back to top

Fishing In Thailand Newsletter December 2014

Hi and welcome to the December 2014 newsletter, our monthly round-up of news, catch reports and anything remotely connected to our little slice of paradise out here in Krabi.

It’s been an interesting month as usual with an eclectic mix of customers from all over the world. We have had customers from the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Austria, Holland, Russia and the list goes on (not too many from the Congo though, I noticed), and whilst it’s always good too see new faces, it’s also nice to see so many of the same faces come back. We guess that means we must be getting something right! As I sit here now we have just installed a new water cleaning system into the lake, which will produce a few patches of bubbles here and there, we ask ALL anglers please do not cast at them, as they will hook into the pipes installed into the bottom of the lake. If by any chance an angler gets snagged we ask them to please contact one of our guides who will swim out and over the bubble system and release the rig.

Other ongoing improvements are the refitting of the bungalows with superb new handmade furniture, beds, wardrobes and storage space, which really do look the business. The new staff block is now all completed and 20 of our Thai staff have happily moved in and now live on site with us too. Four new salas have been installed on the small top lake, and a storage room has been built on the sala side of the main lake also. The YouTube account has been redone, and there have been some cracking videos going up including a fun filled two-part match between Dean Macey and me. The match was basically to see who could catch as many different species of fish in a set time, but more of that later, or maybe go and check them out on YouTube. It’s got to be better than watching Eastenders!

Finally we wanted to move the Buddha statue that was situated on the middle of the hill opposite the restaurant to the top of the hill and into position on top of the new filter system and waterfall. Now you don’t just up and move statues like this, as they are very sacred, so we had to employ the blessing of a local Buddhist monk. In line with local culture and traditions, the statue had to be blessed, which should then bring you luck and good health. It was quite an event to watch really and clearly steeped in tradition. Just at the end of the ceremony Stuart was asked to pray or wish for something that would bring him luck and happiness. Now I didn’t hear all of what he said, but the words “Make my fish grow even bigger” were definitely in there at some point! The proceedings ended when little Jack and the monk had a few words, and the monk presented him with a little badge. All in all it was a very interesting experience for me and any other onlookers.

Gillhams Fishing Resorts has donated the complete resort and fishing for 15 nights to Help for Heroes Thailand Monster Fishing Adventure to be held in June 2015.

Fishing is a proven rehabilitation and recovery aid that is an essential part of helping our injured service men and women recover from the stresses that service life can put on them.  This is brought even more apparent with the injuries sustained to our troops from the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 15 years.  With this in mind, Captain Chris Oakes with Help the Heroes is bringing 25 Wounded, Injured & Sick (WIS) Military Personnel to Gillhams.

These service personnel have injuries ranging from amputated limbs to brain injuries and have suffered these by protecting your nation.  We, like many of you, just want to do something to help and by way of saying “thank you “ for all that they have done and endured for our freedom.

To do this “WE REALLY NEED YOUR HELP & SUPPORT “ in raising as much money as possible to make this event a reality.  We realistically need to raise a total of £34,000 to make this event happen so as you can see, we need all the help we can get.

Direct donations can be made to the `Bmycharity` webpage at the following link

To view the fishing location in Thailand where this event will be taking place look at the following `youtube` link promotional video:

Gillhams Fishing Resorts with Help for Heroes and Captain Chris Oakes are asking everyone to dig deep and help this event.

Finally, could I personally ask you all to forward, share, `Twitter` or `Facebook` this email message to all of your friends, family, work colleagues and associates as this will help immensely.

Please do not donate to or contact Gillhams all donations etc to be given via the link

Alternately please contact Chris Oakes.

Thank you all in anticipation of your support and help.

Contact Details: Tel: 01952 673520 | Mob: 07833 387740 | MOD Email:| Civ Email:

From Stuart Sean and all at Gillhams.


