I found these 2 tortoises laying eggs in my back yard on Monday they were about 20 meters apart, there was another nest about 40 meters away but the bandicoots had already got at them. I covered both nests with wire crates for protection. The hatchlings will be able to get through the wire. 26112017a.jpg 290.67KB 13 downloads 26112017b.JPG 160.18KB 13 downloads 26112017c.JPG 223.87KB 12 downloads 26112017d.JPG 310.23KB 12 downloads
- Perth Cichlid Society Forum
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Posted by Fox on 19 September 2017 - 01:55 PM
After seeing a lot of dead/dying/hybrid or deformed fish around my close vicinity LFS, Morley has become a firm favorite and a regular drop by on my break. (Aquotix & Vebas are the other 2 but a little further away)
Paul always has some cool stuff in and is always helpful.
I dropped by on Sunday after some kayak action down the swan, I had a couple of Hoplarchus psittacus on hold and as I found out while I was there.... at a BARGAIN price... How could I resist.
I've never kept this species before but have always been intrigued.
Anyways, I quickly dropped my kayak at home and grabbed my camera and jumped on the bike and rode over to Morley.... When I got there I released in the rush I had forgotten my speedlght So I only got a couple of pics.
Next break I'll try for more.
Whilst I was there I overheard Paul talking to a new customer about filtration and remembered why I hate "supermarket" shops so much..
The right info and shows passion about the job he was doing.
Thanks Paul for the Hoplarchus psittacus & the other species Ive grabbed lately, Much appreciated.
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Posted by chrishaigh82 on 09 March 2016 - 11:45 PM
I've kept fish before however never africans. I may have caught the bug.
When I've kept fish at home I have never really had a lot of time to enjoy them due to work and "life". This time around I've put a tank in my office (chiropractic/health clinic in canning vale), where I spend most of my time and I can enjoy them the most. We did this when going through a full refit after going through the change of ownership and the thing I've been surprised at is how much our staff have taken on the fish as their pets and how much our patients love them all.
I'll attach some pictures of the install of the main display tank with predominantly peacocks, the guys from Aquotix did an amazing job and Mattia keeps them all happy for us ever since.
I'm amazed at how quickly they are all growing.
when first put in
I also have a tropheus tank who will be joined soon by some new comers from germany very soon
Posted by humbug on 15 January 2017 - 10:20 PM
Someone posted on one of the Facebook groups today about having one of those bad days that leaves you questioning why you keep fish. I know how he feels. I’ve had a lot of those days lately. Too many other distractions in my life making it a struggle to find time to care for the fish properly, let alone to have time to sit back and enjoy them. A couple of equipment failures leading to the loss of important fish. A couple of experiences with hobbyists and industry that have left me wondering why the hell I bother . . . . . .
But then you have one of those good days, and it reaffirms why you keep plodding on. I’ve had one of those days today.
I’ve kept a lot of species over the years, but there are a couple which are particularly close to my heart. Lichnochromis acuticeps is one of those. If really pushed, I’d probably admit this is the species dearest to me.
Four years ago, they were a fish that I’d admired from photographs but never thought likely I’d keep. At that point, they had only been bred successfully a handful of times in this country. But in March 2013, some juvis became available and I grabbed 10. My “Holy Grail” then became to breed them myself.
A couple of disasters early on, and I lost half of the ten. I ended up with only two females from the remaining fish. Not a great start. They eventually bred in early 2015, and I kept the fry from that first brood. The adults have bred on a couple of occasions since, and gradually we have been getting juvis out so others can enjoy what I consider to be the ultimate Malawi hap.
So I’d reached my “Holy Grail”. But you know what I find even more rewarding than breeding a species for the first time? I get a HUGE buzz out of raising home-bred fish, watching them mature, and then breeding the next generation from them.
Today I stood in the fishroom in front of the tank containing the youngsters from my first Lichno brood. They are now 22 months of age. To my surprise and delight, I stood and watched a pair spawning for the very first time. The little male looks gorgeous in his newly acquired colours. The little female is plump and a picture of health. In the tank I spied another couple of girls which look ready to spawn as well. My heart sang.
Yep – as I said to this guy on Facebook earlier today, if this was all easy, and you never had those bad days, then days like today wouldn’t feel half as sweet.
Posted by kassysimon on 23 September 2015 - 07:58 PM
So I got a little bored and saw all of these great journals and thought I’d get in on it too.
