Hello once again to all our readers of this Krabi fishing newsletter. With Christmas out of the way and New Year’s Eve a fading memory, it is into 2011 we go. Sorry for this newsletter being shorter than usual due to us being short staffed; I am actually having to work this month instead of gleaning gossip and lies from the punters! The fishing in Thailand is still a bit slow although some cracking fish are still being caught by the guys putting in the effort. January should be into our dry season but we still have a fair amount of rain hanging around, but that’s not an excuse for the slower than average fishing – I think the fish here are just getting smarter. It is getting to the stage now where the more effort you put in the more fish you will catch. (Just what fishing should be about!).
Our cook Adam Gladding, the Cemex bailiff probably known by many of you for catching all the known fish in the Yateley complex, has had to leave this month due to his father being cursed with the dreaded cancer! Poor Adam was devastated, and who wouldn’t be, upon being given the news that his father only had a maximum of two years to live! Adam has now gone home to spend some precious time with his father and to be there in his hour of need. Most of us have been touched in one way or another by this vicious, cruel disease. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Adam and his family.
Obviously the above tragic news has left us without a cook. Becca, my daughter, is coping admirably – in fact her cooking is superb. She would be happy to carry on in her new role but her management skills are needed elsewhere around the resort, so if anyone reading this is or knows of a cook please contact us immediately on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +66861644554.
It should be a good crack before we open on the 1st June. Most of the lads are arriving five days early, and we have some good activities lined up plus some of the usual getting messy down the town. On the 29th May we have arranged a private boat to one of the surrounding Islands, for snorkeling swimming and a barbeque. Then on the 30th May it’s the famous Gillhams fishing match using light float rods from 11am through to 5pm, and for 2,000 baht per person we will have a 100% payout. The prize money will be split over three categories – 50% payout to the angler landing the most fish, 25% payout for the biggest accidental fish that must be landed inside 30 minutes, and the final 25% paid out for the most species. Also we will be running a book with odds on the winner, and you can bet on yourself or someone else. Stuart’s decision is final, and he can be bribed!
Then on the 31st May there will be a golf tournament, and even for people like me who have never played before it should be fun, mind you I have seen the lads’ pictures of this golf course and some nice looking ponds have been spotted, so I feel a bit of guesting for snakehead coming on!
Jack started nursery school this month and proud mum Benz bought his uniform. The big day arrived and everyone had cameras ready to photo young Jack in his uniform when, horror, Benz had only gone and bought a skirt instead of shorts! Over here the shop didn’t tell her, as it’s normal for boys to wear skirts and blouses! Jack should improve his speaking skills as at the moment he has his own unique language that sounds like Bill and Ben. One customer remarked that it’s actually Gill and Ben, but to me it sounds more like Scott and Sean on the lash! Sean and Scott have been coming out with some classics: Sean, on seeing a fat Mekong catfish that was very short, exclaimed that if it was bigger it would actually be bigger! That’s my boy! Then we had Scott saying that one punter had eight fish of ten species! Wow, amazing!
Each year Sean and I swap a holiday with Rob Hunt, the owner of Jarbu Lodge, Croker Island, Australia so this month Rob visited us. He was really just here to chill out and spend some time with his delightful other half Martina, but in between doing some excellent plumbing work for us he did do a couple of hours’ fishing, only to catch a barramundi of 10lb! Most people would love to catch one of these prized specimens, but for poor old Rob who lives in the barramundi capital of the world it was a bit of a letdown. Any other species would have done for Rob, but I suppose he is one of the few anglers to have caught barramundi from two countries. I bet this April we don’t get an arapaima at Croker Island! Martina faired a bit better in a very short session, landing a nice 65lb Siamese carp.
This month we thought we had our first death here at Gillhams: Regular Gillhams angler and nice guy Kevin Hudson is the sort of guy who is only here for one reason, and that is to fish every day no matter the weather – nothing will stop this guy from being on the bank ready to fish for 7am. During this month’s visit we were very busy, and as Kevin is an experienced angler we let him get on with what he wanted to do. Nobody had even noticed that he wasn’t out until Sean came back from the town at 2pm. Seeing that Kevin hadn’t even been down to his swim, and after asking around, nobody had seen him, Sean phoned me and went to Kev’s room. He gave a few knocks without reply, so he gave me another phone asking me to bring a spare key, as things didn’t seem right. While waiting for the key, Sean carried on banging on the door and shouting Kevin’s name. Then came a faint banging from inside the bungalow and a faint voice calling for help. Running round the back of the bungalow, Kevin was spotted in the bathroom and was shouting that he was locked in. Upon release, Kevin resembled one of the Chilean miners, just in his skids and covered in sweat. It turned out that at 6.30am when Kev’s alarm went off for fishing he went to the toilet and locked himself in! By the time we got him out he had been in the bathroom for about eight hours and lost half his day’s fishing and a lot more dignity. After the rescue dispelled all worries for Kev’s wellbeing, the jokes and piss taking started. We even found out that about four hours beforehand, Kevin spotted one of our cleaners through the bathroom window. He started banging on the glass and waving his hands around for help but the cleaner just thought it was another crazy angler messing around, so just waved back and carried on down the path!
