Hello everyone and welcome to the March 2014 report for the fishing in Thailand here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts. Stuart and Sean returned from their trip to the UK this week where apparently bookings taken from the shows went through the roof so we expect to see many new customers in the weeks and months to come.
As soon as they returned it was Joel’s time to return home, if just for ten days, which left us a bit short on the guide front, but we needn’t have worried because as the old saying goes, “Never fear, Sean is here.” Yes ladies and gents, for one day and one day only the lucky customers had the chance to say those immortal words, “I got to fish with the legend that is… Sean Gilliam.” Although we had to get a winch to prise him away from the office where he is normally sat on Stuart’s lap, Sean had a day on the lake guiding the customers, and the glee in their eyes when they knew Sean would be looking after them, well, it has to be seen to be believed, which I have to say is how we felt when he said he was joining the us for the day!
You have to remember that Sean has been here from the start and knows every nook and cranny in the lake, and I have to say I think he enjoyed himself monkeying around on the lake. I also have to say he didn’t enjoy himself that much because we haven’t seen him near to the lake since! Also, as seen below, going back to your roots in the hot sun can be quite tiring , so maybe people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, what do you think Sean?
Stuart, having left his loved ones Benz and Jack for eight weeks, came back and saw that everything was running smoothly, so did the right thing and took them away for a few days to the beautiful island of Koh Lanta for some rest and relaxation. Well I say rest and relaxation, but Jack was with them so I bet they have spent most of their time running after him. We even heard that he did a naughty thing over there and as kids do, he said, “It wasn’t me; it was Helmet the dog,” which, if my memory serves me well, has stayed in the office all the time they were away.
Well, what else has been happening? I hear you say, well, all the new salas are now finished and get this – these are no ordinary salas, as each and every one of them has been upgraded to ‘club class’ specification with the addition of a huge electric oscillating fan to cool you down on the hot days here in Thailand. We are even thinking of having piped music into the swims. Mind you, with the southern influence around here it will probably be old classics like ‘My Old Man Said Follow The Van’ and ‘Doing The Lambeth Walk’. Please Stuart don’t put ‘Snooker Loopy’ by Chas and Dave in there!
Also we had an addition to the team in Steve ‘Mayonnaise’ Mayo from Somerset. Steve is a well-known match angler and a proper nice bloke; he could even pass off as a northerner if it wasn’t for the accent and his love for cider and combine harvesters. In his match days he was sponsored by Maver, and it seems like he has not left them without taking some of their stock. Everything he has is emblazoned with Maver. I didn’t know they did Maver boxer shorts, did you? He has arrived as keen as mustard and will try anything to get a fish.
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 681 fish caught of 24 species, made up as follows: 48 arapaima to 340lb, two arawana to 9lb, four alligator gar to 65lb, 212 Amazon redtail catfish to 85lb, 73 Asian redtail catfish to 42lb, 37 black pacu to 35lb, one big head carp of 33lb, two Chao Phraya catfish to 60lb, one giant gourami of 5lb, one giant featherback of 6lb, one giant snakehead of 6lb, seven Julian’s golden carp to 35lb, 63 Mekong catfish to 210lb, one mrigal of 10lb, one rohu of 28lb, one snakehead of 3lb, one spotted sorubim of 40lb, three spotted featherback to 8lb, 213 Siamese carp to 113lb, one shovel nosed tiger catfish of 12lb, three tambaqui to 34lb, one wallago attu of 28lb, three wallago leeri to 40lb, one zungaro of 8lb.
Right onto the fishing… The Siamese carp are still munching their way through the bait with another 100lb-plus fish landed to none other than Terry ‘Poppa’ Eustace to add to the three other fish over 100lb that Terry has landed in the years he has been sponsoring Gillhams Fishing Resort. After Terry had cracked off on a good fish he said it was probably due to the fish going over the gravel bar, to which I replied, “More like the crap line we get from our suppliers!”
A party of German gentlemen came to Gillhams this month. I say that loosely because they drank us out of house and home with their favourite drink of Singha during the day and Jack Daniels and Coke in the evening.
First up is Reiner, he of the tattooed back and hair down to his waist that wouldn’t look out of place on a ‘head and shoulders’ advert. He had been here before, and like most Germans and in fact most Europeans all they want is carp, and the bigger the better, but then again like most of his party if he wasn’t catching… “So what? Let’s have another Singha.”
