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Krabi newsletter December 2012

Happy Year to everyone – we hope 2013 brings you health, wealth and happiness, and many thanks to everyone who visited us in 2012. We never forget that without our guests Gillhams wouldn’t be here and we would not be living in paradise; it’s all of you who have helped make Gillhams the success it is, and for that we thank you all. We hope all your dreams come true and all your fish be big ones, which they will if you come fishing in Thailand at Gillhams Fishing Resorts, the one and only place to be for exotic fishing in Thailand at its best.

Mick Murray did us proud on the new lake extension; the weather gods played ball and Mick’s expertise shone through. Within two weeks the lake was dug and completed. With a break in the weather, Mick pushed the excavating team to the limits, working dawn to dark. He even completed the landscaping in record time, moving some 20,000 tons of soil plus all the drainage work in the final ten days of his stay. Our apologies to the guests for the disturbance caused by four diggers and three lorries running 12 hours a day; these important works could only be done in the dry weather and were essential to make the lake bigger and keep Gillhams at the top of the Thailand fishing scene. All we need now is some heavy rain to fill the lake, and then we can set a date to take out the central causeway and increase the lake from 9 acres to 12. Once the water quality is 100% Mick will be returning to complete the last phase, Mick is checking his busy work schedule in the UK to give us some possible dates to return. This work will be scheduled to fit with a two-week period free of bookings, of which we have two on hold. Once we know the date we will be offering dates to fish one side of the lake while the works are being carried out. The lake will fish well as this work is carried out, but due to the disturbance we will offer places at a 50% discount. The date will be published and offered to the readers of our newsletter prior to going on sale to everyone else. In the meantime our gardeners will be planting trees and shrubs, plus laying paths and making fishing areas so as by the time the lake becomes one it will look like the new part of the lake has always been there.

The usual suspects all arrived for Christmas plus some new faces, and once again we all had a bloody good Christmas with far too much alcohol and food consumed. Once again Eddie and Lynne Grey joined us for Christmas; they are more like family than customers, and Christmas would not be the same without them. Ian and Anne Godfrey once again joined the fun along with Matt and Emma Riches. New faces to join the Christmas crowd made this year another one to remember, and with most of them rebooking for next year, it looks like Christmas 2013 will sell out very soon. If you like a laugh and are prepared to join the fun, book now to avoid missing out, but if you are not up for laugh or mixing with people please book another date as Christmas at Gillhams is strictly a fun event.

Christmas Eve we all went out to a local restaurant, which serves crispy pork joints as the house speciality. This was followed by the usual crazy night in Ao-Nang partying the night away. Christmas day arrived way too early, with mega hangovers and Jack steaming into our bedroom announcing, “It’s Christmas.” Some of the lads visited the local golf course for the annual Christmas golf match, and once again Eddie Grey demonstrated his golfing skills and wiped the floor with the opposition. Sean maintained his form and came in a respectable last! The fishing match was supposed to run from 10.30am through to 2.30pm, but due to heads being stuck to pillows, it started at 11.30. This fun match was pellet only with three categories for the prizes: Matt Riches won the most fish, Richard Salisbury won the biggest fish (this was a great achievement as he is not an angler and just joined in for fun), and Duncan Bodley shared the pot with the other two winners for the most species category.

While all this was going on, Benz and I had some quiet time with Jack watching the spoilt little sod open his huge selection of presents. In the afternoon everybody met in the resort bar for a few drinks before heading off to the Ao-Nang Villa hotel, where the private Christmas party was being held, with Thai dancing and live music plus an awesome spread of traditional English Christmas dinner. They also laid on a huge selection of traditional Thai dishes along with all the desserts you could think of. A big thank-you to Ao-Nang Villa and all their staff for a truly fantastic party; they pulled out all the stops and could not be faulted in any way. We have already booked next Christmas with them. After the party was over some people headed of shopping while others carried on drinking the night away down at the local bars.