Much to many people’s relief with all the extra work due to staff shortages plus getting ready for the annual trip to Europe for the fishing shows, I have had no time to come up with Gillham’s Gripe, but rest assured all our fans of this section next month will be back with a vengeance.
So with no Gripe, it’s now onto the catch report for the fishing in Krabi, with a total catch for the month as follows: 38 anglers came for fishing holidays in Thailand, ranging from three to 14 days, and 23 anglers came to fish on day tickets. Between them they caught 329 fish of 20 species, made up as follows: 11 arapaima to 300lb, five arawana to 9lb, three alligator gar to 25lb, 74 Amazon red tail catfish to 70lb, nine Asian red tail catfish to 35lb, 11 black pacu to 32lb, one barramundi of 10lb, one Chao Phraya catfish of 75lb, two giant snakehead to 5lb, two Julian’s golden prize carp to 30lb, 77 Mekong catfish to 190lb, one mrigal of 8lb, five piraaiba (lau) of 9lb, seven spotted featherback to 9lb, 80 Siamese carp to 85lb, ten striped snakehead to 3lb, 14 shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 32lb, seven tiger catfish to 14lb, two wallago attu to 15lb, and seven wallago leeri to 25lb.
The first two couples mentioned here spent December and New Year with us, so therefore qualified for January’s newsletter. Stewart Downing from Pure Fishing and wife Heather joined us again at the end of December turning up a few days late due to the big freeze and airports closing. While here Stewart’s target species were a spotted featherback and Mekong catfish, as he had already caught some nice carp and a big arapaima on his previous trip. Heather also had some target species in mind, as her last trip she tried for a giant gourami, but as these are very shy and finicky feeders you need to spend time and have patience to catch one, and unfortunately for Heather, time ran out. The other species Heather wanted was a giant snakehead, and a big one had been spotted a few times in front of the restaurant cruising the weedbeds. Wading round the weedbeds and fighting off spiders and all other kinds of creepy crawlies, Heather tried to trick this beautiful predator, but wasn’t able to charm him out. Finally came the arawana, and even though she hooked up to three of these stunning fish it just wasn’t meant to be. However, during her stay she did manage four Mekong catfish to 110lb. Stewart went on to catch 13 fish of five species including a Mekong catfish of 150lb, and also his target fish in the form of a 9lb spotted featherback on his last day’s fishing, which was only 3lb off the world record.
Simon Ashton and girlfriend Amy “I can eat for Newcastle” White arrived on Christmas Eve for a ten-night stay. Along with fishing they also wanted a few days for day trips and scuba diving. As the following day was Christmas with no fishing, which was just as well due to some heavy drinking on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day was spent nursing a hangover plus more drinking in the afternoon. Boxing Day came and they were up, eager to get started, and even though the fishing was fairly slow they still picked up a couple of fish including a stunning shovel nosed tiger catfish for Simon. Throughout their trip the fishing days got more and more and the day trips went out the window, much like most the alcohol Amy had drunk on Christmas Eve when she was hanging out the back of the minibus on the way home! During their stay they caught some good fish, and as with any new venue it takes a while to find your feet, but once they got going there was no stopping them. They caught 29 fish of eight species between them, with five fish over the magic 100lb including an arapaima each of 160lb to Amy and 180lb to Simon. Amy caught her arapaima on the day they should have been diving, and Simon’s was even closer to failure, as he left it until the last cast of the added final morning session. After playing the fish and changing they just had time for Amy to eat a ten-course meal before dashing to the airport. Upon returning home Amy missed the food, fishing and us so much she has rebooked for the pre-season booze up and opening week!