Next there was Peter, a good friend of Reiner who fished the same swim as him most of the time where he caught carp to 75lb and a lovely black pacu of 35lb. Great fun was Peter, always up for a laugh and a pleasure to have around the place.
Jacob ‘Bayern Munchen’ was the president of the group’s fishing club and the only one who couldn’t speak a word of English. Jacob brought all manner of boilies and pop-ups with him, but when they were not working he learned his first English word which was ‘maize’. It turned into a bit of a joke, as all he would say every morning was, “Maize, maize, maize.” It became like the scene out of ‘Finding Nemo’ with the pelican saying, “Mine, mine, mine.” He eventually caught his carp landing fish to a new personal best of 80lb.
Steve was the quiet one; he just kept himself to himself but ended up catching the group’s biggest fish, an arapaima of 260lb.
We nicknamed Michael ‘Jacko’ after Michael Jackson due to him coming wearing one glove on one hand to protect his hand from the catapult elastic. I mean; I ask you! He didn’t get it when we rode past grabbing our crotches and screaming “Owww!” in a Jacko type high pitched voice, but it amused us anyway. We don’t need much of an excuse to grab our own crotches… well I don’t anyway. Michael was what you would call a typical German – methodical, serious and full of German efficiency. One conversation typified Michael: Looking for a packet of hooks which he couldn’t find he said to himself , “I used two on Tuesday, three on Wednesday and two on Thursday so that means I should have two left in the packet” whereas an Englishman would say something like, “Where the f@@king hell have those hooks gone?”
Last but not least was Gerd the joker in the pack and an electrician by trade. On the first two day when he got hot he just took to swimming in the lake to cool off. Obviously it is one of our strict rules at Gillhams that no customer should enter the lake without the instruction of the guides and certainly not without a buoyancy aid. Furthermore, definitely don’t do this when you have ten Singhas inside you! After a severe ticking off by Joel and me, Gerd saw the error of his ways and stayed on dry ground. The story of the trip belongs to Gerd, as on the day before he left he landed a massive 130lb-plus Siamese that had him high fiving all his mates. He had seen pictures of this fish in a German magazine and never thought in his wildest dreams he would have it in his net… Cue more Singhas and JD and Coke!
Regular visitors Ann and Mac from Nantwich in Cheshire came again this month and it looked on Facebook as if Ann was counting the days until she got here. They always fish together; they started on the opposite side to the bungalows and although Mac had a 93lb carp the sun was getting too hot for Ann, so they asked for a move. We told them to just stay there a few more days until some other swims became available, and we are glad they listened to us because that day they had six carp, two of which were estimated at 90lb-plus, but even that was beaten by a huge fish caught by Mac weighing in at 113lbs. This was a fish we had not been seen before, and it seems that every other day another 100lb-plus fish is coming out. We are now noting distinguishing marks and recording how many of these huge fish are being landed and if any are repeat captures. After their stay here they had a few days seeing the highlights of Bangkok before they headed off to the cold UK, so see you next year.
Marius Iversen from Norway came with his wife Rasa and little girl Maria, with one thing in his mind – to catch a Julian’s golden carp. Marius tried everything, every method, and every bait, and every single time he hooked a fish we would say, “It’s running like a Julian’s” just to get him that little bit more nervous. I will say one thing for Marius – he fished at the right times, morning and late afternoon making sure he had some brownie points with his wife for the next trip – clever people these Norwegians.
Neil Mitchell and his friend Mike Roberts, both from Southport came this month. Neil had been here before two years ago but it was Mike’s first time. When they arrived, Joel as usual sat them both down to choose their swims and discuss tactics. I was on the next table just ear-wigging and this how the conversation went:
Joel: “I suggest you fish the swim this way.”
Mike: “I’m going to fish groundbait.”
Joel: “On some days that’s an option that can work.”
Mike: “I’m going to fish groundbait.”
Joel: “Not much has been coming out on that method.”
Mike: “I’m going to fish groundbait.”
Joel: “Believe me Mike, I know the lake. I suggest this – I fished that swim yesterday and had nothing on groundbait.”
Mike: “I’m going to fish groundbait.”
This is how the conversation went for about twenty minutes and steam was just coming from Joel’s ears. From that day Mike was christened “groundbait”. On their first two days they fished groundbait and both blanked!
