Guide to Stingray fishing in the Mekong Delta
The number and species of fish found in the Mekong Delta are vast and include the giant freshwater stingray. Angling enthusiasts visiting from around the world have the rare opportunity of fishing for the giant stingray while in Thailand. These fascinating creatures reach behemoth sizes that include weights up to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds). Catching giant stingray poses an adventurous challenge guests do not soon forget.
Giant Freshwater Stingray
Existing from prehistoric times, the stingray remains the largest freshwater fish species in the world. The Thai culture contains legends and myths evolving around this mysterious fish. Stingrays generally prefer inhabiting the river bottom where they glide across the marine landscape while searching for food.
The longevity and uniqueness of the stingray are some characteristics that scientists find intriguing. Researchers often accompany stingray-fishing excursions for the opportunity of examining and studying the fish. Stingray fishing is part of an ecological friendly program known as catch and release. Marine biologists regularly obtain measurements and weights along with blood and tissue samples before anglers return the stingray back to the water.
The giant freshwater stingray-fishing season usually spans from November to April. Success largely depends on the weather and the tides. Many Thai fishermen advise that optimal conditions occur during the appearance of a full moon. Experienced anglers catch the giant freshwater species from the shore in specific locations along the river or while on the water aboard well-equipped fishing boats. The size and strength of the stingray requires using highly specialized equipment.
Anglers usually use heavy-duty Okuma rods rated at least in the 100 pound class. The rods have roller line guides and variable speed multipliers. Braided 100 pound mainline carries a sinker weighing up to 1 kilogram. The end of the line features a circle hook with a generously sized portion of bait. The angler often wears a stand-up harness that helps support the rod.
Guided stingray fishing adventures typically requires a boat and a four or five man crew. Catching a stingray offers the chance of experiencing the ultimate battle between man and beast. While giant stingray found in the Mekong Delta vary greatly in size, anglers frequently catch fish weighing anywhere from 227 to 318 kilograms (500 to 700 pounds). Once a stingray takes the bait, the fight between the angler and the fish commonly lasts hours. Boat crewmembers commonly step in and assist aching and tired angling guests but the catch ultimately requires the determination and stamina of the guest.