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Krabi newsletter April 2011

Hello again everyone, and welcome to this month’s fishing in Thailand edition of the fishing in Krabi Newsletter. I hope you all enjoyed last month’s writings and ramblings, and if you didn’t- tough luck! Since Stuart and Sean thought I (Matt the Gardener Guide) did such a good job with last month’s installment, they decided to let me do it again. Or maybe it’s because they were away for the first part of the month promoting the lake in Europe and then headed off to Australia for another fishing trip at the end of the month…(spot on Matt we had no choice SG) Either way, you’re stuck with me again, so read on to find out what has happened this month.

The weather for April has been fantastic for fishing, giving us mostly sunny skies and hot days with intermittent showers and a few heavy storms to keep the lake levels up and the water temperature down. The lake itself was quite murky for the first week after the flooding of last month which switched the arapaima off and the redtails on. In fact, most species in the lake relished the cloudy conditions and fed above our expectations. Only the arapaima refused to take baits, taking advantage of the extra cover the muddy waters provided and smashing up the natural food sources that abound in the lake. As we neared closing the arapaima decided to make up for lost time. They started feeding heavily on all sorts of baits, and gave a lot of people the chance at the fish of a lifetime. In one day we had 11 ‘arapaima landed!

With the Olympic Games only a year away, it seems that a few fishermen who come here to Gillhams can’t leave their aspirations of going for gold for their country behind. Unfortunately, the skill levels don’t quite make the grade of Olympic athletes… Last month we had Mike Bailey practicing the Bad Baitrunner Bellyflop, and this month we had one of the Naylor Brothers Grimm deciding to give Land Diving a go. Simon was escaping the afternoon sun by hiding behind one of the bamboo huts when he had a blistering run. Not wanting to miss a chance at a fish, he bolted from behind the sala and made a mad dash for his rods. But as he left the starting blocks, he stumbled, and momentum and gravity took over. As he crossed the brick path, everyone on the lake could see that Simon was going down- the only question was could he make it to his rods? The answer was yes, but not in an upright position. As he cleared the path, he also cleared a swath of stones on the swim as he crash landed. But as any true fisherman would, he managed to grab the screaming rod off the pod as he slid along the ground, struck, and started reeling before he stopped moving. Unfortunately, the fish came off, but the thundering applause from the viewing audience around the lake was a bit of consolation! Now we all have to wait and see if Land Diving is included as an event in the 2012 London Olympics. If it is, England will be well represented! And the official team uniform has also been trialed, if you can call 4XL night camo a uniform.

Scott the Guide didn’t want to be left out of the training action this month either. But he decided to enter a different competition in the form of the Paralympics. We still aren’t sure how he managed to injure his ankle (rumor has it he fell of a box peeping through bathroom windows!) After a trip to hospital Scott arrived back on crutches with a tendon strain. It was in all honesty probably the best way for him to work on increasing his body mass by remaining sedentary. In other words, he could laze about and eat a lot… Looks like he may also be in training for the Eatolympics! All joking aside, Scott was pretty disappointed at getting hurt. He has been one of the hardest working staff here and hates it when he can’t contribute to his full potential.

April also saw the departure of our interim guide Dave Jones. Dave helped out with the fishing here for three months, getting us through the busy period. We all had a good laugh with him, both on and off the lake. Even bouts of nappy rash and “lake foot” couldn’t keep the smile off his face! He had a great time while he was here, but was also looking forward to getting home. His partner Julie was very happy his stint here had come to an end, promising to “keep him busy” as soon as he got home. No rest for the wicked! No doubt we will see him again in the near future, whether as a guide or as a guest. That 100 pound carp is still on the list…

We also had some rocket scientists staying here this month as well. Scott was approached by a couple of guests staying in one of the bungalows requesting urgent maintenance in their bathroom. They were in desperate need of a shower after fishing, and found the shower in their bathroom wasn’t working. Our maintenance man had already left for the day, but he made a hasty return to fix the problem. He had a look at the shower and came out less than a minute later, looking bemused. Apparently, a shower needs water to work… The scientists had been pushing the on/off button on the shower control box without turning the water on first! How many rocket scientists does it take to operate a shower? Well, none apparently- they couldn’t figure it out!

