best conditions to assure its survival.
Let me tell you the task did not go easy. Kik had called an employee of Bung Sam Lan to help him handling the mammoth carp for the photo session. But the duo were not enough strong to lift and keep the carp out of the water while my wife Lek & Kik’s wife Pim were taking the photos. The boys were struggling in the water to handle the powerful grandma carp, getting slapped a few times by her powerful tail. Almost all the pics taken by Lek & Pim sadly turned out bad. A pity for such a catch of a lifetime! I had to delete almost all of them except for about a dozen of almost decent ones I saved.
Our Fishing Adventures Thailand team has now three non-official but first class records: a 185 Kg Arapaima catch which is still today the Southeast Asian biggest fish ever caught on rod and line; that 120 kg Siamese Giant Carp, the world’s biggest carp caught also on rod and line; and a 100 kg freshwater giant stingray we fought for 6 hours which is from my knowledge the biggest of its kind ever caught in Thailand on rod and line.
You know what? The Fishing Adventures Thailand rocks & is here to stay!
So don’t be surprised if in a near future you receive an email informing you we have finally succeeded to land a Mekong giant catfish over the 100 kg mark. We have already taken 4 Mekong cats above the 80 kg mark, so to catch one over the 90 kg or the 100 kg mark is just a matter of time!
IGFA Representative – Thailand
Fishing Adventures Thailand
114 IGFA World Records
Inter. call: 66 8 1 846 98 94
Local call: 08 1 846 98 94