I had a 10x2x2 with two FX5’s running a high tech planted tank with CO2, auto dosing liquid fertilisers, auto water change and top up with PH, heating and lighting controlled via a Profilux aquarium computer.
I designed an area in the house a built to house this tank and time came to finally complete the project which meant building cabinets around the tank which sat on a metal stand in the living room so it was rather unsightly.
The tank looked like this in its prime.
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Before stripping it down and selling off the plants, fish and gravel it looked like this.
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I’ve been designing the cabinets and consulting with the cabinet maker for a few months and finally got all my requirements dialed in. The plan was for the final result to look something like this.
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The cabinets are built from Nema Board. A polymer waterproof (amongst many other things) product that can be worked like mdf. I chose this to be used in the carcasses only and then an HMRMDF for the doors and scribes.
I originally decided upon a sump as filtration but the return pump noise was of great concern seeing as the tank is in the living room so I opted to run the FX5’s again. I had Nick (aka Riggers) drill the required holes for me (which came out perfect) which I’m still using for the auto water change, auto top off and emergency overflow.
A quick render of the sump.
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I moved the fish a wished to keep into a holding tank and the build began the build.
This was the area all cleaned out.
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First the bottom cabs went in.
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Then the full heights and over heads.
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And then the carcasses were done...
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Next came the doors and vuala!
A few little touch-ups and leveling off.....
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Plumbing in the auto water change, top off and overflow came next. Room was left in the piping to allow me to integrate replacing water at water change time with conditioned water. But since I can ultimately change as much or as little water as I like at as many or few intervals I decided to leave it for now as mains pressure water has served me well in the past so far.
Here is the sump installed.
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But as mentioned the FX5's were used instead.
The plumbing for ATO and AWC with and emergency overflow.
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I ran two 300w Jager heaters in the last setup and will be doing the same again, mostly for redundancy as water changes will be small but often. I ran them in-line to keep the tank looking clean. The FX5’s run into the heater manifold and then directly into the tank.
The two FX5’s plumbing was next which was just simply running pipes into the cabinets and making room for the two inline heaters.
I’ll be using Gin Gin river sand from Wangara Soils aint Soils as a substrate with granite and possibly schist stone as decorations and hiding places.
A trip to Wangara this weekend will see me well stocked and ready to start scaping the tank.
With that said ill post another update once scaping is complete.
Posted by TheTexasCichlidMasacre on 07 May 2014 - 11:12 AM
Are you here to learn and share? if you are i Applaud you...
are you here to share a wealth of experience that you have gained? then thankyou
are you here to learn and then demoralise newbies once you think you know enough to be considered experienced? then i condemn you!
this is a place where people should not be afraid to post or ask for advice and if you are sick of answering the questions why are you here?
i for one will never stop helping new people....
i am proud of the knowledge i have gained from this place... but i dont confuse pride with arrogance ! but i know some do...
if you need to take your meds before you answer questions then that might be better then slamming newbies
Posted by KurtFreitag on 29 August 2017 - 03:09 PM
I'm currently converting my shed into a fish room as my house simply doesn't have the space.
Spent the last two weeks on and off around work and 4 kids and this is the progress so far.
Still got the power to be terminated, plastering/painting, air con to be installed and flooring to be sealed and then I can move in the racks approximate tank count 31 not including the planned 6x 6ft tanks.
Going to be a busy month.
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Posted by humbug on 22 January 2017 - 09:04 AM
. . . . and a BIG thank you from me to Andrew at Labyrinth, and Poncho, Mattia and Aquotix in WA (plus anyone else behind the scenes!), for making this folly possible. I'm sending fish from Adelaide to Perth . . . via Sydney Andrew has put himself out to house them for a week at the shop en route. They fly to Perth on Wednesday, and then have to be handled and housed by the guys at Aquotix until the auction. The logistics of this is insane!!!! Thank you all so much for making this possible. Hopefully it raises something for the Stuart Grant fund, and helps to get some of these rarer fish established in the west.
Please, please, please, dig deep for a good cause, and show support for these guys who do so much to keep your Society going. I'm betting a lot of you take the Society, and its tireless workers, for granted. You don't know how lucky you are to live in a state with an active group such as this!!!!