The month went by with the usual funny and politically incorrect one-liners from our mighty leader, Sean and I managed to throw little Jack around in the pool for an hour or two on occasions, Becky beavered away in preparation for a week off, and Benz fed me ice cream and some leftover pizza, which was nice, although there was definitely a reference to not needing the dog when I am around. I’ll let you work out who said that! Stupidly Jake and I let Sean cut our hair. I came off worse of course, as it was too much of an opportunity for Sean to miss, and I ended up with a Mohican for five minutes. I would say thanks for that, but quite frankly, I won’t!

The Christmas celebrations were as ever superb. On Christmas Eve we all went to the crispy pork restaurant in Krabi town and managed to completely fill ourselves up on the huge amount of food that they serve. It was like an onslaught of fine cuisine with all manner of curries, fish, vegetables, noodles, spices, pulled pork, chicken etc. Remarkably some of our party still had space in their bellies to carry on filling themselves up with beer, so at the end of the meal some went home and others went into Ao Nang to see the sights. Christmas Day was a relaxed affair with just a few people fishing on the small lake, as it’s the only day the main lake is shut all year, and it wasn’t long before everyone at the resort made their way to a hotel right on the beach, and we were treated to a banquet consisting of a full three-course meal with a seemingly endless supply of food.

Little Jack took a huge liking to the prawn cocktail starters, and somehow managed to shift about ten of them, then swerved the main course and filled up with ice cream at the end – good angling I reckon! But for the (physically) more grown up amongst us, we tucked into beef or turkey roast dinners with Yorkshire puddings as well. Becky had made a load of Yorkshire puddings to take to the hotel so we could all have some on our plate, although if the truth be known I think the Thai chefs in the restaurant didn’t have a clue what they were.

During the main course there were some traditional Thai dancers who came out and strutted their stuff for us, spinning round in circles with one leg in the air with what looked like an almost glued smile on their faces. Quite how they managed to keep smiling as they looked out at a hairy-arsed bunch of fisherman and their wives with mouths full of veg, meat and potatoes is quite beyond me. But they did, and they were a pleasure to watch, unlike when I was on a stag night in Estonia. As I spun round with one leg in the air, round a pole in a lap dancing club with just a pair of boxers on it didn’t end well for anyone concerned, including the little old granny who came out with some cleaning fluid and a rag to clean the pole once my performance come to an untimely end, but that’s another story.

The tales of pole dancing don’t end there though, as it was a trip down the bar in RCA at Ao Nang which followed, and Dave Bartlett’s wife Sandy treated us to some amazing aerial acrobatics along with some other bar goers. It was good viewing, and I thought I would have a go myself remembering days gone by. It was as pretty ten years on as it was on the first attempt, so I quickly stopped and stood back to watch the evening go in a blur of dancing, laughter and various people (mainly of the female variety) spinning round in circles, some even upside down. So all in all it was a real privilege to spend my first Christmas in Thailand in such an amazing way.

Shortly after was Becky’s birthday, so again we were all out again, this time for a meal at the local steakhouse called Carnivore. Again a great night was had by all, especially as two unnamed members of staff managed to hide cocktail sticks in the chair of our lovable cameraman John “Oh Really” Dunford. This act of stupidity resulted in the odd prick in his bum, but not for the first time we thinks! (Only kidding, John – couldn’t resist that one) anyway I digress, and a great night was had by all again. So the last of the celebrations were of course New Year’s Eve where everyone went to Krabi and back to the crispy pork restaurant, then down to the beach to watch the health and safety free display of fireworks (without injury) and then back to The Climax Bar to drink and dance the night away and see in the New Year. There were a few bleary eyes the next day as usual, and the fishing carried on and the monsters started to get caught again.

So, without any animal rescue stories like last month and without further ado, I’d best get on! Oh before I go, if you visit here and you see a grown man walking to the pool with an inflatable crocodile under his arm, then you have Becky to thank for that, as she kindly got me that for Christmas and quite frankly I love it! It ended a two-month quest of trying to find one for me, so don’t knock it! I bet if you sit down and think about it then you’ll agree with me that if you had your life over again you would definitely have eaten more ice pops and spent more time lounging about on inflatables in a pool!

