Boon Mar Ponds

Overview

Boon Mar Ponds are situated over an hour away from Bangkok.  Picture it as a collection of small ponds, the kind which would take 5 min to walk around, with hundreds of Barramundi between 5-15 kg inside each pond.

For an experienced sports fisherman, it is paradise. The bites are frequent and hard, the fish fight and break lines and hooks.  They also jump and shake the hooks out. You will be in for a fight!

What to bring

  • Large treble hooks and strong lines is a must here.  
  • Ideal set up is a strong 12 ft spin casting rod with at least 20 lb test or braid on a spinning reel.  
  • The best lure is a large spoon but you have to check if they let you use it.  Fat raps, suspending minnows and jerk baits are also very useful here.  
  • You will need 80 lbs test leader and have to check the leaders frequently.  
  • Insect repellent (the best was the repellent band) and sunblock is a must.  
  • It is also useful to have a fish lip gripper with weighing scale.  
  • If you can bring a large umbrella to protect you from the sun that would be also very helpful.

The fishing technique

This is very active fishing where you will make lots of casts and retrieves, hoping to entice the predatory fish to strike.  The guide generally advises slow retrieves with pauses for fish to strike your bait.  However, I found that keeping the rod tip low near the water with a slow and steady retrieve works well as it gives your lure a predictable motion that allows these large predatory fish to bite.  Be prepared to lose a lot of either on the bite or after being hooked as barramundi have hard jaws and fight hard.  You need a 12 ft rod because the extra casting distance allows for more frequent bites.  You need to set the drag right here otherwise the fish will break your line or damage your rod. 

My experience

It was just awesome being in an open lake in Thailand with such a high number of good hard fighting fish.  As an experienced fisherman, it wasn’t long till I figured out how to get a bite and landed a fish.  There were lots of bite but very few hooked because of their hard jaw.  I had a distinct advantage compared to the equipment they provide as I was able to cast twice the distance with my 12 ft rod.  You can see from my video how incredible the fish are and how hard they fight are.  I even asked to use the fly outfit and caught a fish on a large bucktail fly.  The only problem was that it was 35 degrees without shade so it was not easy being in the blistering sun.  Moving from the small lake to the lake with bigger fish was incredible.  There, with the extra casting distance I sent the lure 2/3 of the lake right on the big fish and had bite after bite.  A few fish broke lines and hooks but otherwise extremely enjoyable fishing day.

How to make it happen

You have to go with a local guide.  It is not cheap to go as it can be 5,000 Bhat per person but it is worth it for a keen fisherman.  If you book directly with the guide you may be able to get a discount. 

Key tip

They have lakes with different size fish.  We fished the first lake for the first 5 hours where the fish ranged from 5-10 kg but for the last hour we went to the other lake where the fish were significantly bigger from 10-15+ kg.  Be sure to ask about moving to the lake with bigger fish.