Nick Pete, a well known British angler and stroke-puller extraordinaire, made his first trip to Gillhams, leaving the pike in the UK to have a rest and to have a crack at some different species from around the globe before going back to England to continue his quest for a 40lb pike to go with his 12 thirties and 300 20lb pike to date. While here Nick fished hard every day, and even though the fishing wasn’t at its best, like any experienced angler knows it just takes a little more effort and a few changes to get the fish feeding. After finding the right swim and plumbing around (for some of you danglers out there, plumbing is when you use another rod with a weight and float to find out depths and features in the lake), Nick was set to go. During his stay Nick managed to land eight fish of four species including Siamese carp to 80lb, Mekong catfish to 110lb, arapaima to 70lb and a red tail catfish, plus unfortunately losing some others due to hook pulls. Nick is now back in the UK chasing his dream of a 40, and has already booked his return in April. He now has the arapaima bug, with his heart set on a 100lb-plus fish.
Strapon, oops, Stretton Honour made his second trip out to Gillhams this year, this time leaving his son Alex at home, due to school, feeling very jealous of his father. Stretton came to us after three days fishing at Bungsamlan Lake in Bangkok where he was after a big carp, but only caught manky-looking, yellow, jaundiced Mekong catfish with rusty hooks and death rigs hanging out of them. On arrival he said even though he had caught many Mekong in Bangkok he wanted to catch them here, as they are the proper colour, in top condition, and well taken care of. Stratton landed nine Mekong to a personal best fish of 180lb, plus eight Siamese carp to 55lb.
Marius Iverson arrived with his wife and five-year-old daughter, and with 14 nights and 11 days fishing in front of him, Marius was hoping for few monsters. They had a direct flight from Norway to Krabi and landed at 6am, so the first day was spent relaxing and catching up on some sleep. The following morning Marius was out and ready to go for 7am, but the fish had other plans and the first couple of days were slow. Marius being a true fisherman kept in high spirits and kept plugging away. On the third day and a change of swim Marius started catching some nice fish, and during his stay he fished hard ending his stay with 22 fish of seven species including arapaima to 110lb and Amazon red tail catfish to 55lb. His biggest catch was a 130lb Mekong catfish, of which he landed eight, with six being over 100lb. The Iverson family is now back in cold Norway where they are already planning their return trip to Gillhams.
Eric arrived with his much better half Tina. Eric is the manager of Birmingham Angling Centre owned by our dear mate Terry ‘The Boil’ Eustace, this was a return two-week trip, and once again his guide was chubby Scott. Chubby was chuffed as Tina wears the same size knickers as him, plus Eric had a dainty all-in-one see through mosquito-proof suit. Scott cheered up no end having fellow gay pride member Eric to look after, and Tina to peek at through the bushes each evening! When Eric started fishing he went into a going swim that had just been vacated by another angler. The other guy had had some good results with Mekong catfish, so Eric should have cleaned up from the off. But after a couple of days’ fishing the old Brummie git wished he had stayed in bed, as although the Mekong were still rolling and feeding in the area, every time he hooked into one he lost it. Eventually Eric got it right by trying different rigs and baits, and he was having some good results, but as the trip went on he reverted to trying stuff he didn’t think would work just to give his frail old body a rest! When the trip was over, Eric had caught 30 fish of six species including Mekong catfish to 150lb and Siamese carp to 45lb, with the biggest fish being a 200lb arapaima. Eric is now back home wishing he hadn’t left the shop in Rob Eustace’s incapable hands – mind you, the overtime he is earning trying to sort out the havoc created by Rob will pay next year’s trip. I think the email below sums up the trip for Eric:
Just a few lines to say a big thank-you for looking after us both on our recent trip to Gillhams, and as always making us feel welcome during our most enjoyable stay. The day of the full moon has to be a day I will remember for a long time to come, for me to catch a 200lb-plus arapaima first cast of the day and for it to launch itself clear of the water three rod lengths out in front of me, Scott, Matt and Sean was actually quite comical, as the silly bastards all told me it was a world record wallago on the end of the line (great, innit?). As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, I was later told by Scott the poofter guide that the Mekong on the end of the line I had just hooked was gonna get to the end of the lake before the end of the line, so to swim with the fishes for 60yds was also a special moment.
Best wishes to everyone at Gillhams,
Eric and Tina.
Ian, aka Bob Marley, came for six day’s after coming last year, and on arrival wanted to try some different rigs just to see if the fish would be more confident picking up things they hadn’t seen before. Bob’s first two days were slow, but then a swim change turned everything around and he started picking up some good fish. By his fourth day things were going well; he was working the swim, and the Mekong started getting onto his bait. The best day was when he hooked eight Mekong catfish in one day, landing six of them, leaving him battered and bruised, but one short of the most Mekong landed in a day. At the end of his stay he had caught 12 fish of three species with the biggest a Mekong catfish at 150lb. Once the fishing was over it was off to Pattaya for two weeks of madness before heading home to reality, and back to work in our old trade, scaffolding, to start saving for his return trip to Thailand and Gillhams at the end of the year.