This whole Thailand thing… it’s crazy, it’s bonkers, it’s hot, it’s funny, it’s long days on and amazing days off, but it’s a million times better than delivering to shops in Camden High Street where the locals shoot air rifles at you for fun. I’m loving it, and I haven’t been fired yet, so till next month I’d better stop rabbiting on and get on with the whos, the whys and the what fors!

December normally sees the end of the rainy season, and like everywhere else in the world the seasons were a little different here this year. The rain continued to fall, and in fact a month after the rainy season has normally ended, we were still being bombarded with rainstorms and lightning. Often back home in England anglers punch the air for joy when it rains, especially if it comes in on a low pressure, as it oxygenates the water and the fish feed better and for longer. However out here in south east Asia the effect is pretty much the opposite, and if the rain keeps persisting over a few months it hurts the oxygen levels and the fish tend not to feed as well, hence why we didn’t have as many fish caught this month as we did last. At one point we had to treat the water with oxygenating powder, as our daily oxygen level check was showing a slow decline.

Having said that there were still a lot of fish out, so by no stretch of the imagination was it doom and gloom; far from it in fact, but it just drives it home that people are all to ready to say, “Oh, it’s slow” or whatever, but you can bet your bottom dollar that there wasn’t anywhere else on the planet that produced the amount of big fish that we did last month. A strong claim indeed, but here are the catch figures:

The anglers who visited us for the exotic fishing Thailand has to offer this month caught a total of 572 fish of 23 species, made up as follows: 54 arapaima to 480lb, seven arawana to 12lb, three alligator gar to 34lb, 132 Amazon redtail catfish to 90lb, 77 Asian redtail catfish to 36lb, six barramundi to 8lb, 22 black pacu to 32lb, one Chao Phraya catfish of 82lb, three giant gourami to 6lb, three giant stingray to 120lb, two giant snakehead to 5lb, four giant featherback to 14lb, 11 Julian’s golden carp to 28lb, 77 Mekong catfish to 210lb, six Nile perch to 4lb, one rohu to 18lb, two ripsaw catfish to 25lb, 15 red bellied pacu to 15lb, one spotted sorubim of 18lb, three spotted featherback to 9lb, 142 Siamese carp to 120lb, two tambaqui to 55lb, two wallago attu to 18lb. Not to bad when it’s fishing slow is it?

Just before we get to the fishing we want to remind everybody that once again its show time! Gillhams Fishing Resorts are at the following shows;

Brentwood Essex 31st January 1st February stand number 68 in the main hall.


Zwolle Holland 8/9th February.

The Big One, Farnborough Hants 21/22nd March.


The Northern Show Manchester 28/29 March.


Come and see us to discuss your holiday plans to visit the best fishery on the planet, and as usual we will be offering discounts to anglers booking at the shows. You can also purchase raffle tickets, as every show we draw a winner for a week’s holiday at Gillhams. We look forward to meeting you and helping you to plan the ultimate holiday to the ultimate fishing resort.

Ron Buss and his wife Jo made a return visit to us last month, and it was no messing about for Ron as he got stuck in straight away with a 160lb arapaima. Continuing on the vein of not messing about, the next we heard he had landed two at the same time… well, after a quick siesta out of the heat. The two fish in question turned out to be a 45lb Amazon redtail and a Siamese of 70lb – not a bad brace of fish that’s for sure! Well the trip panned out nicely for Ron as he got up and got his rods out fast every day, then when the heat got a little too much he went off, had breakfast and just chilled in his bungalow for a little while. Then he returned, baited up and cast out, and the whole tactic seemed to work as he went on to have his most successful trip here ever with nearly 20 Siamese carp up to 92lb, then 17 Amazon redtails to 85lb. This carp fishing legend didn’t end it there though, as he went on to land three each of black pacu and red bellied pacu all around the 20lb mark, Asian redtails to 20lb, spotted featherbacks to 14lb, then a friendly little Mekong of 80lb and an unfriendly Mekong at 150lb!

