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Krabi newsletter April 2012

Hi to all who follow our fishing in Thailand newsletters. For the last two months the fishing in Krabi news has been compiled by me, Sean Gillham, as Stuart has been promoting Gillham’s around Europe. This month the big fella returned but will not be writing until next month. He has a busy workload sorting out the many things that keep this resort running and looking good, plus another two weeks back in England for a surprise visit for my grandmother’s birthday. I would also like to say a massive Happy Birthday to you, Grandma – love you loads… xx

The last month has seen the website updated. Ask Stuart has been bought up to date; the Yearly Review has at last been completed, plus a few minor updates in other areas, so visit to view these updates.

Angling Direct, who sell trips to Gillhams along with other exotic destinations, had booked the whole resort for September, but unfortunately due to the recession sweeping through the UK they have failed to sell all the places they had booked. They have asked us to sell places directly to interested parties to ease the loss, so we are now offering discounted prices for the whole of September (holidays only, not day tickets.) If you wish to take advantage of these crazy prices, please contact us ASAP. For anyone with a holiday due this special discount is exceptional value for a trip to paradise and is a one-off deal for September 2012 only!

We have had some good people here through April from regulars to longtime friends, and we have plenty to talk about this month with Simmo the otter-loving Mekong slayer, Ron and Jo Buss, love ‘em, Nick Peat and many others… so sit back and enjoy.

Over the last couple of months I haven’t been doing a gripe section, as the old fella is best at griping! But as we’ve been receiving emails from gripe fans demanding abuse I thought, you have to give the people what they want, so for those of you who want it, you got it and those of you in it can get it. The hard thing with doing Gillham’s Gripe every month is that you tend to repeat yourself a lot of the time, but the people have spoken, so who are we to say what people want and don’t want? Before we get to the gripe and possibly lose some customers, let’s talk about what else has been happening this month.

Every year in Krabi, and throughout Thailand, they celebrate Songkran, a water festival that marks the start of the rainy season. That’s a bit of a joke this year, as last year’s rainy season never ended, with the wettest year ever recorded in Thailand! Many years ago all the old water stored through dry season would be thrown out ready for the rains to come and replenish the dry, hot land, but this has now become a day of water fighting and mayhem. Everyone is a target as the towns become one massive water fight with the odd alcoholic beverage thrown in for good measure, making this a 24-hour festival not to be missed. Stuart and a crowd of customers went out on the evening before the main event. All the bars were in full swing with massive water fights and fun was had by all.

The next day was my turn to go into town for the fun. This year I took my little brother Jack for his first taste of lunacy, and he absolutely loved it. With Benz’ nephew Chai driving my pick-up and Jack, some friends and clients and me on the back with a large water tank hurling water over everyone as usual, it was a brilliant day. Jack was on the go all day – I have never seen the little chap laugh so much, and by the end of the day he was completely knackered and fell asleep eating his dinner.

Our new rib boat has been named HMS White Elephant, as it’s still sat in the car park waiting to be repaired and have new air tanks fitted. These had supposedly been serviced and were in good working order. The bargain we thought we had secured became a bloody nightmare as we have been stitched up by Sweden’s answer to Del Boy Trotter. The dodgy old bastard tarted it up just enough to gain our hard earned wonga. All is not lost as once the new air tanks are fitted the rib boat will be like new – mind you, so will be the cost! Look out Del Boy because revenge is best served cold, and the last laugh will be on us! The same guy also has a swimwear company called Katalina, and if his swimwear is anything like the boat the stitching will come undone, which will cause some embarrassing moments, or entertainment, depending if you are wearing it or a spectator! If anybody is looking at buying goods from this company, I would think twice due to the fact that his word and guarantee would be as trustworthy as Al-Qaida airlines running cheap flights to Washington!

In September we mentioned a celebrity angler visiting Gillhams, but we were asked not to mention his name until the new series had been released. Well the good news is it’s now out – River Monsters season four premiered in the States and will be hitting the European screens any time now, and the show featuring Gillhams is called Asian Slayer. Jeremy Wade for those of you who are wondering, is a bloody good angler and a gentleman. His knowledge of fish and fishing is second to none; there is not an ounce of aloofness about him. During his time with us he had time for everyone – posing for pictures, signing autographs and offering advice, he was fun to be around and by the time he left it was like saying goodbye to a friend. We won’t spoil the show for you by saying what he caught, but will say he caught a lot of fish plus some rare and interesting species. Jeremy did not ask for, nor was given, any special favours; all the fish he landed were due to his fishing skills and his own choice of swims. Icon films who produce River Monsters are a great crowd of very professional guys, and they are going to try and let us know when the show is showing in Europe. If they can find out and let us know we will send out an email to all of you on our mailing list, and for those of you reading this in Big Carp magazine or via Facebook please send us your email address and ask to be added to the list.

