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Krabi newsletter April 2010

Hi to everyone following our fishing in Thailand Krabi newsletter. As I write this newsletter we are closed until the 1st June. The catch report will be short, as we closed on the 17th April, plus the lads did not write any information out for me. The weather is still hot with very little rain. Gillhams is being spruced up during the closure to ensure we continue to be the best freshwater fishing resort in the world.

All the bungalows are being redecorated inside and out, as is the restaurant, plus the restaurant is having a new floor laid. We have built three new stores and a walk-in deep freeze. The swimming pool has been drained and the filters cleaned and pumps serviced, and the decking and coping stones all cleaned and repaired. The gardens and lake have had a total revamp – we have had 20 gardeners in for a week to help our gardening team to clear all the lake perimeter of dead reeds and weeds etc in order for them to grow back thicker and looking better for next season’s visitors. The floating hyacinth beds in the lake had got out of hand, so we have removed 30 tons of them plus some other nuisance weeds. We are also planting some more overhanging trees and shrubs around the lake.

The fishing equipment is all being cleaned, oiled and serviced, all the reels have been stripped, serviced and every one fitted with new line or braid, and the rods have all been cleaned and checked. Every rig has been replaced, and even the plumbing and spod rods have been re fitted, so let’s hope a few more people use them this year! With new landing nets and bite alarms too, we are ready for the off. Also new for this year, you can now rent a light rod to fish for the lake’s many mini species. We now have ten match rods and reels for hire at 300 baht per day. These rods will not count as the normal specimen rods of which you are supplied with two plus an option for a third rod to hire. They can be fished in addition to those rods, one per angler, for anyone who likes to have a play around for mini species while waiting for the big one to come along, and with so many silver barbs around they will have nonstop action.

For anyone thinking of booking the beginning of the season you are too late, as we are full until the 12th June, but we then have a couple of spaces through to the 26th June. Then we are full again until the 4th July, and many spaces are going for 2010/11 so book early to avoid disappointment. Christmas is nearly full, and we are full from the 23rd January through to the 31st January 2011. Once again we will close during the hot water period in 2011, so please note Gillhams will close from the 27th April through to the 1st of June 2011. If you are thinking of booking during June 2011, I would suggest you do so early, as the opening two weeks are getting booked already.

Most of you will have seen the reports on the riots here in Thailand, and although they are bad, they are only in a very small area of Bangkok. The rest of Thailand is unaffected, and here in Krabi and the whole of the south of Thailand there is no trouble, and no support for the mindless idiots who are causing so much harm to tourism. What they do not see is the harm they are causing their own countrymen, as millions of people who rely on tourism to feed their families are suffering as they lose their jobs through the slowdown in tourism. Please do not let these morons stop you coming to the land of smiles – never before have the normal Thai working people needed you to visit so much. Thailand is safe, but if you do not wish to travel via Bangkok, try flights to Malaysia and then to Krabi. Air Asia are doing some good deals on this route, as are Malaysian airlines. Alternatively look at Singapore and then on to Krabi. Many carriers fly to Singapore, and if you have trouble finding flights to Krabi you can fly into Phuket, which is one and a half hours from us by road. We can do a transfer service from Phuket airport for a charge.

We have had 50 Mekong catfish between 50 and 80lb delivered and stocked, and we also took a delivery of 50 Thai mahseer at around 2lb. That may seem small, but once they get feeding on the abundant fry and shrimp expect some surprises in the near future. We have netted our stock ponds in Krabi and stocked the best fish, these being 50 Amazon red tail catfish between 25lb and 60lb, 30 shovel nosed tiger catfish between 8 and 12lb, 20 Siamese carp between 40 and 70lb, ten arawana around 10lb, and three arapaima around 120lb. So with the existing stock having had a six-week break, plus the new arrivals, expect some fast and furious action in the new season.

Having now netted our stock ponds and cleaned them out we have two ponds ready to grow on some new small fish. At the end of May we are stocking these ponds with golden dorado, tiger catfish, red tail catfish, Niger catfish and arawana. In our big stock pond we shall be adding some Siamese and Julian’s golden prize carp to grow on; we have found that by stocking carp with the arapaima and red tail catfish the carp species grow bigger and quicker, feeding on the other fishes’ waste.

