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Krabi newsletter September 2011

Hello all. Once again the time has flown by and it’s time for the fishing in Thailand newsletter. This month’s report on the fishing in Krabi will be short, as I have some personal issues that are causing me to have writer’s block. I am having to write this newsletter between hotels and the resort as October is also going to see me in Bangkok more than Krabi. I have spent most weeks in Bangkok with Benz as I am trying to put things right between us. Hopefully we are slowly getting things sorted, and one good thing is I have got to understand my faults. Also I’ve seen many sights I have never had time to see before. My most memorable was visiting the grand palace on the 28th September with Benz – what a truly awesome place! I have been meaning to visit this historic location for years. I would recommend anyone spending time in Bangkok to set time aside to visit this amazing place. One thing to bear in mind though is you cannot enter wearing shorts or vests; I was wearing shorts, and had to rent the crazy looking hippie strides in the picture!

It seems like my weather reports are all about rain, and this year has seen more rain fall than any other in memory. The end of this month has seen some huge weather fronts pummeling the Philippines, and we have been getting the tail end of these. Couple this with the last of the Indian monsoons, which are yearly occurrence, and Thailand has been hit with a deluge of rain. My friends in India tell me the monsoons have finished a month early there, and as we always get their monsoons hopefully we are at the end. Certainly as I write this the weather is calming down with lots of blue skies and short showers. So it’s roll on the dry season; we have all had enough of the rain, apart from the fish that is, as they have responded to all the rain and fresh water in the lake making the fishing in Thailand this year the best ever.

The new fly and lure fishing lake is a month behind with stocking, as the lake has had an influx of muddy water. We have had trouble getting turf to settle the banks as the weather has made it impossible for the turf suppliers to cut the turf. Thankfully we managed to talk one supplier into cutting for us, and the lake is surrounded by a nice carpet of grass. This has stopped the dirty water entering the lake and another four weeks will see the water good enough to stock with all our exotic fish who are outgrowing the stock ponds. Hopefully all will go to plan now and the new lake will be open for Christmas. The rules are simple – eight weight and above for fly fishing, and for lure fishing, rubber lures with single hooks – all hooks to be barbless.

I am getting a lot of people telling me the newsletter is not online. The newsletter is there; they are just making the same mistake as many others do and not clearing their browsing history. What you need to do is go onto Internet Explorer, and at the top of the page is your toolbar. Click on ‘tools’ and you will see ‘delete browsing history’. Click on that, and if you click delete, you only lose browsing history so don’t worry. Once you have deleted the history, retype on you search bar ‘’ and you will get the updated version rather than a previously visited one. This often happens when you have our website set in favorites – you will visit the website before it was updated.

Lord Bailey shocked everybody this month by actually doing something for himself. When he turned up, he was seen taking his 500kg of bait and tackle to his room on a trolley, and hadn’t paid somebody to do it for him, or at least push it, that is. He will still be paying the gardeners to set his rods up and tie his hooks on for him, bless. While here his lordship landed 33 fish of ten species including Siamese carp to 80lb, arapaima to 190lb, Julian’s golden prize carp and a ripsaw catfish. Mike continues to pile on the pudding, and on a recent trip to Korea he was invited to a client’s grand opening, where, upon going for a dump, the newly installed toilet seat exploded under his bulk. No excuses there, Mike, as you were the first dumpling on it! I have been on the Atkins diet myself, and in five weeks 12 kilos have disappeared from my bulk, and people have stopped throwing harpoons at me. One drawback is you only have a five-second warning, but at least I am not breaking toilet seats!

