Krabi newsletter September 2012
Hi all, and once again it’s time for the monthly report on the fishing in Thailand. It’s been a hectic month here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts what with two National Geographic crews here filming, plus all the anglers who came fishing in Krabi. We would like to thank everyone who has written about their exotic fishing in Thailand and to those of you who have helped spread the wordabout Gillhams. Every month we get good exposure in worldwide fishing magazines and rave reviews on Trip Advisor and various Internet fishing sites, and here at Gillhams we are proud of our reputation.
Some sad news this month… Our dear friend Jean-Francois Helias’ dear mother passed away aged 94 years. This remarkable lady was still fishing at the grand age of 89 – something we all hope we will be doing at that age. Francois was her only son and she taught him how to fish and the values of life. She was obviously a bloody good teacher and must have been very proud of the boy that became the man Jean-Francois. The reason Thailand is on the world fishing map, and certainly why Gillhams is here is because of Francois, and these thanks are to the woman who he so proudly called mum. We only have one mum and Francois had a very special one, so condolences to our special friend Francois. RIP Mrs. Helias – the world has lost one very special lady.
After the early rains in August, September started with blue skies and sunny days. This gave us a false sense of security, thinking the monsoons had been and gone earlierthan usual. We had two film crews here from National Geographic, one filming Siamese carp and the other with our old friend Zeb Hogan filming monster fish species underwater. The first filming for Siamese carp got underway just as the monsoon rains returned, and at times during the deluge of rain this seemed more like the underwater filming! The first part of the filming was on Siamese carp and carp fishing addicts. The presenter of the show was put up against a guide, a match angler and a record holder, with a competition being held for biggest carp, prettiest carp and coolest fish, all with money to be won for prizes. The show has been done with an easy, laid-back theme with plenty of humour, piss taking and cheating with snide rods and fishing in the out of boundsfishing area of the lake. So as not to spoil the film we will not say who won or what was caught, but we can mention an award that will not be shown on family television. Jamie Rich was representing match fishing and on the guiding team, but one thing Jamie forgot was when cameras are running and microphones are in use you have to watch what you say. Thinking the film crew could not hear him on the other side if the lake, he stated his desires and what he would like to do to the pleasant young lady in the film crew, only for every perverted desire to be heard loud and clear by all!
The second part was underwater filming and photographing for the monster fish exhibition and National Geographic magazine. We had built three temporary six-meter squire tanks, with clear to murky water in them for the larger species, plus fish tanks with different backgrounds and lighting for mini mega fish species to be filmed.Zeb has very kindly let us show you some ofhis pictures here, but they are copyrighted and must not be downloaded or used in anyway other than viewing them here.
For the first three days and nights of filming we were treated toa deluge of nonstop rain;the lake went chocolate brown with rain falling at 100mm per hour, and with this amount of water we achieveda 50% water change in three days. This influx of muddy but fresh water really triggered certain species to feed; the arapaima went on the rampage with four over 400lb – two of these being out for the first time over 400lb. With ten others over 300lb, of which four were out for the first time over the 300lb mark, the total known arapaima over 400lb now in the lake stands at six fish. With a total of ten known 300lb arapaima, this makes Gillhams the number one venue in the world for huge arapaima.
Not only did the arapaima go on a feeding frenzy, so did the Siamese carp with four over the 100lb mark and plenty of fish in the 80 to 90lb bracket. A year ago we had 11 known Siamese carp over 100lb up to 160lb, and this year we have recorded 20 new fish over the 100lb mark, bringing the total to at least 30 fish over 100lb. We have numerous carp between 50 to 90lb too, andin the next year many of these will top 100lb.The stingrays also liked the new water with four being landed, but the Mekongs as always slowed down in the rain, but the ones coming out were mostly over 150lb up to a cracking 220lb.
