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Fishing In Thailand Newsletter August 2013

Hello to all the followers of our Gillhams Fishing Resorts fishing in Thailand newsletter. Another month has flown by here in paradise, and by the time you read this newsletter the lake extension will be underway. Once the lake becomes one, 400 new fish and a few surprises will be joining the existing stock in the main lake. As I write this, all the work getting ready for the September 19th start is complete, with two leaks repaired and tons of concrete to strengthen the weak points now done. On the 19th September 11 diggers will be working to take out the centre of the lake. We have allowed 15 days for the works, but expect to complete in ten days.

Once the major work is complete, the last area will be quickly landscaped, with trees ordered along with 1,500 square meters of turf. The final stage will only take three days. Guests arriving after the 15th October will not even realize the lake and surrounding grounds have not been like it for years.

Also underway is the upgrading of our guest bungalows, and new hand built furniture and enclosed shower units are being fitted. Other works planned and due to start soon are salas in each swim, plus a large new filter with waterfall at the top end of the lake. To keep the peace and scenic beauty of Gillhams, the works will be done slowly, and each room and fishing area will be completed before moving on to the next one. This soft approach will take a year to complete, but will ensure minimum disturbance to our guests.

The new changes will ensure Gillhams is still the number one complete fishing holiday package. Not all fisheries in Thailand have bungalows, swimming pool and restaurant all on the same complex. Many have no accommodation or swimming pool, placing their guests in local hotels, thus making the women and children stay away from their partners in a town with little to occupy them or stuck around a lake with not much to do and no bungalow to head back to for a rest or pool to cool down in.

As regular followers of our newsletters know, three years ago I was having treatment for cancer. After a year of three-monthly tests and then six-monthly tests, I have once again been given the all clear. It’s great news and such a relief for my family and me. I am now on yearly checks and a very lucky man to have caught this shit disease in its infancy. I have nothing but praise for the hospital and doctors who spotted the early stages of this curse, so please everyone, have checks regularly. Don’t put it off or be frightened. Sure, some of the tests are a bit undignified and uncomfortable, but by regular checking you can save your life. A small camera or finger in your orifice is a lot less of a problem than ignoring warnings and thinking it won’t happen to you.

The end of this month has seen the return of the old git Geoff, and he reckons his sleeping days are behind him. Don’t hold your breath though, as I’m sure within a couple of weeks guests will once again be hearing the snores of old Jeffro! Helmet the dog was chuffed to see Geoff back, and the first day he came in the office Helmet bit the old sod. What Geoff doesn’t know is every time Helmet bites him, he gets rewarded with his favourite treat – a nice ginger nut biscuit. We just keep telling old sleepy that Helmet hates Man Utd supporters… Mind you, anyone who supports those poofs deserves to get bitten!

Young Jonathan Salisbury left us at the beginning of the month, and it was a shame to see him go. He has such a strong character and personality, and he is already severely missed, but I know Jonathan struggled with the heat and missed home. Also not being able to drive here got him down, as his passion is cars. If anyone in the UK is looking for a good hardworking, honest young man, contact me and I will forward your email. Jonathan will make a great asset to any company looking for a media person, photographer or trainee manager. Anything to do with cars or fish are Jonathan’s strong points, and I would personally guarantee that anyone who employs Jonathan will not be disappointed.

Another guide to leave unexpectedly was Robert Gray, Rob missed his family and friends and the sort of wages he can earn in the UK. We had known for a long time that Rob was unhappy being away from the UK, but fair play to him; he stuck it out and gave it his best shot. Good luck Rob and Jonathan – we are sure you will be a success at whatever you do, and you are welcome back here for a holiday on us anytime you fancy.

The ‘Fish with Ardy Veltcamp’ trip still has two places left to fill, so if you fancy joining this trip that runs from the 7th December to 18th December 2013, please contact Ardy Veltcamp on Facebook, or send us an email and we will pass it on to Ardy. As this trip is an exclusive complete resort booking, the benefit is to be able to fish outside of our normal fishing times, plus the use of three rods instead of the standard two.

Why do some people have to big themselves up? We get regular name-droppers and claims to be sponsored by tackle and bait companies. Do these knobs not realise the fishing world is a small place? They impress nobody and make themselves look stupid. Mind you, we do get a kick out of checking their claims and then telling them that the company has never heard of them!

We are still getting anglers coming here and ignoring advice. Just last week Chris put out a marker float and baited to the spot it was on. Within minutes the float was being pushed about by feeding fish, and he cast the angler to the spot and went to help the next angler. No sooner had he left than matey wound in and recast to a different area. The guy claimed he tried for two minutes but nothing happened! We welcome people to do their own thing and experiment, but when they fail to catch why do they blame us and abuse the guides?

