Horror Travel Stories Vol 13 2012

Thailand - Never Fish With a Ferret

by Andy Pearson

Travelling round Thailand with my rods in tow as usual, I’d found myself in some cheap accommodation in the form of a hut right on the beach of west coast Koh Lanta. And a nice little place it was too, once I’d put out the cockroaches each night.

I needed bait. So bags and rod tube dropped, I borrowed a moped and took a dusty ride to the village of Saladan at the top end of the island, where a search was instigated. Simple, you might think, being a fishing village right next to the sea and all that? But for some reason these things rarely are­. I asked at a couple of dive shops, but they had no idea where I could buy any. So I asked at two restaurants proclaiming that they were specialists in seafood - surely they would know where I could buy some squid or shrimps? Nope. Even after drawing diagrams and saying pla mook (squid) and koong (prawn) a lot I still drew a blank. So I wandered up and down the main street, dripping with sweat, lightly dusted like I’d been rolled in flour, and one little beacon came into focus - another restaurant with the word ‘seafood’ painted in large, bright red letters on the front of it. “Here goes” I thought as I entered. And there, in front of me, were half a dozen large polystyrene boxes full of different types of fish... and some large squid, all neatly packed on ice. Beautiful. Strangely, this place was only around the corner from either one of the dive shops or the restaurants I’d asked at, and yet no one I’d asked seemed remotely aware of its existence. Kind of spooky…

Having located a source of bait, it was time to secure some fishing. I’d planned to try from the beach, but looking at the sparkling Andaman Sea in front of me, it was obvious that to reach anything of any substance, a boat was going to be required. Arranging this - and the resulting ‘day’ on the ‘ocean’ - was an ordeal fraught with enough frustration to... well...

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