A belated Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year to all our followers of this report on the exotic fishing in Thailand here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts. Once again apologies for the delay with this newsletter; we are still struggling to get caught up from last month. What with the new lake extension gathering speed, Christmas and my six-monthly health check, there are not enough hours in the day.
It has been a worry this month as this was my first six-monthly check after three all clears on the three-monthly checks. Due to the dreaded big C running in my family Sean accompanied me for a check-up as well, and we are both very pleased to announce that we were given the all clear. So for Sean his next check up is in ten years, and for me two more six-monthly checks and then yearly.
As mentioned above, the new lake extension is now flying along, and digging the lake has been a breeze, especially with the help of our good friend Mick Murray. Mick flew over from the UK to take charge of the machines digging the lake; he specialises in this kind of work at home, and we were lucky he could spare a month to help. Prior to starting excavating the lake we had to move the stream, so what should have been an easy job became a nightmare. Previously we had a concrete stream round the lake with twin 1.5m pipes underground for 150m. This new job entailed extending the concrete stream for 25m and then nearly 800 1m pipes plus three 90-degree concrete turning points. We thought the only awkward areas would be the first 75m as it was lower ground containing springs, then the job should have been simple, as with the higher ground there should be no springs.
How wrong could we be? The springs continued all the way till the last 20m when we encountered solid rock, so this had to be dynamited by the local demolition man. A four-month job became a seven-month job, but 800 pipes later along with over a 1,000 tons of rock, 3,000 tons of sand and nearly 300 cubic metres of ready-mix concrete, we finally finished two days before Mick arrived! As we finished a run of pipes our hard working team of gardeners made an excellent job of laying 1,400 square metres of turf. As I write this we are one week into the digging and to date no problems. Three quarters of the lake extension is dug, ten new swims have been created, and we are well on target to complete before our planned date of the 16th January. After this it will be a case of treating the new lakebed and spreading some 100 tons of elephant poo to get all the microorganisms going, and then flooding the new addition and getting the water quality perfect before taking the central causeway out and joining the two waterways together and creating a 12-acre lake from the present nine acres.
While we wait for the water to stabilise we can get on with planting trees and shrubs, plus reeds etc to make the whole area look like its been here for ever. Many people are asking us when the works will be finished and the lake bigger, but at the moment we cannot say as it depends on the water quality being as perfect as the existing lake already is. Hopefully the water will be right within six months, and then it will be a case of finding a quiet week and taking the middle out. My guess is that by next November everything will be complete. In the meantime we have a couple of weeks of disturbance before tranquility returns.
HMS White Elephant was finally ready to head out to Krabi’s many islands and snorkelling areas this month; or so we thought! After paying out more money on our new boat we thought it was finally time to give it a test run. Before the boat was put into its new home five minutes down the road at the docks, we filled it up with 120 litres of fuel only to find two miles out at sea we were running on fumes. We were scratching our heads trying to figure out how we had already used 120 litres of fuel, and we found that the fuel pipe running from to the tank had been removed and we had actually pumped all the petrol straight into the hull of the boat. There had been another tank fitted but still we were told on purchasing the boat to fill up what we now know was the old tank. Extinguishing our cigarettes very quickly, we now made a slow retreat back to the dock, where we had to drain all the fuel out and clean the boat. Once this work was complete and the correct place to put the fuel was located, we set sail for a day exploring the many islands, only for the next disaster to rear its head. The engine we had just paid good money to have overhauled ran for 15 minutes before spluttering and coughing to a halt, we managed to limp home and once again we are waiting for a new mechanic to service the engine properly! If anyone out there wants to buy a fully serviced with all new parts 7m rib, please contact us, as we are just about fed up with being weekend sailors!
With the New Year approaching, so are the fishing shows, and you can see us at the following shows in 2013: 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 their 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 last day of each show, meaning each show will have its own prize up for grabs of seven nights’ accommodation with six days’ fishing for one angler with one 20kg bag of pellet, excluding flights, meals and drinks.
The following is causing us problems meeting clients from flights: Krabi airport now has two terminals and they put passengers through both terminals. If you are arriving directly into Krabi on an international flight you will be exiting via terminal one. Should you be on an international flight to Bangkok and check your baggage through to Krabi you will also exit through terminal one.
