Home Catch Report Rapala CountDown Abachi: The Little Lure at Cheow Lan Lake

Rapala CountDown Abachi: The Little Lure at Cheow Lan Lake

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There are times when fish are so fixed on a specific baitfish profile or shape that they simply won’t take anything else thrown at them. That’s why it’s important to have an assortment of lure types on any fishing trip in addition to traditionally ‘proven’ lures. On a recent trip to Cheow Lan Lake (Thailand), Daniel Wan and friends were fortunate enough to have brought some small, compact, sinking lures such as the 5cm Rapala CountDown Abachi as probably 70% of the fish on this trip were caught on this lure alone!
Photos by Fred Goh, KD and Daniel Wan. 

It’s been 5 years since our last visit to Cheow Lan Lake. Back then in 2011, we experienced one of our best fishing trips for Jungle Perch (Sebarau / Hampala / also known to the Thai people as “Pla Krasoob”). Thinking that the fishing style would be more or less the same this time, we packed along our proven Sebarau lures of Rapala Risto Raps (RR08), Deep Tail Dancers (TDD07), Skitter Pops (SP09), Flat Raps (FLR08) and an assortment of other freshwater lures. We were to find out later during our trip that these ‘staples’ were not the top producers for the Krasoob as we expected. It turned out that the humble, little 5cm Rapala CountDown Abachi, the more dense and faster-sinking version of the traditional Rapala Countdown, was the top scorer!

Here’s a photo catch report of the trip…

Rapala Team at Cheow Lan Lake

The raggedy bunch from Rapala on this trip.

The view from Ratchaprapha Dam jetty

The view from Ratchaprapha Dam jetty

The beautiful mountain views

The beautiful views that met the eye en route to the upper reaches of Cheow Lan Lake.

KD's super excited!

KD’s super excited! Who wouldn’t be on their maiden trip to Cheow Lan?

So is Marco and Fred!

Marco and Fred are all fired up too!

Cheow Lan

We had the opportunity to visit a small litle cove to admire ‘Little Guilin’

Cheow Lan

Magnificent limestone formations at Cheow Lan.

Cheow Lan

You don’t have to be in China to see the ‘Guilin’ limestone mountains.

Khlong Saeng

We finally arrive after a wet and uneventful 2 hour boat journey!

Khlong Saeng

A familiar sight on this return trip to Cheow Lan.

Khlong Saeng

The comfortable dining area

Khlong Saeng

We love Thailand!

Khlong Saeng

There were hundreds of big, hungry Lampam milling around the dining area.

Khlong Saeng

Breakfast before hitting the water.

Khlong Saeng

Thai porridge: The best breakfast ever (for me)!

Khlong Saeng

Here’s a happy snap before we dig in!

Khlong Saeng

KD doing the honours of the first few casts. Check out the colour of the water after the rain!

Khlong Saeng

KD lands his first Thai Mahseer, on a spinnerbait!

Khlong Saeng

A closer look at the Thai Mahseer before release.

Khlong Saeng

Not too long after, the lucky KD lands another rare species… an Emperor Snakehead! (Pla Chon Ka Luang)

Khlong Saeng Thai Mahseer

A sinking Rapala X-Rap CountDown in ALB colour fooled another Thai Mahseer from a deep pool.

Krasoob Sebarau Hampala Jungle Perch Gomoku Bottom

Later that morning KD and I checked out a tributary that held heaps of small Jungle Perch (Krasoob). KD got this one on a Storm Gomoku Bottom on a slow, straight retrieve.

Sebarau Hampala Jungle Perch Rapala Flat Rap

The Rapala Flat Rap in the South East Asia special Seluang/Pla Sew pattern resembling the local baitfish was deadly!

Flat Rap Pla Sew Seluang SLG SEW FLR08

The Krasoob loved the natural-looking pattern of this Flat Rap!

Krasoob Sebarau Hampala Jungle Perch Gomoku Bottom

Another Krasoob on the Gomoku Bottom. Notice the translucent pattern?