Ron celebrated his birthday while he was out here by popping into Ao Nang and down to the awesome restaurant called The Carnivore, which is renowned for its amazing steaks. Well we all know Ron is carp fishing royalty, so I guess it came as no surprise when he totaled three trips to The Carnivore. I guess he must be like the queen and have three birthdays! This ended up being Ron’s most successful trip out here so far with a total of 48 fish landed, all from the big lake.

Paul Austin and his new bride Dahlia thought it would be a good idea to visit us for their honeymoon, and we couldn’t have agreed more, so with a poolside bungalow specially decked out with flowers and romance in the air, Dahlia graced the pool and Paul went angling and it didn’t take him too long before he had popped both an Asian redtail and a spotted sorubim both around the 30lb mark into his photograph album. Then it was a day off in Ao Nang sightseeing and generally chilling out by the beach all in preparation for a busy day in the “Grassy Swim” for Paul. What a day that turned out to be with a shedload of Amazons with an 80lb’er, then an 85lb’er, and that was knocked off the top by a clonking 90lb’er! He was grinning from ear to ear. So with the taste of victory well and truly in his mouth, Paul took Dahlia up to the top lake so she could have a little go for herself. Well I guess you know what’s coming… Yep, she was the cat with the cream that day because she landed a beautiful arawana of 7lb.

But the fun didn’t end there because next up it was time for some elephant trekking through the jungle, which they both really enjoyed. But with time starting to go against him, Paul said he was going to really get his fishing head on in the final stretch of their stay. Well we got the impression he meant that because on the first day he landed a 160lb Mekong catfish, which made him very pleased indeed, but the joy didn’t end there as he also popped out Siamese carp to 60lb. So not only did he land three out of his four target species and a beautiful new bride, but we got to eat some very tasty cake too! It was what they call a win/win situation.

Chris Oakes and his wife Nicky came down for just over a week as part of a two-week trip to southern Thailand. Fitness fanatics Chris and Nicky both had a good workout too! Nicky was seen jogging round the lake every day. She likes jogging; in fact she once ran 17 marathons in 11 days. That’s 434 miles, one mile for every soldier killed in Afghanistan. Now that’s pretty impressive by anyone’s standards! Chris however opted for the “fish workout” method, and absolutely loved locking onto big Mekong catfish, which he was more than happy to throw on a life jacket for and pursue the beasts up and down the lake. In fact if the truth be known, we think his military background and love of jumping out of airplanes has made him someone that loves a good battle, and battles he got!

There were some epic Mekong battles too, with some lost and some won. The Mekong landed went to 200lb, so then it was time to have a go at the arapaima, and he landed them to 160lb. Of course next up were the Amazon redtails, which are always really up for a good scrap. Chris didn’t let the side down there either, as he landed nine, with five of them 60lb or more and the best being a superb 80lb’er. But that wasn’t the only 80lb’er he saw, as Chris also caught Siamese to 85lb. As Nicky kept whizzing round the lake Chris decided to do the same and fished a different swim nearly every day; in fact he fished seven different swims in eight days, only stopping for one afternoon to enjoy the elephant trekking, and of course they chose the afternoon trek where you get to wash the elephant down in the river at the end of the trek! Of course neither of these slowed him down at all; in fact other than what we have already mentioned he went on to land a couple of mid double pacu, Asian red tails to 20lb and a small Nile perch too, so a nice mixed bag for him. Then it was time for the two of them to slip into a local hotel and have a few days exploring what Ao Nang has to offer.

Dean Macey regularly makes the trip out to see us here in southern Thailand, normally by himself or with a few of his fishing buddies; however that changed this year when he brought some of his family along in the shape of his wife Lisa, brother Adam and sister-in-law Katie. All four of them came to catch a few fish, see the sights and generally absorb all things Thailand, and that’s exactly what they did! It all started off with a big Mekong catfish for Dean, and under his watchful eye brother Adam decided that he would give fishing a try too, and that resulted in his first ever fish, a whopping great Mekong of 160lbs! I think you call that a baptism of fire.