Our decision to close for the end of April and May was due to our water temperatures being at their highest level around this time of year. In the previous two years some of the Amazon species that have been caught in these extreme water temperatures have died. Arapaima in particular die when stressed in hot water, and this was again proved to us this year as we netted the big stock pond, and this week unfortunately we had three arapaima die on us. We stopped netting after the first pull of the net due to this, but these fish will not go to waste, as they have been cut into steaks and will feature on our menu. For those of you who have never tried arapaima meat, it is one of the finest eating fish on the planet. This pond will now be left until October to be netted in the cooler water, and any big arapaima etc netted then will be penned off in the main lake ready for stocking at a later date.

The same problem occurred with some 30lb barramundi we have in our fish farm. The hot water conditions were killing them as we netted them, so they have had to be placed on hold until the cooler weather. Talk about bad luck and things going wrong – we have some ponds near Bangkok where we also grow fish, and our workers netted 20 black pacu from one of these ponds this week. The driver was delivering them overnight to Krabi when he fell asleep at the wheel, resulting in him having a head on smash. He suffered a cut head and the passenger a broken wrist, which is more than can be said for the poor old pacu as they ended up all over four lanes of motorway, getting run over by trucks and cars. The locals thought it was Christmas and gathered them up, and by the time you read this they will be in soup and sweet and sour and then served up for Sunday lunch!

We will not be running a May newsletter but will have the yearly review completed and the report on Sean’s and my trip to Croker Island in Australia. Sean will be lure fishing and I will be fly-fishing for barramundi, giant trevelly, queen fish etc, plus the odd saltwater crocodile for good measure! Also we will add any resort news and gossip. No Gillhams gripe this month folks as I have not been here, but for all of you who follow this part of the newsletter I am sure there will be a bumper one in June. For all of you booked in for June you have been warned, as this will include the naming and shaming of non-bell ringers!

So let’s get on to the fishing in Krabi… The numbers of guests is down due to closing on the 17th April, but we still catered for 18 anglers who came for fishing holidays in Thailand, ranging from three to ten days, and 21 anglers fishing on day tickets between their Krabi holiday. They caught between them 347 fish of 17 species: 23 arapaima to 260lb, three alligator gar to 15lb, 59 Amazon red tail catfish to 70lb, 17 Asian red tail catfish to 25lb, 17 black pacu to 35lb, seven Julian’s golden prize carp to 25lb, one Mekong catfish of 160lb, three mrigal carp to 12lb, nine rohu to 16lb, three tambaqui to 35lb, four spotted featherback to 10lb, 173 Siamese carp to 85lb, five striped snakehead to 4lb, 15 shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 40lb, three shovel nosed tiger catfish to 18lb, two wallago attu to 20lb and three wallago leeri to 25lb.

The fishing for the first two weeks of April is not possible for us to write about due to no records of funny things or comments about staff or customers – not even anything about the wrong things people said and did. The lads did keep catch records, but unfortunately for us and luckily for some I expect, nobody kept records of these events, unlike every other month! This is due to Stuart and Sean both being in the UK and our guides keeping no record of events (or were they bribed?). Even the length of time some people fished was not recorded or who caught what fish, so all we can do is add pictures with names of anglers, but the normal catch report will have to be left out. If you were hoping to see your name in lights, please accept Sean’s and my apologies for your report not appearing here. But all is not lost – why not rebook for a return visit, and for all of you who do, we promise to name you but not shame you in a future newsletter!

That just about sums up April, so a big thank-you to all of you who visited Gillhams in the last twelve months – without you we could not live the dream. To all of you who have booked for our next season, thank you for keeping the dream alive. To those of you thinking of visiting us let us make your dream come true, and please feel free to contact us on or phone Stuart on +66 (0)861644554, and we will be happy to answer any questions you wish to ask. Thank you all for your support and reading these newsletters, best wishes from all the team here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.