Showdown on Lake Luckana

Sometimes an angler has a sort of premonition that on a certain day there would be a high probability of a good catch?  On such a day I arrived at Luckana Lake in the early afternoon with some bread, two light rods and the obligatory camera to photograph the big fish that I was sure was due. I told the lake's manager this and he just gave a friendly smile.

Without any particular plan I settled down in the nearest shelter. I had just recovered from a mild illness and didn't feel like rushing around too much, rather sitting comfortably and getting some fresh air while keeping an eye on my float pose. I slept through the first bite completely! When it finally registered that something had taken my bait, already a good 20 meters of line had been stripped from the reel. I hauled in a 3.5-pound striped catfish and then realised that I didn't have a landing net. Embarrassing!

A short time later I spoke to John, the English owner of the lake, who was fishing further down the bank, and he suggested that maybe I'd like to try a livebait. He'd already caught a few small tilapia, and I gratefully took them and put one on my hook. The next two hours passed uneventfully!

In the meantime John had been helping an inexperienced angler to try to catch a fish. The only one that he'd hooked had been lost when his hook-knot failed and he hadn't had another bite. John then proposed the angling rookie and I come round to where he was preparing to go out in his small boat to give his fish their daily load of feed. We could then try to cast into the feed-cloud, maybe not too sporting, but if it helps the novice to gain a sense of achievement, then why not!

I prepared my rod with a large float and a lump of bread, and cast into the area where John had dumped the fish-food. It took 1 minute to get the first bite and another 10 seconds for the pacu to bite through the line.

Damn, I should have known! Luckana Lake is home to some huge pacus and they regularly bite through not only monofilament line, but sometimes even steel trace. I now had only one pre-tied hooklink left - a size 7 hook an braided line.Oh well, it would have to do. I waited for John to throw the next bucket of feed in, then cast into the area again. After 30 seconds, no bite - I wound in and rebaited, cast out again then - bang, the float was gone.

A strike was not necessary, the fish went off like a rocket! He quickly took 50 meters of line from my reel before I could even think of making such a thing as active resistance. After the first run the fish slowed a bit. I worried about the strength of my line - it had already been on the reel for over six months, under the burning sun! I started to sweat, not just from effort but also from worrying about my line. Finally I was able to take back some line but now he pulled towards the bank, still 50 to 60 meters away. Once there he turned and took off again. I tried to help the clutch on my reel by braking it with my finger slightly. I had previously only experienced such a strong fight in lakes in Cha Am , Bangkok, and Pattaya. The giant catfish there were really strong, but there I had tackle ready for these monsters. Now, after 30 minutes, I managed to land the fish - I had defeated him! But what exactly had I defeated? He was too big to be a striped catfish too big, he wasn't a Mekong! John told me it was a hybrid, a cross between a Mekong and a striped catfish! A 'New' on our list and a great catch!

Big Wai

The beast weighed 13.5 kg. The Thais call these fish "Big Wai" or "Wai Yai", but we've been unable to find out it's 'official' name in either German or English.

Once again, Lake Luckana confirmed my impression and my assessment that there's no comparable lake in Udon!

posted on: 12.09.2012 - last update on: 19.10.2013

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User comments

At 02/20/2016 - 18:30 wrote guest
luckana lake is one of the best stocked lakes in the issan region,although it is difficult to catch them.john the owner is one of the most obliging guys i have met.
havnt been for a long time,but hope to go again soon.
well worth the travel from khon kaen.

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