Then we get the serious fisherman who only wants to come for an hour’s fishing. These are the ones who only want 100lb fish of three species, hence requesting just an hour’s fishing! The other ones we get don’t book, and when told, “Sorry we are full” get abusive, claiming they only came to Thailand to fish at Gillhams, which seems strange as they only want a day ticket (bloody long way to come for a day’s fishing!). We do feel sorry for people we have to turn away, but they have booked their flight in advance, so why not the fishing? We also get the ones who don’t wish to pay a deposit to secure a place, giving their word they will turn up. Do the airlines allow these people to book a flight ticket and pay at check in?

The anglers who visited us for the exotic fishing Thailand has to offer had some good fishing in Krabi this month with a total of 459 fish caught of 24 species, made up as follows: 56 arapaima to 420lb, three arawana to 10lb, six alligator gar to 65lb, 66 Amazon redtail catfish to 90lb, 82 Asian redtail catfish to 38lb, three barramundi to 9lb, 16 black pacu to 45lb, six big head carp to 30lb, five Chao Phraya catfish to 115lb, two giant gourami to 9lb, two giant featherback to 7lb, eight Julian’s golden carp to 32lb, 54 Mekong catfish to 210lb, two mrigal to 6lb, seven Nile perch to 10lbs, two rohu to 14lb, five striped snakehead to 4lb, nine spotted featherback to 9lb, 99 Siamese carp to 103lb, four shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 23lb, three shovel nosed tiger catfish to 16lb, six tambaqui to 25lbs, five wallago attu to 14lb, and eight wallago leeri to 30lb.

Over to Sean and Geoff for the anglers’ reports…

Steve Scrutton from the guiding company Fish East Asia came for a return trip this month, mixing fishing with business. He wanted to talk over bringing his customers to fish our lake, and of course wet a line himself. As Steve was here mainly on business, his fishing was very relaxed; the trip was more to have a laugh with everyone. One fish Steve did want to catch was a tambaqui. After talking with Joel about the best way to target them, he got the impression they weren’t an easy species to target, as Joel has been chasing them for two years without any luck (should have asked Stuart!). Steve didn’t let that dampen his spirit and thought he would give it a go anyway. Within two hours of fishing, Joel and Steve’s friendship soon took a turn, as Steve landed his tambaqui, and commented to Joel that he didn’t see what all the fuss was about and couldn’t believe how easy they were to catch! At the end of Steve’s trip he was joined by his long time friend and Thai fishing legend, Boy! Now Boy has been fishing Thai waters since he was a kid, and if there’s a species he hasn’t caught in the rivers and dams in Thailand they weren’t worth targeting. Boy was also down for the same reasons as Steve; he was happy to just have a couple of days to relax and spent his time exchanging fishing stories with Stuart in the restaurant over a cold beer. When it was time for Steve to head back to Bangkok, he had landed three species including four arapaima with two over 200lb, his biggest being 240lb.

We also had a visit from our old mate Rob Maylin this month. Rob was on a family holiday in Ao-Nang, but still found time to run away from the family to get a few hours’ fishing in. He wasn’t too far off getting himself another world record either, catching a Chao Phraya catfish just shy of 100lb. Rob’s eldest son Ashley also joined Rob, but as he’s not into his fishing; he was happy just watching his dad battle with a couple of fish. Or maybe he was just happy to see Rob do some exercise rather than sitting around the pool eating burgers, ice cream and sinking as many Singhas as possible. Rob also went on to catch a nice 50lb-plus Siamese carp before having to get back to the family vacation. We did manage to have a couple of nights out with the Maylin family down at Uncle Amy’s bar for a few vodka Red Bulls and sambucas before they had to head back to old Blighty.

Another returning customer this month was Jan Ibsen, aka The Captain due to him always wearing a captain’s hat when fishing. Jan was also joined by his friend Kim Thrane, and it’s safe to say that this fishing duo are two of the craziest guys you could ever meet. Always joking around, they could be heard all day singing some of the most random songs while fishing, including Happy Birthday to Me even though it wasn’t their birthdays. Although both guys spent most of the time bait fishing, Jan’s passion is fly fishing. Like his previous trip, it was all about the arapaima on the fly. Catching three Nile perch on fly from his swim while bait fishing, Jan also fly fished from the bay, which is reserved for fly anglers. Jan’s first arapaima on the fly was 170lb and his celebrations could be heard for miles. Jan’s second arapaima on the fly didn’t go as well as he had hoped, and even though it was landed, his fly rod paid the price for Jan’s happiness when it turned from a three-piece to a four-piece travel rod and the arapaima had to be hand lined into the cage. Other arapaima were caught on bait along with pacu and an 80lb Siamese carp. Kim was happy just sitting in the swim sinking Singhas and singing the day away. Kim went on to catch Mekong catfish to 180lb, arapaima to 180lb and Amazon redtail catfish to 35lb.