Mike would ask you a question and before you could give an answer another question was on his its way. He was just so keen it was infectious! Both of the lads decided to mix up their holiday by having half days here and there, but when they had a day where they shared a swim at the top of the lake they had the red-letter day of all red-letter days! The day before the gardeners were cutting back the water hyacinth in the bay, which always gets the arapaima and redtails on the feed, as many of the snails fall into the water and the bottom becomes stirred up. Both were due to fish two rods each, but so hectic was the action they ended up fishing one rod between them all day long. At the end of the day they had shared 24 runs between them ending in seven arapaima to 250lb, eight Amazon redtails to 75lb and one Asian redtail at 15lb. Even when they took a break they gracefully let their friend Rob from Holland have a go, and in 30 minutes he had one arapaima at 120lb and an Asian redtail at 15lb. When Rob had finished we even sneaked in an American couple who had two Amazons before they were back from lunch. What a day’s fishing! At one point all you could hear from their swim were two grown men sounding like they were on a rave in Ibiza. It’s not good when the angler next door was facing a blank in the face! Can’t say I blame them though. They both went onto catch Mekong on the float as well as Siamese carp to 80lb.
Mike Smith and his lovely girlfriend Fiona came for the second year running. Mike is a serious angler who loves his fishing and like he says, saves up all year so he can come here. He wasn’t going to miss a minute of fishing for anybody and that included poor Fiona. That meant he fished hard and ended up with one arapaima to 240lb, two Mekong to 145lb, six Siamese carp to 65lb, eight Amazon redtails to 65lb and one Asian redtail of 10lb.
The reason I’m writing about these two is you never get to know the true person and what lurks beneath the surface, and that is the case with Fiona. There she is with her blonde shoulder length hair looking like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth and every bit like Sandy from the film ‘Grease’, but then on the last couple of days the truth came out! First of all she let it slip that every day without fail she was going topless around the pool and didn’t bother to tell the lads. Shame on you, Fiona! If we had known that we would have drunk more water and then had to use the toilet by the pool more often.
But wait for it readers, there is more to come! Fiona used to read her book every day when sat with Mike and always used a bookmark for the pages. On her last day she left the book for other customers to read but forgot to remove the card she used for bookmark. Unfortunately for Fiona this bookmark fell into my hands. It’s a bit like that joke about when your wife says to you, “Tie me up and you can do anything you want” so you tie her up and go fishing! Clearly marked in bold letters on Fiona’s bookmark were the words, “Free sex voucher… only redeemable in the next 24 hours”.
Apparently that was on offer to Mike, and what did he do? Like any other proper angler from up north, he said, “No thanks love. I’ve got to be up early to go fishing.”
Clearly these two are madly in love with each other, but you see readers, that is what Gillhams does to you; it makes you fly half way around the world to a romantic exotic country and has the power to make you want to turn down an Olivia Newton John lookalike!
While we are on the subject of risqué stories, I got told a funny one this morning from Damien and Caroline Silkstone from Nottingham, which had Caroline giggling all over the place, and I wonder if the readers get what she means… Before you give me your answer, I did ask Caroline if she minded me retelling the tale. Damien, who works for Panasonic, and Caroline, a cabin crew member for Thompsons came for two days’ fishing. Damien was using a well-known bait for arapaima that we use here – chicken hearts. When the chicken hearts didn’t seem to be getting the bites, Caroline said that in her opinion she thought the arapaimas would prefer a “bit of head.” Can anyone enlighten me on what she found so funny? Answers on a postcard please! Damien caught two Amazon redtails to 45lb and five Siamese carp to 45lb. These two were a lovely couple and will be coming back I’m sure to see if Damien can catch can fulfil his dream of even bigger carp.
The Essex geezers, Westley Squibb (aka ‘the demolition man’), Jim Pipe (aka ‘Ron Jeremy’), Dan Holloway (aka Temazepam) and Tony Burrell (aka ‘the bone’) came to town this month. They left their girls’ white stiletto heels and vajazzles behind and came to enjoy themselves whatever happened. Westley was the leader of the pack, and he and Jim tried their hand on swims 3 and 5 where Jim bagged himself a lovely rohu of 18lbs. Meanwhile Dan was doing his version of Sleeping Beauty, never actually getting up to fish until the last few days of the holiday. Both Tony and Westley have huge koi ponds in their gardens with fish totaling more than £80,000 swimming around and take a yearly trip to Japan to buy their fish. It was fascinating to listen to how the breeders get to make a fish show its true colours – a bit of a science really.
