The joy of fishing

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The joy of fishing in Thailand and elsewhere was the topic at the September 15 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club. Larry Howard Leibowitz has been fishing since he was about five years old, when he went out on the waters with his father. Larry related his experiences in fishing off the coast of Florida in the USA and in Thailand. Larry was born in New York USA in 1948. He is the former owner of the Reef Bait and Tackle Shop in Miami, Florida, and is a former member of the Miami Rod and Reel Club, the oldest Fishing Club in the USA. Since moving to Thailand in 2012, he has been the owner of Bubble Wall World; suppliers of decorative bubble walls and aquariums.

At first, Larry said his fishing was exclusively in inland waters. But after his career took him to Florida which has extensive coastlines on three sides, he decided to buy a boat and learn how to do offshore fishing. Before getting into the fishing opportunities in Thailand, Larry showed photos of some offshore predator fish he has caught and the type of equipment used. The photos included the black marlin, the largest fish of all; the blue marlin, which lights up like a neon sign when angry; the pacific sailfish, which has a large fin that looks like a sail; and the yellow fin tuna which, Larry said, provides the best quality sushi. The photos also included: the wahoo, which has a large red stripe down its side and back and Larry says is good to eat; the dorado, also known as “mahi mahi” or the “dolphin fish”; and the kingfish, also known as “king mackerel,” which, according to Larry is not difficult to catch.

Larry described the characteristics of many fish and the best way to find & catch them.  “If you spot a frigate bird, then you know the fish are not far off,” he said. Here Larry describes the Striped Marlin.Larry described the characteristics of many fish and the best way to find & catch them.  “If you spot a frigate bird, then you know the fish are not far off,” he said. Here Larry describes the Striped Marlin.

Larry said that there are clues to where the fish are congregating offshore. If you spot a frigate bird, then you know the fish are not far off. The frigate bird is a type of sea hawk. It looks for schools of predator fish and then tries to snap up some of the scraps left over from their dinners. Also, the presence of numerous seagulls is another clue that fish are nearby. He also mentioned that if you see lines of sea weed in the water, you will most likely find large fish as it attracts many different forms of sea life that the larger predator fish like to eat.

Larry explained the concept of trolling for fish, which involves trailing baited lines from behind a slowly moving boat. He said that they sometimes had as many as five lines hitting at once, which kept the crew of four on his boat very busy. Larry also showed photos of the bait used for offshore fishing, including the rigged ballyhoo, goggle eyes and trolling lure.

Larry commented on the offshore fishing around Pattaya, saying he did not find it particularly exciting or having many of the large predator fish that makes offshore fishing a real sport. But, what he did find was that Thailand has lots to offer a fisherman in its fishing ponds, lakes and rivers. He mentioned that the Mekong River is a particularly good place to fish.

Larry talked about the bait he used for inland fishing, including a catfish rig and bait ball made from bread. Larry demonstrated some of the equipment he uses for fishing in Thailand; one particular item he recommended was a belt with a receptacle for placing the end of the fishing rod. Larry explained that because he is getting older and because he has had some back problems, he tries to use equipment that will place the least strain on his body. However, that is not the only reason to use the device. He described how he observed a lady who was not displaying good form in her fishing technique. He let her borrow the belt, seat her rod, and said she was quickly using the right form to lift the rod after the fish was caught.

MC Richard Silverberg presents Larry with a Certificate of Appreciation, thanking him for his enjoyable talk.MC Richard Silverberg presents Larry with a Certificate of Appreciation, thanking him for his enjoyable talk.

He then showed photos of some of the fish that can be caught in Thailand’s inland waters including the barramundi, the Mekong catfish, the freshwater stingray, the Siamese carp and the snakehead. Larry said that the fishing ponds in Thailand are also fun to fish at plus they usually have guides to help rookie fisherman get going. Larry said that the Bangsamran Fishing Park in Bangkok is world famous.

During the Question and Answer session, one long term resident commented that there are good spots for offshore fishing in the Pattaya area, but you have to know precisely where to look. In response to a question about keeping your catch, Larry said that his rule of thumb is to throw any fish he catches back into the water unless he plans to eat it.

After Larry’s presentation, Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the interesting and informative open forum where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand.

If you want to learn more about the many activities of the Club, visit their website at www.pattayacityexpatsclub.com.