The year was 1967 I was 20 years old and a military policeman in vietnam for the usarmy.One of our many posts was on a causeway between the city of QuiNhon and the Delong pier,a pier where ammunition and supplies and troops were offloaded from ships.When on the post I always saw in the nearby waters vietnamese fishermen fishing with nets.I wrote home to my dad to send me my spinning rod ,a few hooks and sinkers.When I finally got them and had my one day off in three weeks I hitched a ride down to the causeway.On the beach were many hermit crabs which I had seen before so I stepped lightly on one and put the crab inside on my hook.Almost instantly I got a bite and reeled in a catfish of about 1 lb.I always fished salt water in New York and never caught a catfish before,so I grabbed him like I would any fish and pow his spine went right into my right hand between my thumb and pointer finger.I had to flick it twice to get it out.Now I am bleeding and my hand is killing me.I went to the MP who was on duty and he flagged me down a truck to take me to the hospital.In the army hospital I only got to see a medic who gave me a tetanus shot.I asked him if he knew if the fish was poisonous but he shrugged and said he didnt know and didnt seem to care too much.I had to work that night on guard duty and my right hand was killing me I would not be able to pull a trigger if needed.Now in case you dont know in the army if you get injured while off duty and you are unable to go on duty you are subject to an article 15 court martial(minor offense).This happens sometimes to guys who get a real bad case of sunburn while offduty.Not wanting this I went on guard duty but wouldnt have been able to shoot if needed.Luckily nothing happened and the next day my hand was better.
Yeah being an allready die heart fisherman at age 20 I did go again.The MP on duty that day brought back my rod and reel.Afew weeks later I had another day off so I hitched a ride down to the causeway again.Sure enough I put another crab on cast out and whammo another catfish same size.This time I was prepared or so I thought.I was wearing my jungle boots,which have a steel plate to protect from punji stakes(little booby traps).Instead of grabbing the fish like I did before,this time I stepped on him in order to remove the hook.To my surprise I felt a slight pain in my foot.I took the boot off to see if it broke the skin but it didnt.I didnt hurt and was ok but I decided it would be safer to go downtown and visit with the mamasans on my day off than to fish anymore.With no way to ship my rod and reel home I threw it with the fish still on the hook into QuiNhon Bay and thats where it remains to this day.I am now much more wary when i catch a fish I'm not familiar with.
Thats right basa the american name for vietnamese catfish.I read a story a while back about basa.It seems the fish farm where they grow the catfish is right next to a cement plant and the runoff from the cement plant somehow finds its way into the pond where they catfish live.I dont know if its true but I wouldnt eat any basa.
The Delta cats are the biggest on the planet, no? If memory serves (and it seldom does) I believe a Delta (Mekong Delta) cat is the current record holder fresh water fish. Could be wrong though I read that a while back. Point is, they gets B I G!!