When Dan finally got to do some fishing, and after losing the third fish in succession, he asked me where he was going wrong, and I replied, “Well, being born for a start.” Westley was desperate for a Julian’s and fished hard for them, and just when he thought his luck was out he got one. Well, I should say Dan got one, because Westley left his swim to watch one of the other lads land an arapaima, and you guessed it, off went his alarms, and there was Dan landing a Julian’s. You couldn’t write it, could you? It all came good for him in the end when he finally got his prize, a Julian’s all of 30lb. These four lads lit up the place with the Essex banter and were a true pleasure to have around, and I think we all hope they return sooner rather than later.
I might be a wee biased but when we get northerners here they are always the dog’s b@llocks, and that was the case with Mark and Mandy Wragg. A match angler at heart he was here for his 50th birthday, and what a pleasure it was to have him and Mandy here. They are diehard Sheffield United fans, so much so that they had the tattoos to prove it. He spoke with the broadest Yorkshire accent that you could get, and I was the one that translated the conversation to the other guides. It was sentences like “That was a reet good fish that worr,” that confused poor Joel. Mark had never fished for big fish before, but he has now, landing a Mekong of 120lb, eight Siamese carp to 80lb, three Amazon redtails to 40lb, a Chao Praya catfish to 65lb and the one he really wanted, an arapaima of 170lb. I’m sure if he gets his way Mark will be back, and we all hope so, as it would be great to see them again.
Two young teachers, both expats living Bangkok came for a two-day stay. Hayden Kneeshaw and Jenny Flounderfox had been looking forward to their trip for such a long time, and Hayden desperately wanted an Amazon redtail. On their first day all they had to show was an Asian redtail of around 5lbs, but it all came good on the second day when Hayden managed to bag two Amazons of 30lb and 40lb. Jenny was having none of it and pleaded that she could have the next fish, which she did, and played it like a true professional landing one at 35lb. I did ask if they were going to get married, so at least Jenny could lose her maiden name of Flounderfox, but like she said, was Kneeshaw much better? She has a point doesn’t she? Great to meet you both and we hope you return soon.
If you have ever watched ‘Only Fools and Horses’ you must have seen the episode where Del Boy hires a singer. I think he was called Tony Angelino to sing with Raquel who, unknown to them, cannot roll his R’s, and he ends up singing the classic Roy Orbison song ‘Crying’ although he pronounced it ‘Cwying’. The episode ended with him saying, “Bye Dewek, bye Waquel, bye Wodney” This was angler Mark Branson from Essex who came for a ten-day holiday. Never one to take the p@@s out of someone’s speech impediment, but Mark used to crack us up when he said, “I’ve got an awapaima on” or “Can you tie me a hair wig please Geoffwey?” He was a top bloke though, and if you ever thought it’s better to be a lucky angler than a good angler, then that was Mark. Whenever he threw a bait in the water he landed a fish. He had one day in a swim at the top of the lake and netted three arapaima: a small one by his standards at 150lb, and then one at 360lb and one at 380lb. That’s nearly 900lb of fish in one afternoon! He backed that up with a massive total for his holiday of one Asian redtail of 30lb, eight Siamese to 75 lb, four arapaima to 380lb, five Amazon redtails to 70lb and one Mekong at 120lb.
A Spanish flavour came to Gillhams this month in the shape of Eric Torres (no relation to the £50m flop at Chelsea). Eric from Gerona was formerly a guide on the River Ebro, and he is now sponsored by none other than Wiley X and Gardner to name just a few. Now some anglers who are sponsored can be a bit full of themselves, but not Eric; he was an absolute star and always up for a laugh. He used to video every capture and didn’t mind one bit, bearing in mind he was a Real Madrid fan, the rest of the guides singing ‘Barcelona’ in the background. I even treated the cameras to the Macarena dance, more commonly seen in the bars in Benidorm! When he wanted to be, he showed why he is an up and coming angler, landing fish with consummate ease whatever the species and ended up with a total of two Mekong to 140lb, one arapaima of 180lb, two Asian redtails to 45lb, nine Amazon redtails to 67lb, arawana to 8lb and ten carp to 75lb.