Talking of fat, Scott the gay guide returned this month at a new personal best weight in excess of 100kg. He is also on a diet – the “see food and eat it” diet! I might as well carry on having a pop at the guides now I have started… Richard ‘Handsome Man’ Larkin is one to watch; he was gardening by a bungalow the other day when he spied a female guest hanging her draws out to dry, and remarked how nice they were fluttering in the breeze (competition for Scott I think!). Matt the brown-fingered gardener left this month to start his new life as a family man in Bangkok. Matt surprised us all when out of the blue he announced his girlfriend was giving birth to a new son, now named Tyler. It was a shame to lose Matt and we all wish him the best of luck in his new job and with his new family. Handsome Man Richard has now moved into Matt’s old job. Lee aka Mr. Ree who had never seen a Siamese carp until coming here four months ago has become the leading authority on Gillhams fish species by telling customers what sex the carp are by their size. I know it works here with the staff as Scott is fat and a male the same as me, but fish? Come on Mr. Ree; it’s story time. Lee is also drawing maps for customers on where to fish and what time each species will be at home – bloody amazing! Perhaps I will ask him where to fish next time.

We also had a smashing young man come from Sparsholt College on work experience. He is studying fishery management, and if anyone out there is looking for a future fishery manager this young lad is brilliant. He has a wealth of knowledge on fish and their habitat, and his skills with the public are second to none. If we were looking for a trainee manager we would snap up his services. Jonathan’s bad points are that he is fascinated by ladymen, and took a shine to Handsome Man Richard Larkin, sitting on uncle Richard’s knee at every opportunity. For a small chap he eats like a horse, and thankfully was only here few weeks or we would have gone bankrupt. He showed Scott up by being able to eat spicier food than him, and eat the same amount of grub, without getting fat (or did he just work the weight off, which fatty Scott finds too hard to achieve?). A famous TV angler was here this month shooting a new series but due to contract reasons we are not allowed to mention who this monster fish angler is. Once details are available about when the filming will be made public we will post times and channel etc on our site.

Gillhams Gripe this month is completely different to normal, as I have named the angler – Les Bamford. Why? Because everything Les gets up to is what I gripe about! Obviously I can only name Les because he is a friend, and his record of appalling antics has been written about in various angling publications over many years. Les actually is proud of his many antics, and seems to take a perverse pleasure in being famous for the wrong reasons – he actually asked us if he could be in the gripe section (strange man!). So, Les, you asked for it, so you get it, and to anyone reading this, don’t worry, we only book Les in when the lake is empty, or when people who know him are here.

He’s always moaning about the lack of fish he’s catching when others around him are hauling. The solution is simple – try getting out of bed, fishing for more than an hour, and check the features in your swim. Also only fishing the odd hour here and there and moaning because we will not hold a swim for him while he sleeps and gets rat-arsed in the bar. Swearing and passing wind in the restaurant, drinking vast amounts of alcohol and then saying we have loaded his bill are more of his favourites. Les gets a 50% discount as an old friend, and also we can sell him last minute bookings if we are sure nobody is in who he would offend, but still this does not stop him wanting free bait and free food!

One morning Sean moved Les down to A1 swim before he woke up at the crack of midday. He was not happy about fishing a swim he referred to as crap, saying that there are no fish in A1 swim. Knowing better than the guides that practically live on the lake, Les chose his own swim and continued to blank. While Les blanked for the odd half hour that he fished each day, he then watched from the bar as another angler in A1 banked loads of fish and went on to moan that they were being put in better swims than him. TWAT!

During one drunken bout, Les thought he was walking to the shower room when he walked out of his front door in the clothes he was born in, just as Jack was walking down the path with his child minder. The poor girl fled in horror, and has vowed never to work here again when Les is in residence! They say everything comes back to haunt you, and for Les it certainly did. He always supplements the cost of his drinking by filling his case with cigarettes and selling them back in the UK, but this time his luck ran out and the customs at Heathrow pulled him, confiscating all his contraband and warning him of certain arrest for a repeat performance! Les has actually been given a final warning by me that his antics will no longer be tolerated. He has promised to mend his ways and be the perfect guest, so let’s hope he is true to his word, or his next visit to Gillhams will be his last. As Les is mentioned above we decided to include Sean’s catch report for him below…

Les Bamford once again made a return visit, and after taking a cheap flight that took him two days to get here, including a ten-hour stop in another airport where he drank a bottle of Jack Daniels before he passed out in the departure lounge and shat himself. He then had the same pants on for the rest of the journey, and on arrival still didn’t change or wash for a whole day. When Les arrived here you could smell him not just because of his soiled underwear but also because of the two-day air travel with 4kg of unfrozen mackerel in his bags with blood and other juices leaking through and soaking the rest of his clothes. Les was also quick to inform us that this trip was all about the fishing, but still the rods didn’t come out on arrival. Instead Les started drinking and ended in the evening by knocking back a bottle of sambuca before heading back to his room where he fell backwards down the steps and through the bushes, losing his glasses.