Pacu were high on Dean’s list as a species he wanted to target, and the first morning he was pretty chuffed to have a couple of mid doubles roll in his net. However, being the all round angler that he is, he couldn’t resist a trip up the top lake and dragged everyone up there for a spot of family fun fishing. Well that was his excuse anyway; we all knew that he was really just trying to catch his first Julian’s carp! Well Lisa, Katie and Adam all caught Julian’s and pacu but Dean didn’t, and we all had a quiet laugh!

As they were on holiday, it wasn’t long before they were off out elephant trekking, which they all enjoyed, and before we knew it they were off out on a longtail boat for the day, which led to some amusing family videos. Then I challenged Dean to a “rod off” up the top lake. This would be a one-hour match where the first to catch four different species of fish won. I whipped up there in the morning, landed a few pacu and a couple of Julian’s and knew it was “in the bag” so to speak. We filmed the whole match and popped it up on the Gillhams fishing resort page on Facebook and YouTube. It comes in two parts, and I won’t ruin the excitement for you, but let’s just say both parts are good fun, and someone got egg on their face!

After this it was Dean’s birthday, and we all celebrated it with some nice cake and a trip out to the local steak restaurant. Dean caught his first ever birthday fish, which was a pacu from the top lake. With a few days left and the fishing head back on, Dean landed another big Mekong of around 180lb and Adam landed one at 220lb. The celebrations continued for Dean as a mid thirty black pacu came along followed by a couple of Siamese at 40 and 55lb. At this point Adam thought he would have another little dangle, as he was getting the bug now, and he duly landed an arapaima of 350lbs! So that was three fish from the big lake for him, two Mekongs at 160 and 220 then a 350 harry… not a bad average weight we think you’ll agree! So seemingly within a flash they had to leave us, and I was seen moping about saying something about revenge, but I guess that’ll have to wait for another time!

Jurgen Remeli from Austria made quite an impact on us here at Gillhams Fishing Resort, and here’s why. Jurgen is a keen fisherman who often fishes for trout in his home country, and on a couple of occasions has been catfish angling in Italy and other European countries. Now a year or so ago he and his wife-to-be were watching the River Monsters program with Jeremy Wade, the episode entitled “The Asian Slayer” from series 4, where Jeremy ends up fishing here. Jurgen said to his fiance, “I have to go there! I have to go there!” Well after some investigative work from his better half, the next thing an excited Jurgen knows he has three days’ fishing here on honeymoon with his lovely new bride! The excitement and enthusiasm that bubbled out of him was so infectious, it made him a very endearing character, and we all fell in love with the cheeky Austrian straight away. It truly was a breath of fresh air, especially when at times we have to deal with some people that just constantly moan, even when they are catching dream fish all day long! Still, no need for us to lower ourselves and name and shame them.

Continuing on with the positive vibes on the first day, he landed an Amazon redtail of 50lb and he was made up. But then he hooked a monster, either a Mekong or an arapaima, which he battled for a good 20 minutes then he lost it. Well this was probably the biggest injection of dopamine he had ever had, and he was absolutely buzzing telling all who wanted to hear about his epic tale of losing a monster, with not one hint of a moan. He said it was an honour to just have hooked one! He was so full of energy and excitement that on his last day’s fishing when he hooked into what was clearly a big Mekong, a small crowd gathered, and we prayed he would land it. Well, a good 40 minutes later, dripping in sweat and absolutely knackered, his dreams really came true, and a 200lb Mekong finally gave up the fight and slipped into the net. Well, talk about lighting the blue touch paper and retiring! He went off like a firework, screaming, “I have my River Monster!! I have my River Monster!!” and we all breathed a sigh of relief. After the photos were taken and the fish safely returned, Jurgen went to the restaurant and had a cold beer. He was still shaking an hour later, so from all of us here at Gillhams, well done mate, and we look forward to seeing you again next time!