Andy and Sharon Lythgoe told me the story of how their local tackle shop in Southport was shutting down, which meant anglers had to go as far as Preston or Blackburn for their fishing needs, so what does he do? Of course he packs up his job as a carpenter and takes over the shop himself, and with a little help from his friends and the shop is going from strength to strength, so good luck to you pal. Andy’s trip didn’t start too well, but he soon got into the fish catching, but what he really wanted was a Siamese carp and he even booked a further night chasing his dream but it just wasn’t to be.
Another of our regular visitors came this month in the shape of Brian from Denmark and his lovely partner Pui from Thailand. They both live in Phuket now where Brian runs one of Europe’s biggest online dating agencies. I had a look at some of the ladies advertising on the site and they were absolutely stunning. I can never get my head around why such beautiful ladies need to join something like this. All they have to do is call me! I did ask Pui how I would get on if I uploaded my profile, and without a word from her lips the look she gave me said it all. So after thinking about it for a nanosecond I decided to give it a miss!
Brian is a frequent visitor here, coming four or five times a year and we got a shock when we saw him this time. The poor sod had been really ill with a bacterial infection, which made him lose more than 20kg. I did ask him if it was the sort of bacterial infection you can get at Boots the chemist because I could do with losing a few pounds myself, but by the look on Brian’s face I think the joke sort of got lost in translation if you know what I mean.
Obviously his rapid weight loss and illness had left him quite week, and it wasn’t really realised until Brian hooked into an angry 280lb arapaima that took him all over the lake. There was me barking at him like a sergeant major to put more effort in, and poor old Brian, being physically spent, nearly threw the rod at me in anger but carried on, and eventually landed the fish. Brian being Brian immediately apologised because there normally isn’t an angry bone in his body, and like he said, he just had nothing left. I suppose some of the other guides and I can sound like we are barking orders at some anglers: “Get the rod down… play the fish above its head… give it more pressure etc etc.” It can seem that we are getting on your tits but I can assure you we know the capability of the equipment and want each and every one of you to land every fish. In Brian’s case I was not fully aware of how his illness had affected him so I probably went too far, and I’m sorry for that. With that in mind if I do it to you when you have a 300lb monster on the end of your line, I don’t mean it, honest!
Right, back to Brian… Knowing that he had lost some of his strength you would think he would take it easy, but that isn’t Brian, as on consecutive days he purposely fished for Mekong (I know, I know – don’t ask me why). Not only did he fish for them but he caught them at 140lb and 210lb. In total Brian’s catches were 11 fish of three species with the biggest being an arapaima of 250lb. He is back here again in three weeks, probably stronger and ready to do it all over again. We look forward to seeing Brian and from all the team at Gillhams, we hope you fully recover from your illness.
Finally, apologies to Jamie Cook and his wife Denise along with their good friends Vic Bush and wife Heather, whose name for the love of god I could not remember (it’s terrible this old age). So thanks to Steve Mayo for that! They came last month and I forgot to give them a mention, but with upwards of 30 to 40 customers each month it’s nearly impossible to fit everyone in but I do try, honest I do! Jamie and Vic are both fishery owners in their own right from Somerset and came on holiday and mixed up their fishing, fishing one day and then keeping the ones who must be obeyed happy by spending the next day sightseeing. Some may say they got it right, as they fished at premium times in the day and ended up with a really mixed bag of fish. I’m not sure if they were over here spying and you never know, when you next hook a fish in Somerset it might just have a red tail. If you do no doubt Vic and Jamie’s heating bill for their lakes will be a lot more than it is now. (sorry no photos of Vic)
Well that’s my stint writing these reports done and dusted. Yes folks, I am off back to the wrong side of Watford. Back to Manchester the multi-race city that has two football teams – one that is struggling and the others who wear blue! Next month you have the southern slant back composing the newsletter in the shape of two chubby Gillhams who are at an all time high weight after two months in the UK!
We look forward to seeing old and new customers over the next year, however please do not leave booking too late. Gillhams does get booked a long way in advance; many anglers have been disappointed lately when leaving booking to the last minute only to find we are full. We strongly advise you to make plans ASAP and contact Stuart. We get many emails through our website that have the wrong email address, so if you do not receive a reply within 48 hours please resend your email and check your address is correct. Alternatively you can contact Stuart by phone on +66 (0) 861644554. Please remember Thailand is +6 hours GMT – if you wake up Mr. Grumpy expect a curt response.
Best wishes from all the team here at Gillhams. May your next fish be a monster, which it probably will be if you visit us here in paradise.