Before New Year’s Eve we had one more night of partying with a joint birthday party for Rebecca’s 40th and Colin Humphries’ 50th. Around thirty of us headed to the local steak restaurant before once again dragging our swollen bellies around the bars were the celebrations carried on till 4am. The final day of 2012 finally arrived, and everybody was looking forward to the night ahead. After finishing fishing early we made our way to the party that was being held at Peace Laguna resort in Ao-Nang. On arrival we were taken inside for the first part of an awful evening with cocktails that tasted like they had just been siphoned from a jet plane. The party went from bad to worse – not only couldn’t anyone get a drink due to total lack of staff and organization, the food, which looked so good when on the buffet table, tasted as awful as the cocktails. After experiencing such good food and service at Ao-Nang Villa next door it was a complete disappointment, and the live show was as bad as the food and service, so we all left inside an hour.

After we left the party things started heating up as we got closer to the big countdown, and finally everybody was having a good night. As midnight approached all along the beach was lit up with firework displays and lanterns being set off to the colourfully lit sky, and around this time we had our own display. Mick the digger driver handed Sean what he thought in his drunken state was a firework that everybody else was holding and firing out little fireballs, but oh how wrong he was. As he held on to the stick and lit the fuse he soon learnt it was a big rocket that was meant to fire up into the sky and on exploding let out a big showering of multicoloured sparks. Instead this went off in his hand, nearly blew him up like a Guy Fawkes doll on the 5th of November. After Sean provided the cabaret, 2012 had certainly gone out with a bang and the partying went on till the very early hours of the morning.

Once again can we remind our European friends to come and see us at the following shows: Brentwood 26/27 January, Zwolle carp show, Holland 2/3 February, Ricoh Arena, Coventry 16/17 February, and The Big One at Farnborough 23/24 February. Once again we will be offering discounts at all these shows to people who pay their deposits on the day. We will have different levels of discounts depending on how many anglers and length of stay. Also the famous Gillhams raffle will be boosting our beer funds. The raffle will be a different format to previous years. In the past the raffle was drawn at the last show, but this time there will be a draw on the Sunday of each show at 4pm, meaning each show will have its own prizes up for grabs: First prize: Seven days’ fishing and accommodation for one angler plus 20kilo of pellet. Additional angler sharing two bedroom bungalow with the winner gets 30% discount. Non fishing guest sharing room is free of charge. Second prize: 30% discount for two anglers Seven days’ fishing and accommodation. Third prize: 30% discount for one angler Seven days’ fishing and accommodation.

With so many people wanting to experience the exotic fishing Thailand has to offer, dates for 2013 are selling out fast. Even 2014 has many weeks already sold out, proving that Gillhams Fishing Resorts is the number one holiday destination for fishing in Thailand. We will also be announcing soon a new concept for Gillhams – fish with the stars. We are putting together dates in 2014 to fish with well-known angling celebrities. Names already committed for this venture are Dean Macey, Spug Redfurn with the Mainline baits team, carp fishing legend Ron Buss, Ardy Veltkamp and Frank Warwick, plus more names to be announced soon.

