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Krabi newsletter February 2012

Hi and welcome to Sean’s February newsletter. For the next couple of months I will be giving you a break from Stuart’s ramblings and writing the newsletter myself as Stuart is freezing his nuts off in England with Jack and Benz while I’ve been left in Thailand to sweat mine off. It’s not all beach parties and cocktails over here for me and my sister Becca though; we do have to do some occasional work and even have to put up with happy customers catching their dream fish while basking in the hot tropical sun. It’s a hard life, but hey, somebody has to live it. Life even gets hard for Mr Russell, as now he’s had the chop he’s having to dress up and role play to get in touch with his masculine side, as his pirate pic will show.

I must say it’s been a nice month for everybody, as we no longer have to watch over our shoulders making sure Jason isn’t around planning his next trick. Also hearing about the cold weather and snowstorms blowing across Europe from our new arrivals makes it even better living in tropical climates. Mind you just the other week I woke up feeling rather cold, but with one click the air con was turned off and the problem was solved.

As opposed to Russell getting in touch with his masculine side, Richard Larkin has been doing the opposite and getting in touch with his feminine side. I think all these hot days working in the garden have taken their toll on him, or maybe he’s getting some of Thailand’s third gender syndrome, as you can see from the pictures we found on Lee’s camera. Talking of Lee, Richard sure didn’t forget him on Valentine’s Day when he presented Lee with a nice bouquet of flowers and even left him a subtle hint of what was to come later.

Joel and I tried some fishing ourselves this month and prebaited with 150kg of minced fish on a quiet Krabi beach in the hope of catching some sharks. As it turned out nothing was caught, but it won’t stop there as I have found some other possible shark spots for the next attempt in a couple of weeks.

Getting onto a more serious note, Gillhams is fast becoming one of the most popular fishing lakes around and we are getting heavily booked throughout the whole year, so to avoid disappointment please book your trip. We get so many people just turn up for fishing finding out we’re full and not being able to have a go for their dream fish. If you are one of these many unfortunate people that couldn’t fish, we apologise, but next time be sure to book your spot. We also get the people that get angry with us when not being able to fish – even telling us to kick another guest out so that they can fish, or asking how much extra would it cost to get a place! If were full, that’s it – no amount of money can get you in if the places have already gone. It’s first come first served, or alternatively buy the resort if you’ve got so much money. Come on – you don’t just turn up at the airport and fly to Thailand without booking; you book your ticket and save your money so why not book your place at Gillhams?

As we’re into our dry season and the days are getting hotter the Julian’s golden prize carp are really getting their heads down. The Mekong catfish are still getting on the feed and kicking people’s arses once again this month, but still what do you expect when fishing for big fish? One thing that is concerning me is today’s youth. Never have I seen such lack of stamina and power (apart from Ritchie) in young men, who after ten or 15 minutes are giving the rod over to the guides and are nearly in tears due to a bit of hard work. Personally I blame it on too many computer games and wanking.

Ok I’m starting to worry myself now, as I’m sounding more like the grumpy old git with every sentence I write, so let’s get down to the fishing. The total catch for the month is as follows: 61 anglers came for fishing holidays in Thailand, ranging from three to 14 days, and 57 anglers came fishing in Krabi on a day ticket. Between them they caught 1,080 fish of 26 species, made up as follows: 42 arapaima to 380lb, eight arawana to 12lb, four alligator gar to 30lb, 284 Amazon red tail catfish to 85lb, one Amazon stingray to 20lb, 145 Asian red tail catfish to 35lb, 11 black pacu to 25lb, four big head carp to 15lb, ten Chinese seerfish to 20lb, three giant featherback to 9lb, two giant stingray to 110lb, four giant snakehead of 8lb, 41 Julian’s golden prize carp to 35lb, 192 Mekong catfish to 220lb, seven mrigal to 14lb, four rohu carp to 10lb, 11 ripsaw catfish to 25lb, 19 spotted featherback to 10lb, 226 Siamese carp to 85lb, 11 shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 35lb, 24 shovel nosed tiger catfish to 18lb, two striped catfish of 15lb, three tambaqui to 20lb, nine wallago attu to 15lb, ten wallago leeri to 25lb and one zungaro of 15lb.