Posted by keleherr on 08 February 2017 - 03:01 PM
Couple on snaps from a new gig in the NT
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Posted by Stormfyre on 03 August 2016 - 11:02 AM
As the Fish of the Month for September, there will 2 lots of bags of 8 x of Ctenochromis horei available at the PCS Meeting for auction. These are special lots to raise money for Stuart Grant Fund for Cichlid Preservation and have kindly been donated by one of our PCS Members - Joel (Extend). Joel has also written this months FotM profile -
Ctenochromis horei is a medium to large cichlid from Lake Tanganyika and some of the lower reaches of the rivers that feed Tanginyika. According to Pierre Brichard, C. horei was classed as Haplochromis horei in 1888 and later reviewed by P. H Greenwood in 1979 to become Ctenochromis horei.
According to Ad Konings in back to nature guide to Tanginyikan cichlids, C. horei males reach 18-20cm and females 12-15cm.
Order: Perciformes Family: Cichlidae
C. hoeri are found throughout the lake and are also encountered in the rivers that feed into and out of Lake Tanginyika; river such as Lukuga River, Ruzizi River and Nua River. C. horei are most often found lurking around vegetated habitats in shallow water between 1-2m but will also venture out to the open sand and around rocky areas close to their preferred aquatic plant hangouts.
Ctenochromis horei are omnivores and will eat plant matter, small fish and invertebrates. In the aquarium they thrive on New Life Spectrum cichlid formula as a staple diet, baby guppies as treat but don’t seem to take much of an interest in frozen brine shrimp. They eat lots and females that have just come off holding fry, should be fattened up before they are allowed to spawn again.
C. horei should be provided with a large tank, minimum 4x2x2ft (6x2x2 if other species of Tanginyikan cichlids are to be kept in the same tank) for a colony of 4 or 5 fish. Fine, sandy substrate like playground sand, mixed with a small amount coral or aragonite sand (to buffer the water quality) is perfect.
Water conditions for C. horei are similar to keeping most Tanginyikan cichlids i.e. pH 8.5-8.7 or higher say 9.0, 24-26 degrees celcius and a kH of 10-15 are ideal for these fish to thrive.
Being an aggressive fish by nature provide adequate rock work and caves for the females and non-dominant males. If you can grow Vallisneria sp in the Tanginyikan tank, plant this and it not only makes a more natural habitat is provides extra cover and food for the fish.
A conspecific aggressionist, meaning that you can keep C. horei with other species of Tanginyikan cichlids, as the males are only aggressive towards other males all the time and females at breeding time. This being said, keep one male to 3 or 4 females; any other non-dominant male is harassed to the point of death or serious injury. C. horei have been kept in a 6x2x2.5 along with Cyprichromis sp, Julidochromis sp and Synodontis sp, with the only harm being done to the other C.horei
Maternal mouth brooder. Males construct a bower in the sand (size depends on each individual male) or clear a place among aquatic plants to spawn. There is a display, which consists of the male’s colour becoming brighter and short bursts of shaking in front of the female before getting down to business.
Ctenochromis horei is not a hugely popular aquarium fish due to its size and conspecific aggression. However the ease of care and breeding should ensure that those with little to moderate experience in cichlids should be able to keep and breed these fish with ease provided adequate cover and supervision is given. Males, when fully coloured up are among the most striking fish in the lake; with their black face mask, bright yellow lower jaw, red and green spotted 10 bar flanks and bleeding heart spot under the pectoral fins, they really are a sight to behold.
The other fish that is a close relative is lobochilotes labiatus. A similar looking fish, with rather distended lips.
Joel (Extend) took these two awesome pictures below himself of his livestock. Don't forget he has donated some of these great fish for you to bid on at the September Meeting. Learn about the fish and then own the fish. Funds raised go Cichlid Preservation.
Posted by Pchmb on 09 May 2016 - 06:03 PM
My name is Paul and I am a Biology Teacher that has been keeping fish on and off for the past 20 years. At the age of 14, I bought my first 4 foot tank. Over the next few years I breed Axolotls, Oscars and Guppies. I had large cattle troughs with Koi, Gambesia and Guppies. Moving up to Perth for university, I shared a house with 3 guys, who all studied aquaculture at Fremantle Maritime Tafe. Our house was full of tanks and I remember Anglefish, Oscars, and Convicts all being bred. You could also find Yabbies in our bathtub.
Last year I spent a bit of money keeping a 600L community Discus tank. Eventually I bred a beautiful pair, but was unsuccessful at raising the fry. My favourite fish in the tank were the Red Torpedo Barbs.