As the second day came around everybody was shocked to see him fishing at seven in the morning, thinking that maybe he was telling the truth and was here to fish, but after just one hour of fishing, and already on his sixth beer, Les packed up and headed for the bar where he sat for the rest of the day drinking and insulting anybody that came near him. By the time his fifth day came round, Les had managed a full three and half hours of fishing, and still couldn’t understand why everybody else was catching. After more bollocks about how he was fishing hard but struggling to catch, Terry Thompson decided to help Les on the agreement that he wouldn’t drink through the days and put in more effort, which to be fair, he did start to do. But as for not drinking, about every half hour Les would return to his room saying he was going to the toilet, but instead guzzling cans of beer until he was too drunk to walk back. When he got rumbled he then just started filling empty coke cans with beer so that Terry wouldn’t know he was drinking.

Les went on to catch some good fish even though on one occasion as his rod screamed off he actually struck the wrong rod, saying that the fish had dropped the bait, even with the other rod screaming and Terry shouting that he had picked up the wrong rod. One day as the rains started, Les packed up and was in the bar at noon and got straight on the sambuca and whiskey before passing out two hours later in the restaurant. By the time the trip was over, surprisingly, Les had caught everything he came to catch with Siamese carp over 50lb and arapaima over 100lb. He even managed a few new species including a 20lb red umbrella on a back cast. In total Les caught 24 fish of eight species with carp to 75lb and arapaima to 200lb.

So onto the fishing in Krabi… The total catch for the month is as follows: 614 fish of 29 species, made up as follows: 35 arapaima to 340lb, three arawana to 8lb, seven alligator gar to 30lb, 197 Amazon red tail catfish to 65lb, one Amazon spotted stingray of 15lb, 37 Asian red tail catfish to 40lb, 11 black pacu to 25lb, five big head carp to 20lb, eight Chinese seerfish to 11lb, three giant featherback to 10lb, one firewood catfish of 5lb, one giant snakehead of 5lb, two Hoven’s carp to 5lb, 15 Julian’s golden prize carp to 35lb, seven Mekong catfish to 160lb, seven mrigal to 8lb, five rohu carp to 15lb, three ripsaw catfish to 18lb, one Rita sacerdotum of 20lb, 32 spotted featherback to 9lb, two striped catfish to 20lb, 198 Siamese carp to 80lb, four striped snakehead to 2lb, 15 shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 35lb, three shovel nosed tiger catfish to 12lb, one tilapia of 4lb, five tambaqui to 35lb, Two wallago attu to 20lb and three wallago leeri to 20lb, plus one red umbrella of 15lb!

Terry ‘No Legs’ Thompson arrived this month. Now Terry and I go back years to when we carp fished together around Europe, and Terry was the character I called ‘No Legs’ in the chapter I wrote for Rob Maylin’s book, Bazil’s Bush. Terry has a very powerful upper body and 18-inch legs. He is a proud tipper truck driver, and once when we fished Harefield he caught a 30lb-plus carp and trusted me to submit his catch to the weekly fishing comics, where I put his occupation down as a lady’s hairdresser! Terry came for two weeks with wife Tracey. I went to meet him at the airport, and not having seen him for 15 years, I wondered if I would recognize him. Well, apart from swapping his jet-black hair to grey, being about 20 stone heavier and wearing glasses, Terry hadn’t changed a bit (well his legs were the same length!). Terry hasn’t fished for sixteen years after getting disillusioned about the way carp fishing has changed over the last 20 years, but he always puts 100% effort into whatever passion he is indulging in, and is now into horse training. He trains and breeds trotting horses, and is a well-known name in this field.