First timer at Gillhams this month was a young French lad called Sinane Belaidouni, who came with his father, who even though he wasn’t into fishing wanted his fanatical fishing son to add another big fish to his already long list of huge fish from around the world. Sinane caught all the fish on his wish list including arapaima to 220lb and alligator gar to 65lb. In total Sinane caught nine fish of six species. Sinane is now home studying hard, as he’s been promised if he does well in school this year his dad will bring him back over next year.

Rick Merritt made his first trip to Gillhams this month with his partner Sheila for two weeks of fishing and relaxing. While here, Sheila even managed to drag Rick off the lake long enough to go elephant trekking and some shopping in Ao-Nang. Rick’s main fishing back in the UK is carp fishing, so obviously his target species was the Siamese carp, along with arapaima. Rick caught a total of 21 fish of five species including ten Siamese carp with three over 70lb, and his biggest and new personal best carp at 90lb. Other species included Nile perch, Asian and Amazon redtail catfish to 52lb and four arapaima with two over 200lb with his biggest at 275lb.

UK angler Terry Gower joined us this month on his first trip to Gillhams after visiting other fishing venues around Thailand throughout his Thailand fishing tour. We found out on arrival that he knows many people that Stuart knows, as he comes from the same area back home. Terry was one of these people that you feel you’ve known for a long time, just really easy going, so the piss-taking was underway pretty quickly, especially when he turned up in his swim with the brightest most horrible orange colored Crocs on. What made this worse was the fact that one was a size 8 while the other was a size 10, but then coming from the Hastings area in England, most people are born with some wonky features. Terry was originally only booked for four days’ fishing, leaving him three days off for sightseeing, but like so many others, the fishing was more appealing than waterfalls and island trips. In total Terry caught 22 fish of five species, including 14 Siamese carp to 75lb, arapaima to 170lb and Mekong to 125lb. He nearly caught another species too when we all went out drinking… Terry was chuffed when a young lady started chatting him up, but Stuart discreetly informed him the lady was in disguise; she was in fact a very pretty man in a dress! I must add that Terry was only chatting to the member of the third gender; he had no other motives than to happily talk to the in-betweener. Immediately on Terry’s return home he booked a return trip to spend Christmas at Gillhams, so let’s hope he doesn’t have any surprises in his Christmas stocking!

Alistair and Sean Kennedy visited us from their current home in Singapore along with their neighbours, John Dangerfield and Matt Voss on a few days out with the boys. Alistair, being ex-military and formerly of the Singapore police, is now earning his living as a security consultant with projects in Cambodia. The lads came to celebrate Sean’s 14th birthday, as his wish was to catch an arapaima (as if it was that easy). He did hook into a Mekong but lost it soon into the fight. Now then, it is every child’s dream to come to a fishing paradise like Gillhams, and whilst Alistair told Sean of the many tales of heroism in his military career, Sean’s eyes opened wide with excitement. Sounds good doesn’t it? Makes you want to cry doesn’t it? In fact it could be the opening page of Mr. Crabtree goes fishing! Now let me tell you the true story…

Sean is a typical 14-year-old boy who loves his fishing. He normally fishes for bass using lures, and like any other boy, his attention span isn’t the longest I’ve ever known. I lost count the number of times he moved swims when I wasn’t looking, and asking me, “Geoff what’s that? Geoff what’s the biggest fish you ever caught? Geoff can I have a drink? Geoff I’ve cast in the tree again!” You can imagine how happy I was to see his dad walk down the bank, as I thought, great, his dad will spend some quality time with him… but what did Alistair say? “Right Geoff, I’m off for a round of golf. I’ll be a few hours, so make sure Sean doesn’t get into mischief.”

So ladies and gents, if anyone can see in the information sent to you and all the publications in the bungalows, and in fact any way on this resort that “babysitting services are available” can you please point me to it because I can’t find it anywhere!
Seriously, Sean was good fun to be around, and Stuart even allowed him to fish the new extension for tilapia, and he was enjoying that until young Jack joined us and started throwing stones at the fish! Sean ended up with a Mekong of 120lb that took him and his dad about 45 minutes to land, plus four Asian redtails. He was even gracious enough to hand the rod to his dad’s friend Matt so he could have a go. The tragedy of the trip was when a shoal of tarpon moved into his swim. Stuart set Sean up with a small fish bait on a circle hook under the float, explaining to Sean that when using a circle hook you must not strike, and if you are fortunate enough to hook a tarpon when they jump you must lower the rod tip. Well, the float shot under and Sean in his excitement forgot not to strike, a 40lb-plus tarpon launched itself clear of the water, and Sean pulled as hard as he could. Two mistakes and the fish was gone… Poor Sean was left open-mouthed looking into the lake! Good luck with your fishing Sean, and hopefully we will see you again soon.