Gillhams Fishing Resorts would like to make it very clear that Jurassic Mountain Resort is nothing to do with us in any way; they are a new operation on the Thai fishing scene that have somehow got hold of our mailing list. We have and will never give out our clients’ data. Many of our personal friends who have never contacted any fishing holiday or fishing business let alone in Thailand have had a mail shot from them. In the last few weeks many of our personal friends and clients have had junk sent to them by this company, and when asked how they got the contact details they get a standard reply as follows: Our database of email address has been built up between 2005 until current. You will have at some point in the past subscribed, inquired or otherwise expressed an interest in Thailand’s fishing scene. This is in fact bullshit, as these friends have never contacted any Thai fishing operator. Many of our clients have also been subjected to this cheap mailshot trick. How this unscrupulous company has obtained our friends’ and clients’ details we do not know – all we can recommend is you place them in spam and ask to be removed from their list.
Which has led me on to grumpy Gillham’s Gripe…
We are sorry for all those people who left it too late to book. Gillhams is so popular that many dates sell out long in advance leaving many people disappointed. Our advice is to book as soon as you can and not to leave it to the last minute. We only sell limited places here to avoid overcrowding. We have had numerous emails and phone calls from disappointed people, some of them being very rude when they find they cannot get to fish. We get day ticket enquiries who when told we are full get angry, stating they only came to Thailand to fish with us. Come on… are they seriously telling us they flew from Europe for one day’s fishing? We also get the ones who send an enquiry months earlier and say they will not pay a deposit. Unfortunately we cannot take a booking on a promise of “We will turn up.” The major airlines don’t take a booking on the promise that the passengers will turn up and pay at check-in, so why do people think we will? We send out a polite email apologising for not being able to fit someone in, only to get a reply questioning my parentage or calling me a part of their mother’s anatomy! In most of our newsletters we advise people to book early, and in all our replies we tell people to book ASAP to avoid disappointment. I will repeat here many dates through 2013 and 2014 are already sold out, so please plan in advance to avoid disappointment and check availability prior to making travel plans.

Then we get the guests who ask for exotic food and drinks, expecting us to have everything here even though it’s a third world country. We try to stock as many things here as we can and have goods sent from all over Thailand. It has taken years to track down suppliers, and many things we can’t buy here are shipped in for us, but we can’t stock everything. These are generally the same people who have never been taught manners like please and thank you. It’s amazing how many people click their fingers and expect us to run over to them… The favourite is, “Get me a beer,” and “Hey, you – get me a menu!” If you speak to us in this manner don’t expect us to serve you and don’t be surprised when you get a reply to go forth and multiply – manners are free.

If I bought a champion racehorse from Henry Cecil, fed it and looked after it, would I win the Grand National with it? Would I hell! So if a person with zero knowledge of fish or their dietary and water quality requirements bought some high quality fish from us, would they grow to be super fish? Highly unlikely! I have grown on handpicked and reared from fry fish here that are achieving unheard of growth rates, but I will get a slagging when some clown can’t achieve the same growth rates as me. Ooops! I am getting on the subject of “let’s slag off Gillhams” again… If only people would show some respect for what we have achieved here!

So, on to the fishing in Krabi here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts: The total catches for people fishing in Krabi this month are as follows: 668 fish of 26 species, made up as follows: 56 arapaima to 400lb, three arawana to 10lb, three alligator gar to 50lb, 109 Amazon redtail catfish to 90lb, 97 Asian redtail catfish to 40lb, eight black pacu to 37lb, five big head carp to 25lb, two firewood catfish to 15lb, four gourami to 7lb, one golden gourami of 10lb, two giant stingray to 95lb, three giant snakehead 8lb, four giant featherback to 10lb, six Julian’s carp to 30lb, 112 Mekong catfish to 200lb, three mrigal to 14lb, one rita sacerdotum of 20lb, one ripsaw catfish to 15lb, two rohu to 8lb, 12 spotted featherback to 9lb, 208 Siamese carp to 110lb, four shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 35lb, twelve shovel nosed tiger catfish to 13lb, four wallago attu to 15lb, five wallago leeri to 70lb.

Jut Cole made his final trip over as a paying guest before moving out here for a year’s guiding with us in April. Jut has a high profile stressful job in IT management, and he is taking a break from the rat race back in England for a year’s chilling out at Gillhams. Due to long working hours back home, and even longer drinking hours here in Krabi, Jut never made it out for fishing before the crack of midday. Even then he was only hoping for something small and easy to catch rather than getting dragged around the lake by Mekong catfish and other beasts! While suffering from alcohol related sickness, Jut caught just ten fish of four species including the hangover punisher dreaded Mekong to 120lb. I am sure when Jut is here full time he will fish like a demon on his days off and up his personal best list.