So here goes the part some of you have been waiting for and others dreading – Gillham’s Gripe. Please don’t read this wrong – we welcome you to do your own thing – but if you ignore advice and catch sod all don’t complain. One thing we guarantee about Gillham’s Gripe is that we never name people… well, apart from Les Bamford!

We have no problem with people not listening to our advice, but when they catch next to nothing why do they moan that the fishing is poor? This month has been a nightmare for the guides; they tell people which swims are fishing well, show them where the feeding areas are and how to fish them. Rather than at least start off on the advice given, some people either fish another swim someone told them fished well six months ago, or they try to prove the guides’ advice as wrong. We advise them to fish to a spot, feeding little and often, and they choose not to put feed out, or they bait a different area than advised without even checking the depth. All this is fine and not a problem, as it’s their choice, but why complain about lack of fish? By all means experiment and try your own thing, but don’t complain when your tactics fail. We want you to catch and appreciate – you have spent your hard earned money to fish here, but we can only advise you – if you choose to ignore our advice then don’t complain!

It’s been said before, but it falls on deaf ears… Our guides are here to assist you, give advice and help you with your fish; you are expected to cast and strike yourself and put out your own free offerings. It’s not our guide’s job to do everything for you. Some people just want to wind in their prize and get a photo, but there is no achievement when you never did any of the above for yourself. Our guides are happy to tie rigs for you, help and advise you and try to get you a fish, but they are not personal slaves!

I know Dad has covered these points before but it does get us all down when people complain about winding in for another angler’s fish going through their swim, but expecting everyone to wind in when they get one. Then we get the ones who slacken the reel drags when playing fish, not even putting a bend in the rod – it’s no wonder people have fish churning all around the lake! Our rods are 6lb tc, so they can bend into the fish, and then they would be able to control them better. The other extreme is putting your hand on the spool and locking up solid, then saying the line snapped. Fish don’t break line – bad angling does. All anglers are warned to check before each cast for grit in the tube rubber – many breakages are caused because the grit frays the line. The same people never check a hook point, just cast out and complain when it goes tits up! We even get guys handing their rods to the guide, as the fish is too powerful for them. This is OK if you can’t handle the fish, but to then sod off to the restaurant leaving instructions with the guide to call them for the photo is taking things a bit far!

Fishing is 7am through to 8pm… We get the ones who get up at 9am, have breakfast for an hour, then cast out at 10am, leave it for three hours with no freebies around the hookbait, stop for an afternoon siesta between 2 and 4pm, and then pack up at 6.30pm. This is no problem; it’s your holiday and your choice, but please stop moaning because the fishing is slow! We advise everyone to recast at least every half hour and keep topping up with a few freebies, but it’s easier to just lob it out and expect a fish…

Then we get the ones who come here with a PB of 30lb but moan when they get a fish of 90lb as its not 100lb, or their first arapaima is only 120lb but they wanted a big one! The same people catch three fish in a day with two over 100lb and complain the fishing is slow.

At least 90% of people coming here do listen to advice, and are rewarded with fish of a lifetime. 10% go away disappointed and complain about lack of fish, never stopping to analyse where they went wrong. We seriously want everyone to catch fish; we are happy to advise and help you, and we welcome people doing their own thing. We get beginners to experienced anglers here – all are welcome. We enjoy seeing people achieve their dreams, but sometimes the fishing can be hard – that’s why its called fishing and not catching.
So before I get called a moaning sod and compared with my dad, let’s get onto the fish and captures for this month…

The total catch for the month is as follows: 874 fish of 31 species, made up as follows: 56 arapaima to 320lb, four arawana to 12lb, five alligator gar to 40lb, 175 Amazon redtail catfish to 80lb, three Amazon stingray to 20lb, 84 Asian redtail catfish to 35lb, 20 black pacu to 30lb, three big head carp to 22lb, one Chao Phraya catfish of 70lb, nine Chinese seerfish to 18lb, one firewood catfish of 9lb, three giant featherback to 10lb, four giant stingray to 120lb, three giant gourami to 7lb, two hovens carp to 7lb, 28 Julian’s golden prize carp to 28lb, 187 Mekong catfish to 220lb, 11 mrigal carp to 10lb, 15 rohu carp to 22lb, one Rita sacerdotum of 14lb, six ripsaw catfish to 34lb, 20 spotted featherback to 11lb, 192 Siamese carp to 109lb, five shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 35lb, seven shovel nosed tiger catfish to 15lb, two striped catfish of 20lb, five striped snakehead to 4lb, three tambaqui to 25lb, eight wallago attu to 25lb, 10 wallago leeri to 30lb and two zungaro (jau) to 9lb.