Gary Hipple and his wife Fran regularly make the trip out to see us here in southern Thailand, often with his mate Keith O’Connor. Well, Gary fished on for a week or so after Keith had gone this time, and while Fran went handbag shopping and enjoyed days down at the beach with our Becky, Gary got stuck into catching some fish and had a superb haul of Siamese carp with eight of them going 80lb or more, of which three of them were 90lb’ers! But the 90lb’ers didn’t stop there, as he landed a colossal Amazon redtail catfish of the same weight, and backed that up with a superb 80lb’er and a token 50lb’er! We know that’s a ridiculous thing to say as there are plenty of people who would love to catch a 50lb Amazon, but hey, here in the theatre of dreams that’s an everyday occurrence! Not everyday occurrences though are tambaqui and giant stingray, and Gary also had one of each at 55lb and 35lb respectively and was delighted with both. Obviously the 55lb tambaqui was the real icing on the cake for him, but as ever the fun didn’t end there though, as Asian redtails to 25lb came along, followed by pacu to 35lb and a Julian’s of 15lb, so plenty of different species of fish from the main lake and three of them at specimen weights. Now that’s not a bad session in anyone’s eyes!

I really hope he doesn’t mind me saying this, but I think it’s fair to say that Mark Murray from mid Wales is a quiet, humble man who is quite content in life and doesn’t have desires for grandeur, fame and excess. He arrived onto the fishery by himself almost unnoticed by most and quietly went about his business as he started fishing in sala 9 one morning. I was doing my rounds when I bumped into him and stopped to say hello. It turned out that we had a couple of things in common: one was that we both used e-cigs, and the other was that we loved fishing! Mark said he didn’t need or particularly want to catch loads of fish; he wanted to catch a few, and if he caught one over 50lb he would be happy, as the biggest fish he had ever caught before was 18lb. He was going to spend a fortnight with us, although he wouldn’t be fishing half of that as he fully intended to do some sightseeing too as he had come all this way.

Well his angling exploits started well, and he quickly had an Asian and Amazon redtail, both around 30lb, then a smaller Asian and a Siamese carp around 34lb. Then the next few days were spent elephant trekking, out on the longtail boats seeing the nearby beaches etc, all whilst keeping an eye on the fishery and seeing what was going on, who was catching what and so on and so forth. After his days off sightseeing he decided to go into sala 1, still with dreams of catching his first 50lb fish. I’ll be honest, by that point we had all taken to Mark. His funny little quips and little jokes here and there and his overall demeanor had made him a very likeable character, and we were all hoping that a big one would come his way. Well, the theatre of dreams didn’t disappoint!

A blistering take on his middle rod, doubled with the line emptying off his reel and moans of pain as his rod doubled over, we knew it was a Mekong charging up the lake and the battle commenced. Now it goes without saying there were dramas and we nearly lost it, and that we had to throw a life jacket on him and chuck him in the lake to chase it down the edge, because that’s what regularly happens with Mekong. But with some superb help from Alex (one of our “boy band” guides) we managed to get into a position, where the fish, although not yet seen, was in fact showing signs of tiring and was slowly coming to the bank.

Eventually the monster broke the surface and we all took a gasp, well not all of us actually because Mark just said, “I’m definitely claiming 50lb for that” and we all burst out laughing. Well he may have claimed 50lb, but we’re claiming 180lb! It was one of those moments that quite frankly money can’t buy. The look on his face as we did the photos and carefully returned it was priceless. One man’s dreams come true, and it doesn’t get much better… but it did, and not just once. We danced when he caught a 62lb Siamese; we partied when he bagged further Amazons to 55lb; we jumped up and down as another Mekong came in at 110lb, but then we nearly killed him with another Mekong! Such was the fight that we had to lend a helping hand, but in the searing heat and with sweat running down his face, and although he asked one of us to take his rod, we wouldn’t let him give in.