Steve White made his second trip of the year after coming over just three months earlier. Steve was unable to beat his personal best arapaima of 400lb from the previous trip, but still managed to land two of 240lb and 260lb. There was also a red letter day in the trip for Steve when he caught ten Siamese carp to 90lb and one Mekong catfish of 170, plus one of his big arapaima – not bad for a day’s fishing! In total Steve caught 36 fish of four species including 25 Siamese carp with the smallest at 45lb.

We also had Brad Pitt lookalike Mark Simmons back over for two weeks of partying, with the occasional bit of fishing thrown in. As always the piss taking was underway within minutes of arriving. Steve, an old friend of Simmo and Stuart’s, who lives an hour away from the resort, came up, as he didn’t want to miss the chance of abusing poor old Simmo! Most mornings were a blur to Simmo due to many heavy nights pole dancing in his PVC strides and pink flower pattern shirt! Simmo, as many people know, owns the famous carp farm Heather Fisheries. Somehow Simmo has worked out the formula to produce fast growing carp, and these butterball carp grow as fast as his bank balance and expand their gut at a slightly quicker rate than he can achieve with his own body. Simmo’s carp are known in the UK as wrong’uns, which just about sums up Simmo – he shares the same bloated looks and nickname as his carp.

He has had the same problem on his fish farm as many fisheries are suffering in the UK – the do-gooders who are not country people have been reintroducing otters to the wild. These vermin look cuddly and cute but the bloody things are destroying wildlife and wiping out fisheries. Mark is an ardent campaigner to reverse the release of these pests to the wild. He has an unbelievable hatred of the things and will bore the pants off anyone unfortunate enough to be within half a mile of him, so imagine his horror when after a night of consuming vast amounts of alcohol and swinging around chrome poles till the wee hours, he returned to his holt to find we had swapped his pillow cases for ones with delightful otter head prints on! Personally I think that Simmo funds the breeding and release programmes for otters back to the wild. If you think about it, the more carp the otters eat the more carp Simmo sells the bigger his stash gets and the more construction projects he can fund here in Thailand! Despite the partying and his relentless help of the needy, he still managed to land 19 fish of four species including Mekong catfish to 180lb and Siamese carp to 85lb. After the fishing it was that time again for Simmo to wipe the tears from his eyes and head back to sunny old England where he spends his days thinking of ways to torture and cause painful deaths to the cute little furry otters that like to feast on his prize carp.

This next section was written by Jason Ingley after he got his revenge on poor old Simmo back in England when he met up with him several days prior to this newsletter going on line:
“Back in December 2011 I was guiding at Gillhams when I met Simmo. He seemed fairly quiet until Stuart started winding him up and taking the piss out of him to a point where was just destroying him. Simmo was fishing with some of the other guides, and he was out for bit of fun and decided to pick on me! Wrong move! It all started with a bit of banter, which escalated in a short space of time. His mate Steve was joining us, so Simmo thought he had back up, but I got on really well with Steve and he was backing me up. This was going for a few days. I started a few little practical jokes with him around the lake and really started to annoy him. After three weeks Simmo returned to the UK, and two or three days later I could smell rotting fish in my tackle box. Simmo had got me back, which was quite funny after the torture I had put him through, but the smell didn’t go away, to the point I was searching all around the lake for rotting fish, convinced that the anglers around the lake had been disposing of their dead baits in the bushes around the resort. Sean told me to look under my bike seat! It was stuffed with chicken hearts and dead baits – Simmo had done me big time! Keeping in touch with Simmo back in England he told me he was coming back, but Stuart had told him that I would never drop this one and that I was out to get him. When he returned a few months later and I had returned to the UK, Simmo was relieved to find I wasn’t there. Moving on 12 months one of my best friends had ordered 50 carp for his lake from Simmo! This was my chance, as we were only a few days from the delivery. I was diving along the A38 when I saw a dead fox at the side of the road. I instantly thought of Simmo and the rotting fish, so on went the hazard lights as I stopped and threw the fox in the back of the van. I met up with Simmo and he shook my hand, as he was pleased to see me again, but while they weighed and took photos of the fish I slipped away to deposit the rotting fox carcass under his passenger seat of his pick-up! Totally unaware of what I had done, Simmo drove off with his mate Toad back to Southampton. Revenge is so sweet!”