For the second year running, Angling Direct ran their popular hosted trip with Dave Plummer. Dave met some of his first group in Bangkok for couple of days’ sightseeing. He is a bit more portly than last year when he got in a hotel lift with four of the group and triggered the overload alarm. Bearing in mind the grief he received last year, he played it cool and held back, taking the lift with just two other guys. The weight gain must be substantial, as once again the alarm wailed its protest, and a red-faced Dave had to get out and take the next lift on his own! Dave is the biggest dinosaur I have ever met in more ways than one – he won’t use a computer as apparently they are unreliable, and has only just stopped using a carrier pigeon. His phone must be the very first prototype Nokia and he thinks it’s a cool piece of technology – apparently it works off stalagmites! Now we all know these are generally found in caves, which probably explains caveman Dave!
When the first group turned up they were all very keen to get started, so even though the first day wasn’t a fishing day, by lunchtime they had all started fishing. For most of the anglers it was their first time here at Gillhams, but we did have a returning fisherman from the previous year’s trip, Ken “Destructo” Scott, who started off where he finished his previous trip by breaking his bite indicators in the first hour. After this Ken was being very careful with everything he touched. Luckily for us and our sponsors, Ken’s damaged goods list was minimal. Ken went on to catch some good fish throughout his trip and managed a PB Siamese carp of 90lb.Others on the trip were Simon Higgins, Pete Gifford and Bob Perretwho also banked some whackers with arapaima to 280lb, Amazon redtail catfish to 80lb and Siamese carp to 90lb. In their five days’ fishing the group caught a total of 50 fish with seven different species including the first Siamese carp caught on a fly at Gillhams, plus arapaima and red tails.
The second group coming in for the final week of the month were all new to Gillhams, so were unsure what to expect, and with some very hard weather conditions with torrential rain and strong winds it did make the fishing hard. Numbers of fish were lower than average, but the quality of the fish left the group amazed. In five days of fishing the sevenanglers caught a total of 59 fish of ten species with stingray to 140lb, Siamese carp 100lb, Mekong catfish 150lb and Amazon redtail catfish to 80lb. They even managed a few rare species with an Amazon spotted stingray and a firewood catfish. The total tally ofbig fish was nine fish over 100lb, two over 200lb, one over 300lb, and the biggest fish of the trip went to Steve White with an arapaima of 440lb. John France also had a red letter day on his final day when he landed three different species over 100lb, with a Mekong catfish at 150lb, a giant freshwater stingray at 140lb and a Siamese carp of 100lb.
The IGFA, who are the world’s official keepers of record fish, seem to be making a blunder while everyone else is trying to encourage kids to get involved in going fishing and enjoying nature instead of playing computer games, taking drugs and causing mayhem! They have a record for all species of freshwater fish, but for the poor kids the junior list has very limited species. From the 48 species in our lake there are only half a dozen that a junior can claim. It seems a stupid way of doing it, but we can’t change the rules. For this reason we are going to work out a junior record list for Gillhams, and we are going to give certificates for junior lake records. The same stupid situation also applies to women’s records. It’s probably some man ego thing, but it certainly does not encourage family involvement in our wonderful sport!
As the above is a start of a Gillhams Gripe, I shall continue!
National Geographic hadonly just finished filming here where they filmed fish underwater in huge tanks. Most fish were bought in for filming and unfortunately some fish died! This was due to Mr. Egg the once reputable fish dealer delivering three diseased fish. These unfortunate victims of Egg’s greed had to be destroyed due to the risk they carried to our fish. We only had one fish die after filming, which was a Chao Phraya catfish that although delivered disease free must have been loaded into the delivery truck with a pick and shovel. We treated its appalling wounds and gave it a chance in the lake, but it must have suffered internal damage,as it popped up dead three days later. Unfortunately this fish was spotted by some anglers along with a Mekong catfish that had died of old age,and within a week the story around the resort was that National Geographic were animals and treated the fish badly.Two dead fish soon became a lake full of dead fish floating everywhere! It never ceases to amaze me how fast stupid rumours spread and how quickly people exaggerate.
Some 20 fish were removed from our lake filmed and returned none the worse for wear; we have the utmost respect for Zeb Hogan and the Nat Geo team. We are pleased and proud to help them with their studies, as people like Zeb are doing more than anyone to try and save the planet’s mega fish. Their studies and work are making people aware of the dangers these rare fish are under, and all of us here at Gillhams can say with all honesty that not one fish was killed stressed or damaged in any way by Zeb or his team. Not one fish taken from the lake for filming was abused in any way, so to all the twats that like making up stories and slating people who do a fantastic job, “Shut the F*#* up and get a life!”