First up this month we had a return trip from Bjorn Olovsson who was accompanied by Robert Lilja and their families. As Bjorn has been here before and already caught the regular target species he fancied some different species such as giant stingray, alligator gar etc. Whereas Robert, since it was his first trip, wanted anything and everything and managed both of Bjorn’s target species with a stingray of 100lb and an alligator gar of 27lb just to rub salt into the wounds. Both guys went on to catch some good fish with Bjorn’s three biggest fish being redtail catfish to 55lb, Siamese carp to 75lb and arapaima to 130lb, while Robert caught 17 fish of six species the biggest being a Mekong catfish at 120lb.

Next up we had John McRitchie and Rob Wickens on a week’s fishing trip. Neither of the guys had been here before so were keen to catch as many species as possible whether bait fishing, or in Rob’s case, fly fishing. Now while here both guys enjoyed their trip and were nice people to fish with. John, being a fly angler back in Scotland, couldn’t understand why people would stay in one area bait fishing and thought that every day the swim should be rotated so that the people who worked hard and plumbed and baited their swims could be moved off so that the more laid back anglers could gain on their hard work and angling capabilities. John did settle half way through the trip after landing an arapaima of 380lb and went on to catch 21 fish of eight species. Rob also landed some nice fish but put more time into the fly fishing and had many hook ups but bad luck with landing them. After trying the fly on the main lake Rob then went onto the new fly and lure lake and managed to land tarpon and dorado, which he had never caught before.

This month we also had angling mad husband and wife Mark and Ann McIntosh. Now these guys run Stapeley Angling centre and fish together every available moment. While here even talked about their fishing wedding when they were married at 10am, cast out by 2pm, and even had their picture in the Angling Times with Mark dressed in waders and Ann in her wedding dress. One week later they were off to France on their honeymoon, which was, yes, you guessed it, a fishing holiday. Now these are the sort of people we like having here, and every day was a pleasure to guide them. Even though it was a once in a lifetime trip, within the first couple of days they were talking about their return trip, hopefully next year. Between them they caught 35 fish and of course Ann showed the guys how it was done when she landed an arapaima of 300lb. Mark wasn’t put out by this, as he also caught Mekong catfish to 140lb and a Julian’s golden prize carp of 27lb.

The big freeze across Europe affected a lot of holidaymakers with airports closing and flights being delayed, but for our next customers that wasn’t the only disaster of the holiday. Father and son anglers, Tim and Robbie Hudson, ended up sat on a Heathrow runway for ten hours before being taken off the plane and then waiting around a further 12 hours before heading to Bangkok, only to then miss their connecting flight to Krabi and having to spend a night in the airport hotel before eventually getting to us two and half days late. After arriving they thought all the bad luck was behind them, but for son Robbie the flights were just the start of an unforgettable trip. After checking in they were fishing within about 20 minutes and Tim landed three fish the first afternoon. The second day after catching a Siamese carp Robbie then hooked into a Mekong catfish, which ended up damaging a previous back injury leaving him in too much pain to put another rod out for the remainder of the trip. On the bright side of things Tim then had four rods to fish with and went on to catch some rarer species such as ripsaw catfish, giant snakehead and even one of our Amazon stingrays, but his biggest catch went to a 160lb Mekong catfish. Robbie still made the most of his trip helping and spending time with his dad.

We also had Doug Pryke with his family and friends John and Sue come for six days’ fishing. The first couple of days were slow for them, but Doug did manage an arawana and giant stingray. After a move John and Doug started picking up some more fish and had decided to double up in a swim and just take turns on the rods. This was to be Doug’s unlucky day as on two of John’s turns he landed two arapaima of 240lb and 300lb. Doug’s trip did end well with landing a couple more new species with a Julian’s carp and a Chinese seerfish and a total of 29 fish. As the group were checking out payback was in order, so Doug decided to spray John’s white hair with our purple fish care spray, leaving him looking like he’d had a purple rinse.

Paul Quenet returned with son Jake for a week’s fishing wanting to target different species other then arapaima, Siamese carp etc. While fishing different baits and downsizing a few rigs Paul and Jake managed ten different species including mrigal, tiger catfish, Chinese seerfish and a wallago attu. Some other good catches included Mekong catfish to 130lb, Amazon redtail catfish to 65lb and even the biggest Julian golden prize carp of the month at 35lb. At the end of the trip as always Paul and Jake didn’t want to leave, and on returning home wished they hadn’t, as some dirty bastard had broken into Paul’s van, stealing all his fishing gear.

