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Krabi newsletter December 2011

Hi all from Gillhams Fishing Resorts. Once again it’s time for our monthly report on the fishing in Thailand. The fishing in Krabi this month has once again been on good form and the new pellets have surprised us in the way the fish have taken to them so quickly. It seems that every fish in the lake has taken to this new food source; the Mekong catfish in particular are really wolfing them down with our best month ever for this species. Even the arapaima are loving them, and in our stock ponds the arapaima are ignoring fish baits in preference to the pellets. We are not sure if the Siamese carp are slower getting onto the pellet, or just getting pushed off by the Mekongs!

We would like to wish Scott every success with his future career, as he has decided to leave Gillhams to pursue his career and fortune in pastures new. We are sorry to see him go, and would like to make it clear that our snipe at the guides last month was not directed at him. Despite pathetic remarks that people might have seen on social networking sites, Scott decided to leave over a different matter, which was between him and me. This was a personal matter between the two of us, which I do not intend to discuss publicly or with others. For the record we often made jokes about Scott being gay and fat, neither of which are true; it was a fun thing between us and Scott would be the first to agree it was fun between us in better times. Scott is a very good angler and fishing guide and we hope that in his time here he learnt about our numerous fish and fish care. Prior to coming here Scott had never seen or caught many of the fish we have made it possible for anglers to catch, but he assisted many people in catching their dream fish and was a very popular guy who made many friends. Good luck Scott, and we all hope you find your fame and fortune. There have been many comments and lies about what I wrote, but this newsletter is not going to become a forum – as far as I am concerned what I said is done and the matter is closed.

Once again this month I am extremely busy, with another hospital visit, which thankfully gave me the all clear. The skin cancer is getting sorted also with a 60% improvement, so good news on that front too. I am now on three monthly checkups with bloody cameras in every orifice. I don’t know why they don’t leave the things in place – I would save a fortune on KY jelly! The other good news is Benz and I are back together and she has moved back to paradise.

Talking of guides, Lee went off for his tour of Asia, aiming to visit Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, only to get as far as Pattaya then returned one month later with nothing but ten baht in his pocket and a few health issues. Our good friend and professional guide Jason Ingley is helping us out for a couple of months, we are trying to talk him into taking a permanent position here as head guide, but the one worry is that he will eat us out of house and home. To date Jason has broken the wheels on two bikes due to much pie munching. His other problem this month was being caught taking pictures of Bev Clifford’s bum while she was playing a fish.

We have had a few old friends visit us this month – first up was my old buddy Simmo. After six years of talk, fatty Simmons made it out for two weeks of fishing and mayhem and talking about the old days in between getting battered by Mekong catfish and other large species of fish that he was only just capable of landing due to his fine physical condition. During the trip Mark really went to hell and back on and off the lake while trying to come to terms with his catches and losses. Mark’s trip all ended well catching 58 fish of seven species including 29 Amazon redtail catfish to 65lb, Siamese carp to 85lb and Mekong catfish to 140lb. Simmo struck gold on his second to last day with a beautiful arapaima weighing more than an ounce, and he declared after his fine catch that he loves us long time! It was in fact the biggest arapaima of the month at 350lb. Due to many days of abuse from new guide Jason Plump, Mark left him with a parting gift and filled his tackle box with chicken hearts and dead bait fish, and he also he packed Jason’s bike seat out with the same messy cocktail. For a couple of days after Simmo’s departure all Jason could smell everywhere he went was dead, rotten fish until he finally found out why. Now back in the UK, Mark is busy planning his return trip in March plus looking into a new business venture of repairing storm damaged roofs.

Then we had Bev and Mick Clifford from Carp and Angling Publications. They could only leave the busy office for a six-night five-day fishing trip, so gave the fishing maximum effort. They fished hard every day and caught all the species on their wish list.
Mike hooked and lost eight arapaima before eventually landing one, and after that he went on to catch four up to 190lb. Bev lost an arapaima the first day, then landed one of 200lb and one of 340lb, showing her brother how it was done. Again with the Mekong catfish Bev whooped Mick with a 130lb fish, but Mick showed her how to catch big carp with a 60lb fish. In all this angling-mad brother and sister act landed 26 fish of six species with six fish over the magic ton in five days of fishing.

Another friend from the past arrived on Boxing Day, the old legend in his own lunchtime Ritchie McDonald, but as he is here for a month we will abuse him in January’s newsletter!

