‘Bangkok Hooker’: A man, his rod and SE Asia debut this week on Discovery (ok, it’s a fishing show)

Sittipon Chanarat, aka please call me Oz, is the Bangkok Hooker. No, not the hourly kind. The kind that catches, and releases (awwww) fish.

The “hensem” (that’s handsome for you non-Malaysians) Thai-American former journalist has recently inked a deal with the Discovery Channel chronicling his fishing expeditions in the region. His program debuted this week. Not to worry sayangs, you know Astro loves those repeats.

If you love Big Tuna, Deadliest Catch, Alaska Fish Wars, or just want to watch a fine-looking man out with his rod (sorry, Hooker, we can’t resist a good pun ourselves), then tune in.

How did you discover your love for fishing?

Everyone is asking me this today. 

We pride ourselves on our lack of originality.

It’s a progressive thing, you know.  It’s kind of love with a real person.  You don’t fall in love right away. True love is more about going back to that thing over and over again.

The first time I went fishing I was 3 years old.  I didn’t catch anything.  Then the first time I caught a fish, I was 11 years old.  That’s the first time I caught a really small fish in Australia, and for the longest time I only fished very basic stuff.  But the only one I got into – you know, when I was 24, got a job, got a pay check, that’s when I start affording all this fishing stuff.  I would say around 24, 25 [was] when I started falling in love properly with it. It’s … when I realised, yeah, I think I’m in love now.

What are the differences fishing in Southeast Asia and say the US?

In the US, they have a game and fish department.  They actually have the concept of sports fishing.  Sports fishing is an extremely new concept for Southeast Asians.  The idea that, oh, you know, fish – you catch a fish, you have to eat it, it’s a very Asian concept and it’s this idea that this behaviour that is actually diminishing the world’s fish population.  You know, you look now, the world’s current wild fish stocks are down to something like 30%, one-third of what the whole thing used to be. At the same time, we do have an emerging sport fishing culture here in Southeast Asia.

What was your first big catch?

I think it was in 2010, that was my first big giant snakehead ikan toman. That was the first one I ever caught, and it took me several trips. Five or six trips of just going out, not getting anything – not getting anything.  Finally, one day, I got lucky. It’s my first significant giant snakehead catch and it’s one of the happiest and proudest moments as a fisherman.

Do you eat the fish that you catch?

Catch and release is the way I go.

Have you ever found yourself in a Moby Dick type situation where you become obsessed with catching one particular fish?

Moby Dick is not a fish, FYI.

We know. It’s an analogy, like something that you become obsessed about, and have to catch

Well, as in a symbol of a target fish that I dream to catch, it would have to be a charcoal-colored giant snakehead.  Let me explain.  Giant snakeheads go through different colors in their spawning cycles.  And for about two to three weeks a year, they go completely black.  And when they go completely black, it’s because they are about to lay their eggs, they are at the fattest, the heaviest, and strongest they would ever be.

July of 2011, there was this freak thunderstorm that came in and finished in like two hours. All of the snakeheads got really aggressive.  I found this one place in the reservoir that looked a lot like the nest of a giant snakehead.  You could notice it by the folded grass.  You usually see, you know, remnants of some biting; something was biting the grass as a sort of space. I cast my frog lure into it, over and over again, and then got a slam on it.

As I fought this fish, it pulled my boat out in the middle, so I was parked in the bank, it pulled my boat, it turned the boat out. It pulled it out as I was fighting it.  And as I was bringing the fish in, it actually snaps my rod in half, but I still managed to fight the fish, and landed it with my friend’s finishing net, which is way too small, but I bring it in even though there’s a fishing rod hanging out from its mouth, and it’s one of the most epic moments of my life.

The fish was 7.23 kilograms.  You can actually see it in my YouTube channel, it’s titled “Bite Send Hook 2”.

It was a hell of a day, and that was my Moby Dick, which ironically was a black snakehead, so nothing white about it at all.

Five most important things to bring with you on a fishing trip for the novice, other than the rod?

Sunscreen, appropriate footwear, mosquito repellent, appropriate clothing, and absolutely, a must-have, is polarized sunglasses.

Nice. Best music to fish to?

Best music to fish to?

Yes.

None.

Favorite body of water, and why.

Planet earth, because I could catch them all, just like Pokemon, you got to catch them all.

What of the days when you go out on the water and don’t catch anything? What is the takeaway from that?

Just another day at the office.

Indeed. Is it 5 o’clock yet?

Check it: Discovery Channel (Astro Channel 551) Mondays @ 9pm.

Leave a Reply


 
MOST POPULAR