One small Matt’s Moan this month, and it has to do with these newsletters. We do these newsletters not only to entertain but to inform, and one of the best ways for us to do that is through pictures. Recently, we have had quite a few people staying and fishing here who say they will send us their fish pictures via e-mail rather than have us take them off the memory cards here at the resort. We understand there may be things on these cards near and dear to people’s hearts. We also know that a lot of people take some amazing photos of big and rare fish here that never see the light of day. Your photos are very important to us, not only for the newsletter, but for the documentation of our stocks and education purposes. If you say you are going to e-mail them, please do! Besides, if you don’t, you have little chance of becoming world famous in our newsletter…

Speaking of newsletters, it’s time to get to the fishing in Krabi. This month we had ­­30 anglers come for fishing holidays in Thailand, staying from 2 to 21 days, and 20 anglers fishing in Thailand on day tickets. In all, 322 fish of 22 different species were caught, made up as follows: 21 arapaima to 340 lb, 2 arawana to 6 lb, 2 alligator gar to 15 lb, 133 Amazon redtail catfish to 60 lb, 11 Asian redtail catfish to 28 lb, 1 barramundi of 12 lb, 2 bighead carp to 25 lb, 5 black pacu to 14 lb, 2 giant featherback to 9 lb, 14 Mekong catfish to 180 lb, 2 mrigal to 6 lb, 2 ripsaw catfish to 15 lb, 66 Siamese carp to 70 lb, 2 spotted featherback to 6 lb, 18 spotted sorubim to 25 lb, 4 striped snakehead to 3 lb, 23 tambaqui to 35 lb, 6 tiger shovelnose catfish to 15 lb, 1 tilapia of 1 lb, 1 wallago attu of 16 lb, 1 yellow catfish of 3 lb, and 1 zungaro catfish of 4 lb.

This month we had a return visit from Nick Peat. Nick was here for Christmas and New Year and had such a good time he couldn’t wait to get back. Four months is a long time, isn’t it? This trip he came well prepared bait-wise, but left out some important items that in hindsight could have been, well, useful… Like sunscreen. By the fourth day of fishing, Nick resembled a well-done lobster. By the end of the trip he had to resort to covering his bottom lip with paper it was so burnt! Funny thing is we sell sunscreen here in the shop. It probably didn’t help fishing for 13 hours a day in nothing but boxer shorts. The only pair of boxer shorts, too. After all, which is more important- clothing or bait? He did explain he washed them each night in the sink, which most fishermen would agree is acceptable. But nothing could tear Nick away from his fishing. Every day he was out for a 7am start and only a few days did he finish just before 8pm. And he did fish well. Having a large sack of imported worms definitely helped his cause as did a good supply of Norfolk herrings. By the end of the first week, Nick had a goal of catching every redtail in the lake, and was well on his way to accomplishing that goal.

By the end of his holiday, Nick didn’t catch every redtail, but he did manage to get into triple figures in the fish count. He landed his 100th fish in the last hour of his last day, and it was a species he had been after the whole trip. A nice black pacu capped off what was an incredible trip for Nick. In all, he banked 100 fish of 15 species! Nick ended up catching 57 redtails to 60 lb, Asian redtails, sorubim, Siamese to 65 lb, tambaqui, alligator gar, a Jao catfish, ripsaw cats to 15 lb, spotted and giant featherback, shovelnose tiger catfish to 15 lb, a wallago attu, the first yellow catfish out of the lake, and two arapaima. The second arapaima Nick landed was a very special fish, and one that will take some beating. Using his famous Norfolk herring bait he hooked a beast and after a hard 20 minute fight, the fish finally obliged and went into the cage where we could have a good look at it. At around 340 pounds, she was a beast! Nick was blown away and nothing could wipe the smile from his face the rest of the day. We know Nick will be back again soon, with his bag loaded with more herrings and worms. Hopefully we can convince him to bring some other essentials with him as well!

Next we had the Naylor twins from Barnsley pay us a visit. It was their first time to Gillhams and they were chomping at the bit upon arrival. Every species they caught was a new one for them, which made for quite a few bell rings in the restaurant after fishing! As always, there was a bit of competition between the brothers. We are relieved that they didn’t try to compete in the Land Diving as well as the fishing. We only have so many swims around the lake! In the end though, it was pretty even, both in species count and size. Lee edged out his counterpart with the most species, but Simon won the prize of the biggest fish. Lee ended up with 12 fish of 6 species, including seven redtails, an Asian redtail, sorubim, tambaqui, mrigal, and a stunning arawana. Simon landed 12 fish of 5 species, including six redtails, an Asian redtail, sorubim, three tambaqui, and a nice Siamese carp. The Brothers Grimm had a great first trip and kept everyone entertained the entire time they were here. We welcome their return!

When Mick Dalton and his son Ryan arrived it was pitch black outside. They hadn’t seen the lake yet and couldn’t wait for the sun to rise and show them the water they would be fishing. They were both like two kids on Christmas Eve! When the next morning arrived, they were both up at the crack of dawn. And they were not disappointed. The grin of anticipation wouldn’t leave their faces. Was it seven o’clock yet? Could they cast out yet? Gotta love how the excitement of fishing never grows old! As with the Naylor twins, the competition was on between father and son. As the week progressed, the battle for biggest and best fish went back and forth. In the end, Mick grabbed the biggest fish when an 80 pound arapaima took his monster crab pop-up, but Ryan had a great result with a 45 lb redtail and his biggest ever carp with a 40+ lb Siamese, beating his dad in the carp category. Between them they had 12 fish of three species and a trip to remember.