Also doing the rounds of bullshit from idiotic morons who can only make a name for themselves in their pathetic lives by slatinggood anglers is the latest crap that when Jeremy Wade filmed here last year he got preferential treatment. In fact when Jeremy Wade fished here, he chose his own swim and did not have a prebaited swim; he actually moved three times when he was hauling, moving into swims others couldn’t catch from. He was not using ten rods; he used three like anyone else can, and he caught fish because he is a bloody good angler. He had time for everyone and is a damn nice bloke. The world is a very sad place when all nobodies can do is knock others’ ability!
Final gripe this month is about the clowns who look at our website and then email us to say we are expensive, stating they can fish waters in Thailand for 300 baht per day or fish the local canal at home for free. Well why waste your time emailing us? Just enjoy going there and catching arapaima and other fish over 100lb (as if!)…
Time to lighten up before moving onto the fishing in Thailand catch report…
My partner left a note on the fridge… "It's not working! I can't take it any more and I've gone to stay at my mum’s!"
I opened the fridge, the light came on and the beer was cold.It all works fine – God knows what she was on about!
The fishing in Krabi total catch this month is as follows: 582 fish of 26 species, made up as follows: 47 arapaima to 440lb, three arawana to 10lb, six alligator gar to 50lb, 129 Amazon redtail catfish to 90lb, two Amazon stingray to 40lb, 112 Asian redtail catfish to 38lb, 11 black pacu to 27lb, four big head carp to 30lb, six Chinese seerfish to 10lb, two Chao Phraya catfish to 105lb, one firewood catfish of 6lb, three giant featherbackto 9lb,four giant stingray to 140lb, eight Julian’s golden carp to 28lb, 36 Mekong catfish to 220lb, two mrigal to 8lb, three ripsaw catfish to 15lb, nine spotted featherback to 10lb, 165 Siamese carp to 105lb, three shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 45lb, three snakehead to 2lb, fourshovel nosed tiger catfish to 10lb, three striped catfish to 22lb, four tambaqui to 23lb, seven wallago attu to 25lb and two wallago leeri to 18lb.
First up this month we had Mark Hoye from England making a return trip with his girlfriend Dee. Prior to visiting Gillhams they spent a week relaxing on the stunning Lanta Island beaches. The original plan was a week with us and then a trip up north to the bridge over the river Kwai,and finally the part everyone hates – back to the UK! All plans went out of the window when Mark and Dee decided to blow out the trip up north and spend their last few days here instead. On this trip Mark’s target fish was a big Siamese carp,and after catching a few his dreams were coming true by landing bigger and bigger carp before settling on his new personal best weighting in at 95lb. In total Mark caught 15 fish of five species with his biggest fish of the trip being a 160lb Mekong catfish that dragged him all around the lake for an hour and half. As I write this Mark has announced that Dee is pregnant. We don’t know if the baby was conceived here, but we wouldn’t be surprised as so many good things happen in this special place! Big congratulations to you both from all your friends in Krabi.
Ian Cook came on a busman’s holiday, taking a break from his trout fishery Twinlakes in Tasmania. Ian owns this trout angler’s paradise with his wife Rosie. While Rosie went back to visit family in England, Ian decided to visit Gillhamswith his mate Ian White. They were both very laid back, enjoying the good food and banter around the resort. Fishing odd hours between relaxing and ribbing each other, they still caught13 fish between them with arapaima to 100lb and Siamese carp to 65lb, plus Amazon redtail catfish to 60lb. Ian is now planning bringing some group trips here. As he said, the fish are just part of the holiday, but he has vowed to put more hours on the rods next time. If you fancy a relaxed holiday fishing for big trout in stunning surroundings, then visit Ian and Rosie’s superb fishery in Tasmania www.twinlakes.com.au
Barry Flynn from Scotland came in for a week’s fishing while taking a break from the Pattaya madness and prior to more mayhem with his final four nights in Bangkok. While here Barry caught a couple of our rarer fish with a 15lb ripsaw catfish and an alligator gar of 50lb followed by a back breaking fight with a 150lb Mekong catfish. Until 7:30pm on Barry’s final day his biggest fish of the trip was the Mekong, but with one final cast half an hour before the whistle, Barry’s rod bent round double on the pod leaving line peeling off the spool at 200mph. When Barry tried to strike the fish just carried on running, flattening the rod. A near one-hour battle finally saw Barry landthe beast, an arapaima of 440lb, making it the biggest fish he had ever landed.