This year I decided to try my luck with Frontosa and it just happened that Rob's Aquarium were selling David's Wild Caught 6 Bar Frontosa (Moba, Kipilli- Zaire Blue...). I originally set up 3, five foot fish tanks with sump which was around 950L all up. The pump I used, 15000L/hr I discovered was just too much flow for my Frontosa. There was also too much movement, light and noise for them where I had this set up, so I moved them into my garage. The Frontosa now can be found in a 750L, 6 foot tank with all blacked out sides. This was a good move, with one of my Fronts spawning, however no success with the fry, with the mother soon consuming them. I have been monitoring and adjusting the water chemistry, and the advice from David was to have the kH at 7 and gH at 22. My levels are still a bit lower then this.
I am also keeping a community of Tropheus Debosi and Red Moliro, Leleupi, Synodontis Petricola, Black Calvus, Haplochromis of some type and some chocolate Plecos. Another community tank contains Electric Yellow Labs, Lithobates and Pseudotropheus Williamsi. Another tank contains Auloncara Stuartgranti Blue Neons and Albino C Moorii which are looking really healthy. Oh and I have another 5 foot tank full of Black Snakeskin Guppies that I bred from a single pair imported last year.
My goal this year is to convert the sunroom of my old asbestos house into a Fish Room and take all the tanks out from my garage. Obviously I have to figure out how best to insulate the room. I currently have around 20 tanks and would love to hook them all into one or two sump systems to reduce the energy consumption and make the water changing process more automated. Lots to figure out but kind of cool to research others systems.
I'm really excited to finally join the Perth Cichlid Community after reading so many of posts over all these years!
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Posted by Aquotix Aquariums on 13 April 2016 - 04:08 PM
We have lots of new and rare species in stock, some are left from our German import, others from local and Eastern states breeders.
Come in for a look, here a "small" list of the exciting fish we have currently in stock.
Astatotilapia Nubila RARE worth breeding
Aulonocara Jacobfreibergi Maulana "Lemon Jake"
Aulonocara Steveni 'Blue Neon
Aulonocara Stuartgranti Hongi Island
Aulonocara Stuartgranti Galileya Reef
Aulonocara Maulana "bicolour"
Aulonocara Rostratum RARE worth breeding
Callochromis Macrops Red Ndole RARE
Cyatopharynx Furcifer Orange Cap Sibwesa RARE
Cynotilapia Afra Cobue
Cyphotilapia Frontosa Mpimbwe WILD CAUGHT
Cyprochromis Jumbo Tricolor
Cyprochromis Kiriza Black RARE worth breeding
Cyprochromis Jumbo Kitumba
Haplochromis Thereuterion (SUPER RARE!) worth breeding
Hemitaeniochromis Spilopterus Yellow (SUPER RARE!) worth breeding
Julidochromis Transcriptus KISSI ISLAND
Julidochromis Regani Kipili WC
Julidochromis Ornatus Yellow Zaire RARE
Lamprologus Ocellatus GOLD
Lethrinops Red Capi Itungi Port (nice ones!) worth breeding
Metriaclima Zebra Sp. Long Pelvic
Neolamprologus Buesheri Kachese "Blue" RARE
Neolamprologus Caudopunctatus Orange fins
Neolamprologus Leleupi Yellow
Otopharynx Lithobates Z.R.
Otopharynx sp Sani Spot
Placidochromis Phoenochilus Tanzania
Placidochromis MDOKA "White Lips" RARE worth breeding
Placidochromis Milomo VC10
Protomelas Spinolotus Tanzania
Protomelas Taeniolatus Namalenje Island (rare, super RED!) worth breeding
Pseudotropheus Aceii Msuli
Pseudotropheus Aceii Ngara
Pseudotropheus Williamsi Blue Lips
Spathodus Erythrodon Kabezi Wild Caught
Synodontys Multipunctatus Wild Caught
Tropheus Annectens kekese
Tropheus Duboisi STARDUST
Tropheus Moliro "Super Red" worth breeding
Tropheus Red Rainbow
Nicaraguensis (Parrot Cichlid)
Vjeja Blue Zonatus
Mesonauta Insignis (Festivum)
Cuban cichlid RARE
Sajica "T-Bar cichlid"
Jewel Cichlid (Hemichromis Bimaculatus)
and much much more.....
Posted by Aquarium Gallery on 29 June 2015 - 02:58 PM
Posted by Chris Perth on 03 May 2017 - 12:30 PM
The PCS Auction on 2nd May 17 was again well attended with approx. 58 attendees (Yes I did do a rough head count this time) Let me say at the outset that the atmosphere was a bit flat and lacked the sense of excitement and anticipation which was palpable in the previous two auctions (this is of course my personal opinion) notwithstanding that the quality of the Lots offered was again excellent.
