There hasn’t been much coverage on bait fishing since our inaugural ground bait fishing in late 2014 which found plenty scores of Mekong Catfish visit after visit at Natural Exotic Fish Fishing Pond, Rawang. The team just haven’t had that many bait fishing outing. Through sharing and learning with Tysan of Yuen Yang Tackle, producer of Matsumoto range of baits and essences, once Tysan told me about several of his outings to Senwell Fishing Park. He suggested that I have a try at the Chao Phraya Catfishes over there, since we haven’t had any luck at NEFFP with this Mekong’s cousin.
Unlike the herbivore Mekong Catfish, the Chao Phraya Catfish are omnivores like us which means they eat both plants and other animals which appeal to their appetite. Because Chao Phraya hunts other animals, they are much more aggressive fighting fish compared to the gentle giant Mekong. All predators are aggressive, right?
The whole of 2015 didn’t see me getting anywhere near this Senwell Fishing Park which is located in Kamunting, Perak. It’s about 10 mins north of Taiping which is why it was unlikely for me to travel just to fish at this pond. Recently, on the morning of getting ready to head to Penang I suddenly remembered this pond and packed whatever gears I could find and planned to drop by on the way back to KL.
It wasn’t hard to find the pond from the location displayed on their Facebook page Senwell Fishing Park. I arrived at about 1 o’clock and didn’t waste any time to get things going. There were three other anglers at the far end of the pond, so I went to the middle section of the pond under the shelter. They charge RM 43 per person for a whole day of fishing which is reasonable. They have the usual Patin, Mekong, Chao Phraya, Amazon Redtail, Pacu in their pond. Lure casting is also allowed at this pond. A variety of baits are available at the counter including ground baits and essences as well as live baitfishes. If you’re looking for Chao Phraya and Amazon Redtail, the baitfishes will be a sound choice.
I brought a few packets of my usual pellets, too bad I had left the Matsumoto strawberry powder at home therefore I was forced to use plain softened pellets. Not a problem…I rigged up my trusty Revo Toro paired with Berkley Gorilla Stick Pro and began using weighted springs with single hook.
To my surprise, it took only 15 minutes before the fishes started to greet me by the clicker of my reel. It wasn’t anything challenging but most welcomed. A 4kg pacu is hooked on the line, didn’t even pull any line out while the drag was set around 2.0-2.5 kg. That’s not bad I thought…
Next, came another pacu but smaller. Also nothing challenging…After that, an hour past without me catching anything, only weary runs on the bait but I wasn’t really thinking about it. Already caught two didn’t I?
The other anglers have been catching Chao Phrayas on floated ground baits so I changed to using the float but didn’t get any solid bite, looking around the Senwell pond the other anglers are catching but it surely wasn’t a frenzy.
Frustrated? Probably after 2 hours at Senwell with zero action I decided to spice up the pellets with some essence at the counter. I was gonna choose either pandan or banana. So I got into a conversation with the counter guy and he suggested their ground bait (which every anglers gets a bucket for free, didn’t offer me did you??) combined with some soy oil at the counter (purchased separately). Now here’s what you don’t want to do; pay no regards to local knowledge like I did when he suggested the rig to use…Idiot…
The counter guy, I sensed that he wanted to show me that his suggestion worked so he began fishing at the counter end of the pond. After seeing him getting the 3rd fish, I went over and saw that he was just using one single hook with the dough wrapping the hook, it couldn’t have been simpler. And so monkey see monkey do and voila! It took less than a minute for me to get acquainted to this technique, the Chao Phrayas were simply hungry for the bait.
I landed 15 Chao Phrayas in the range of 3-4 kg while the heaviest was about 5 kg, all within my last hour there. These fast swimmers will chase the bait as soon as it dropped and you need only wait literally less than 10 secs to get a hookup. I have quickly forgotten the past 2 hours that went by fishless. Halfway through the Chao Phraya frenzy I switch my Revo and Berkley setup to the Zebco 33 Spincast loaded with 10lb mono line and a 7-footer Ugly Stick fiberglass.
What a difference that made, I lost about 10 hookups because of the super drastic reduction in sensitivity and stretch ability of the line and the softness of the fiberglass. But it was worth it, there is always something to learn and I had great fun learning and hearing the scream coming from the Zebco. Though the size wasn’t large but with 10lb mono, I was definitely having more fun compared to the PE2 on my Revo. On a side note, I probably should spool 15lb line in the Zebco to enable higher drag and avoid line to dig in the spool causing jerking and bursting lines…yes 3 times I burst the mono line haha!
It was a great detour on the journey home and I will find time to visit Senwell Fishing Park again…