Brothers Ross and Greg Livermore from Southampton made their first trip out to Thailand for a week’s fishing. This was a long trip for Ross, as he’s never fished seriously before.A strange occurrence happened when guide Lee came to greet the lads; it transpired he knew Greg and Ross from primary school, prior to moving away from Southampton some 100 miles to Uckfield. During their trip the brothers both caught the biggest fish of their lives,and on their first afternoon they caused total chaos. At 7:55, only having five minutes before the end of the day, both of Greg’s rods powered off at the same time as Ross also had a screaming run. With Ross onto one fish and Greg into his fish, Sean had totake the other rod, calling for help from the guides when they realized all three rods had arapaima on them. Ross’s arapaima when landed turned out to be his biggest of the trip at 190lb. Also Greg had been upping his big fish list, as earlier in the day he landed an arapaima of 340lb, then the double hook up ended up being fish of 220lb and 70lb, so not a bad start for the two lads. In total Greg caught 24 fish of seven species including Siamese carp to 75lb, Mekong catfish at 100lb and a Asian stingray of 130lb.Ross went on to catch ten fish of four species with carp to 65lb, and his biggest being the 190lb arapaima.
Next up was Lewis Janes who had decided to book a holiday here after visiting last year on a day ticket while staying in Ao-Nang. Accompanying Lewis on the trip was Jerry Smith and Tony Askew and his wife. Only having six days’ fishing everybody was keen to get started,and luckily for Lewis his catch list ended up looking a lot better than his 1976 flat top hairdo, as he went on to land 39 fish of eight species. Arapaima were Lewis’ main target speciesand he landed a total of six arapaima to sizes he never expected– 220, 280, 320 and a new personal best of 340lb! He achieved his wish list with Julian’sgolden carp and Amazon redtail catfish to 85lb.
Tony also caught some cracking fish including Chao Phraya catfish to 105lb, wallago to 23lb, Siamese carp to 95lb and an arapaima matching Lewis’ PB of 340lb. In total Tony landed 22 fish of eight species. Jerry Smith also went on to catch some of his biggest fish to date with four Siamese carp between 75lb and 85lb,Amazon redtail catfish to 70lb, Mekong catfish to 130lb and an arapaima of 320lb in his 15-fish in total.
After finishing here they all headed down to Ao-Nang for a few days’ chilling on the beach but couldn’t stop thinking about what they could be catching 20 minutes up the road at Gillhams, so three days later Lewis and Tony cut short the beach holiday and ended up back here for another three days’ fishing.
Unfortunately Jerry’s funds had reached their limits, so he stayed back in Ao-Nang while the others made their return. Now unknown to some people, and maybe I shouldn’t put this in print, but Stuart is a softy with a big heart, and didn’t think it was right that Jerry missed all the fishing action, so he got in contact with him at his hotel and offered him free fishing, just paying for his bait. On Jerry’s return he was more laid back after catching fish that a few days earlier he believed couldn’t be beaten, until late afternoon when his rod was bouncing on the pod with line melting off the reel. As Jerry struck into it he had no idea what he was about to land, and after 45 minutes he landed his new arapaima PB of 440lb, leaving him with a grin from ear to ear and knocking Lewis off his perch by landing the biggest fish of the trip.
Chris Beale, an English ex-pat from Hong Kong, made his third trip in six months here at Gillhams for a long weekend’s fishing trip. After Chris’ last trip he also wrote us a nice article in the South China Post. This trip wasn’t as eventful as the previous two, but he still managed a PB Mekong catfish of 180lb, Siamese carp to 50lb plus a new species on his list with an alligator gar. In total Chris caught nine fish of three species.
