Here is the yearly review for the year 2010 at Gillhams Fishing Resorts. Once again the freshwater fishing in Thailand has been exceptional with many anglers fishing in Krabi and catching fish beyond their wildest dreams! We have broken the IGFA world record for a Mekong catfish again with a 260lb beast, and we know we have at least ten Mekong bigger than this, plus 16 other species in excess of current world records. The number of different fish species now stocked in the lake is 48 species, so we are rapidly approaching the target of 50 species. We also have six different species exceeding 100lb in weight with some others knocking on the door such as the Amazon red tail catfish with known fish to 93lb, so it’s just a matter of time before one of these stunning fish breaks the magic ton. At the foot of this review are the figures for previous years. These figures could give you an indication of which month to choose for your target species.
January was an interesting month as we had the return of National Geographic, filming with Zeb Hogan. The film they made is showing worldwide under the title Thai Eden, and we are featured in the second half. Also we had that old carp fishing legend Ritchie McDonald making his first appearance at Gillhams. Steve Holberry returned to Gillhams hoping to beat his 90lb Siamese carp caught last year and achieved it in fine style with a cracker of 105lb, once again upstaging his mate Mike who basically is just not in Steve’s league! Another guy to get a big carp was Troy Smith who not only landed a 90lb Siamese carp but also a 300lb arapaima.
February… Although nothing spectacular was caught, the fishing was steady with 652 fish of 20 species landed. The first Nile perch made an appearance this month to Mike Kirsch at 12lb – not a big fish by Nile perch standards, but they only went in a month earlier and are a fish that’s going to grow rapidly over the next few years. To our knowledge this was the first Nile perch ever landed in Thailand. Our old mate Johnny Swann returned along with the ever entertaining John and Angie Farey. With finding the right spot and steady baiting, they caught consistently with some good fish totaling 63 fish of nine species. We also had the Catmaster tours group, and although the conditions were against them they still caught some good fish, especially Squeaky and Wing Nut, who moved into the swims vacated by Johnny and John and had an impressive catch of 86 fish for 12 species. The clue to these names was in one’s voice and the other’s ears! Also in the Catmaster group was Marc Porch; the targets Marc set himself, in my opinion, were impossible, as wanting arapaima, stingray, Mekong catfish, Chao Phraya catfish, Amazon red tail catfish and Siamese carp in a fortnight just isn’t going to happen. Well believe it or not, it did! Pure determination, hard work and top class angling gave Marc all the above target species! The list read like this: 16 fish of eight species, including four arapaima to 230lb, a 70lb Mekong catfish, a 65lb Chao Phraya catfish, three Amazon red tail catfish to 65lb, four Siamese carp to 40lb, a 30lb tambaqui, a 20lb sorubim, and the best saved ‘til last – a stingray of 110lb.
March… Thailand was suffering the worst droughts in history and even the mighty Mekong river was drying up to a trickle. During the middle of March the temperatures soared, with the lake’s upper layers rising to 33C, or 91F in old money! We had to fit emergency pumps to circulate the lake water and keep it cool. The fishing in Krabi improved towards the end of the month due to these pumps. We are also lucky to have depths up to 8m plus seven natural springs, which gives our lower water layers constant temperatures. The new pumps circulate the lake water, bringing temperatures down and the fish back on the feed. By the end of the month we had our first proper rain since December and things started to return to normal with 555 fish of 21 species landed for the month.
April… We were only open until the 16th April when we closed until the 1st June. The fishing was still slow for these two weeks due to the return of the heatwave, however in those two weeks 347 fish of 17 species were landed. During the shutdown we totally redecorated the resort, netted the stock pond and restocked some new fish. We had a general tidy up and built new stores etc. The fishing tackle had a complete overhaul and the fishing guides went home for a well deserved month’s break. Sean and I took our annual break heading of to Jarbu Lodge, Croker Island, Australia. We lost count of numbers of fish, but landed 29 different species in a week. Sean even landed a 6ft croc on a plug! That wasn’t the only monster he caught – the other was a 100lb-plus lemon shark! The fishing was awesome – we were fishing falling tides in the estuaries, catching barramundi, bluefin and threadfin salmon, plus some other weirdo species. As the estuary fishing ended we had time to race back to the lodge for a huge breakfast before speeding across the bay to catch the incoming tide on the flats. The fishing here was non-stop, and saw us catching five species of trevally, which are the ocean’s equivalent of our Mekong catfish, and we also caught numerous queen fish. We fished at Robert Hunt’s superb fishing lodge on Croker Island in the Northern Territory, which is a short flight from Darwin. From Thailand it’s a five-hour flight to Darwin, making a great chance of a two-centre holiday with Gillhams. To fish at this fantastic venue contact Rob directly on +61889790089 or via his website at www.jarbulodge.com
May… We were closed, so we have no report on the fishing in Thailand for this month.