Along with Christmas regulars and friends Uncle Eddie and Auntie Lynne, we also had the return of ‘pissy pants’ Ann Godfrey with partner Ian Wright. On arrival she was presented with the shorts she threw away last time all neatly washed and ironed for a tenner! Christmas day was again golf day, and the only people to stay in on Christmas Eve were the ones that needed as much of an advantage as possible, i.e. Sean and Scott. Eddie Grey and Ian both went out and on the morning of the big day Ian actually managed to get up this year to meet in the restaurant for 7.30am. So with a couple of rolls made up for breakfast and two cases of cider loaded into the car, the four of them were off. There wasn’t much of a score kept, as it was more for fun, plus everyone knew that Eddie would win and Scott would come in last. Ian was the dark horse who said that he didn’t really play, but would give it a go just for a laugh.

As we went to the first tee everybody took their turn and Ian went last only to outdrive everybody in a perfect straight ball about 269yds with a comment of, “Must be beginner’s luck.” Later on the so-called beginner’s luck kept on coming, as when Ian was around 70yds from the hole he made a chip shot straight into the hole. By the end of the game they were all half-cut and headed back to the resort for the rest of the day’s festive celebrations. The rest of us fished the lure and fly lake for a couple of hours, landing golden dorado, brycon, Atlantic tarpon, arawana and peacock bass, with the best fish falling to the lure of Andy Rhodes, a rare Chinese seerfish of around 12lb. The party got underway at 4pm, and much to Jason’s delight there was far too much food, but he gave it his best shot and tried to clear the buffet! The live music got underway at 6pm, and during all the mayhem nobody noticed little Jack sneaking drinks from everyone’s glasses so once again he ended up pissed.

Don’t forget if you are looking for a bargain we are offering a 20% discount from our website prices to anyone booking with a cash deposit at the following shows… Brentwood Centre, Brentwood, 28/29 January, Zwolle Carp Show, Holland, 4/5th February, Ricoh Arena, Coventry 18/19 February, Carpin’ On, Five Lakes near Malden, Essex, March 3/4, and finally the Big One at Farnborough on 10/11 March. We will also be selling raffle tickets for a free holiday at Gillhams with the first prize being ten days’ fishing and accommodation for two people, second prize seven days’ fishing and accommodation for one person, and also a third prize of seven days’ fishing for one person. Once again the draw for the winner will be at The Big One in Farnborough on Sunday the 11th March.

I have left out Gillhams Gripe this month, as after last month’s flak from people who were not mentioned but believed they were, I just didn’t feel like it, plus it was Christmas. As I am in the UK for the next two newsletters, Sean will be doing the honours. If his gripe is printable you will be treated to that, and for sure I will have loads to gripe about, as being in the UK my cage is bound to be rattled a few times.

The total catch for the month is as follows: 1,032 fish of 30 species, made up as follows: 58 arapaima to 350lb, five arawana to 8lb, 15 alligator gar to 40lb, 287 Amazon red tail catfish to 70lb, 132 Asian red tail catfish to 45lb, 19 black pacu to 20lb, 12 big head carp to 20lb, 12 Chinese seerfish to 20lb, one Chao Phraya catfish of 100lb, five giant featherback to 11lb, two giant stingray to 120lb, one giant snakehead of 7lb, one Hoven’s carp of 5lb, eight Julian’s golden prize carp to 25lb, 138 Mekong catfish to 210lb, 12 mrigal to 17lb, three Nile perch to 7lb, seven rohu carp to 18lb, six ripsaw catfish to 18lb, 38 spotted featherback to 10lb, 201 Siamese carp to 85lb, eight striped snakehead to 2lb, 16 shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 26lb, 21 shovel nosed tiger catfish to 20lb, nine striped catfish of 32lb, one spotted stingray of 15lb, three tambaqui to 25lb, eight wallago attu to 25lb, five wallago leeri to 20lb and one zungaro of 6lb.

Lee Booker and Gary Greenhill made their return trip for two weeks, and apart from the first day in the bar and the occasional half day due to alcohol abuse the night before, they fished everyday. Wanting to get a good head of fish the lads pre-ordered 200kg of Gillhams boilies and a few kg of pellets so equipped with some PVA bags they went to work. Both Gary and Lee caught arapaima over 200lb, Siamese carp to 75lb, Mekong to 160lb and even got into some rarer species such as wallago attu, Chinese seerfish, ripsaw catfish and Julian’s golden prize carp. In all they caught 110 fish between them of 15 species making it one of their most memorable fishing trips. While here Gary was also trying to book himself on trip to Panama in July with us, as there is a cancelled place up for grabs, but unfortunately there was just one small problem – marriage and holidays with the wife! Unlucky Gary, better luck next year.

