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If you intend fishing mostly for cats and carp at Bung Sam Lan, it is absolutely essential that you select a suitable rod. Many a UK angler has visited Bungsamlan under misguided advice or information, consequently bringing their 2LB to 4LB test curve rods, or even there heavy spod rods, not only to be disappointed in losing fish because they cannot control them, but also because they have snapped their favorite rod! Actually our recommendation to anyone who has never fished for the Giant Mekong Catfish before is don't even consider using your own tackle, as these fish have the power to break even the best quality (supposedly, you be amazed how expensive rods seem to fair worse than inexpensive ones.) products, we have had a number of anglers break extremely expensive rods on Bungsamran, we would rather you wasn't one of them! If you absolutely insist on using your own equipment we will give you our honest opinion whether it's up to the job (and the opinion is usually in the negative because we have tried most rods!) after which, you are on your own!
For all other venues and species it is possible to use rods that more closely resemble equipment that the freshwater angler at home might be more familiar with. For example, we currently use 10ft 6lb test catfish rods for our predator fishing at Lake Monsters, Palm Tree Lagoon and beyond. It would be possible to use slightly longer rods, with a lesser test curve for most of the fishing, although you must always be mindful that you could at any time hook into a fish of a lifetime, and that is when you will be grateful of a bit more backbone and pulling power in your rod
If you want to use your own reels, they must hold a capacity of at least 200 metres minimum 25lb main line. Mekong Catfish runs are usually very dogged and often downright unstoppable! You need to fish with an open bail or free-running spool, (bait-runner, is preferred) otherwise your rod runs the risk of disappearing. I don't like open-bale fishing as it is possible for the bale to not close correctly or for line to unravel and fall behind the spool - especially in the excitement of a run - with potentially disastrous consequences. I find the bait-runner facility and general performance of the Shimano 6500, to be the best fixed spool option for most fishing eventualities in Thailand, although the majority of Anglers on Bungsam Lan use Multipliers, ABU7000 or equivalents would be my suggestion if you want to go down this path. Once again generally speaking low grade/low quality products are not likely to last well at Bungsam Lan. Your gonna' be into big hard fighting fish most of the time, and after a few days fishing, your tackle would have been tested to the limit. Bent spindles, wrenched bail arms, and a host of other problems will likely occur if you have a low cost reel.
Main line for Mekong catfish needs to be very strong. As with all types of fishing there are numerous debates about what's best for the job, whilst in reality there are pro's and cons to every decision made. If you are using a very stiff rod, then mono (in 25LB to 30LB range) might be the best bet, since there is no give in braid, and when the large cats take you can find yourself snapping out on the strike since nothing gives, not the rod, not the fish, and not you! Crack! I have watched anglers nearly pulled in numerous times (myself being one of them!) on the initial strike, these fish are strong! However if you are using a longer slightly softer rod, then braid is a good choice too, although you may require a mono shock leader. I like to use 80LB Power Pro
These should be the very the strongest forged hooks you can find.
Purchase hooks recommended for catfish, or hooks used for sea fishing are also worth looking at. I generally use hooks in sizes 1/0 and 2/0 for most fishing.
*Terminal tackle is not included in your all-inclusive package, however it can be purchased cheaply at Bungsam Lan..
At SFT we also use some of the best fishing equipment available from Free Spirit, Shimano, PowerPro, Fox, JRC, and more.