Tommy Raun from Norway made his return trip after visiting earlier in the year for a three-day trip that turned into a week, with the same happening on this trip. On Tommy’s last trip, in a total of seven nights he didn’t actually sleep here once, as every night he would venture out and not return until the next day! This trip was no different, apart from one night when he made it home by 5am. It was as much of a shock for us to see him in his room as it was for him after waking up to a horrifying sight that has to remain a secret. During Tommy’s stay he did get fishing by midday most of the time, and during his short fishing spells he landed12fish of five species with Siamese carp to 80lb and Mekong catfish to 110lb.
Terry “Poppa” Eustace came for yet another week’s stint, and carried on where he left off last time by hauling more Siamese carp, with a new personal best over the magic 100lb. It’s always fun when Terry’s around with constant piss taking and joking, and just when you think there’s nothing he could do to amuse you anymore, he does. During one of his battles with a big Siamese carp old Poppa wanted a pee, but with a fight on his hands there was nothing he could do but wait. After the fish was safely in the net Terry thought it would be easier to stand in the middle of the stoned swim, and let it go, leaving us looking in amazement as the dirty old Brummie git had bright yellow liquid running out from his shorts and down his legs, with a vague look on his face as if it was normal (but then it probably is where he comes from!). Terry also had an eventful night when he came homeafter going out for a meal with Stuart to find a strange man in his bed (like Norwegian Tommy). At first he thought he had gone to the wrong room, but after realizing he was in the right bungalow Terry took a closer look at his new guest, only to find it was his next door neighbour Warren, an Australian guy travelling Asia with his wife. Warren suffers from sleepwalking and had gone across the balcony into Terry’s room, curled up and carried on with his dreams of catching a whacker. Luckily for Warren he hadn’t ended up in Tommy’s room otherwise he may have woken up to a real life nightmare. After Terry woke him up the poor bloke was so embarrassed, he just scuttled off out the door, returning to his own bed and his wife.
Getting back to Terry’s fishing, he landed a total of 25 fish of five species, with 17 of the fish being Siamese carp, none of which were under 50lb. Along with his 100lb carp, Terry also battled it out on three separate occasions with his beloved Mekongs, with one of them taking the old git three hours and ten minutes to land, leaving him in even more of a wobbly state then when he started the fight, and making it his biggest Mekong to date at 190lb.
The middle of the month brought mayhem and chaos with the peace and tranquility of Gillham’s pushed aside as Alan Boon arrived along with Steve Smith for a week’s stay. Before the car even pulled up Alan was heard, and on arrival at the resort the words “alright geezer” and “my old son” rang out around the lake,and with birds fleeing the trees and fish hiding under the weeds Boony entered the building!Loaded with goodies for the resort and gifts for all, Alan was quick to share stories of mayhem with anybody that would listen. Even Poppa Eustace got an ear bashing by Alan from the other end of the lake. With good will gestures and bribery packs of chocolate being handed out to the staff, the lads were keen to get started, and within the hour both Alan and Steve had their lines out. The first day was slow for Alan and Steve, with them only landing a few small fish, probably due to the fact that Alan is one of the anglers that brings with him the wonder baits that no fish actually like nor eat. Over the next few days some big fish started coming around as the lads started using resort baits, made with the fish’s best interest in mind and not tackle shop bait intended for maximum profit with flash packaging and fancy slogans aiming at catching the anglers rather than the fish.
Steve and Alan were mainly interested in Siamese carp, and both ended up with some nice catches. Steve went on to catch several Siamese carp, with his two biggest being 80 and 85lb. Alan caught a total of 12 fish of five different species. On one of their days the fishing gods were on Alan’s side when he caught a Siamese carp of 105lb, followed by a Mekong catfish of 160lb and finishing the day with an Amazon redtail of 90lb,putting Alan 10lb away from becoming one of only a handful of people to land three freshwater species of 100lb in a day. Before leaving, Alan also put a promise to guide Lee that at some time he will receive some unpleasant payback, after Lee sprayed Alan purple using the fish treatment spray while Alan was trying to land one of his fish.
