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Fishing In Thailand Newsletter June 2013

Well, another month has passed, and fishing in Thailand and life here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts is slowly returning to normal. We have been getting our seasonal rains, and coupled with less angling pressure, the fish have been feeding well. The lake has had a good flush through, and the new addition to the lake has benefited from all the rain. The new landscaping is all growing well, and by the time we open this side of the lake it will look like it has always been here. We have also added some new fish to this side of the lake, mainly arapaima, Mekong catfish, Amazon redtail catfish, Siamese carp and tambaqui, plus a few surprises!

All the new fish are thriving and being fattened up ready for the lake becoming one in October. Benz has been buying thousands of tilapia of around three inches. The tilapia are a food source for our big fish, over the last few months they have grown to around 8ins. Benz also got confused and stocked around 1,000 red throated pacu, much to the delight of young Jack who has just started fishing. Over the last week Jack has caught around 100 of Benz mistakes, and these have all been removed and rehoused in the lure lake. The question we are asking was it a mistake on Benz’s part, or did she want some good light tackle fishing for her and Jack?

While on the subject of the lure lake, despite the lake having a good head of fish, we have found that once the fish have been caught a couple of times they become harder to catch. With most anglers only wanting to fish the main lake for the bigger fish, we have decided that next year this lake will be stocked heavily with smaller fish. This will make the lure lake any method fun fishing for families, but obviously we would still allow lure and fly fishing. This lake will only be available to people staying at the resort, and will not be sold to day ticket anglers.

In conjunction with Bossard Carp Lakes in France, we are running a competition to win a free fishing holiday. The biggest carp caught at Bossard in 2013 wins a week’s fishing and accommodation for one angler at Gillhams. In return we are offering a week’s fishing at Bossard for the biggest carp caught at Gillhams in 2013. To take a look at the premier carp lake in France visit the Bossard website

As many people are aware, we are running “fish with well known anglers” hosted trips. Some of these are already sold out, but the following trips still have a few places available. If you are a Facebook user, please contact these people using Facebook rather than email:

Fish with Ardy Veltcamp, 7th December to 18th December 2013. Contact Ardy for this trip on Facebook. If you do not use Facebook, email:

Fish with Catmaster Tackle, 31st May to 6th June 2014. Contact Ron Griffiths, Facebook – Catmaster Tackle. If you do not use Facebook, email:

Fish with Ron Buss, 28th November to 6th December 2014. Contact Ron on Facebook – Ron Buss. If you do not use Facebook, email:

As these trips are exclusive, complete resort bookings, and one of the benefits is to be able to fish outside of our normal fishing times, plus the use of three rods instead of the standard two rods.

If you are a user of Facebook, please like and share our Facebook page, Gillhams Fishing Resort, and in return we are putting up a prize of seven days’ fishing with 20kg of pellet, plus seven nights’ accommodation. The prize will be randomly drawn from all existing and new likes on the 1st November 2013. This excludes flights, food, drinks and additional bait.

Please note you may have in the past have liked our old page, Gillhams Fishing Resorts, but this page has been replaced with Gillhams Fishing Resort. To be in this competition you need to like and share the new page on the link above.

Prior to my father passing away, Benz and I had a holiday in the Philippines – two nights in Manila and then a week on the Island of Boracay. I was pleasantly surprised with what a great city Manila is, and Boracay was a beautiful island with stunning beaches and great nightlife. We stayed on Boracay at Reef Retreat a small hotel right on the beach belonging to our good friends Matt and Claire Skinner, and we had a fantastic holiday with Matt and Claire as our tour guides. We returned home for a week and then it was off to Singapore as a birthday treat for Jack. The holiday was hectic, as Jack wanted to do everything – visiting Universal Studios and the zoo and aquarium, all crammed into a four-night break, so by the end we needed another holiday!

Sean managed to get away with Noi and her daughter on his holiday at last – going to Bangkok for eight nights was a full-scale military operation for Sean. He drove poor Noi mad planning each day’s itinerary from dawn to dark, and he had his bags packed a week before setting off. He then proceeded to unpack, check and start again on a daily basis – nothing was left to chance… rain jackets, sun hats, sun cream, walking shoes (the ones with animal prints and compass built in!), maps, compass, GPS, energy snacks and water bottles. Bugger me – he was going to Bangkok, not the bloody Arctic circle! Anyway, the day arrived – Noi with a carry-on bag for the week, and Sean with 40kg of camouflaged waterproof bombproof cases! They had a well deserved break, and for sure visited every attraction Bangkok has to offer; they even had a day exploring Chatuchak market.