Bujuk on Rapala Flat Rap

KD and I went further upstream. Among some submerged weed, KD pulls up another surprise…

Bujuk on Rapala Flat Rap

… a very nice sized Bujuk!

Bujuk on Rapala Flat Rap

The Rapala Flat Rap 08 worked its charm in skinny water.

Bujuk on Rapala Flat Rap

Check out the beautiful patterns on this Snakehead!

Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

Over at the other boat, Fred was fishing the Rapala RFS Micrology, a 2-5lb ultralight baitcast rod with 6lb Sufix Super 21 FC castable fluorocarbon, which gave him plenty of fun.

Khlong Saeng

Meanwhile, Huat was happily pulling in Krasoob after Krasoob on the CountDown Abachi.

Khlong Saeng Catfish

After catching Krasoob became too easy with the CountDown Abachi, Huat swapped to the Storm Gomoku Dense and got rewarded with a Catfish.

Khlong Saeng Catfish

Like the CDA05, the Storm Gomoku Dense 48mm could also sink very quickly to variable depths.

Flat Rap 08 Pla Sew Seluang

The Flat Rap showed its proficiency in searching out Krasoob hunting the edges of submerged weeds.

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

Huat adds a big one to the Krasoob count with the CountDown Abachi CDA05.

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

This one shot out from a piece of submerged timber in deep water.

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

Fred’s favourite colour for the CDA05 was the HWSRD (Hologram White Sardine).

Khlong Saeng

The persistent rain clouds often cleared by dusk.

Rapala Flat Rap Pla Sew Seluang

Marco didn’t put any fancy twitching to the Flat Rap. Just a straight retrieve was all that’s needed to fool the fish!

Rapala Flat Rap Pla Sew Seluang

Marco also caught his first Toman on this trip.

Khlong Saeng

Rain, rain go away!!

The rain's finally stopped! It's time to go fishing!

The rain’s finally stopped! It’s time to go fishing!

Seladang

We were very fortunate to see wild buffalo (Seladang) on several occasions on this trip.

Khlong Saeng

Shallow streams – time for a little wading!

Khlong Saeng

When most bibbed lures struggled in running-water, the dense CountDown Abachi CDA05 did the job and more.

Khlong Saeng

Some Thai Mahseer were landed in between the plentiful Krasoob from the streams.

Sebarau North Craft

The rain was relentless, but that didn’t stop us from having a good time casting for Krasoob!

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

It was challenging to find the Krasoob but once we found them, it was happy days!

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

The CountDown Abachi scores again!

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

Most of our catches on this trip we caught on the Rapala CountDown Abachi 5cm (CDA05). We believe the fish were feeding on very small baitfish in various depths, and the long-casting, fast sinking, little CDA05 could seek them out at those depths.

Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

The rain washed out many insects into rivers, triggering a massive food chain where small fish gulped down the bugs, and in turn, got eaten by the Krasoob.

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

KD and Fred then found this little running stream which held many good sized Krasoob.

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

Most of them were good-sized too!

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

The Krasoob in the rivers were mostly spawning specimens.

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

Amidst the spawning frenzy, some took the opportunity to feed on the little fish which the CDA05 resembled.

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

Another good fish by KD on the CountDown Abachi.

Khlong Saeng

The Krasoob were healthy and in tip top condition.

Sebarau CDA05 CountDown Abachi

There’s no doubt Fred and KD were having a blast!

Sebarau on X-Rap CountDown

Easy does it!

Sebarau on X-Rap CountDown

Just when Fred was retrieving the X-Rap CountDown after letting it sink deep into some timber, this Krasoob came out of nowhere and slammed the lure!

Sebarau on X-Rap CountDown

Fred’s smile tells it all…

KD never stopped smiling throughout the trip. It wasn't hard to see why!

KD never stopped smiling throughout the trip. It wasn’t hard to see why!