Next to arrive was Jamie Rich, one of our regular anglers, who came for a two-week stay with eight days’fishing. Now I’m not sure where to start with poor old Jamie, as there is so much stuff, both good and bad, to write about his trip, but I think starting with the bad things is best. Firstly there was Jamie’s night on the town with Dave Plummer and a few others, where he was propositioned buy an Asian poof wearing tight leather strides, matching waistcoat, pink framed glitter sunglasses and a pink furry bowler hat. While Jamie was standing at the bar drinking his banana daiquiri (no idea what would make the fag think Jamie was one of them), the Asian poofter approached him and introduced himself while rubbing Jamie seductively and offering to show him just how friendly the Asian community is. With one gulp Jamie’s drink was finished, and on exiting the club Jamie nearly left a cartoon shaped figure through the wall as he was on his toes running for his manhood. The following day Jamie was telling people about his ordeal, and even went as far as saying that he had never had a man come on to him. This soon got changed around to another meaning, much to Jamie’sembarrassment.
While ordering breakfast Jamie also got very nervous while asking for the full English, asking, “Please no sausage… I can’t face one at the moment.”Poor old Jamie carried on through his holiday suffering abuse due to telling everybody about his encounter with what could have been a new species for him. Even when talking about fish he couldn’t shake manly visions out his head. He even commented on an Asian redtail catfish by saying he can’t believe the size of their testicles, to which Jamie claims he meant the tentacles. Jamie did have some good things happen to him while here, and one was fishing for Nat Geo in which he won the prettiest fish prize and was rewarded one hundred dollars by the host of the show. Also Jamie managed to get four new personal bests (or five if you count the poof!)with an arapaima of 260lb, Siamese carp to 75lb, Amazon redtail catfish to 90lb and Mekong catfish to 190lb. In total Jamie landed 22 fish of eight species while here. After returning to England Jamie is now receiving counselling for his ordeals and abuse,and so is the lady presenter from Nat Geo who overheard his dirty desires!
Husband and wife fishing team John and Di Sheldrick came in for three days’ fishing after John visited last year on a day ticket. The fishing unfortunately was slow for John and Di but they did manage two good fish each. Di caught an Amazon spotted stingray of 40lb while John caught a beautiful Siamese carp previously weighed in March at 101lb looking like it had gained a few pounds, but John was more than happy to take the 101lb from the last weighing.
Last but not least Steve Robinson came for a week’s trip, after taking a year off from fishing due to starting a family. On arrival Steve told us his main species was an arapaima, but he would be happy catching anything else. The first few days were fairly quiet for Steve, but he did manage a few different fish up to 50lb plus a stingray of 110lb. It rained nonstop for the first four days, and without an arapaima to show for his efforts Steve was getting suicidal. Stuart was talking to him in the afternoon of his fifth day and told the guides to hide all sharp objects. Poor Steve was getting despondent that time was running out and the arapaima of his dreams was going to elude him! Fortunately the fish gods took pity on him, and like a fairy story ending, in the last hour he was rewarded for his efforts with a 400lb arapaima. It’s funny how one fish can turn a disaster into the best day of your life, and that evening in the bar Steve was like a different person with a grin bigger than Red Rum!Once your luck changes things get easier, and he followed this fish up two days later with another slightly smaller arapaima of 380lb. In atrocious weather conditions Steve stuck at it and caught 13 fish of six species. Will he return in the near future? Do bears poo in the woods?
So another month has passed, some great fish have been caught, many anglers achieved their dreams, and the fishing here at Gillhams just keeps getting better. As the word spreads about the best freshwater fishing venue on earth, the bookings keep coming in. To guarantee your trip we strongly advise you to book early, as we hate disappointing people who try to book late, but we are finding it happening more and more. To book your fishing holiday in Thailand contact Stuart by email email@example.com or phone 0066 (0) 861644554.
October’s newsletter is going to be very late as Stuart and Sean are off on their annual trip to Jarbu Lodge on Croker Island Australia to see our old mate Rob Hunt. Then straight afterwards Stuart is fishing and filming a secret big fish location, hoping to catch a huge wild fish with the Nat Geo crew. Watch this space as the next newsletter already has some monster fish caught at Gillhams, and as I write the final piece for this month, today has seen two Siamese carp over 100lb landed!
All the very best from all the team at Gillhams, and we hope to see you all in the near future here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.
Stuart and Sean.
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