We had a very special guest this month in the form of Peter Collingsworth and his partner Tracey. Many of you may already recognize Peter as the founder of Angling Direct Holidays. A lot of our clientele come from Angling Direct, but Peter had never been to our resort. He was keen to check out what all the fuss was about and have a crack at our monster fish for himself. It was a short trip for the two, who also took the opportunity to film a lot of the action here for a promotional dvd. In the two and a half days they had here, Peter landed an impressive 14 redtail catfish to a whopping 60 pounds, a sorubim, a nice Mekong catfish, and 5 tambaqui, including a 35 pounder! Tracey also caught the fishing fever, landing two nice redtails herself. And while the true monsters refused to play, Peter got a taste of what is on offer here at Gillhams and has a much better understanding of why this is the best freshwater fishing resort in the world.

Poor Ryan and Robyn Durand. Trout fishing back in Colorado will never be the same again! The couple came here hoping to land one of Thailand’s famous Mekong catfish or one of our massive arapaima. Fifteen minutes after starting on the second day, Ryan had a screaming run. When he set the hook, we knew he was into a good fish. With the rod bent double and the drag singing, only one fish popped to mind- Mekong! As the minutes passed, Ryan began to realize just how powerful these fish are. Every time he gained line, the fish took it back. The harder he pulled, the harder it pulled. The battle was on! Just over an hour later the fish was in the net. Ryan was exhausted and ecstatic at the same time. When he and Robyn lifted the fish, they both realized how big it was. At over 150 pounds, it was a beauty! Over their stay the two caught five fish of four species, including two nice redtails, a 30 lb Asian redtail, and a snakehead.

Swedish couple Daniel and Kristina Eriksson also had a good first trip at Gillhams. The pair caught 19 fish of 6 species between them. Daniel landed redtails, Asian redtails, Siamese carp, three arapaima, and a lovely mrigal. His partner Kristina also did very well, netting 8 fish including three redtails, Siamese to 45lb, and a very nice bighead carp. Daniel was hoping to hook into one of our back-breaking Mekong and got more than he bargained for when his float disappeared and screamed off down the lake. Daniel had to jump in to follow the fish as it was not stopping. The only problem was it started to pull him out from the margin! He quickly handed the rod over to our guide Dave, who was barely able to maintain contact with the bottom himself. Being short doesn’t help the situation, though, does it Dave!? Dave finally stopped waterskiing and started pulling some line back. It was then we realized why the fish was impossible to stop- it was foul hooked in the tail! The guides quickly netted the fish to save its energy and she swam off easily. Unfortunately for Daniel, foul hooked fish don’t count! Next time mate.

“Awesome” Mike Bailey from Canada was back again this month, and will most likely be getting a mention every month from now on as he has decided to make Gillhams his home away from home. Mike has rented one of our bungalows for two years, and has turned it into a HomePro display window at the same time! Good thing Ikea isn’t here in Krabi- Mike would have to build a second storey to fit all the furniture in… Mike only had time for a short trip this month before business called. By his standards, he didn’t do great, but by most other standards he did quite well. Mike caught 13 fish of four species in 4 days, including redtails, sorubim, and a nice ripsaw catfish. I’m sure we’ll see the big baiting Mike back to his usual best when the lake re-opens in June, let’s hope he lets us have his pictures next time!

Last month Goran Radic came for a few visits on a day ticket. He was able to squeeze in another half day with us this month and did very well once again. He landed four more redtails, a tambaqui, and a 100 pound Mekong. Not bad for a half day of fishing!

Another two day tickets worth mentioning were James and John Sheldrick, who worked very hard during their days fishing and reaped the rewards of their effort. James netted four Siamese carp totaling over 160 pounds and the biggest bighead carp caught this month. John did equally well catching two Siamese two Mekong, and a 180 lb arapaima. One of John’s Mekong weighed nearly the same as his arapaima, coming in at around the 180 pound mark. The five fish John banked weighed more than 550 pounds! Now that’s an impressive average in anyone’s book.

Finally, quite a few day tickets had memorable moments towards the end of the month when the arapaima went on the feed. Helena Hansteen, Michael Moore, Philip Smith, and Sebastian De-Vries all landed the Amazon giants, bringing smiles to the faces of all.

That’s it for another month fishing in Krabi. Stuart and Sean will be back for the next installment, so I hope you’ve enjoyed my two months of vernacular. We are closed for the month of May and are eagerly anticipating the opening on the first of June. If last year was any indication of things to come, we are expecting a very busy and extraordinary few weeks of fishing. Some dates for 2011/12 are fully booked already others are filling fast (especially Christmas) so to avoid disappointment we suggest you book your fishing holiday in Thailand as soon as possible contact us at or phone 0066861644554.