This place is amazing; it’s a huge market, zoned into sections, selling everything from condoms to tiger cubs! Sean’s interest was the animal, reptile and fish section, and all day texts kept winging their way to Krabi – Dad, can I get a dog? Dad, can we have a parrot, snake, tortoise, squirrel, lion cub and elephant? “F*** off” on cut and paste, and my replies were sorted, until we got, “Dad, how about a marmoset?” Now I have always wanted a little monkey, ever since Sean supposedly grew up, and after two seconds’ consideration, a new text was sent: “Yes.” So now it was “dad is getting a monkey” the texts said, “Send me £800 please, dad, plus toys, food and cage and £200 delivery.” The credit card took a beating, but we are now proud parents to a delightful little marmoset! All the little fella needs now is a name, as we have Russell and Helmet the dogs, Reggie the iguana, George the tortoise and Monty the snake. Who knows what the little sod will end up being called? For sure, knowing us lot it will be something outrageous!

After last month’s extended gripe, I will not subject you all to another one this month… or shall I just have a small one? Why do people send abrupt enquiries? It really amazes me why anyone would send an email such as: “fish 2 days stay 1 night price.” No “Dear Sir, We would like…” or, “Regards” etc. Then we get; “I want fishing holiday what’s the cost?” Bloody hell, not a hint of politeness and no sodding clue of how many nights and days fishing, or how many people! Then we get, “Hey you, how much is it to fish and stay?” Grrrrrr… but hey, they never get offered a deal.

Then we get the ones who claim to be experts and write for the top magazines in the world, wanting a free trip and telling us how they will put us on the map and teach us to fish. These same guys turn up (after paying full price I hasten to add) with totally inadequate rods and reels – the gear they bring would struggle with a goldfish! Surely if they are such experienced famous anglers they would have top of the range gear. Then when they set up, the prats can’t even tie a knot and ask our guides to cast and strike for them!

Thailand’s Internet provider TOT – what a joke! Their engineers’ only qualification must be having family working there! On Friday we had no Internet, so we called out their team of troubleshooters. After pushing every button on their own laptop, they showed me a graph saying that we have Internet. When informed and shown we did not, the next question was a classic. “Do you send emails outside of Thailand?” My answer was, “Yes.” “Ah, you see it takes a long time to reach England.” The two engineers found it most amusing that anyone could be so stupid – after all, if it takes 11 hours to fly to England, how can you expect and email to go quickly? Apparently it’s the same if you visit websites belonging to businesses outside of Thailand – you can’t expect to see them for a while, as they are so far away! Jesus Christ, these morons actually believed this crap; they were wetting themselves laughing at how stupid I was. I suppose they think www stands for a wrestling programme! It actually turned out that the fibre optic cables down the road had been stolen, but hey, their little graph machine showed we had Internet. I expect the thick twats had that set on demo mode! I wonder how they think phones work, or maybe they also take a long time to reach England. Oh, bring back the carrier pigeons!

Anyway I was not going to have a gripe, so let’s get onto the fishing in Thailand:

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 564 fish caught of 25 species, made up as follows: 53 arapaima to 340lb, four arawana to 10lb, seven alligator gar to 55lb, 86 Amazon redtail catfish to 87lb, one Amazon stingray of 32lb, 74 Asian redtail catfish to 46lb, 16 black pacu to 38lb, 13 big head carp to 28lb, four Chao Phraya catfish to 85lb, two firewood catfish to 21lb, six gourami to 6lb, one giant stingray of 55lb, five giant featherback to 12lb, 21 Julian’s golden carp to 38lb, 63 Mekong catfish to 200lb, four mrigal to 10lb, three Nile perch to 6lbs, five ripsaw catfish to 26lb, four spotted featherback to 6lb, 163 Siamese carp to 96lb, four shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 24lb, six shovel nosed tiger catfish to 16lb, five tambaqui to 43lbs, four wallago attu to 18lb, twelve wallago leeri to 35lb.

This month’s catch report has been compiled by Jut and edited by Stuart to remove the slander…

We had the pleasure of hosting Scott and Chloe Rice, brother and sister who are cousins to Jonathan Salisbury. They fished the odd half-day, in between seeing local attractions while spending time with Jonathan. They fitted straight in with the crowd here, joining us on one of our legendary (but tame by our standards) nights out in Ao Nang. Everyone was a little worse for wear the next day – those of us that made it home that is! The details of the night out would be another story on its own, but we will save that one up for a rainy day. They took turns catching fish, and caught some good fish between them. Everyone enjoyed their company, and they were an instant hit with the guides. Something tells me there’s every chance we’ll see them again soon. Scott and Chloe caught 12 fish of eight different species in just a few short sessions, including Chao Phraya catfish, arapaima of 60lbs, Siamese carp to 50lbs, Julian’s golden carp and tiger shovelnose catfish.