Should you check your baggage in at Bangkok you will exit arrivals via terminal two. Please inform us which terminal you will be coming through so our driver can be at the correct terminal, if you arrive and our driver is not waiting for you in arrivals hall they could be at the other terminal, especially if we have people arriving at both terminals at once. All Air Asia flights from Bangkok exit via terminal two. Confusing I know, and why Krabi airport do this is totally beyond me!
Which leads me onto Gillham’s Gripe:
We designed, built and stocked the lake here on our own without using any outside help, through hard work and experience with construction and fishery management and a considerable knowledge of fish and their dietary requirements. We created the perfect environment for our fish, and the sizes the fish have achieved is beyond anyone’s imagination. We have produced, and continue to produce, top quality fish, and more people have caught personal best fish from our lake than any other fishery. The resort gets rave reviews from everyone who visits here; we are also number one on Trip Advisor and have hosted many fishing programs. We weigh fish if they are a higher than average size and hold three IGFA records plus we have held three previous IGFA records subsequently beaten here with bigger fish. We do not unnecessarily weigh fish just to boast “X” amount of fish of certain sizes, but through experience and handling thousands of big fish our estimates are very accurate.
There are some very good commercial fisheries in Thailand, which are run by professional, hardworking people who understand what people want. There are also many poor fisheries over here run by clowns with little knowledge, and these places just take anglers’ hard-earned money and give Thailand and themselves a bad name. We never mouth off other fisheries; some fisheries in Thailand are poorly run with overstocked abused fish, and some are run by totally inexperienced people with very little knowledge. We never talk about them or run them down, as to do so would be unprofessional and belittle what we have achieved; instead we let the public judge for themselves and these people will tell others if a fishery is good or bad.
So why do the people from poor fisheries with poor fish think that by slagging us and other good fisheries off they will make the public choose them? We continually hear of other fishery owners criticizing us, stating our fish are not as big as we say and that many of our pictures are Photoshopped. These same pillocks claim we do not know what we are doing – strange because we have too many good reviews and pictures of big fish to be lying!
Recently a new operator on the scene has started to make snide comments about me and our fishery, making all sorts of shit remarks about me personally, my knowledge of fish and fishery management. I tried to help this person, and in return got stabbed in the back and have had dirty remarks and bullshit said about me. Our fish have got to the size they are by knowledge about diet, habitat and water control, and we grow small fish to large sizes here on site. We suffer loses and have parasite problems, which result in fish deaths in our stock ponds, but this will happen however careful you are due to a lot of fish in a small pond. To make growing fish on viable you have to have high stocking levels, and problems accelerate under these circumstances and losses occur. But this operator has virtually zero knowledge of anything to do with fishery management and chooses to make up bullshit stories and exaggeration of what is happening here all to promote his new venture. I won’t name him yet unless he continues to name me and my fishery, telling one side of a story and failing to mention his underhand dealings and fish kills created by his own stupidity. I suppose using the name Gillhams Fishing Resorts and my own name will push him into Google rankings, but by slagging me off all he will do is push people away from his new venture. What a shame he does not have the knowledge or name to be able to achieve his objective, and feels that by talking crap about me and my fishery will make people flock to his untried and untested fishery.
You know who you are and unlike you I have not named you or your fishery – all I will do is let people judge for themselves. Our name has been built on big fish, a beautiful resort and knowledge of what we are doing. The facts are we have huge grown-on fish, and have hundreds of repeat bookings and recommendations from unknown and famous anglers worldwide. I have a good name in fishing and fishery management, but you are unknown and know nothing. All the money in the world will not buy years of personal achievements, or are hundreds of people who know me all wrong? Apart from my fishing career and what I created here, I have also helped many charities and people throughout my life, so why question my honesty? Hundreds of people worldwide know what we have done and how many people I have helped. Many of you will know who I am referring to and will hear his crap; I will leave you all to judge for yourselves and avoid the pretender who is trying to promote his fishery by slagging off ours.