Due to difficulties formatting the tables for the forum view them in the pdf.
Here are the stats for those who like them. A total of 158 lots went under the hammer from an original list of 156. (Two SGFC donation Lots added at the last minute) Here is a break up of Lots by number and percentage of total. Interesting also that for the first time in the last 3 Auctions that three Lots (all plants) were passed in with no bids being received.
Type Number of Lots % of Total
Book/Mag 3 1.90
Catfish 19 12.03
Cichlids 45 28.48
Non Cichlids # 9 5.70
Other ** 16 10.13
Plants 55 34.81
Shrimp 9 5.70
Snails 2 1.27
Total Fish * 54 34.18
Total Fish&Catfish 73 46.20
Total 158 100.00
* Sub-total of all fish – not part of overall total.
# comprised of all Guppies.
** All items not categorised as above.
I found it interesting that Chichlids, Catfish and Cichlid Books/Mags, made up only 43% of Lots on offer. Non-Cichlids, Plants, Shrimp and Snails made up 47% of Lots on offer. The remaining 10% was made up of Other items (Food, pumps, accessories etc.).
As we are primarily a Cichlid Society I have included tables which are cichlid specific.
Breakup of Cichlid Lots.
Cichlid Lots Number of Lots % of Total
Tanganyikan 11 24.4
Malawi 30 66.7
Victoria 2 4.4
Central /Sth American 1 2.2
African 1 2.2
Total 45 100
Top selling Malawis:
Description Lot Price Ave each
1 x Pair Cheilochromis Euchilus (RARE) 6cm $40.00 $20.00
3 x Lethrinops sp. "Red Cap" (Itungi) 3-4cm $75.00 $25.00
3 x Placidochromis Phenochilus "Mdoka White Lip" 5-6cm $90.00 $30.00
4 x Protomelas Taeniolatus "Namalenje Island" German line" 4-5cm $80.00 $20.00
Top selling Tanganyikans:
Description Lot Price Ave each
1 x Pair Neolamprologus Brevis "Sunspot" 2-3cm $60.00 $30.00
10 x Tropheus Moorii Kasakalawe German line 4-5cm $260.00 $26.00
3 x Altolamprologus Calvus "Black" 3-4cm $70.00 $23.33
1 x Pair of Calinochromis sp. Ndobhoi 10-12cm $40.00 $20.00
4 x Cyphotilapia Frontosa (f1) "Kigoma" 5cm $80.00 $20.00
4 x Ophtalmotilapia Boops "Neon Streak" 5cm $130.00 $32.50
All of the others:
Description Lot Price Ave each
5 x Haplochromis sp. "Flameback" 3-4cm (Lake Victoria) $40.00 $40.00
1 x Pair Lithochromis Rubripinnis (RARE) 5cm (Lake Victoria) $45.00 $22.50
8 x Steatocranus casuarius "Blockheads" 7-10 cm (Congo basin) $160.00 $20.00
Again, a good number of donations made to raise money for the Stuart Grant Fund, 15 in total making up almost 9.5% of the Lots. Bigjohnnofish, Mac and Chen were the next largest contributors of Lots.
Name Lots %
Donations 15 9.49
bigjohnnofish 27 17.09
chen 19 12.03
sjconsen 11 6.96
stormfyre 10 6.33
bostave 16 10.13
bonnyboi 3 1.90
Mr White 3 1.90
Dicky7 3 1.90
poncho 6 3.80
Chris Perth 3 1.90
cameroncuz 12 7.59
Mac 19 12.03
Mattia 1 0.63
Mr Blue 7 4.43
Tancam31 3 1.90
Total 158 100.00
The most expensive individual fish of the night were two Lots of 2 x Leporacanthicus (L007) "vampire pleco" 4-6cm which went for $65 and $75 each, and a pair of Panaqolus sp."L397" 9-11cm MF which averaged $75 each.
The most expensive lot was $260 for 10 x Tropheus Moorii Kasakalawe German line 4-5cm i.e. $26 per fish – a good buy in my book as I expected that they would have gone for at least $300.