Regular return clients and friends Lloyd, Lynn and Luke returned to Gillhams. After previous trips here catching arapaima and Siamese carp they wanted to try for some other species including giant stingray, arawana and tiger shovel nose catfish etc. On arrival they picked their swims and fished on and off for six days with some days out in between. While here Lloyd managed to catch his tiger shovel nose catfish plus one of our latest additions in the shape of a piraaiba catfish amongst others. Luke never managed to catch his stingray despite trying so hard, but he did almost get himself a junior world record Amazon redtail catfish just two agonizing pounds short of the record. Lynn also caught some redtail catfish and Siamese carp. Throughout the trip they managed 36 fish of six species between them with the two biggest fish going to 16-year-old Luke with one Siamese carp of 65lb and an Amazon redtail catfish of 60lb. After their trip here they went off to fish with our dear friend and Thailand’s only truly professional guiding service, Francois Helios of Fishing Adventures Thailand. Francois and wife Lek, as always, took care of them and got them into some good fish.
Angling Direct client Darren Bremner came back this month, just six weeks after his previous visit, for another five days, this time wanting to catch a Mekong catfish and a Siamese carp. The fishing during his stay was a wee bit tough and he only picked up seven fish. He did manage three Mekong catfish and was unlucky as the biggest was only 85lb, whereas normally in a three-fish Mekong catch two would exceed 100lb. He also landed two Siamese carp to 50lb with two Amazon red tail catfish. Being an experienced angler, Darren is planning his return to try for one of our monsters, but as he said, seven fish with four over 50lb would be a blinding week anywhere else; it’s just by Gillhams standards that it seems poor!
Our old mate Ken Weeks once again joined us, and as always Ken was easygoing and here for the social just as much as the fishing. Ken has the attitude that if he catches it’s a bonus; he just likes to chill out and have a good time. While here Ken caught five different species, some of which he has caught before, and some new species like his shovel nose tiger catfish. Even though they are not one of our bigger species, they are one of the most stunning fish species you will ever see. He also landed some good Siamese carp with the two biggest going 55lb and 65lb. His other species were Amazon red tail catfish, striped snakeheads and the mighty Mekong catfish. In between fishing and having a social, Ken was also into visiting dodgy websites, which he was sharing with me. I now have more info on Ken, plus more worrying – some great new pictures for future newsletters!
Shawn Nickels, a three-foot tall dwarf immigration detention officer, came to Gillhams for the first time this month, and was up for catching anything that was to swim his way. While here Shawn caught five different species and a total of seven fish including a piraaiba catfish, making him one of only a few people to catch one of these stunning fish in Asia. The way these new arrivals to Gillhams are feeding it won’t be long before they are packing the weight on, and we are hopeful they will reach 100lb in four years! Shawn was happy to take drinks from fellow angler’s bell rings, but due to his height could not reach the bell to ring it for his own captures! Shawn was another nice guy who knows the potential of Gillhams, and has vowed to return and catch the lake in a better mood, commenting it’s not just the fish but surroundings and company that make Gillhams a special place.
That’s going to have to do for this month, folks, as I am so busy getting ready for the road shows. With Zwolle gone we now have Five Lakes on the 5/6 March, stand 125, Farnborough on the 12/13 March and then the mighty Visma show at the Ahoy Centre in Rotterdam on the 31 March through to 3rd April, where we will be sharing a stand with our dear friend Ronald of RV Henglesport.
At the Five Lakes show Gillhams Fishing Resorts will be selling raffle tickets, first prize being a fishing holiday for two in Krabi Thailand, with ten nights in a luxury air-conditioned lakeside bungalow, and ten days’ fishing with all tackle and bait for two people. This excludes flights, all meals and drinks, but has a value of £3,000. Other prizes to date are a Linear Fisheries 48-hour permit plus a Richworth bait voucher. As we have only just screwed Uncle Bobbie out of the bait voucher, we are waiting for the bait baron to put a value on the prize! In the pipeline, awaiting answers after bribes of making up sordid stories about the management, are prizes from Fosters of Birmingham and Gold Label Tackle! The draw for this mega raffle will be at 4pm on Sunday.
Once again, apologies for a smaller newsletter with less gossip than usual, but next month we hope to be back on track. If you wish to book, come and see us at the show for big discounts, with up to 20% off for payments received on the day.
Get booking early either at the shows, by phone on +66861644554, or by emailing us on email@example.com and we hope to see you all here in the near future.
Best wishes from all at Gillhams.