I could rant on for ages because I am seething, but who really wants to read about pathetic disputes? My advise to anyone coming fishing in Thailand is research the fish and fishing, read unbiased reviews and avoid the fisheries slagging off others, as they obviously have nothing to offer you apart from badmouthing the successful operators. Names are built on reputation, not pathetic backstabbing. Nuff said!
So, on to the fishing here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts: The total catches for people fishing in Krabi this month are as follows: 691 fish of 27 species, made up as follows: 71 arapaima to 400lb, 13 arawana to 11lb, five alligator gar to 45lb, 98 Amazon redtail catfish to 80lb, 98 Asian redtail catfish to 30lb, nine black pacu to 34lb, four big head carp to 22lb, two Chinese seerfish to 14lb, two firewood catfish to 7lb, two gourami to 4lb, five giant stingray to 60lb, five giant snakehead to 10lb, nine giant featherback to 10lb, eight Julian’s golden carp to 25lb, 142 Mekong catfish to 220lb, four mrigal to 14lb, two ripsaw catfish to 25lb, three rohu to 10lb, 15 spotted featherback to 8lb, 157 Siamese carp to 110lb, six shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 28lb, four snakehead to 3lb, eight shovel nosed tiger catfish to 9lb, one striped catfish of 18lb, two tambaqui to 27lb, 12 wallago attu to 25lb, four wallago leeri to 35lb.
Long time family friend Johnny Swann returned with his son Daniel plus Dan’s girlfriend Samantha for a two-week trip. Since their last trip Dan has taken up fly-fishing and after months of chucking fluff in fields around Hastings it was finally time to try for a real fish. Daniels first fly-fishing adventure was up in the bay that is closed off to bait fishing. This bay draws the fish to the area for a rest from the bait-fishing anglers. Luckily for the fish Dan hadn’t spent enough time in the fields and only managed to catch trees, bushes and on the odd occasion himself. As the trip went on Dan was trying his hardest to catch an arapaima on the fly and managed to hook several, but every time they took his fly he failed to set the hook. Even though the arapaima were proving to be difficult, Dan did become the first angler to catch a Julian’s golden carp on a fly at Gillhams. The fish took a fry pattern, which proves that all species do at certain times fry feed, and the tarpon also frustrated Dan by rolling continually in front of him. Dan ended up bait fishing and landed 13 fish of eight species, including a personal best Siamese carp of 85lb, Mekong catfish to 150lb, plus a couple of new species with giant featherback and a mrigal carp that super guide Ree still claims was a rohu, bless him! Sam even managed a few with a featherback, Amazon redtail catfish and a Siamese carp, just turning up on odd evenings, picking a rod up, throwing a bait out and catching every time within five minutes, and then retreating back to the swimming pool, claiming it’s boring when the fishing is so easy!
Johnny has for a long time wanted to catch an arapaima on fly, and he had purchased a new Sage 12wt rod especially for this trip. Johnny, being one of the most unselfish people you could ever meet, never used his new toy, leaving Dan to put the new bit of kit through its paces. Johnny went on to catch the most fish with 24 fish of six species including ten arapaima with his two biggest being 340lb and 380lb, also landing Siamese carp to 75lb and Mekong catfish to 140lb. After their first week John’s friends Graham Crook and Jim Edmunds joined them for a week, and while Graham struggled and only landed a few fish, Jim went on to land 14 fish with his two biggest being a Siamese carp of 85lb and a Mekong catfish of 200lb. In total 53 fish of nine species were caught between the four anglers.
Next up was an interesting trio with Belgium angler Ivo Druyts, Brit Paul Sharpe and a French guy, Sten Hendrix. I would like to write a lot about this trip but some strange things occurred, and its best I do not mention anything about what happened! (Pity really, because it would have made an excellent gripe section!). Between the three of them, 48 fish were caught with 11 different species. Ivo caught lots of big fish including Mekong catfish to 160lb and a Siamese carp of 105lb. Paul also had Mekong catfish to 165lb but his biggest catch was an arapaima of 300lb. Sten caught a total of 12 fish with his biggest being a Mekong catfish of 180lb. To those of you who were visiting here at the time, you all know the story for those of you who are intrigued ask me in private.