June… This month got off to a shaky start when the fish, having had six weeks’ rest, were suddenly bombarded with 32 baits hitting the water at 7am! But by the end of the month the catch list was impressive, with 867 fish of 23 species caught, with arapaima to 360lb, a stingray of 110lb, Mekong catfish to 150lb and Siamese carp to 91lb. Also another Nile perch of 15lb was landed; we never stocked any over 10lb, so that was a weight gain of 5lb in five months. Keith ‘The Tooth’ O’Connor landed 78 fish of 11 species and Vince Rogers returned for haul of 50 fish of ten species with a PB Siamese carp at 91lb included in his catch. Accompanying Vince was Dick Bateman who also landed a cracking Siamese carp of 85lb along with a 360lb arapaima. The stingray was landed by another Gillhams regular Fleming Pederson from Denmark, who finished his week with 38 fish of 11 species.
July… After last month’s spectacular catches it had to slow down, and slow down it did, which was not helped by regular mobile riot squad, Boon and Bamford’s Tours! When this crew book up we do not take any normal or sane people in the same period. Staying a week, nine anglers managed around 24 hours’ fishing between them! After five years of trying we finally bought the adjoining land to us, which will enable us to extend the lake, plus we can also add a new fly and lure fishing lake, which will be stocked with an array of exotic smaller species such as golden dorado and peacock bass, etc. Gillhams resident angler Mike Bailey, who had recently taken up fly fishing, got his casting off to perfection, landing his first arapaima on a fly at 100lb only to follow it up the next day with his biggest ever fish – another arapaima, on the fly again, at 220lb!
August… This was a month of mixed emotions as a lump I had removed was diagnosed as cancer, but after a few months of worry I am pleased to say I have the all-clear. The worst mistake this month was taking on a new chef who turned out to be Pinocchio in disguise! Anyway I have moved away from the fishing in Thailand, so back onto the fishing in Krabi. With 686 fish landed of 21 species it wasn’t the most productive month, but the fishing was steady, especially for arapaima with five over 300lb landed. Rene De Jager from Holland landed three arapaima over 300lb, the best being a stunner of 360lb. Michael Game also had a good five-day fishing trip here via number one fishing holiday company Angling Direct Holidays. He landed 27 fish of ten species, including a rare 110lb freshwater stingray.
September… We introduced four new species this month, bringing the total of fish species stocked in the lake to 46. We added the following fish: Chinese seerfish, known to reach 300lb, piraaiba catfish (we have been trying to locate these awesome Amazon catfish for the last five years, as they are another species known to obtain weights in excess of 300lb), zungaro – another Amazon catfish that is known to exceed 200lb, firewood catfish – yet another Amazon species; these pretty fish are known to reach 100lb. We are close to achieving our target of 50 species, as we also took delivery of some smaller fish to grow in our stock ponds, one of them being a pure albino Wels catfish, which was named Evans after our mystery visitor who was here this month and can’t be named. We also purchased some golden dorado and Indian mahseer, and as we already had peacock bass in one of the ponds we will soon top the magic 50 species! (As I write this in 2011 we have now reached the magic 50 species, having added some Amazon spotted stingrays and Rita sacerdotum, giant pig catfish, and both should reach 100lb). My old mate Johnny Swann treated his son Daniel to a trip to Gillhams only to be upstaged when Dan landed a 110lb stingray in his 30 fish haul of eight species. Terry Rodman returned to Gillhams, his last visit being in 2007 when Gillhams was under construction. Terry came to try for a big arapaima for his 40th birthday, and he got his birthday wish with a beast of 320lb! Terry’s best mate Matt Holiday accompanied him and came within 11lb of the Mekong catfish record with a 180lb fish.
