Walking along Klong Muang Beach Thailand sans camera, we noticed a bunch of guys unloading fish from a couple of boats pulled up close to shore. Approaching the boats, we saw that they were unloading stingray – there were about 50 or so fish between the two boats. The fish were being sold to a wholesaler that had parked his truck along side the road paralleling the beach. Ultimitatelty, the fish would end up in Malaysia. We (actually my friend JJ) struck up a conversation with the guys as I was curious about the whole scene. A couple of them were very friendly and curious as to why the farang (me) was so interested in everything. After explaining that I wanted to go out fishing with them and photograph what went on, they agreed. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet at 5:30AM the next morning along the beach.
We showed up it total darkness at 5:30AM. Waiting for the boat with nothing to do, I noticed a couple of guys wading in the Andaman sea spool fishing. I waded out as far as I could without getting my phone wet (forgot to leave it on shore) and photographed the guy closest to me. Around 30 minutes later, about the same time as sunrise, the fishing boat shows up and we were on our way.
Ray fishing works like this: late in the afternoon the guys go out and drop their lines. Each line is about 100 meters long, has sharp hooks hanging off of it every eighteen inches or so, and is weighted so that is stays in the bottom. Each line is marked by a buoy and flag so that it can be found the next day. During the night stingray swim along the sea bottom, run across the line, and maybe get snagged by one of the hooks. Fisherman go out the next morning and retrieve their lines, which is what we did.
It wasn’t the “Deadliest Catch“. The air was close to 80 degrees F, the water was probably 80 degrees F, the Andaman sea was calm, and everything very mellow. It was a slow morning – we pulled in three lines with only two hooked ray. We were back on shore before 10AM. The prior day the guys pulled in around twenty ray, a much more productive and profitable day. That’s fishing.
Here’s a handful of pictures from the morning – Click through the thumbnails below to see larger images with captions or if you prefer, click here for a flash slideshow.