Carp fishing legend Ron Buss returned for his second trip this year accompanied by his non-angling better half Jo. Ron has a great sense of humour and writes the best daily blog on Facebook you will ever read. Ron’s political views and daily reports are comical, and many people reckon Ron would make a bloody good job of ruling the place that was once proud to be called Great Britain. Ron is another well-known angling celebrity who is hosting a fishing trip to Gillhams in 2014. He has a huge following in the UK and even before the dates for this trip have been announced he has sold 11 places from the 16 available. Stuart is meeting with Ron in February to put together the details and dates for this trip, so if you would like a place fishing with Ron, I suggest you contact him on Facebook and get your name on the list. The trip should be sometime in November 2014 for around eight nights, and there will also be an option to stay on longer if you feel eight nights in paradise will not be enough.

This trip was Ron’s best here – he caught 35 fish of seven species. Amongst Ron’s haul he landed 17 Siamese carp with five over 90lb, plus a personal best, which was weighed at 95lb. Ron also landed six Mekong catfish to 190lb and four arapaima weighing in at 200, 240, 300 and 320lb, plus a couple more new species for him with bighead carp and mrigal, which is an Asian grass carp and the world record is held here at Gillhams.

Koen Verelst and his mate Jan from Belgium made their yearly trip back here for two weeks of fun in the sun plus the occasional spot of fishing. Koen only managed a few full days’ fishing with the odd hours thrown in, as most his time was spent visiting ladies’ department stores and Krabi’s many gold shops and temples. In total Koen caught eight fish of four species including his first arawana, which he caught from the lure lake. Jan was also on a lust fuelled holiday but did manage a few more fish than his mate when he landed 30 fish of six species with Siamese carp to 70lb, Mekong catfish to 180lb and a personal best Amazon redtail catfish of 90lb. His biggest catch was a seven-bellied wallet grunter – this beast preys on gullible males’ wallets and managed to empty Jan’s faster than a Mekong on a bucket of pellet!

We also had Jonathan Salisbury over for two weeks at Christmas, accompanied by his parents Carla and Richard. It was nice to have the opportunity to show Carla and Richard around the place that will be home for Jonathan in April when he takes up a permanent position here. He came here last year on work experience from Sparsholt Fishery Management College in the UK. Such was Jonathan’s knowledge of fish and their environment, plus his 10ft high personality, that once he completed his studies we snapped him up. Jonathan will be kept busy here helping Stuart towards his goal of retiring. His jobs will entail checking water qualities and managing our ongoing fish rearing program, plus filming anglers’ catches and updating various social media sites with pictures, video clips and catch reports. We are all looking forward to Jonathan joining the team, and we are sure he will be a tremendous asset to the Gillhams team. While Jonathan was here he had a few incidents that made his mum and dad slightly worried, such as coming home at five in the morning covered in lipstick – it turns out he has a fascination for ladyboys. One day he mentioned having small crabs walking all over his body and said they came from the lake! Also Jonathan said Mr Ree had them, which just about says it all, as we all know Lee’s preference for the third gender! Jonathan’s dad
Richard had a go at fishing, which shocked Carla and Jonathan, as he isn’t a fisherman. He even went on to win the Christmas Day fishing match with the biggest fish and most species category. During their stay Richard caught a total of eight fish of three species including his biggest ever fish with a 170lb Mekong catfish and also beating Jonathan who only landed four fish of two species.