Sebarau on North Craft Caddis

Taking a break from catching all the fish with CDA05, KD pulled out an old North Craft Caddis lure to catch some Krasoob. Easy peasy!

Khlong Saeng

Evenings were lovely when the rain stopped and clouds cleared.

Khlong Saeng

Early to bed, early to rise! Because the early bird gets the worm, or so they say…

Khlong Saeng

This kind of morning view revives the spirit. The body is immediately invigorated!

Giant Snakehead Toman Shadow Chado

Bee managed to tempt a Toman up for some happy snaps.

Khlong Saeng

We seeked out for bigger sized Thai Mahseer in the running rivers.

Khlong Saeng

But we could only find the small ones.

Thai Mahseer Rapala X-Rap Countdown

X-Rap CountDown was the candidate for the job.

Khlong Saeng

“Where’s your Daddy?”

Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

Certain parts of the rivers were known to hold Catfish in the deep. Allowing the CDA05 to sink to the bottom before retrieving steadily produced some pleasant surprises.

Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

This fellow came out of nowhere and ambushed the little pink-headed CountDown Abachi as it throbbed its way right up boatside.

Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

Huat was extremely happy to catch this Emperor Snakehead (Toman Bunga) hiding in the shallows  under a overhanging bamboo tree.

Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

The 5cm Rapala CountDown Abachi did it again!

Khlong Saeng

We encountered some wild deer while travelling between spots.

Khlong Saeng

But they were shy and quickly moved away when we came close.

Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

The CountDown Abachi comes standard fitted with VMC 7554 trebles. This Pinky one here survived some brutal fish with only some slight scratches. Others were not so lucky.

Catfish Pla Kot

KD mighty pleased with another catch on spinnerbait.

Sebarau on Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

If you love the ultra-light game and don’t mind getting bullied every now and then, it’s worth trying out fishing with straight fluorocarbon line. Fred probably had the most fish among all of us on this trip and he attributed it to the use of FC mainline which is less visible in water.

Sebarau on Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

The 5cm Rapala CountDown Abachi caused the downfall of many Krasoob for Fred.

Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

Bee says its because of his ‘lucky’ VMC jersey. We think its the CDA05 lure. ;)

Sebarau on Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

She’s coming in…

Sebarau on Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

A smaller specimen by Bee.

Sebarau on Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

Check out the vibrant colour on the cheek and fins!

Sebarau on Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

Plenty of fun especially on light 4-10lb tackle!

Sebarau on Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

Black/gold was a deadly colour too…

Rapala Vaaksy Sebarau on Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

Bee putting the new Rapala Vaaksy rod into action.

Sebarau on Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

… and taming fish one after another in quick succession.

Sebarau on Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

Fish of this size are super fun on 4lb tackle. I had a blast on this trip with the Rapala 80th Anniversary Vaaksy 4-10lb rod so much so it became my ‘primary’ outfit with the CDA05 towards the end of the trip.

Risto Rap GALB Sebarau

I was hoping for a Mahseer to pounce on the Risto Rap, but I guess a Sebarau will have to make do.

Papparazzi shot from our boat.

Papparazzi shot from our boat.

KD was casting into a bunch of floatsam when this Toman whacked the topwater lure.

KD was casting into a bunch of floatsam when this Toman whacked the topwater lure right before our eyes.

Sebarau on Rapala CountDown Abachi CDA05

MYSTERY SOLVED: A feisty Krasoob regurgitated this little bait as it thrashed about in our boat. We figured the 5cm Rapala CountDown Abachi (bottom two) was so effective because it probably matched the size and profile of the baitfish the Krasoob were feeding on during the time of our trip.

Interested to catch some of the Krasoob action at Cheow Lan Lake?
Contact guide Darren Shan via his Facebook page.

 

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Daniel Wan has been fishing since the age of 12 and has a deep passion for fishing with artificial lures – especially light-tackle jigging. Previously working for two multinational IT companies, Daniel left the IT industry to follow his passion for fishing, photography and writing.