October… This was the month for Siamese carp, and a ten-day spell saw two over 90lb, ten over 80lb, and numerous carp in the 60 to 70lb bracket landed. On a sad note this month we lost our party animal fishing guide Fish Cake, when pussy power took control of his head and he disappeared in the middle of the night back to Blighty, only to be dumped two weeks later! Regular visitor Kevin Hudson returned for a short week trip targeting Siamese carp, and he had a blinding brace at 95 and 80lb in his 15 Siamese carp haul, plus a bonus 160lb Mekong catfish for a total of 23 fish for the week. Another returning regular, Keith ‘The Tooth’ O’Connor, came targeting Siamese carp. Keith’s dream is to catch a 100lb-plus carp, of which Gillhams has at least 11. He came close with a 90lb fish, plus 58 other carp between 50 and 85lb. Keith ended his trip with 72 fish of six species. Also this month the Mekong catfish went on the rampage with 32 landed to a top weight just 1lb off the record to Gillhams resident angler Mike Bailey at 190lb! Add to the above 35 arapaima to 380lb and you can see why Gillhams is regarded as the best fishing venue in Thailand, if not the world!
November… If last month was the month for Siamese carp, then this month was Mekong catfish month with 55 landed, and for the third year running we broke the record with an absolute beast of a fish to Dai Kent at 260lb. This fish obliterated our old record of 191lb. All three Mekong records here have been different fish, and we know there are at least ten fish out there that will smash this record out of sight! With at least 16 other species over existing IGFA record size, along with six species exceeding 100lb, it surely must make Gillhams the true home of monster fish! Another angler to get among the Mekongs was Ken Jowett who landed 11 in a week including seven in one day. Ken changed his Facebook name after this trip to Mekong Ken Jowett! The first ripsaw catfish made an appearance this month to Rob Snowden, and was immediately followed up by the second at 20lb. It’s strange how this happens; these prehistoric looking cats have been in Gillhams since 2007 with none caught, then like buses, two in ten minutes!
December… This month once again saw some big fish landed, and one catch in particular stands out as truly awesome. Our dear friend and Gillhams regular Terri made a return trip, laid on as a surprise by husband Ivan (she didn’t know she was coming until she got to the airport!). In one day Terri landed three species over 100lb: an arapaima of 150lb, a Mekong catfish of 160lb and a cracking lake record 110lb Wallago leeri, which broke through the landing net before pictures could be taken! She finished her red letter day with another lake record in the shape of the most beautiful species in the lake, a Julian’s golden prize carp at 45lb. Another record nudger this month was a 90lb Chao Phraya landed by Matt the brown fingered gardner, falling short by 1lb of the IGFA record held here at Gillhams at 91lb! Another catch worth mentioning came to Kent Fox when two fish in two casts within ten minutes of each other resulted in a 340lb arapaima and a 130lb Mekong catfish. He also landed a Siamese carp on his next cast, and all this after 11 hours without a bite, which just shows if you persevere you will be rewarded. December was rounded off with the famous Gillhams Christmas party, and this year was voted the best yet by regulars, with the fabulous Krabi Blues Brothers keeping the 62 guests entertained till the wee hours of Boxing Day!
The 2010 yearly report for Gillhams Fishing Resorts is set out below. The 2010 figures are in
, the 2009 figures are in black, and the 2008 figures are in
502 total, best 380lb, best month February – 90 fish.
2009 – 568 total, best 400lb, best month October – 84 fish.
2008 – 432 total, best 400lb, best month November – 44 fish.
Alligator gar – 52 total, best 30lb, best months February and September – seven fish.
2009 – 86 total, best 25lb, best month April – 11 fish.
2008 – 151 total, best 35lb, best month August – 21 fish.
Amazon red tail catfish –
1,349 total, best 80lb, best month June – 208 fish.
2009 – 787 total, best 85lb best month August – 97 fish.
2008 – 504 total, best 80lb, best month August – 76 fish.
57 total, best 9lb, best month – June – 15 fish.
2009 – 18 total, best 8lb, best month April – four fish.
2008 – 12 total, best 8lb, best month September – five fish.
Asian red tail catfish –
201 total, best 40lb, best month August – 39 fish.
2009 – 107 total, best 30lb, best month December – 21 fish.
2008 – 40 total, best 31lb, best month November – six fish.
21 total, best 15lb, best month July – 16 fish.
2009 – Five total, best 10lb, best month August – three fish.
2008 – Six total, best 31lb, best month February – two fish.
Big head carp –
One total, best 15lb, best month February – one fish.
2009 – Two total, best 20lb, best month February – one fish.
2008 – Two total, best 30lb, best month July – one fish.
Black pacu –
257 total, best 45lb, best month February – 57 fish.
2009 – 418 total, best 50lb, best month August – 99 fish.
2008 – 186 total, best 55lb, best month December – 33 fish.
Black shark carp –
Three total, best 10lb, best months June, September and October – one fish.
2009 – One total, best 8lb, best month August – one fish.