The long awaited trip from our friend and well-known Dutch angler and bodybuilder Ardy Veltkamp finally arrived this month. Gentle giant Ardy is one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet, and we are all proud to call him a friend. Ardy is another celebrity angler who will be hosting trips here; his first trip is already booked for arrival on the 7th December 2013 and departing on the 19th December. That’s 12 nights and 12 days’ fishing with Ardy as your host and an exclusive lake booking for the price of 2,400 Euro per person. This trip is very close to being sold out already and is being sold on Facebook by Ardy Veltkamp, so if you wish to join Ardy on this trip contact him immediately. Don’t worry if you do not get a place, as he is also doing a second trip in 2014, hopefully in conjunction with Frank Warwick. Frank is another guy who needs no introduction; he has my utmost respect for his total knowledge of fish and their dietary requirements, which reflects in his bait company, Frank Warwick Baits. If you want the best carp bait in the world get on Frank’s bait; the only reason I never use Frank’s bait is my best friend owns Richworth Bait, and I am loyal to people who helped me in the past.

Joining Ardy to film his fishing was Pay TV that goes out to ten million viewers throughout Europe. The film was shot, edited and compiled by Robbie Kiss. Also joining Ardy was Olivier Portrat, who is one of the best photographers in the world of fishing, Olivier has more knowledge of fishing remote locations than most, having spent months on the Amazon, Mongolia and the Nile to name a few. His knowledge of fishing around the world is second to none. He has spent many months in some of the most remote fishing locations around the world such as Mongolia, the Nile and the Amazon to name a few. He also treated everyone on the resort to a film show of his adventures around the world; the photography was stunning and we all sat through the show with baited breath. The show was so popular that we persuaded Olivier to show it a second time. If you ever get a chance to see this man’s work, jump at it; you will not believe what this guy can do with a camera.

Ardy came here equipped with the new Excalibur heavy-duty cat rods made by Century Rods who he is a consultant for. These rods are awesome and perfect for the job here. If we were not sponsored by Free Spirit rods we would be using these, as they are the only rods we have seen that are nearly as good as the Free Spirit rods we use. Another of Ardy’s sponsers are Wiley X who make the best sunglasses in the world, Wiley X supply the USA military with all their sunglasses. Not only can you see fish you wouldn’t see with other glasses when peering into the depths, but these glasses are bloody near indestructible. If you need fishing glasses or just some cool shades then look no further than these babies – they are the nuts! Ardy presented us with a pair of glasses and they haven’t left our heads since (apart from going to bed). We can honestly say we see fish in the lake we would not see without the Wiley Xs!

Ardy’s trip started well, apart from his first day when he was showing me pictures on his iPad from a site for dating women. Apparently when you visit a country you put online where you are going with a recent picture of yourself and beautiful lonely women contact you for a date. Ardy proudly showed me his top three choices from some 60 women who had contacted him, but poor old Ardy has never been to Thailand, and all three were of the third gender! After this he decided to avoid the site and stick with good old local advice, but his fear of maybe slipping up stopped him making any dates and he just stuck with real fishing!

On his first day he landed Siamese carp, Mekong catfish and Amazon redtail catfish, which were three of his four main target species. All was going well until five days into the trip after landing a 200lb-plus Mekong catfish. He went to the pool for a swim to cool down, and on the way back the strap broke on his shoe. Being a man mountain, Ardy fell heavily and twisted his knee badly, which resulted in a trip to hospital. On arrival Ardy was too big for the Thai nurses to lift onto a stretcher, so Sean and Stuart had to carry him into the hospital. Poor Ardy was in agony and the injury seriously interrupted the rest of his trip.

With Ardy laid up in bed it was down to Olivier to carry on getting footage for the film. Olivier’s passion is fly fishing, so off he went up into the bay on the hunt for his dream of an arapaima on the fly. Over the next couple of days Olivier brought reality to a lifelong dream of landing an arapaima on fly, but at the same time found out just how hard it is to keep these monsters on the hook. After hooking up with about a dozen, and even breaking his 12wt fly rod, after borrowing Stuart’s rod he landed four to 300lb. Olivier also achieved something that very few people have done and that was to get video footage of these unique fish caught on fly, plus some amazing photographs of arapaima swimming, breathing, jumping and spitting out a fly while in mid-flight. Olivier also bait fished and landed ten fish including Mekong catfish to 180lb and Siamese carp to 55lb. Throughout his stay Olivier kept telling us that he loved his fishing in the wild and could not get excited about fishing a man made fishing lake. He claimed to only be fishing as he was bored, which was strange because he ran every morning to his favourite spot and fished dawn to dark. Even after he broke his rod he was begging Stuart to lend him his. For someone who was bored it was strange to take a booking off him for eight weeks later within a few days of him being home. Come on Olivier, admit it; you have come under the spell of Gillhams. The desire to return affects everyone who comes here and Olivier is no exception!