We had a return trip from Mihai, Christian and Linda from Romania for five days, after originally coming on the Catmaster trip two years previously. All three were keen to get started after arriving a day late due to a delayed plane. During their stay with us they all caught fish, but as last time Linda showed the boys how to fish, catching the biggest Siamese carp at 65lb, plus four Mekong catfish to 105lb. As the trip was coming to an end the boys knew they had to beat Linda with a bigger fish to save their pride. Mihai ended up landing a Mekong catfish of 130lb, which saved him having to have girlfriend Linda tell everybody at home that she had caught the biggest of the trip. Between them they caught 37 fish of eight species.

Koen Velelst came for a two-week stay, making Gillhams the first place he has ever been to on holiday outside of Belgium. Koen didn’t get fishing the first day and wisely checked the lake out, talking with other guests to get a feel for the lake before an early start the following morning. Koen mentioned that he has been fishing a lake in Belgium on and off for two years and only caught one fish, stating that in his two weeks, as long as he caught one he would be happy. On the first day he outdid his past two years fishing by landing three fish, and during the trip he went on to catch more fish of different species than he ever imagined. Even though this was a fishing trip, he also wanted to venture out and check out some of the nightlife, and as Simmo was over at the same time he was taken to a local bar owned by landlord, Amy. He was soon to be corrupted by the hands of Simmo and I, and he soon had a whole new outlook on life, plus meeting even more weird species. By the end of the trip he had landed 40 fish of 12 species with five fish over 100lb of three different species, including an arapaima of 300lb, Mekong to 110lb and a 100lb stingray. Sad as he was to leave, Koen had to go back to raise more funds for a return trip that he has already booked for March when I return from the fishing shows, plus Simmo is back at the same time. Oh no – it’s going to be messy again!

We also had the Bishop brothers, John and Darren, visit for four days with their non-fishing wives. They both fished well and caught 26 fish including arapaima to 260lb, Siamese carp to 55lb and three ripsaw catfish to 18lb. When the trip was over, even though they could have carried on, it was off to Phi Phi and Lanta islands in order to keep the ladies happy by relaxing on the beach with a spot of beach fishing.

Well-known angler and Leeda rep, Nick Young, joined us this month and donated 50 Leeda bite alarms to replace our well-worn Nash Tackle ones. For a cheap alarm they are well made, good and reliable, and he also supplied us with other goodies from Leeda tackles vast range. It’s just a shame he never sent us the promised pictures, as he caught some good fish! Never mind Nick – all is forgiven, and we eagerly await your return with more goodies from the Leeda range.

Also on a recommendation from my old mate Johnny Swan, Ray Garrett came to join us for two week, with his son and daughter plus some friends. The trip was for Ray’s son who was celebrating his thirtieth birthday. This ended up in an all-night session on the town and a day in bed nursing hangovers! They mixed their days up with fishing, day trips and more than the occasional night out, and they all went on to catch some good fish with many different species including two Siamese carp over 60lb, and Simon landed a 210lb Mekong catfish in the final hour of the last day.

Next up we had Mike Dagnall and nephew Joe who came to experience some arm wrenching fishing, which Mike was to get sooner then he thought. On arrival and having not slept for 32 hours, they decided to start fishing straight away, and after an hour of introduction and a couple of beers the rods were out, but not for long. After five minutes of fishing Mike’s bait was taken and he was about to find out what all the fuss is about with this fishing in Thailand. Mike had hooked into the fish at around 2pm and by 5pm he was wondering what the hell was going on. The fish he had hooked was a Mekong catfish, but was unlike any other Mekong. At times we thought the fish was foul-hooked, as it was uncontrollable. As the hours went by more people were coming round to watch the fish that was reducing a grown man to tears. The Mekong of 190lb was finally landed at 9.15pm, and after 32 hours traveling then playing a fish for seven hours, Mike was starting to have second thoughts about putting a line back in the water the following morning. As Mike and Joe’s trip continued, more big fish were landed, including more Mekong catfish to similar size, just without the strength and attitude of the first one. The trip ended with around 30 fish of 12 species including wallago attu, arawana, Chinese seerfish and Siamese carp to 85lb.