Nick Young from Leeda Tackle made a return trip, trying to up his previous PBs, and also to escape a busy workload. Joining Nick was his friend Carl Jones, a tackle shop owner who unfortunately became ill before his arrival, forcing him to miss the first day and a half due to not being able to leave his beloved toilet for more than a couple of minutes! By the time Carl was brave enough to put the strain of fighting a fish on his bowels, the fishing part of his trip was coming to and end before it started, due to the arrival of his girlfriend who he had promised to take out on day trips. Luckily she took pity on him and allowed him a few extra days’ fishing trying for his ultimate fish. Carl caught 18 fish of five species, including Mekong catfish to 170lb, Amazon redtail catfish to 80lb, Siamese carp to 80lb and was rewarded in the end with a 260lb arapaima. Nick also caught plenty of good fish with a total of 20 fish including Siamese carp to 85lb, arapaima and his biggest fish of the trip, a Mekong catfish of 170lb. Nick could probably have caught more, but as he was on holiday he enjoyed afternoon siestas, and on one occasion went for a couple of hours at 1pm and didn’t wake up until gone 7pm. Since his return Nick has been complaining that the fish in Gillhams are too big – now these are the kind of complaints we like!
Andy Cartwright returned again with personal guide Neil Robinson for a three-day trip, with Julian’s golden carp on his wish list. Unfortunately for Andy he didn’t get his Julian’s but did manage a personal best arapaima of 400lb. He was unable to get a picture due to Harry Palmer going crazy in the cage and smashing it to pieces, escaping before a picture could be taken. That evening down the bar Andy also took a crazy turn like the arapaima, and after knocking back sambucas, tequila and anything else he could find, he turned from a quiet guy into a raging bull and even referred to Geoff as a young looking Jimmy Saville. Andy had a change of luck with the stingray and after losing one on every trip in the past he finally landed his first giant freshwater stingray. In total Andy caught 12 fish of seven species with some new PBs, but no Julian’s.
Next to arrive was Dave Peacock and Steve Lee with their wives, who are also sisters. This was Dave’s third visit to Gillhams – his first visit was on honeymoon. In total 16 fish of nine species were caught with new PBs for Dave when he caught Siamese carp to 80lb and Mekong catfish to 210lb.
German anglers, Stefan, Reiner and Gurd made their return trip with ten days’ fishing and all went on to catch big fish. Between them they landed 28 fish of six species including two arapaima of 200lb and 260lb, Mekong catfish to 200lb and Siamese carp of 90lb. It’s always a pleasure when these guys visit; they are all good anglers and although they take the fishing seriously they are also fun to be with.
Gillhams regular Stretton Honour made his second trip of the year, this time with his wife Som, who although being Thai has picked up her husband’s dry sense of humour. Som has lived in England for twenty years and has also picked up the strong Northern accent, greeting people with, “Ey up love,” when they’re expecting a traditional Thai greeting. Som helped us last year for an hour at the Coventry fishing show; she sold more raffle tickets in an hour than we sold all weekend! While Stretton was fishing, Som, feeling bored, helped our cleaners with the rooms. Imagine the customers’ surprise when greeted with, “Ey up duck, we have come to clean your room.” Stretton was once again on the hunt for Siamese carp, of which he had ten to 90lb and Mekong catfish to 165lb. In total Stretton landed 22 fish of six species.
Unfortunately for other guests we also had the return of Les Bamford, and without his wife being here we thought it would be a constant battle (“Les don’t do that, Les stop swearing, Les put some clothes on, etc). Surprisingly he wasn’t actually that bad. Also with Les was Nick Roberts and his annoying laugh, sounding like an infant seal that Jimmy Saville had got to grips with. Nick arrived four days before Les in order to get some fishing in before hitting the sambuca every day with Les. Nick also took a fall and twisted his knee, having to take a trip to the hospital for strapping and a bag of goodies. Les didn’t land many fish, but still managed a PB Siamese of 85lb, plus a Mekong catfish of 170lb. Les did lose a lot more Mekong than he landed, and after every one had to return to either his bed or the bar for the rest of the day. Nick caught a total of six species including stingrays, Amazon redtail catfish, an alligator gar of 40lb and Mekong catfish to 180lb.