After a couple of days laid up with his twisted knee, Ardy wasn’t feeling any better, but hearing all the fish crashing around the lake it was time to strap the knee up and get the rods back out. Ardy went on to land a total of 45 fish of seven species including several arapaima, with his two biggest being 220lb and the biggest fish of his life at 300lb. Ardy also landed Siamese carp to 90lb, Amazon redtail catfish to 85lb, plus a giant freshwater stingray of 95lb.

The Bishop brothers, John and Darren, returned for five nights with four days fishing joined by their non-fishing wives. One of Darren’s main targets, apart from trying to negotiate a deal with Stuart on the price, was a big arapaima. He wanted to fish as close to the sanctuary area as possible and even tried his luck at getting permission to fish inside the sanctuary or even the arapaima stock pond, to which of course both answers were a “NO!” Not that it would have mattered, as poor old Darren is unable to keep them on the hook! Darren went on to hook around 16 arapaima, only managing to land two, with the biggest being 90lb. In total Darren caught 31 fish of eight species including Siamese carp to 85lb and Amazon redtail catfish to 65lb. John didn’t manage as many fish as his brother but did land five fish of five species with his biggest fish a Mekong catfish of 160lb.

Ron Griffith and his wife Kath from Cat Master Tackle came for a two-week trip with their friend Rodney who could have played Steptoe’s double. Fishing for cats in Europe, Ron wanted to catch as many catfish species as possible along with the Siamese carp. During the stay, Ron managed four different catfish species, which were Asian and Amazon redtail catfish, shovel nose tiger catfish and Mekong catfish with the biggest being 200lb. In total Ron caught 26 fish of seven different species with 11 Siamese carp to 95lb. Rodney also caught some big fish with alligator gar to 50lb, Siamese carp to 90lb, Mekong catfish to 120lb, and arapaima to 240lb. He also lost a lot of big fish, including two giant stingrays that were just too much for old Steptoe. In total Rodney landed 12 fish of six species. If anyone needs tackle for fishing here or advice and unbiased opinion on Gillhams, contact Ron at Ron can speak from experience about Gillhams and will supply the best equipment to land the sort of fish we have, unlike another tosser from a rival company selling catfish equipment who has never been here, and I hasten to add will never be welcome here!

Mick and Bev Clifford returned once again for a Christmas and New Year fishing trip after closing down their business, Angling Publications, for the holiday period. Last year Bev was a bit of a wimp and destroyed her reputation as a party animal, but this year she proved why she still holds the title with some awesome displays of excessive drinking and partying. It did affect her catch rate but it’s not all about fishing here at Gillhams; it is also about fun and relaxing, and Bev had her fair share of that. Bev and brother Mick are a chip off the old block, and like their dad Kevin Clifford they are both bloody good anglers, nice people and a pleasure to have around. During their stay they did fish every day including the Christmas Day match, and even though they had some late starts and nursed some hangovers they still landed between them a total of 25 fish of nine species including Siamese carp to 90lb, Mekong catfish to 190lb and arapaima to 200lb. They even managed some of the rarer species including shovelnose tiger catfish, two firewood catfish and a golden gourami, of which there is only one in the lake.

Also here for Christmas were Matt and Emma Riches. They had been here last year on honeymoon and decided that Gillhams would be the place for Christmas. They booked ten nights to take in Christmas and New Year and then headed off to the island of Lanta. Like many before them they missed the banter of Gillhams and returned for an extra three nights with three days’ fishing for Matt. Luckily for Matt he had won the most fish section and shared the species pot in the Christrmas fishing match, so his winnings paid for the fishing! During his stay Matt landed 23 fish of seven species, the best being arapaima to 120lb, Mekong catfish to 160lb and a Siamese carp of 95lb.