Apart from 1 bag of feeder guppies – the quality stock averaged just over $7 a fish with the highest being $12.50 per fish for a bag of 4 x Poecilia reticulata "purple moscows" 3-5cm MMFF
Description Lot Price Ave Each
2 x pairs Poecilia reticulata "blue lace" 3-5cm MF $35.00 $8.75
2 x pairs Poecilia reticulata "albino sunsets" 3-5cm MF $10.00 $2.50
2 x pairs Poecilia reticulata "red snakeskins" 3-5cm MF $20.00 $5.00
2 x pairs Poecilia reticulata "blonde endlers" 3-5cm MF $20.00 $5.00
2 x pairs Poecilia reticulata "blue scarlet endlers" 3-4cm MF $18.00 $4.50
2 x pairs Poecilia reticulata "purple moscows" 3-5cm MF $50.00 $12.50
2 x pairs Poecilia reticulata "blue grass" 3-5cm MFFF $50.00 $12.50
2 x pairs Poecilia reticulata "albino platinum" 3-5cm MF $30.00 $7.50
Shrimp were again popular and apart from ‘ninjas’ all got good prices with a bag of 8 x Caridina cantonensis Crystal Red shrimp (S grade) going for $100 or $12.50 per shrimp.
Description Lot Price Ave Each
5 x Caridina sp. Gulf1 "Red nose shrimp" 1cm $38.00 $7.60
8 x Caridina cantonensis Crystal Red shrimp (S grade) $100.00 $12.50
6 x Neocaridina davidi "Carbon rili schrimp" $30.00 $5.00
10 x Neocaridina davidi Blue velvet cherry shrimp $64.00 $6.40
10 x Neocaridina sp "Red cherry shrimp" $12.00 $1.20
10 x Neocaridina davidi Blue velvet with red spots shrimp $35.00 $3.50
10 x Neocaridina sp Cherry shrimp $5.00 $0.50
Plants – there were 55 Lots (an increase of 34% on last auction), again the star of the show was a Lot of 1 x Crinium Calamistratum which fetched $60 - $20 down on last Auction.
I post this for the people that were not able to get there, also if this is too difficult to read I have attached a pdf. 20170502 May Auction Roundup .pdf 80.39KB 12 downloads
Posted by Peckoltia on 20 January 2014 - 10:56 PM
Firstly sorry about the length of this report. I could have written so much more.
A week with BKK guy more than just fishing.
Before you leave for any holiday you have certain expectations, a set of hopes and a handful of ideas. This is particularly true when embarking on a fishing holiday. You have an idea of the species you hope to catch, the dream that these fish will be of monstrous proportions and you will often find yourself fantasizing about the way they will have your reels begging for mercy! Well, these were at least my thoughts before I boarded my flight to Thailand. I and a good mate of mine Clayton had booked a 4day fishing adventure to Thailand fishing with BKK guy (John). We would be fishing for predatory fish on the first day, wild fishing for Toman (Giant Snakeheads) for two days and the final day we would hit the Barramundi ponds for some top water action. I have been fishing seriously for about 4years and have been an avid aquarist all my life. Many of the species we were to target were dream fish of mine, many of which I had previously and currently keep in the confines of an aquarium. So this trip was particularly special to me.
Day 1 Predatory Pond.
John picked us up from our hotel at 4am; both Clayton and I were both nursing a severe hangover. In reality, we were both probably still a little on the inebriated side, rather than hung over. Not a wise move, but nothing a quick stop to Maccas didnt fix. The first thing you notice about John is his personality. After a couple hours of talking fish with John on the way to our first fishing location I felt like I had known John for years, to say he is personable wouldnt be doing his warm personality any justice. I talked fish biology with John the entire way to the first pond, everything from how often Arapaima come up to breathe to the way in which other species spawn, it felt good to talk to someone who was perhaps an even bigger fish nerd than myself, no easy feat to manage.
We got to the first pond while the sun was still down and quickly noticed a couple young Arapaima slowly drifting around the shallows. To say I was now excited was an understatement, I could see the fish. Bait fishing is not permitted at this pond; our fishing method is a little bit of a secret. It was a hybrid method between float fishing and fly fishing. Within our first handful of casts we had both landed an Alligator gar each, a truly prehistoric looking fish that was a challenge to photograph, get your hand anywhere near the business end of this fish and you will quickly cut your day short. The fight on these prehistoric gars was a bit disappointing, but still good to get a nice picture.