So let’s get onto the anglers, and first up this month we had our old friend Koen Verelst (Stingray Captain) fishing with his mate Jan Van Assome for two weeks, but Jan could only manage ten days. On arrival Koen and Jan couldn’t wait till the next day to get started. Within 20 minutes Jan found out what all the Mekong catfish fuss is about. After landing his first Mekong then getting straight into another, Jan decided to call it a day and get ready for a night out with none other than Mr. Simmo who Koen had met on a trip here last year. After a night of mayhem with Simmo it was quite a shock to see the two lads out ready for fishing at 7am. Koen and Jan were pretty quick to find their feet, and even though large numbers of fish weren’t coming out, large sized ones were. Jan was smashing all of Koen’s previous PBs with big carp to 80lb-plus, Mekongs to 170lb, redtail catfish to 75lb and Julian’s golden prize carp to 33lb; he even managed a giant stingray of 100lb. Once Jan’s trip was over he stood with 33 fish of seven species and left Koen behind to make his numbers up for another few days. Koen didn’t let Jan knock him down though; he also caught another giant stingray, Julian’s to 34lb (maybe some bribery to the guides for an extra 1lb) matched Jan’s redtail and topped it all with an arapaima of 200lb making his final catch report 32 fish with 12 different species.

Next up was the legend himself, Simmo the heartbreak kid, who was on tour for nearly three weeks of fishing, partying and supporting. Simmo was out most nights showing the youngsters he still had it, and apart from a few mishaps was out every morning for fishing until he once again fell hook line and sinker. Simmo’s mate Steve, who lives two hours’ drive from us, also came in for a couple of days to pick up some prize winning chicken eggs brought all the way from the UK and heading back home to eagerly wait for them to hatch. While here Simmo was more interested in catching different species rather than the usual Siamese carp, redtail catfish, Mekong and arapaima. Instead Simmo went on to catch wallago attu, rohu and Julian’s golden carp, pacu and even a zungaro catfish. As the fishing came to an end Simmo spent his last couple of days chilling out in the room and some shopping around the town. He went on to land 20 fish of nine species of which about six he had never seen before.

This month we also had Steve Scrutton come for his second trip to Gillham’s with his family for three days’ fishing. On arrival Steve wasn’t too bothered what he caught, but said he would love to catch a big arapaima. Little did he know his prayers were going to be answered more than once, as Steve caught five arapaima in total with two over 200lb and his biggest at 300lb. Other fish that were landed were Amazon spotted stingray and Amazon redtail catfish to 60lb. In total Steve landed 20 fish of six species.

Another Gillham’s guest this month was none other than our old and dear friend Ron Buss, famous in angling circles for the sayings, love him and bless ‘em. Ron is well known in Europe as a great angler and lovely bloke who fishes under the Richworth bait banner and runs the well-known Woking carp lakes. Accompanying him was his longtime partner and wife, Jo, bless her. Anybody who knows Ron and Jo will understand the entertainment we had with a three-week visit from these characters. For the first couple of days Ron struggled and only managed a couple of fish – mind you his first fish was a 100lb Mekong catfish and that was enough to keep him going. After a couple of swim changes, Ron started knocking the numbers and species up with Amazon redtail catfish, arapaima, Siamese carp etc. While here Ron’s trip clashed with Fatty Simmo’s, which led to even more abuse and piss taking towards old Simmo the Thai Aid worker. Jo even managed to get Ron off the lake for an elephant trekking trip, but apart from that it was fishing every day, leaving Jo to get taken out with Benz on a couple of shopping trips. Ron went on to catch 84 fish of ten species including arapaima to 260, Mekong catfish to 160 and Siamese carp to 60lb, and even managed some of the rarer species such as alligator gar, rohu and Julian’s golden prize carp. When everything was over it was a sad day for them and us, as they didn’t want to leave their newfound paradise, bless ‘em. Jack was really upset as he had taken big time to Ron and Jo, and without any influence from us he had called them Grandma and Grandad from day one.

Father and son team Clive and Lawrence Woods came for a few days fishing in between fishing other lakes around Thailand. After catching some of the biggest fish of their lives and new species, the other lakes were soon forgotten about as they stayed on for a couple more days. Clive and Lawrence while here caught 22 fish of seven species with Siamese carp to 65lb, Mekong catfish to 160lb and also managed an arapaima and ripsaw catfish amongst other species.

