From Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai to Pai. That is how you have to go by bus because Chiang Rai and Pai don’t have direct busses.
Kristi had done some research and when a last minute “no” came through from AirBnB we needed to find a place fast which was easy enough because Pai is littered with guest houses and bars. We started looking online and found the Pai Piranha Park and the rates looked quite reasonable. We sent an email out to the owner and he responded quickly and arranged to pick us up in town as he’s a bit of a ways out.
For the next 3 days, we’re going to be piranha fishing!
It’s a catch and release park with 2 large ponds that get to be about 3m deep near the middle. There are over 30 different species of fish in the ponds and if you catch a record size, the owner will buy you a beer. Sounds like a challenge accepted. The piranhas are actually Pacus which are piranhas bigger cousin. So the largest pacu caught is 6.8kg…. that’s a big piranha!
And of course with something like this, Kristi and I cannot be happy and catch fish together. It’s a contest. And I’m determined to win.
We are set up with rods, a bucket half full of moist bread crumbs, a bag bread with 4 slices, pliers to remove the hook and a cloth so you can pin the fish down. I’ve never fished with bread before but it seems to do the trick.
Our first day, we start start around 4pm. Kristi catches the first fish… shit.
She also makes the 2nd catch before I decide to make the 3rd catch. By the time we decided to have dinner, it was 4-1 Kristi and I would have to wait for the next day to catch up.
Luckily for me, the food at the fishing park is awesome! We did no have a bad meal while we were here.
The next morning after a big breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and heaven; we head back out to the pond with nothing on our minds other than catching as many fish as we can while hunting a record.
Once again, Kristi gets out to a fast start, catching the first Piranha of the day. I don’t think I’ve even got my rod in the water yet…
These guys have a lot of fight in them which makes them much more fun to catch. We only caught a few small catfish last night so it was really cool catching our first pacu!
A couple from South Africa set up near us and in no time we were chatting and fishing away. Well at least Kristi was. before we knew it, Kristi was up on me 8-2. I’m starting to wonder if she got some special bait and didn’t tell me about it. I decide beer will sooth the pain.
I am figuring out the math on our budget and if we watch our food intake, we can drink 5 large Leos a day. Leo has been our beer of choice in Thailand as it’s an easy drinking lager.
Finally I hit my power hour and start to climb back into the race.
If you can’t tell by the way I’m holding the fish, I haven’t really done this before. I’m just like “what’s up dawg? I caught you!”
The day is going so well that the South African couple extended from a half day to a full day and we completely forgot to eat lunch. It also helps that we are all catching fish every 20-30 minutes and I have finally caught back up to Kristi. I’m down 10-9 at this point. As the sun sets, I am determined to keep going and pass Kristi. We go back and forth as she catches one and I catch one. Last one of the night was caught by…….. Kristi… *insert tourettes here* Final Score of the day is
Kristi: 12 – Miles:10
One day to go and I am trailing by two fish. Also I think Kristi has caught the biggest of the fish though I’ve caught some similar in size. Right now the only thing I’m winning at is eating. However I think everyone who eats here is a winner. Sweet corn and bacon pizza is one of the best I’ve had since being on the road in Asia. It just makes me so happy when I eat good food. For those of you judging me like “why are you eating pizza in Thailand?” You try and eat rice and curry everyday. Most of the western food in these countries is overpriced and crappy so when we find something good, we have to treat ourselves.
A guy who had been fishing there for a couple days was leaving and he had bought every different bait available. So he gave all of his leftovers to us. First lure of the day, I mixed Thai sausage, corn and bread on my hook and cast. No more than 2 minutes in the water, I’ve caught something big. This is the record. I feel it and I’m going to beat my girlfriend at this contest.
No more than 60 seconds into my fight and Kristi hooks something too. This is bullshit. Hers is big too.
I fight with mine for about 10 minutes slowly bring him in. Just as we get the net and get ready to bring him in…. snap. The shit took my hook! Meanwhile Kristi has a good fight with hers and a few minutes later pulls out a big pacu. 13-10
That’s the biggest one we’ve caught yet. No more than 10 minutes later. She hooks another one.
He looks the same but slightly different. 14-10.
From here the day slowed down. The sun came out and it got so hot that not even the fish were hungry. Beer was my only refuge as I looked across the pond at these 2 guys who caught the trees on their right every 3 times the cast out… but every 5 times they cast, they caught another fish. Nothing big but they still were catching fish. Another beer please.
It wasn’t until 5pm that I caught my first fish of the day. I guess that’s the reality of fishing but coming off of yesterdays 9 fish, this was quite disappointing. Feast or famine. Behind by three and I manage to catch my biggest one of the weekend and I’m down by two.
Of course because I was catching fish, Kristi had to as well. And as our bait ran low in the dark, our day was at an end. Throughout the past couple days, there was a big tiger catfish swimming around the ledge teasing us and not biting at anything. One guy caught a smaller fish and as he released it back into the water the catfish came up and took it right from his hands and ate it. Knowing that it’s a predator now, Kristi hooks a dead fish to her lure. He bites and takes off. Before I can even get the net he’s swam under the bridge, managed to spit the hook out and it’s now caught on something under the murky water. I’m not putting my hand in there but some fearless 6 year old Thai kid jumped in and unhooked her. That kid is crazy.
Kristi is very determined. That catfish is hanging out right in front of us again and with Kristi’s last lure of the night she dangles it right in front of him. He bites and goes to take off again. Kristi holds strong and snap! Bastard breaks her line. We figure because the line was already stressed from it getting hooked, it snapped quite easily. Turns out a couple days later, a guy caught it and it was posted on their Facebook page. Kristi hates that guy.
The final tally at the end of our trip was 16-12 in Kristi’s favor. I am defeated. I will have to beat her at something else. Crib is my best bet… or drinking.
We had an awesome time while we were there. Our cabin was really nice, we had TV with a DVD player so we could watch movies at night. So naturally we had a Harry Potter marathon. We had a nice outside deck with a small pond next to us where I enjoyed a big bottle of water in the morning. If we didn’t want to see anything else, I would be perfectly content staying here for the next week or two. Good food, fishing, relaxing… this is what life is about!