Rapala CountDown Abachi: The Little Lure at Cheow Lan Lake
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…
The raggedy bunch from Rapala on this trip.
The view from Ratchaprapha Dam jetty
The beautiful views that met the eye en route to the upper reaches of Cheow Lan Lake.
KD’s super excited! Who wouldn’t be on their maiden trip to Cheow Lan?
Marco and Fred are all fired up too!
We had the opportunity to visit a small litle cove to admire ‘Little Guilin’
Magnificent limestone formations at Cheow Lan.
You don’t have to be in China to see the ‘Guilin’ limestone mountains.
We finally arrive after a wet and uneventful 2 hour boat journey!
A familiar sight on this return trip to Cheow Lan.
The comfortable dining area
We love Thailand!
There were hundreds of big, hungry Lampam milling around the dining area.
Breakfast before hitting the water.
Thai porridge: The best breakfast ever (for me)!
Here’s a happy snap before we dig in!
KD doing the honours of the first few casts. Check out the colour of the water after the rain!
KD lands his first Thai Mahseer, on a spinnerbait!
A closer look at the Thai Mahseer before release.
Not too long after, the lucky KD lands another rare species… an Emperor Snakehead! (Pla Chon Ka Luang)
A sinking Rapala X-Rap CountDown in ALB colour fooled another Thai Mahseer from a deep pool.
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.
The Rapala Flat Rap in the South East Asia special Seluang/Pla Sew pattern resembling the local baitfish was deadly!
The Krasoob loved the natural-looking pattern of this Flat Rap!
Another Krasoob on the Gomoku Bottom. Notice the translucent pattern?
KD and I went further upstream. Among some submerged weed, KD pulls up another surprise…
… a very nice sized Bujuk!
The Rapala Flat Rap 08 worked its charm in skinny water.
Check out the beautiful patterns on this Snakehead!
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.
Meanwhile, Huat was happily pulling in Krasoob after Krasoob on the CountDown Abachi.
After catching Krasoob became too easy with the CountDown Abachi, Huat swapped to the Storm Gomoku Dense and got rewarded with a Catfish.
Like the CDA05, the Storm Gomoku Dense 48mm could also sink very quickly to variable depths.
The Flat Rap showed its proficiency in searching out Krasoob hunting the edges of submerged weeds.
Huat adds a big one to the Krasoob count with the CountDown Abachi CDA05.
This one shot out from a piece of submerged timber in deep water.
Fred’s favourite colour for the CDA05 was the HWSRD (Hologram White Sardine).
The persistent rain clouds often cleared by dusk.
Marco didn’t put any fancy twitching to the Flat Rap. Just a straight retrieve was all that’s needed to fool the fish!
Marco also caught his first Toman on this trip.
Rain, rain go away!!
The rain’s finally stopped! It’s time to go fishing!
We were very fortunate to see wild buffalo (Seladang) on several occasions on this trip.
Shallow streams – time for a little wading!
When most bibbed lures struggled in running-water, the dense CountDown Abachi CDA05 did the job and more.
Some Thai Mahseer were landed in between the plentiful Krasoob from the streams.
The rain was relentless, but that didn’t stop us from having a good time casting for Krasoob!
It was challenging to find the Krasoob but once we found them, it was happy days!
The CountDown Abachi scores again!
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.
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.
KD and Fred then found this little running stream which held many good sized Krasoob.
Most of them were good-sized too!
The Krasoob in the rivers were mostly spawning specimens.
Amidst the spawning frenzy, some took the opportunity to feed on the little fish which the CDA05 resembled.
Another good fish by KD on the CountDown Abachi.
The Krasoob were healthy and in tip top condition.
There’s no doubt Fred and KD were having a blast!
Easy does it!
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!
Fred’s smile tells it all…
KD never stopped smiling throughout the trip. It wasn’t hard to see why!
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!
Evenings were lovely when the rain stopped and clouds cleared.
Early to bed, early to rise! Because the early bird gets the worm, or so they say…
This kind of morning view revives the spirit. The body is immediately invigorated!
Bee managed to tempt a Toman up for some happy snaps.
We seeked out for bigger sized Thai Mahseer in the running rivers.
But we could only find the small ones.
X-Rap CountDown was the candidate for the job.
“Where’s your Daddy?”
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.
This fellow came out of nowhere and ambushed the little pink-headed CountDown Abachi as it throbbed its way right up boatside.
Huat was extremely happy to catch this Emperor Snakehead (Toman Bunga) hiding in the shallows under a overhanging bamboo tree.
The 5cm Rapala CountDown Abachi did it again!
We encountered some wild deer while travelling between spots.
But they were shy and quickly moved away when we came close.
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.
KD mighty pleased with another catch on spinnerbait.
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.
The 5cm Rapala CountDown Abachi caused the downfall of many Krasoob for Fred.
Bee says its because of his ‘lucky’ VMC jersey. We think its the CDA05 lure. ;)
She’s coming in…
A smaller specimen by Bee.
Check out the vibrant colour on the cheek and fins!
Plenty of fun especially on light 4-10lb tackle!
Black/gold was a deadly colour too…
Bee putting the new Rapala Vaaksy rod into action.
… and taming fish one after another in quick succession.
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.
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.
KD was casting into a bunch of floatsam when this Toman whacked the topwater lure right before our eyes.
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.