2008 – Two total, best 10lb, best month March – one fish.
Chao Phraya catfish –
20 total, best 90lb, best month February – seven fish.
2009 – 75 total, best 90lb 6oz (new world record!). Best month August and October – ten fish.
2008 – 62 total, best 64lb, best month September – 11 fish.
Common carp –
None were caught this year.
2009 – None were caught this year.
2008 – Six total, best 25lb, best month April – two fish.
Giant featherback –
seven total, best 15lb, best month December – three fish.
2009 – 13 total, best 11lb, best months March and April – three fish.
2008 – Three total, best 21lb, best month May – one fish.
Giant freshwater stingray –
five total, best 120lb, best months February, June, August, September and October – one fish.
2009 – Six total, best 120lb, best month January – five fish.
2008 – Two total, best 90lb, best month November – two fish.
Giant snakehead –
Eight total, best 8lb, best month December – three fish.
2009 – Nine total, best 8lb, best month August – three fish.
None caught in 2008.
Giant gourami –
Three total, best 10lb, best months January, March and August – one fish.
2009 – Seven total, best 14lb, best month November – three fish.
2008 – Nine total, best 15lb, best month March – five fish.
Hovens carp (mad carp) –
Eight total, best 8lb, best month October – 5 fish.
2009 – 11 total, best 5lb, best month October – six fish.
2008 – None caught.
Julian’s golden prize carp –
69 total, best 45lb, best month February – 17 fish.
2009 – 47 total, best 30lb, best month March – nine fish.
2008 – 105 total, best 45lb, best month May – 25 fish.
Mekong catfish –
244 total, best 260lb (world record claim is pending), best month November – 55 fish.
2009 – 73 total, best 191lb (world record caught here), best month October – 14 fish.
2008 – 46 total, best 185lb (world record caught here), best month May – seven fish.
Mrigal (Asian grass carp) –
24 total, best 13lb, best month October – seven fish.
2009 – 28 total, best 15lb, best month August – seven fish.
2008 – Five total, best 18lb, best month November – three fish.
Nile perch –
Two total, best 15lb, best months February and June – one fish.
Piraaiba (lau) –
Two total, best 10lb, best months October & December – one fish.
Ripsaw catfish –
Two total, best 20lb, best month November – two fish.
Rohu carp –
62 total, best 18lb, best month March – 13 fish.
2009 – 91 total, best 20lb, best month January – 17 fish.
2008 – 83 total, best 21lb, best month December – 37 fish.
Siamese carp –
2,702 total, best 105lb, best month October – 402 fish.
2009 – 2,633 total, best 125lb, best month February – 302 fish.
2008 – 1,325 total, best 98lb, best month December – 213 fish.
Spotted featherback –
67 total, best 12lb, best month December – 16 fish.
2009 – 69 total, best 20lb, best month October – ten fish.
2008 – 34 total, best 15lb, best month November – eight fish.
Shovel nosed tiger catfish –
60 total, best 20lb, best months June and August – 11 fish.
2009 – 56 total, best 25lb, best month October – ten fish.
2008 – Four total, best 20lb, best month March – two fish.
Shovel-nosed spotted sorubim –
227 total, best 45lb, best month January – 36 fish.
2009 – 422 total, best 50lb, best month June – 58 fish.
2008 – 379 total, best 45lb, best month October – 65 fish.
Striped catfish –
Seven total, best 15lb, best month June – three fish.
2009 – Four total, best 10lb, best month October two fish.
2008 – None caught.
Striped snakehead –
65 total, best 4lb, best months August and November – ten fish.
2009 – 74 total, best 5lb, best month January – 18 fish.
2008 – 40 total, best 5lb, best month December – 15 fish.
40 total, best 45lb, best month January – nine fish.
2009 – 15 total, best 45lb, best month December – seven fish.
2008 – Eight total, best 29lb, best month October – three fish.
Wallago attu (silver) –
35 total, best 22lb, best month June – eight fish.
2009 – 27 total, best 24lb, best months October and December – five fish.
2008 – Nine total, best 25lb, best month August – three fish.
Wallago leeri (black) –
68 total, best 110lb, best month June – ten fish.
2009 – 78 total, best 28lb, best month December – 12 fish.
2008 – Five total, best 35lb, best month April – two fish.
Zungaro (Jau) –
One total, best 6lb, best month December – one fish.
2010 – Total 6,171 fish landed of 33 species.
2009 – Total 5,730 fish landed of 28 species.
2008 – Total 3,465 fish landed of 26 species.