Colin and Lesley Humphries decided to try Christmas at Gillhams. They arrived a few days before Christmas while the resort was on changeover, so Benz and I took them out to see the new caberet show in town. The show is made up of ladyboys and is a tasteful family friendly show of costumes and dancing. It makes a change from just going drinking and we are sure will become a popular trip for our customers. After the show we went for a few drinks in the bars where we had a good night showing them the nightlife of Ao-Nang. They also fitted in with our regular Christmas crowd and thoroughly enjoyed their stay. They wanted to spend New Year with us, but unfortunately had to leave on New Year’s Eve due to all flights being full the next day. Hopefully they will return next Christmas as they are the kind of people we love to have here for Christmas, with Colin fishing most of the ten days while Lesley joined the other ladies around the pool downing cocktails plus taking Thai massages down on the beach. She even managed to get Colin off the lake for a couple of day trips. With this being the first fishing trip to Thailand for Colin, he had never caught any of the species that inhabit our lake. During his stay Colin landed 17 fish of four species with Asian redtail catfish to 45lb, Amazon redtail catfish to 80lb, Siamese carp to 50lb and Mekong catfish to 180lb.

Ian Wright and incontinent Ann Godfrey returned for their third Christmas running, this time spending their entire two-week holiday with us. They wanted to spend New Year’s Eve on the booze with us, as last year they went to Phi Phi Island and never got to see fireworks due to rules of the island. While Ian fished hard out on the lake every day, Ann was drinking hard with the girls and also hit the beaches in the day sampling many of the cocktails they have to offer at the beach bars. Ian caught a total of 19 fish with wallago leeri to 60lb, Siamese carp to 75lb, Mekong to 180lb, plus his target species, arapaima, with three to 190lb.

Christmas here would not feel right without our regulars, and Eddie and Lynne Grey are more like family than customers. Lynne is the team leader of the swimming pool gang, plus the captain of the lady’s drinking team, while Eddie is our resident golf pro. Last year Eddie broke the world record mrigal on his last day. This year failed to give him a world record, but he did land two personal records with Amazon redtail catfish to 80lb and five arapaima to 320lb. Eddie ended his trip with 39 fish of five species. Before leaving they booked for next Christmas so the family will be complete again next year.

Our good friends Stu and Jo Clinton returned on Boxing Day. Benz and I wanted to make it home to their wedding last year, but just could not find time to leave the business. As a wedding gift we gave Stu and Jo a trip on us, so at least we got to spend some time with them both; they are a lovely couple who deserve each other. Stu caught a total of 11 fish in his week trip and caught what he set out to catch, which was a big Siamese carp on his second day, weighing in at 108lb. Other fish included arapaima to 170lb and Mekong catfish to 190lb. After their stay with us they went for a week’s relaxing on a nearby island resort. The idyllic looking resort ended up being the trip from hell with filthy rooms and crap food, but they stuck it out for three nights before heading back to Krabi.

After running a word count I have noticed we are well over on our usual newsletter size. Normally we struggle to find enough pictures to fill our newsletter but as Olivier Portrat kindly gave us 500 pictures he had taken here, we have enough to fill this newsletter and still save some for another day. Sorry if we did not include you in this report, but every month we have to disappoint someone and leave them out. It’s nothing personal, and if you never made the gripe section then we just ran out of space.
Don’t forget to book early, because as Gillhams becomes a victim of its own success, advance bookings are becoming a necessity. We hate turning people away but will not overcrowd our lake for more profit unlike some other fisheries here that oversell. We hope to see you all in the near future, so to book please email or phone Stuart on +66861644554.
Best wishes to you all for 2013, and many thanks for your kind comments and support of our monthly fishing news from Thailand. Hopefully we will see you all in the near future, from us all here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.