Long-term friend and fishing partner to both Stuart and Sean, Johnnie Swann, returned this month, joining Stuart on his return flight from England. Johnnie is a regular on some of Sean and Stuart’s fishing excursions around the globe, and will be joining them again in next June’s trip to Panama. Johnnie has fished here many times and was hoping to raise his personal best fish list. Johnnie landed a good amount of Siamese carp, with three over 70lb and a further two over the 80lb barrier. Included in his haul were four arapaima to 250lbs, big head carp and pacu, totaling 23 fish of four species.

Marcus and Christa Schenker enjoyed a week with us. This was their first visit to Thailand, and it surely won’t be the last. They combined a week’s fishing with day trips and sightseeing. Marcus and Christa both take advantage of some of the fantastic offshore fishing that their home in South Africa has to offer, as well as freshwater fishing for carp in some of the many dams. They are a genuinely lovely couple, and we enjoyed long chats around the lake, as well as their company in one of the many restaurants around Ao Nang. Marcus fished well and caught some excellent fish, despite several days of extended rain when a few other anglers chose to spend their time in their bungalows and the restaurant. Marcus was keen to catch one of our big catfish to compare it to their smaller cousins back in SA. This was achieved in the shape of two Mekong catfish both around 145lb, which gave every opportunity to let Marcus know just how impressive these fish can be in the fight. He also landed two arapaima to 230lb. Both arapaima were landed at 7pm on consecutive nights, and they declined to fish for the remaining time as they felt that each fish was enough of a high to finish on. We wish them both well in their fishing adventures at home, and hope to see them here again in the future.

John White is a big fish angler based on the south coast in the UK. He has an extraordinary library of big game and sea captures to his name and has fished in multiple locations across the globe for a variety of large species. There was however a bit of a gap in that portfolio, which John was hoping to address by catching some of the largest freshwater species the world has to offer here at Gillhams. With Mekong catfish and arapaima at the top of a long list, John hoped to catch as many different species as he could during his time here. He landed seven new species, and he is already planning a return trip, which speaks highly of the quality of fishing on offer here. Starting first with the ever-impressive arapaima, John managed four fish with two over 200lbs up to 240lbs. He also landed numerous Siamese carp up to 85lbs, as well as Mekong catfish to 155lbs.

John suffers from a bad back and knee, in no small part due to previous captures of huge shark from the beach in several locations across Africa, so was a little tentative at first to deliberately court our huge Mekong. As with all things fishing, and especially in a lake stocked with so many species, you don’t always get to be selective about what eats your bait. As you can imagine, it wasn’t long before he found himself playing one of the Mekong monsters that lurk here. To his credit you’d never really know how bad his back and knee are, as John set about the task at hand with relish and landed all his Mekong in good time. John caught a total of 35 fish during his stay and is currently working out how he can wangle his way back for another go! Good luck planning that, and we’ll see you soon!

Another Gillhams regular and fishery owner in England, Simon Davies, came back this month for a short three-day visit whilst visiting his wife and baby daughter who live in Thailand. Simon didn’t do too well on his first day, uncharacteristically losing a few fish, but a move was on the cards that paid off in an extraordinary way. This red-letter day started with an immense arapaima of 380lbs, which fought an equally immense battle, taking over 40 minutes to land. The cunning of his fish forced guides Rob and Jut to take to the water to keep the fish from burying itself in too many floating hyacinth beds, finally upending the pair off them as it came back through past them on the way out. Having entered the water from a different side of the lake, Rob still had enough time to get out and run back round to help cage the fish. Simon then followed this up with a further two 200lb-plus arapaima for a total in excess of 800lb for the day. Despite the protestations of the guides, he decided to call it a day early and left before we could see if the magical 1000lb barrier would be broken again. Including the arapaima, Simon finished his few days with three species including Siamese carp to 67lb and alligator gar to 15lbs.

Longtime friend of Stuart’s and one of Gillhams Fishing Resorts’ sponsors, Brummie and lengthy anecdote generating machine, Terry Eustace, visited us again this month with his usual delivery of Gold Label Pro Tough line and GLT hooks. As well as his daily early morning dip in the pool, Terry was hoping to get his rod bent by some of our huge Siamese carp whilst avoiding the back-wrenching Mekong catfish. Accompanying Terry was an old friend and sparring partner Derek Blinston. It was Derek’s first visit to Gillhams, and he was more than happy with his haul of 19 fish of six species. He topped off his catch with Mekong to 120lbs, arapaima to 290lbs and Siamese carp to 60lbs. Derek also spent a lot of his time winding up Terry, and it was quite nice to see someone giving it to Terry as much as he dishes it out! Terry also caught six species and managed 20 fish in the short time he actually fished. On this occasion he landed arapaima to 190lbs, Siamese carp to 77lbs and one of our stunning Julian’s golden carp. He will no doubt be back for more fun and abuse in equal measures in the near future!