Dean Macey made his return this month with wife Lisa. This trip was actually the honeymoon Dean had been promising Lisa for years! Joining them was Vince Rogers with his wife Bev. Both Dean and Vince had dreams of catching a 100lb-plus Siamese carp after catching Mekongs, arapaima and other species on previous trips. While here the plan was one day’s fishing and one day off on day trips, but as Bev and Lisa enjoyed just relaxing around the resort pool, they decided that Dean and Vince could carry on fishing, as long as they took the girls on a sea kayak trip, plus an elephant trek with a last night romantic steak dinner. Now anyone who knows these two couples will tell you they are quiet and not the party type, but we did get them into the bar, and then the hard job was getting them out! Les Bamford decided that Bev looked like a policewoman, and harassed her all night with his gangster stories and tales of drug abuse!
Deano, who is a foot closer to the stars than your average giraffe, when he is a bit inebriated, looks a bit like a giraffe on ice! Dean fished as hard as he could, trying to catch as many fish as possible and possibly even his 100lb carp. Apparently when he was a young boy Dean had seen a picture of a Siamese carp and his life’s dream was to catch one over the magic 100lb barrier. Vince was a lot more laid back and was just enjoying the holiday side of things, relaxing and getting as many good photos of Dean’s fish as possible. Vince got into the 100lb carp club first when we weighed a carp for him at 110lb. Dean, not to be outdone, followed him into the ton up club with a Siamese carp weighed at 108lb. Dean landed a total of forty fish of eight species including Mekong catfish to 200lb, arapaima to 340lb and a few new species including firewood catfish, wallago attu and snakehead. Vince caught nine fish of three species including a new personal best Mekong catfish of 220lb. Between them they caught a total of 27 Siamese carp with the smallest one at 45lb.
The next visitor was Paul Howard who came to Gillhams for the first time with his wife after winning a competition in Big Carp magazine two years ago for a free fishing holiday. This wasn’t the first time Mark had won a fishing holiday in Big Carp magazine – two years prior to this win he had entered another draw and got a holiday to France for a week. Paul even told us how a few days before he received an email telling him he had won, he had dreamt that he opened the magazine to see his name as the winner. Paul and his wife booked an extra couple of nights with us so that they could also see some of Krabi’s attractions as well as the fishing. As Paul had never fished away from Europe before, all species were new to him so he had no specific target apart from the usual arapaima, Siamese carp, Mekong etc. He struggled at the beginning of the trip – no reason for the slow start; it was just that the fish did not want to play. But by the end of the trip he caught 22 fish of six different species; Siamese carp to 55lb, Mekong catfish to 180lb and arapaima to 200lb as well as Amazon redtail catfish, Asian redtail catfish and arawana.
Steve Cook came over for a birthday trip with his wife for ten nights with six days’ fishing. While here Steve had a birthday to remember when he caught four arapaima with the two biggest at 360lb and 400lb. He also landed Mekong catfish to 160lb, plus Siamese carp to 85lb. Mixing his fishing with day trips he caught a total of 17 fish of seven species. He could have caught more but was dragged away screaming from the lake to keep his promise to go on some day trips!
That just about sums up another month’s exotic fishing in Thailand. Hopefully the next newsletter will hit your screens on time next month, but please don’t hold your breath! In next month’s newsletter we will be releasing dates to fish with the stars, and confirmed already are Ardy Veltkamp, Dean Macey, Ron Buss and Spug Redfern. If he can find time to get away from his new bait company, Frank Warrick is also trying to find a suitable date. Some other top names from the angling world are also trying to put dates together and we will be announcing these as soon as they are confirmed.
Don’t forget if they are slagging off the opposition they have nothing to offer but bullshit – stick with the ones that don’t use underhand tactics and you won’t go wrong. If you ask us for alternative fishing in Thailand we will gladly tell you the best ones, but unfortunately we can’t name the bad ones (at least not in writing!).
Best wishes to everyone for 2013 and may all your dreams come true. If you book up a trip to Gillhams Fishing Resorts I am sure they will. To contact us please email email@example.com or phone +66861644554.
From all the team here at Gillhams, thanks for all your support. Best wishes from Stuart and Sean.