Terry didn’t take long to get back into his fishing and fished the whole two weeks even though he had told Tracey he would fish the first week then look around Krabi on the second. Terry even proved to be a sucker for punishment when he took pity on Les Bamford’s attempts at fishing, and told Les to fish the swim next to him so he could help him. He even tried to ban him from drinking beer through the day, leaving Les having to hide his beer in cans of coke. Terry fished as effectively as he had twenty years ago and went on to catch 69 fish of eleven species including his first 40lb carp. By the end of his stay he had landed 29 Siamese carp upping his best on a daily basis including three 70lb plus fish up to a cracker of 78½ lb, and he also landed his biggest ever fish with a cracking 180lb arapaima.

Darren Bremner, one of Angling Direct’s and our regular clients, came for another week, catching 38 fish of nine species for the week, before the madness of Phuket for the second week of his holiday. Included in Darren’s haul were two new personal bests with arapaima to 180lb and a Siamese carp of 75lb. Another angler to visit via Angling Direct was Dave Massey who booked a five-day trip while on his way to stay with friends in Phuket. Only being used to match fishing, Dave took a while to get used to the heavy gear, but soon settled and landed twenty-three fish including a new PB when he landed a 300lb arapaima.

Lloyd Andreas came for two days fishing while his wife and friends came along as spectators. It was Lloyd’s birthday treat, hoping to catch a bigger fish than his 18lb best at home. Lloyd arrived here during the worst of the rains, and as the rain fell hard so did his friend. On the first day fishing, Lloyd’s mate went to get him a cup of coffee, and as he was returning he fell down the steps banging his head, leaving a five-inch gash that needed stitches and he was left with a bald patch on his head. Also in the fall his coffee went all over him, leaving him blistered and very sore – not bad for his first day in Thailand. The trip for Lloyd on the other hand went very well, as he caught lots of fish including Julian’s golden prize carp, redtail catfish to 40lb, Siamese carp to 50lb and then topped it off with an arapaima of 340lb, beating his PB by 322lb.

Michael Game returned for his second visit fishing for one week, targeting different species. Top on the hit list was a Julian’s golden prize carp, which Michael caught at 25lb. Amongst Michael’s 27-fish haul were Siamese carp to 68lb, Mekong catfish to 120lb and arapaima to 170lb. Michael didn’t catch as many different species as his last trip but did get new personal bests and two different species over 100lb plus Java barbs to 4lb on the match fishing equipment.

Ian Meager returned to Gillhams after visiting last year with his wife, bringing with him PVA bags and pellet after talking with Stuart and saying he wanted to target the Siamese carp. After fishing a swim for three days he had caught some good fish, but fancied a change and chose a swim on the opposite side of the lake that hadn’t been fished for a while. Ian once again started picking up the Siamese carp including one of 65lb, but still this was nothing compared to what he was to catch on his second to last day when he hooked into a 110lb Mekong catfish. After about ten minutes the Mekong decided to make a run to the furthest end of the lake, and as Ian was nearly spooled he had no choice but to jump in the lake and follow the fish, the one problem being he can’t swim. He tried to walk along the bank, passing the rod around trees until he came to one big tree and had to jump in, trying to stay as close to the edge as possible while remembering not to panic and drop the rod. Eventually the fish turned, probably due to running out of lake, and started coming back, allowing Ian to climb back out of the water and fight the fish from the bank for about thirty minutes more until the fish was tired enough to be netted.

Terry Poppa Eustace of Gold Label Tackle came and graced us with his presence once again, and had some good luck and some bad. Good luck being the weather, as it was overcast with some rain, making it more comfortable for Terry to fish all day. The bad luck was having two of his own knots come undone on fish, and booking his trip to arrive two days after Bamford departed, only on arrival to find that Les had extended his stay by four days. Terry came for the carp, so when I told him to fish my carp swim under the big tree that’s were he fished, and went on to land 19 Siamese carp with two at 60lb. Terry also caught two other carp species which were rohu and mrigal, which is an Asian grass carp. When the trip was over, Poppa had caught 24 fish of four species, and even shocked everybody by not having any accidents and actually leaving the day he had booked to check out. Even though Terry was leaving on schedule, he was getting in a panic as the forgetful old sod had lost his passport, and while retracing his steps, Sean noticed Terry’s passport was hanging out of his top shirt pocket. We weren’t sure whether Terry was trying to miss the flight, but he made it with only ten minutes until the check-in desk closed. Oh well, better luck next time, Terry.

