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JEAN-FRANCOIS HELIAS & HIS FISHING ADVENTURES
by Albert Drachkovitch

Jean-François Helias has known me for many years. When he was a journalist, already an avid fisherman, he was reading all of my articles on the subject. So, a few months ago, when he decided to start up his fishing travel organization, “Fishing Adventures”, it was quite natural for him to remember me and ask for my official sponsorship.

He quickly managed to get me interested and invited me over to see him, fish with him and see for myself the extraordinary sights that Thailand has to offer.

I have been round the world many times. From Patagonia to New Zealand, from the deep south of Africa to northernmost Russia, from Iceland to Mongolia, always with my fishing rod in hand, always curious about new fish species and related fishing methods. But I have to tell you that my stay in Thailand has been the most fascinating and exotic of all my travels. The most diversified and enriching one as much as fishing or human relations are concerned.

I have to admit though that the friendship, the immediate complicity between the two of us, Jean François’ hospitality, his fabulous efficiency in averting any problem – small or big – his genuine vocation of fisherman, all of it immediately seduced me. It really gave me a great feeling of absolute safety for everything we had planned for the three weeks of my stay!

Although the heat, on occasion, made things difficult for me - but I always have suffered from it, wherever I have been - the whole trip was well worth it and a real success. As far as fishing is concerned, I humbly admit that this old fisherman has learnt quite a few new tricks!
Is it not fantastic to be able to write such things, with all my experience, at 71 years of age? So, I admit I had to come to Thailand to have my last great “Fishing Adventures”! For 11 days and 6 full nights, Jean-François has done it all to show me his fishing ground. A fishing ground that will keep growing, no doubt, thanks to the constant research required by the perfect development of “Fishing adventures”, as much in Thailand, his adopted land, as in the neighbouring countries. And it is my wish to personally overview and contribute to that growth. The wealth and variety of fish, and fishing techniques, is boundless in Thailand. Be it close to Bangkok, as the “Fishing World” in Minburi - a model of the type I have never seen anywhere else - or further up, in the superb mountains around Kanchanaburi, or be it in the huge lakes such as the dam of Khao Laem, I have found all the seducing tourist and fishing assets required to attract customers from the world over. This, of course, in addition to the local regulars, all of them deeply concerned not only by fishing, but as well by the environment and structure offered allowing for real family fishing. Which is quite rare!

We caught fish everywhere we went, almost 200 kilos altogether. Some of them really beautiful, and unknown by a vast majority of Europeans. What also surprised me was the excellent defense quality of these fish, their strength and exceptional endurance. I know that I have not seen, nor tried everything yet. And I already have made plans to make it back in March or April 2000, as recommended by all the specialists, their own flabbergasting videos helping!

I am convinced that after this coming trip, Jean François and myself have decided to dedicate to fishing carp and carnivore fish in precise spots, I will have enough selling points to convince European fisherman to come and test their fishing skill in Thailand. Not to mention additional great advantages such as the good prices, the courtesy, the polite and gentle nature of the Thai people.

I strongly believe that Jean-François will meet great success with his “Fishing Adventures”. His inspiration has been second to none while giving his adopted land a tool that was missing and, somehow, sometime, he will gain recognition for it.

I am even convinced that with his enthusiasm, his angling qualities, his honest and intelligent dedication to all, Jean-François will make his venture more than a success. It will be THE fishing event of the beginning of this millennium for Bangkok, for Thailand…my last love !

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