With Dean “Machine” Macey offering inspirational words of encouragement, me braced against the rod demanding an ice cream when it was all over and the Macey ladies pouring water over him to keep him from blowing a gasket, we eventually tamed the beast. Mark literally collapsed on the floor and drank some water before we took the photos of another monster, this one weighing 150lb! Mark loved it and said he’ll return to see us again, and we all look forward to that!

Steve Walter was another customer who quietly slipped onto the resort, and although fairly tired from the flight it didn’t take him long to slip round to sala 5 and slide his net under a small Asian redtail and settle into the swing of things. Steve is a well travelled and experienced fisherman who loves a bit of carp fishing in Canada, and he made it clear as the Asian slipped away into the turquoise colored water that although he was really happy to catch anything he really hoped a Siamese or two came his way. Steve went on to tell us that he regularly catches the weird and the wonderful, and we’re not talking about needing trips to a clinic here either. Our travelling piscator has an uncanny knack of extracting something a little different from most places he goes, as we found out on day number two as he was seen smirking behind a super alligator gar of 28lbs, which he refused to touch after someone cracked a joke about them having a nasty habit of swinging round and biting people, thus rendering them incapable of having children!

After a day or two he changed swims and ended up taking a good beating off a Mekong catfish, which then unluckily escaped. Unperturbed, he arrived in the restaurant with his little cap on and rucksack on his back looking somewhat like Bilbo Baggins and announced that it was 1-0 to the mighty Mekong, but he would have his revenge! Well it wasn’t long before his buzzers were screaming again, but our intrepid traveller was having fun, landing Amazon redtails to a superb 85lb. Of course after that he had to go and catch another of the “weird and wonderful” in the guise of a wallago leeri at 20lb. Steve was definitely having a lot of fun at the fishery, and his great sense of humour kept us and all around him amused. By the time he was ready to do battle with another Mekong we were all rooting for him and prayed he would get his revenge. He did of course, and it was smiles all around as he tamed a hard fighting fish of 100lb. Of course he and everyone around him were absolutely delighted. His final hope for this session was to land his first Siamese carp, and that target was achieved well before he had to leave us and we all asked, “What next?” He replied, “I’m not really bothered. I want to save some species like the arapaima until next time.”

Eddie Grey and his wife Lynne have made the trip from Manchester to see us for the last few Christmases and New Years, and we’re always pleased to see them because they’re damn fine company and Eddie always catches a few, which of course is great for the catch reports! Armed with his “secret bait” Eddie quickly caught a good sized Asian then a couple of Amazons followed by a couple of Siamese along the bungalow side, but he really fancied getting into Sala 1, so after seeing his good friend Ian Wright land a PB Siamese of 85lb he then moved swims. For some reason a large amount of Amazon redtails were down the restaurant end of the lake, and very quickly he seemed to be landing one after the other, but it wasn’t all plain sailing for him, as a few of the hard-fighting Amazons managed to find a way escaping around the aerator in the corner of the lake.

Well our mighty leader wasn’t happy with that state of affairs, so he sent in our underwater specialists to see what may be causing a problem. It appeared that over time a couple of the pipes to the filters had raised off the lake floor, and clearly the fish had got their heads together and let all their other scaly friends know this would be a great way to shred the line and escape. Suffice to say the problem was quickly rectified, and the Amazons continued pulling Eddies line, only now they were slipping in the net one after another. The Amazons came on a combination of float tactics and his secret salami cubes. Oops, did I mention his secret bait there? Anyway not content with emptying the lake of Amazons, Eddie popped out an 80lb Mekong catfish, wallago leeri and arapaima to 140lbs, but then disaster struck as another Amazon, this time 55lb jumped whilst being photographed and snapped the chain around his neck and his precious Buddha fell into the lake. However our synchronized diving team consisting of Alex, Chris and Gollock didn’t give up and eventually found the missing pendant, and everyone let out a large sigh of relief!
By the time Eddie and Lynne departed he had notched up a total of nearly 20 Amazon redtail with over half of them over 50lb the biggest being a new PB of 90lb! And much to our excitement he landed a half eaten tilapia from the top lake, which has sparked a lot of interest… Has our tiger fish got big up there?