We also had Andrew Timmins join us for four days’ fishing after his dad fished here for a day the week earlier. Andrew’s first day was on the Songkran festival so he joined Jack, a few others, and me down the town. Unfortunately for Andrew all his photos of the day’s events were lost when, out on a kayaking trip, he dropped his camera over the side and couldn’t get it back due to the depth of water. Luckily he’s got some of his fishing photos by using Jason’s camera. Andrew caught some nice fish while here including a 70lb Siamese carp and a 34lb ripsaw catfish.

Another regular this month was Nick Peat. Now anybody that knows Nick will understand how he suffers from OFD (obsessive fishing disorder), and through fishing hard every day went on to have an awesome trip. Nick caught a total of 81 fish over his two-week trip. 41 of these went 100lb-plus including Mekong catfish to 220lb, arapaima to 300lb and a Siamese carp weighed at 109lb – just 8lb off the world record. Out of these 81 fish Nick had eleven different species, which included wallago attu, mrigal carp, Chinese seerfish and rohu.
Nick caught 35 Mekong catfish while here, mainly fishing the float method with 6lb test 8ft Free Spirit boat rods loaded with 100lb braid, making it easier to control these powerful catfish. Out of all the Mekongs Nick hooked, never did he even come close to handing the rod over and admit defeat like so many others.

Steve James came for two weeks’ fishing, flying over with his mate and head guide Jason Ingley. Moving around the lake and switching swims every few days, Steve totaled 72 fish of 13 species including Amazon redtail catfish to 60lb, giant stingray of 120lb, arapaima to 160lb and Mekong catfish to 175lb. After getting some of the main big fish species under his belt, Steve wanted to try for some of the smaller and rarer species, and had good results with those as well. Steve caught alligator gar to 30lb, rohu carp, mrigal carp, wallago attu and Julian’s golden prize carp to 22lb.

Matt Paxman from Bangkok came for a week’s fishing with girlfriend Steph, and after making a few trips previously to Gillham’s Matt had his eyes set on a big arapaima, while Steph wanted to catch a Julian’s golden prize carp. Both caught the fish on their wish lists, but not how they wanted… Matt caught his Julian’s carp at 22lb while Steph caught the biggest fish of the trip when she landed Matt’s dream arapaima of 180lb. This was a big blow for Matt as well as us, as Steph is German and Matt is English, which made it Germany 2 England 0 – the same as the last time they were down Steph whooped Matt again. Between them they landed a total of 21 fish of six different species.

We also had the return of Preben and his brother Jan from Denmark, who were last here in November. This time Preben was only fishing four days before heading off to Ko Samui with his wife while Jan stayed on fishing for another three days. Preben was mainly after Siamese carp and Mekong catfish, and managed both species with Mekongs to 125lb and Siamese carp to 65lb amongst other species. Jan was more interested in different species, and in total caught seven different species among his 20 fish landed. Some of Jan’s species included Julian’s golden prize carp to 30lb, wallago leeri also to 30lb, Mekong catfish, Siamese carp and a new personal best arapaima of 300lb.

Also this month we had Adam Morris, a day ticket angler sponsored by Mistral Baits back in the UK. Adam was fishing with rosehip pop-ups from Mistral Baits and went on to catch three Mekong catfish between 150 and 170lb plus some smaller fish. As with a lot of our day ticket anglers he wished he had come to stay at the resort and is now planning a return trip as a fishing holiday.

Last up this month were the Chuckle Brothers, Peter Lyons and Dave Roper (ex-world champion match angler), and if you think you and your wife argue a lot then you haven’t met this pair. Peter and Dave really are like an old married couple, always arguing, winding each other up and in competition with each other, but with characters like this they do tend to liven the place up and provide plenty of entertainment. Between them Peter and Dave went on to catch 14 fish of seven species with alligator gar to 40lb, redtail catfish to 65lb, Julian carp to 22lb and a rare firewood catfish of 9lb.

That just about sums up this month’s fishing in Thailand. If you fancy a trip to paradise we advise you to book in advance as places do fill up fast. Some dates in 2012 and 2013 are already fully booked, so please check for availability to avoid disappointment. We have plenty of spaces available for September 2012 due to Angling Direct being unable to fulfill their booking, so we can offer special discounted rates for this month only to fill these untaken places. Please contact us ASAP if you can take a break during September and take advantage of the special rate we have on offer. To contact us email or phone 0066 (0) 861644554. For those of you reading this fishing in Krabi newsletter visit our website

Best wishes from us all at Gillhams Fishing Resorts – we hope to welcome you to our fishing paradise in the near future.