The next thing I noticed about John was his photography skills; he knows just how to hold fish and the angles required getting the best possible photo. Photography is a strong point of Johns, which is great as you dont need to worry about taking any pictures yourself; the pictures and memories you get are fantastic. Back into it next up is a double hookup on Red Tailed Catfish, one of the previous hopeful species I mentioned, I was wrapped. Things then went a little quiet for me, and by a little quiet I mean I didnt catch a fish for a whole 20 minutes. In which time Clayton had already managed to land another two Red Tailed Catfish, at which point we both decided they were the Samson fish of the freshwater ponds, they pull like steam trains and head straight for structure. After a couple RTC your back and arms are sufficiently warm.
Then it was my turn with another RTC, quickly followed by an African Walking catfish (Clarias sp). The walking catfish did its best to slither its way back into the water, but John knew exactly how to handle this fish in a professional manner. On the topic of professionalism, the way in which the fish were handled by John and the owner of the pond is first class. They know the importance of handling these fish in a professional manner, ensuring that the fish are not harmed and returned to the water in the best possible condition. Something that I am told other ponds do not do very well, and is subsequently why the catch rates in many ponds around Thailand is less than desirable at times.
Clayton then hooked into something, something big! This fish took him straight for structure, in the way of a bridge that went over a narrow area of the pond, we immediately called this fish for a RTC and it was. The biggest for the day and an absolute horse of a fish, a few photos a couple fist pumps and we were back to work. While at this point, I was happy that we had caught some great fish of those monstrous proportions I had talked about earlier. One thing was still missing, an Arapaima. Which I was a little taken by as over the course of the morning I had seen a countless amount come up for air, but alas, we were still yet to land one between us. So we moved to an area of the pond that was known for deeper water to increase our chances of catching one of these truly majestic creatures. 10 minutes after a spot change and Clayton was in, we could immediately see that this was something else to what we had previously caught. A very spirited battle that had Clayton retrieving and losing line for 10 minutes and we finally saw its big golden back emerge from the water, what a fish! At an estimated 65kg, this fish was expertly put into a sling by the pond owner and hoisted onto dry land. We were both speechless, the size and even more than that just the physical image of the fish that was immediately burnt into my brain. Beautiful isnt the word, this fish was awe inspiring, and perhaps the most beautiful animal I had ever seen. The Arapaima monkey had been lifted from Claytons back. As an angler, fishing with a mate you are always happy for a mate to catch a good fish, but it can make you nervous, and I was. Would I catch my dream fish on this trip? Did one of these majestic fish have my name on it? I didnt know and it was scary. Next cast for me and I was on again, it was a good fish, but I knew in my heart it wasnt the majestic Arapaima, and it wasnt. The fish that surfaced was golden in colour, but it was another catfish. A species I had kept in the past at home in Perth; Wallago leeri.
John quickly told me how lucky I was to have caught this fish, as it was a rare catch, I didnt appreciate it at the time as I was now completely obsessed by catching my prized fish. John was doing his best to put me onto an Arapaima, teaching me every secret in the book. Another dozen or so casts, and more doubt was creeping into my mind all while still being hopeful. Next cast and BANG, my line peels off at a million miles an hour. I retrieved line, I lost line, the fish swam up the bank near some trees, I followed it, and my heart was now in my throat choking me. Finally we saw the fish, a moment I will never forget. One problem though, the owner of the pond was about 10 minutes away, so the fish couldnt be put in a sling and brought onto dry land until he arrived. The next 10 minutes felt like an eternity, luckily John expertly placed the fishs prehistoric head in a net and kept it calm. Finally the fish was landed, on dry land this thing was a beast; part dinosaur, part crocodile with some fish thrown into the mix. One of the happiest moments of my life, I felt like a lot of my angling and in particular fish keeping life had directed me to this point. I had done it. An estimated 75kg Arapaima had my name painted onto its side in beautiful golds and reds. I had seen many images of anglers taking photos of Arapaima in the water holding their prized catch, so when John suggested we did the same, I had my shirt off faster than a male stripper at a hens night!
We then moved to another shallower area of the pond to target more catfish as we had our Arapaima and the pond owner didnt want us putting anymore through the stress of capture, completely understandable. So we moved and instantly we had a double hook up of Arapaima! I will save you the details, but both Clayton and I both landed another dream fish. After trying all day for one we had decided to purposely not target them and we caught another two, but hey thats fishing! And Ill take it. What a day, I had caught every fish I had dreamed Id catch in the predator pond plus a few more. What a start!