Just before I started working here at the resort I heard the reports of a chap called Ian Farr. He had recently had a big hit of fish, something like 43 in eight days, 38 of which were carp, and three of them were over 100lb, all of which were caught in the same day! Now to catch fish like that you have to know what you are doing, simple as that, so I did some investigating into how Ian fished, and it transpired that it was quite a similar way to Keith O’Connor. So armed with this knowledge, and having seen it work with my own eyes with Keith, if anyone asked me what advice I would give to help them catch, quite simply I would relay what I had seen and learnt from the both of them. I would tell anyone who asked what I thought the best way to go about getting an extra bite or two would be.

As I stood there puffing away on my Black Jack flavored e-cig, some weren’t interested and some listened intently, either way I walked away knowing I had given the best advice I could, especially as I had seen it working for other people too. Then one day as I was ambling round the lake I got talking to a nice fella who was quietly fishing away, and it didn’t take long before I was recounting tales of monsters all caught by this chap Ian Farr. The quietly spoken fella looked at me, smiled and said, “That’s me.” For a second I felt a right lemon, because had I have paid more attention to previous newsletters, Facebook posts etc, then quite simply I would have recognised him! Having said that, I have often felt a right lemon in the past, so the feeling didn’t last long and we got talking (obviously while I checked his rigs etc for my own future reference!).

Now Ian was here when, as mentioned in the opening part of this letter, the fishing was slow for a few days, and the fish had other ideas apart from getting caught and photographed. It seemed at the time that the Mekongs were the only ones playing the game, and Ian managed to get photos with seven of them including four that were over 160lb the biggest being a colossal 200lb’er. Every day he was seen politely apologising to his fellow anglers, as these hard fighting monsters dragged him along the margins from one end of the lake to the other. I’m sure his arms were aching the whole time, and although it didn’t stop him reeling them in, I am also sure I heard him say he didn’t really want to catch another one… I think on his third! But of course that’s not the whole of his story, and on his short stay with us this time as he landed a marvelous tambaqui of 60lbs, pacu to 20lb and five carp, which weighed 50, 65, 75, 80 and 90. Now you would have to come from the planet Zod to not appreciate how well he did in only a few days here.

Dave Bartlett and his wife Sandy came over to join us for the Christmas celebrations, and there was certainly something to celebrate as they found out their first grandchild was on the way. Then it was Sandy’s birthday, so all in all there were plenty of reasons for a good swing around on the pole down at one of the local bars for these two characters, although there was only half of this dynamic duo seen to be whizzing round in the air whilst we grinned and took pictures, then completely lied as to whether or not we had taken any photos at all. But hey, your secret is safe with us, Sandy; we won’t tell anyone! The fishing was equally as much fun for Dave, as he landed Asian redtails, Siamese carp, barramundi, pacu etc, then he and I decided a trip up the top lake would be fun, and he then landed some new species including tilapia, Julian’s and then his crowning moment of glory when he skillfully stalked a superb arawana. This was all in just a few hours’ fishing, but alas as soon as Dave and Sandy arrived they were gone as their holiday took them on to Goa in India. Oh well, they’ll be back soon for some more fun, so see you up the top lake, Dave!

Well that’s it for December, this month’s Gillhams Fishing Resorts Newsletter, and we hope to meet many new anglers and make new friends over the next few months. Once again many thanks to everyone who has fished here, and we hope to see you again in the near future. For those of you planning a return or your first trip please email Stuart or phone +66 (0) 861644554, and please remember we are +7 hours GMT.

Best wishes and tight lines from us all at Gillhams, and we hope your next fish is the one of your dreams (which it probably will be if you come to Gillhams).