Our dear friends Wil and Betty from Holland returned once again, this time accompanied by Betty’s brother Ben, his wife and their two children. While here Wil and Ben fished every day while the others chilled out around the pool, plus day trips and shopping in Ao-Nang. Once again Wil was straight into the fish he least wanted to catch, the Mekong catfish, but he did get other species along with some nice Siamese carp and Amazon redtail catfish amongst others. For Ben this was his first time fishing in Thailand so all the fish were new to him such as redtail catfish, spotted featherbacks plus an alligator gar of 40lb. As Wil and Betty were showing the family around the many sites of Thailand, they could only manage five days before heading off to Phi Phi Island, Phuket and then up to Chiang Mai to fish Teak Tree Lake owned by their old friend Bruce Dale.

Following a trip to India during the first week in November, Joel is still here mixing work with pleasure by fishing and guiding. Apart from going to KL for Christmas Joel has been helping out for around two months and now plans to spend another three months with us before heading back to the UK. While here Joel has also been trying to catch a 100lb-plus Siamese carp, and even though he has managed Mekong catfish, arapaima and Chao Phraya catfish all over the ton, he still can’t find the elusive big Siamese carp. Whilst Joel is here helping out and trying to break records the only thing he has managed to break is a 6lb test curve rod! Towards the end of December Joel was joined once again by Rob Snowdon who won the Gillhams holiday at the shows last February/March (he did spend over £100 on raffle tickets to win). Like every other trip Rob has made here in the past, rules were being broken as he wanted to catch as many fish as possible, thinking that our rules didn’t apply to him. In the end Sean issued him with a signed final written warning, and it has been logged for next year.

Rob’s main rule breaking trick was putting all three rods out on fish after dark and not even having the right hook link or hooks for targeting predatory fish with teeth and sharp pads. Rob caught 17 fish of four species with Siamese carp to 80lb and Mekong catfish to 120lb. Now Rob is well known to be a soap dodger when he’s fishing, and we have heard stories of three-week trips without washing, so when he completed a week without washing we weren’t shocked. But when it came time to leave Thailand, Rob went through a thorough health check as you can see by the pictures of him on arrival at Gillhams and then at the customs quarantine check center on departure.

Ian Wright and partner Ann, aka ‘pissy knickers’, returned again this Christmas. For Ian it was a chance to get some new PB’s and also catch up with returning customers and friends from last year, while Ann was looking forward to more booze-fuelled days around the pool with the other ladies. Ian did suffer the first couple of days with not much happening, but after a move he was soon onto the fish and managed to land Mekong catfish to 160lb and an arapaima of 190lb, plus several other species. Ian and Ann were even taken out a couple of nights and led astray by Stuart and none other than Ritchie ‘shaky’ McDonald that led to some very comical photos of Mr. McDonald, Stuart and the rest of the oldies that are unable to go into print, but please feel free to contact Sean Gillham on Facebook for pictures!

Eddie and Lynn Grey made their annual Christmas trip to Gillhams. The more times Eddie comes here the new species are getting harder to catch, but still not impossible, as Eddie landed his first giant freshwater stingray at 120lb. As the species become harder to catch, why not try world records? Eddie ended up landing a mrigal of 17lb, beating the previous IGFA world record by 8lb. Eddie almost lost out on the record, as Sean first read the scales as 8lb until I realised that he was in fact mixing the pounds up with kilos. Some of Eddie’s other captures included arapaima to 200lb and Amazon redtail catfish to 60lb. While the guys were fishing, Lynn joined Ann and some of the other ladies around the pool indulging in a case of Chang beer every afternoon while shouting abuse at passing fisherman and wolf whistling the young Thai gardeners.

Lord Mike Bailey has made a few short trips this month, between searching out the site for his new fishery, which I am proud to say he has entrusted me with designing, constructing and stocking. Knowing his Lordship’s demand for perfection, his fishery will be an asset to the Thai fishing scene. I am looking forward to the project and helping Mike to create a rival to Gillhams. I will keep you all informed of the progress of this exiting new fishing resort.

That just about sums up the fishing in Krabi for another month, and I hope to see you all at the shows over the next two months. Please book early to avoid disappointment, as many dates are already sold out through 2012 with 2013 also starting to get booked. The next three months’ newsletters will be left to Sean to sort out, apart from some reports about the shows plus gripes from me. I am looking forward to a break from writing and meeting up with old friends and customers, plus spending some quality time with Benz and Jack. To contact us email or phone +66 (0) 861644554. For those of you reading this newsletter in Big Carp magazine visit
From all of us at Gillhams, we hope all your dreams come true for 2012, which they will if you visit Gillhams Fishing Resorts here in Thailand.