Steven Gething from England had been in touch on a regular basis enquiring about a job as a fishing guide, so we invited him down for two days’ fishing so that he could meet everybody, and for us to meet him. On his first day fishing Steven was saying how he would love to catch an arapaima, and within the first 30 minutes he landed one of 140lb. Throughout the rest of his two days’ fishing he went on to catch Siamese carp to 45lb and Julian’s golden prize carp of 30lb. Steven quickly realized that this was where he wanted to be, so at the end of his stay he had landed himself seven fish of five species plus a six-month guiding job next year.

Neil Mitchell was a last minute booking from Angling Direct, and from booking the trip to arriving was four days. Neil didn’t even know much about the place; he had just heard about us a few times, and at this point was going through a shit time so just booked and jumped on a plane. On arrival it was dark and raining, so he couldn’t even work out where the lake was, and just had to wait for the morning. The next morning came and Neil couldn’t believe some of the fish he was watching roll outside his bungalow. Neil had only booked five days’ fishing, but wished he had come for longer, as it is a long way to come for only a few days. By the time he started getting into the swing of things it was time to leave. While here Neil landed 27 fish of eight species with Siamese carp to 55lb, redtail catfish to 45lb and arapaima to 280lb. Neil is now back in the UK sorting out his next trip, which won’t be far away. He is a regular carp angler in France and the trip to Gillhams works out around the same price by the time all the expenses of bait, fuel and ferry are added in.

Last but not least were two returning clients who since our first meeting I regard as friends, Jamie Rich and Scott Russell, who even admitted to going not once but twice to a Robbie Williams concert – now that is worrying! They came for a two-week stay with eight days’ fishing, and only extended their fishing by one day. The other days were spent out on day trips or nursing a hangover after some sessions down the town with me. Scott wanted an arapaima, and even though he hooked up with several, none were landed until nearing his last day… Finally one was landed, but still there was no photographic proof due to the sneaky arapaima smashing everybody out of the way and escaping over the top of the net, much to Jamie’s delight, as he had landed and got photos of two. He could now take the piss by winding Scott up, telling him to prove he had actually caught one.

Even though Scott didn’t get photos of his arapaima, he still had some nice trophy pictures to return home with, catching 56 fish of eight species, including Siamese carp to 55lb, Amazon redtail catfish to 40lb, an Amazon spotted stingray, and alligator gar. Jamie was beaten by Scott on numbers of fish, but won on the different species, landing 11, including Julian golden prize carp, Chinese seerfish, arawana, and of course arapaima to 160lb. Jamie also caught a wallago attu, which was the main target for some filming this month by a well known TV angler. Unfortunately for the film crew they didn’t catch one, but two days after they left, Jamie caught one just a swim down from where the filming had been done. What with the arapaima and the wallago attu, this left Jamie feeling very special, and also leading him to believe that he knew what he was doing. Mind you, he didn’t catch his target fish, a pacu, despite seeing them landed all around him by other anglers (next time, mate!). After the two weeks were up it was off with me for a three-day tour of Bangkok with everyone’s favourite tour guide, Benz. Even Lord Bailey attended for one night on the town during a business meeting… Uuummm? All in all we had a great time in Bangkok with me staying on to spend some quality time with Benz.

That just about sums up this month’s news and gossip from your favourite Thailand fishing resort. Don’t forget to book early to avoid disappointment, as the word is now out, and places are selling fast for the remainder of 2011 and into 2012. To book your trip to paradise please contact Stuart on 0066861644554 or email and don’t forget to keep visiting the website at

That’s it till next month folks, and I am off back to Bangkok. Take care, catch a whacker, and thank you all for your support of this news letter.
Kind regards from Stuart, Sean and all at Gillhams.