by Roland Brunner and Nantyia Boontong
Determined anglers Nantiya and partner Roland have been travelling around New Zealand in their campervan since November 2016. In their travels, Nantiya was impressed with some of the great catches posted on tackle-shop walls. She also noted how somberly the anglers were dressed and promised that, should she catch a trout weighing over ten pounds, she would pose with it in her bikini. Hence the Bikini Trout!
Nantiya hails from Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand. Her partner Roland is from Switzerland. Here is their slightly unusual story of the Bikini Trout! For Nantiya, a keen fishing lady, touring New Zealand means enjoying the wonderful country and of course enjoying the unrivalled possibilities for fishing.
Being open-minded and always in good humour, it is easy for her to get in touch with other fishermen she meets on the rivers and lakes. Often the couple is invited to park the camper overnight on private ground. And the spacious motorhome provides the possibility to enjoy trout and perch or other fish deliciously prepared Thai style with the new friends.
The fishing started on November 2016 at the East Cape with wonderful browns and rainbows she caught in the Waioeka Gorge between Opotiki and Gisborne. The fillets of the trout caught there is almost as red as that of salmon and tastes wonderful.
But a real highlight for the short lady of only 154 cm was the catch of a 6.2-pound brown trout in Lake Rotorua in the cold waters just in front of Hamurana Spring in February. A fish of that size really setoff the fishing bug even further. It wouldn’t be her last nice fish.
In March a 1.8 kg perch followed caught in the Oreti near the mouth of the river in Invercargill as well as an extremely nice coloured brown that couldn’t resist her perfectly presented Adams size 14 dry fly in the Aparima River outside Riverton.
Travelling in the Canterbury area Nantiya always studied with interest all the pictures of successful fishermen presented on the boards in the tackle shops and she saw the pictures of the big trout caught in the canals around Twizel. Trout or salmon up to 50 pounds, almost unbelievable.
So, one evening having dinner with friends, she joked that whenever she would catch a trout over ten pounds she would put on the bikini and take a nice picture for the wall of fame in a tackle shop. This as a contrast to all the pictures with mainly fiercely looking older men in fishing outfits proudly presenting their catch. A lot of laughter on the table, a lot of cheers to her success of course. And of course, keep the temperatures and weather around Twizel in April in mind for a bikini picture. Twizel is not Phuket in Thailand with temperatures much more suited to take pictures in a bikini.
But she wanted to keep her promise and so she went to the Ohau Canal to try her luck. The couple arrived there on March 13th in the afternoon. The weather was really chilly. To fish Lake Benmore Nantiya had to dress almost like an Eskimo – do not forget the temperatures she is used to from Thailand and fishing the rivers and the ocean there is never below 20°C.
Even the air-conditioning in the hospital where she works as a nurse is normally set to 25 degrees. So she always jokes that getting out of the well-heated campervan on a chilly morning makes her feel as if she was stepping into her refrigerator back home!
Remember her bikini promise! The biggest brown she caught in Lake Benmore was 4.5 pounds, so no bikini danger yet. But she wanted to get a bigger one. So right before dark at 6.30 p.m. she was at the Ohau Canal at the confluence with the Pukaki Canal just outside Twizel.
A lot of people were already fishing there. Sadly, there were far more beer bottles on the bank than landed fish.
The other anglers suggested she try shrimp as bait. And now, believe it or not on her first cast, only a few meters out with a small split-shot and a shrimp, she got into a snag and was afraid she would lose her hook. But when she gently pulled on the line the snag took off like a rocket.
In no time she lost 50 meters of the line as the fish heading upstream. She held the rod with both hands. All the fishermen on the bank looked at her, the fish taking more line and the small 1500 Shimano reel screaming.
Her partner ran to assist her. Thinking the drag was not set properly and she would run out of line soon tightened it up in spite of her protest, but too hard. The 15-pound line broke. What a pity, more, what a disaster. That was the bikini fish, for sure!
But after a few moments of disappointment Nantiya comforted her grief-stricken partner who made her lose that fish by tightening the drag that in fact was well set beforehand! The weather with rain and wind would not have been good for a bikini picture anyway.
The following two days with hard fishing passed by and not one more big trout or salmon would show any interest in any lure. So that was it then. No bikini! Well, the lost fish cost her partner Roland a pair of nice shoes as compensation. All the fishermen know happy wife, happy life!
Four weeks later and back from the south of New Zealand on the way north Nantiya wanted to try her luck again. The weather was cooler now, frosty nights already around Twizel, but no rain. So, on April 13th she was at the canals again.
This time trying a huhu grub she was given by a friendly Maori fisherman the night before. And at 8.30 in the morning at the very same spot, the grub was taken by something bigger again. And this time, there was no tightening of the drag by her partner, she let the fish run and finally, after 14 long minutes and a lot of excitement during which the fish made three long escape runs, she landed the big trout.
And it was a nice trout indeed. 14.2 pound on the scale. And no excuses now. The bikini had to be put on. The photo session took half an hour and she was almost freezing to death. But for such a fish there has to be some suffering!
Of course, she was the attraction at the canal, everybody laughing and cheering and sharing her happiness with such a great catch. And of course, she had to post that fish on her Facebook page. Never had she got such a lot of commentaries before to a pic she posted. Funny, all the men made compliments about the bikini (is there a fish on the picture somewhere?), all the Thai ladies posted comments about her muscles holding up the heavy fish, almost no commentaries on the fish!
Now, Nantiya is much more careful making promises about big future catches. She also tried some sea fishing in the meantime and did very well there too with some good size kingfish and a bluenose. But the real challenge is still a really big fish out of the Twizel Canals.
Maybe we might soon see some more pictures with the Thai lady and a big trout. Nantiya and partner Roland just came back to have another try for a real big one a week before the lockdown in March 2020.
The start was promising with some nice brown trout they caught in Lake Benmore and some small rainbows in the canals. And then the fishing came to an unexpected interruption. But as soon as Alert level 4 might be lifted we might see a keen Thai lady walking the banks with her rod well prepared and the drag set properly for a really big one.
Her partner even had to buy some bikini in different colours so the bikini would match with the fish. Well, that was a very convincing reason to get some new sexy bikini!
She is lovely, she does not want her partner to lose face if she posts pictures on her Facebook with a real big fish and the bikini would not look perfect! Don’t you agree, dear fishermen? And never forget, happy wife, happy life!