Paul Wright from England came for a few days’ fishing while on holiday with his wife and friends. The main target for Paul was an arapaima, and after a couple of hard days Paul’s luck started to change after a change of swims and striking a deal with the devil, i.e. me. On the night of Joel’s birthday everybody went out for a drink and when Stuart and Benz gave Joel his birthday present the deal with Paul was made. The deal was simple: if he wore Joel’s mankini that Stuart and Benz had bought for him, in return I would let Paul fish for the arapaima in the nature reserve where they go to relax. Since Paul was already on his tenth drink he was quick to accept the challenge of wearing the lime green mankini. After all that was to be the least of his embarrassment after what was found in his bed in the morning, but that’s another story altogether. To everybody’s surprise when Paul came out in the morning he was already wearing the mankini, and after all the piss-taking and photos were over, it was time to get fishing. Paul’s deal really came to plan when within a couple of hours he was into an arapaima, which smashed any previous catches and also made his choice of clothes all worthwhile. He landed an arapaima of 360lb, followed by a smaller one of 170lb. Putting these two fish with other species he caught has certainly whetted his appetite for his return trip in two months’ time.

Tony Chandler, who originally comes from Bury near Manchester right in the heart of god’s country, came to see us for the first time this month. Tony now lives in Kon Khen in northeast Thailand, where he spends six months of the year flitting between Thailand and the North Sea, where his job is a deep-sea diving inspector. He was telling me that he used to work four weeks on and four weeks off, which sounds pretty good until he told me he has to spend all four weeks in a saturation tank with ten other guys. Imagine that, especially if you had a vindaloo before you started your shift – it would smell worse than Gollock’s crotch… not that I have been that close to Gollock’s private parts of course. (Yeah, right… Stuart).

Tony’s first fish was a battle with a 120lb Mekong which took two hours to get to the net, and he followed that up with further Mekong to 160lb and a couple of Asian retail catfish. It was while fighting his second Mekong that the light faded, and when I asked Tony to move to the area where we could land the fish, I heard a sudden splash and guides across the lake saw someone’s head torch disappear into the lake. Tony had lost his footing and went straight under, but like a proper northern bloke he kept hold of the rod and managed to land the fish. On his last day, Tony moved to the Grass swim and lost a couple of arapaima before hooking into a massive fish, which took him all over the bay. The fish was a huge arapaima, and with Stuart watching and eventually taking the leader to land the fish, it buried itself in the roots of the marginal weed. Stuart followed the line down to the root of the weed, actually touching the fish, until the fish went on another powerful run. Unfortunately something had to give, and the fish got away for another day. This was a known fish, identified by three thumbprint marks on its flank, and two years ago the fish was over 500lb, so you can imagine Tony’s disappointment. However, it gives him something to aim for when he returns in October.

Jimmy Griffin visited for his 40th birthday with his wife Thea plus friends Dan Farey his girlfriend Jo Green, and also Jason Green with his wife Helen and their daughter, Willow. Dan and Jason came for ten nights, while Jimmy treated himself to 22 nights for a birthday treat. With only a few days’ fishing booked, the other days were spent nursing hangovers and taking in all the tours that Krabi has to offer, such as elephant trekking, tiger temple, shooting range, sea kayak and days down the town shopping and trying out the beach bars. Jason and Dan only had a few days’ fishing during their stay, landing ten fish between them with the biggest going to Jason with a Mekong catfish of 165lb. Other fish included Siamese carp, arapaima and redtail catfish. Jimmy, who had extra days’ fishing when his mates went home, caught a total of 18 fish of seven species including an impressive haul of seven arapaima. The smallest was 170lb with four over 200lb and two over 300lb to 340lb. Other catches for Jimmy were: Siamese carp to 82lb, Mekong catfish to 140lb, pacu to 25lb and redtail catfish to 50lb.

Next month’s newsletter should be interesting, as we have Dean Macey here filming, plus the lake being extended. Please remember to book early for 2014, as many dates are close to full or sold out. Contact Stuart by email at or phone 0066 (0) 861644554.

Thanks to you all for supporting our newsletter. We hope all your fishing dreams come true, which they will if you visit us here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.