Day 2 Wild Toman
We were up at 3am next morning to head to our first location for wild snakehead fishing. This was not the season for snakehead fishing, so I knew things were going to be tough. John had specifically chosen this location as our first fishing spot as the terrain was forgiving. The way that things were to work for wild fishing was there were two boats, with a Thai boatman in each boat that would drive and maneuver us through the terrain. John would also be on a boat teaching us the specifics of Toman fishing. We were fishing with topwater lures the entire time. I started with John in the morning, and quickly learnt that the key was to get the lures as close to the vegetation as possible. No problem right? Well, not really, not in a rocky boat using lures you had never seen before. Like anything in life you quickly adapt. Mid morning I had my first wild Toman, a nice fish of 3kg.
I was over the moon, catching monstrous prehistoric fish in ponds is amazing, but hunting them off season in the wild is another experience entirely. That fish meant a lot to me, the sense of accomplishment was immense. At lunch time we stopped and met up with Clayton and the other boatman, unfortunately Clayton hadnt landed a fish, despite countless strikes. So we swapped boats and away we went. The boatmen dont speak any English so my afternoon was very quiet on the conversation front and on the fish front, with only a small Toman landed of about 30cm. We knocked off at 6pm and arrived back on dry land, Clayton had landed his first Toman! His face was priceless, we have done a lot of fishing together but I have never seen the expression he had on his face that night, pure elation. He had worked hard, very hard and he had his prize, well done mate.
Day 3 Wild Toman
The night before we had gotten to our hotel at 1:30am and John had told us he would be picking us up at 3am! You have to be kidding me right? He is a hardcore angler; if that means no sleep it means no sleep. But we bargained with John and scored ourselves a nice sleep in, 4:30am! Another reasonable drive and we were at our next location. Apparently the fish are fewer but larger at this spot. I was absolutely drained, but pumped. Today I was with the boatman for the early session. I quickly noticed the terrain was much more unforgiving at this location; I put a few early casts into the vegetation.
I remembered Johns mantra from the day before which was just keep casting, valuable advice. A couple casts later and I was on, I was on in a big way. This Toman had reminded me of the RTC from day one, powerful and dirty, pulling me towards vegetation, then under the boat. The fish was landed and unfortunately I didnt have Johns expert camera skills with me. Because of this, the pictures of my prized Toman were not the greatest, regardless I was happy. At lunch time I showed John the photos of my prized 5kg Toman, he was bitterly disappointed with the pictures we took of this great fish. Clayton had also landed a smaller fish that morning. A good start. The afternoon session was on and I quickly landed another nice fish of 2kg. The rest of the afternoon was made up of a few close misses, without any more fish being landed. I didnt mind the scenery was beautiful, the company was great and I had already landed a few nice fish.
Toman fishing is hard work, lots of casts and heart breaking near misses. Johns early advice of just keep casting is the perfect advice. My biggest fish was caught on a bit of a dud cast into a pretty unlikely area. You need to cover all bases, the fishy looking areas and the not so fishy areas. Just keep casting!
Day 4 Barramundi Ponds
Finally some rest, bed at 11pm the night before and up at 7:30am for a quick feed. We hit the ponds equipped with our spinning gear and a handful of poppers. The first pond we fished only resulted in a one missed strike. John was quickly onto the phone to the owner of the ponds, we were then allowed to change ponds to a virgin pond.
This is another massive advantage of having John with us, he knows all the owners of the ponds on a personal basis and is allowed certain privileges to him and his clients, having said that John doesnt abuse these privileges and is very respectful to the fish and owners. These fish had never seen a lure in their life and it showed. We landed over 30-40 fish in the 5-9kg range each all on poppers. Even when you didnt hook a fish it was great as they would hit the poppers out of the water, the visuals were great. I wont go into great detail about the Barra fishing as this report is lengthy enough already.
A final note the fishing in Thailand was everything I had dreamed of and much more. Not only did we fish hard, I think Clayton and I made a great mate in John. I truly believe that we would have had only a small fraction of the success without John. He can tell you what techniques work where and at what time and why that technique works. I learnt lessons in fishing techniques but also fishing toughness as silly as that might sound to some. Lessons that I will take home with me and apply to fishing and also my personal life. This was a truly amazing experience that will stay with me for a lifetime. I have had the fortune of fishing in a number of countries in the last few years with many charter operators, and none come close to John. Not even close. He truly cares about your experience, an absolute champion fisherman and a top bloke, I can't say enough positive things about BKK guy, a champion amongst anglers. Thank you.