Yip Loun-Cheong from Singapore returned for another visit, his last being during the making of the famous Gillhams Monsters film in 2008 when he starred with the capture of a Mekong catfish. Yip is now a retired man, and as a retiring present he was hoping to catch an arapaima. Being one of our more senior visitors, he demonstrated to Jut, Joel and Sean just how he keeps himself in such good shape at 70 years old. We were lucky enough to witness a number of displays of Shaolin monk style stretching; a set of principals that yip had been shown some time before whilst sharing a plane with a monk from Shaolin! Now I’m not sure what the rest of the plane thought of Yip and the monks stretching, but the guys here all found it a little amusing to watch. Good luck to Yip we say, as he’s quite convinced that it’s the reason he’s still fit enough to come here and fight our arapaima! Yip landed three of these prized fish, with three over 150lbs. He also caught Amazon redtail catfish to 70lbs, as well as Mekong catfish to 120lb. We really hope Yip continues to educate himself in the ways of the Shaolin, as he was an absolute pleasure to be around, always engaging and one of the most easygoing and laid back people to fish with. Don’t leave it so long between visits next time, Yip!

I have reviewed a few fishing books in the last few months. By including my reviews here I hope it will help any of you wanting a good holiday read or a good book to pass the time on your flight.

An Illusion of Maya: Author, Phil Escott. Freebird Publishing.

Most of you won’t have heard of Phil. He is the unlucky sod who has the task of proofreading our newsletters. This novel is not just about carp fishing, although the gist of the story is around a mythical carp. It also follows the main character’s journey to find himself in India. When Phil presented me with my signed copy, I was worried in case the book was crap. How the hell would I tell my friend and proofreader his book was a pile of poo? I actually left this book until last. Like they say, you should always save the best till last – this book is very well written, and you will not want to put it down. Thanks, Phil – I had no sleep until the book was finished. The storyline is brilliant – not often do I read a book and can’t wait until I get to the next page. My only criticism would be that Phil tended to overdo the sex scenes, but what would you expect from an ex-hippie? This book is highly recommended and has joined my top ten favourite books. It is also available on Amazon, but for me a book like this should be on your bookshelf – good books deserve to be kept in print, not on a bloody Kindle!

The Carp Side of the Moon: Author Pete Springate. Freebird Publishing.

Pete needs no introduction in the carp fishing world. He is the king, hence his title “Sir Pete”. Pete is a very good old friend of mine, and like many others, I have waited a long time for this fishing legend to write a book. This book certainly was worth the wait – it follows Pete’s journey through a lifetime of fishing, not only for carp but other species as well. This is another book you will not want to put down, and to sum up the book – bloody brilliant! This book definitely heads my top ten fishing book list; in fact when Pete wrote the book it would not fit into one book. The second part of the book is due out this year, and I can’t wait for part two to be released. The space is already reserved on my bookshelf, as I am sure it will be as good as the first. This book is also on my highly recommended list – in fact it’s on my do “not miss this book” list. The book will certainly be a collector’s item – not only a good read, but also an investment.

Mike Wilson – Big Carp Legends. Bountyhunter Publications.

The Legends series is a series of books compiled by Rob Maylin through his company, Bountyhunter Publications. All the books in this series follow carp fishing legends, and to date I have read and enjoyed them all. This book about Mike Wilson was one I have eagerly waited for Rob to publish; Mike was one of the forerunners of modern day carp fishing. His outstanding results and knowledge of bait and its applications are second to none. Mike was certainly a man ahead of his time; he has never published a book, and top marks to Rob for persuading him to be part of this series. The pictures, some never before published, plus the insight into this man’s amazing captures, show just why Mike Wilson is a true carp fishing legend! I have no hesitation in recommending this book.

Albert Romp – Big Carp Legends. Bountyhunter Publications.

Another of the Legends series, this book was a major disappointment, and the only one of the Legends series I have not liked. In my opinion this book was rushed to produce, and some of the encounters contradict each other. I have known Albert for many years; he is a capable angler, and his sense of humour is second to none. Any time spent with him, and you would always go home with aching sides. What a shame this book does not reflect Albert’s humour and legendary wind-ups. Basically it’s a book relating to “I went here and I caught this” – badly written and boring. Sorry Albert and Rob, but I only review things honestly! My advice to anyone is buy any of the books in the series, as the rest are very good to excellent. This one, unless like me you wish to collect the complete Legends series, should be avoided. However, if you want a bedside book that will guarantee you fall asleep after two pages then this book would be a good buy!

Well, that just about sums up another month here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts. Should you be planning a trip in the future, please bear in mind that we do book in advance. Many dates for 2013/14 are already fully booked, so contact Stuart by email at or phone 0066 (0) 861644554. Please remember to let us know how many nights’ accommodation you require and for how many people – also how many days’ fishing and for how many people, and we will be happy to send you a quotation.

From all the team here at Gillhams, thanks for reading our newsletter, and we look forward to seeing you all in the near future.