Jan Vandenberg and wife Tineke from Holland returned alone after visiting last year with Ronald the Redtail and vowing never to make the same mistake again. While here Jan did manage to get some fishing done in between drinking his beloved Singha and non-stop joking. Even when playing big Mekong the joking didn’t stop, making it very hard for the guides to net the fish through laughing at this crazy Dutch man. Tineke spent her time relaxing round the pool and taking afternoon naps to escape the midday heat. While here Jan caught 13 fish including ripsaw catfish, Julian’s carp, arapaima and Mekong to 140lb. As the trip was over they were off to Phuket for two weeks before going to Bangkok then home to Holland hoping to have missed the worst of the big freeze.

Neil Mitchell from Liverpool returned only managing two days while having a break from the madness of Phuket. While here Neil wanted a big Mekong and a personal best Siamese carp, both of which managed. Neil landed Mekongs to 140lb, beat his PB carp with one of 65lb, and went on to land a total of nine fish.

Also this month we had newcomer Nick Holland whose dream fish was an arapaima. Within five minutes of fishing, Nick’s dream became a reality as he hooked and landed an arapaima of 160lb. Throughout the week Nick managed all the fish on his list including Siamese carp to 60lb, Julian’s golden prize carp, and even another two arapaima to 180lb. Nick also got his first taste of the Mekong catfish, as he got beaten up for nearly an hour before losing it due to a hook pull.

Mr. Johnny Swann made his first visit of the year this month, and with him came mayhem, as he was accompanied by Graham Crook and brothers Richard and Jim Edmunds. Johnny came for two weeks while his mates could only make one week, but made the most of it. Even though the first couple of days were quiet for Richard and Graham, Jim, being the non-angler, was leading behind Johnny after landing two Mekong and losing another two on the first day. Within a couple of days everyone was getting into Mekong catfish, Siamese carp and other species. By the end of the week they had gone on to catch 49 fish of ten species between them, with species such as zungaro, Julian’s golden prize carp and spotted featherback. Richard even managed Amazon redtail catfish to 80lb. Jim had Siamese carp to 55lb and Mekongs to 110lb, and Graham also caught big redtail catfish and a Julian’s carp to name a few.

By the time the other three had gone, Johnny was already well ahead on fish and had managed to land 45 fish in total. As Johnny was fishing he even got spooled twice by Mekong, so decided to jump in the boat for the next one and follow it down the lake while giving onlookers a good laugh, as he was getting towed around and even fell out of the boat. John landed 19 Mekong in total to 160lb and even managed four Julian’s carp in one day while targeting them, which was nice to see. Amongst ten different species that John caught were also tiger catfish and arawana giving John a couple more species under his belt.

Ken Bohler from Malaysia joined us for four days’ fishing while on a fishing and diving trip to Krabi. While here Ken caught 22 fish including giant snakehead, ripsaw catfish to 18lb and Amazon redtail catfish to 65lb.

Joseph Florence and husband Kash from Singapore came for a week’s fishing for Kash’s birthday. Also joining them was a surprise visit from Kash’s cousin Uma who fished for four days. Between the three of them 48 fish were caught. Amongst those fish were shovelnose tiger cats, ripsaw catfish, Julian’s carp, wallago attu and Chinese seerfish. Two of the biggest catches of the trip went to a Mekong catfish of 140lb and Uma’s 80lb Siamese carp.

We also had a return trip from Norwegian ladies’ sea captain Torunn who came on three day trips trying to catch an arapaima but with no luck. Torunn did however land nine fish of three species including five Mekong catfish to 135lb, which were uploaded to her friend’s fishing forum,

Another regular visitor this month was Eric and Tina Oakes from Gold Label Tackle in Birmingham. Their two-week trip was shared by Martin Cooper, his wife and daughter, and also Martin’s mate Mel Seagrave. All three had different approaches to their fishing; Eric was a very busy angler, moving swims and always casting, baiting and playing around with rigs trying to get the most out of his days on the banks. This all shows when you look at his catch record, as Eric went on to catch 69 fish including 22 fish over 100lb and two hitting 200lb. Two of Eric’s target fish were the Julian’s golden prize carp, which he caught at 28lb, and a Siamese carp beating his mate’s 50lb’er which was done when he landed one of 80lb. Some of his other catches were Mekong to 200lb and arapaima of 160lb.

Martin, even though he was working hard, was happy enough in the same swim feeding it up and waiting for the fish to come to him. Martin went on to land 23 fish including his prize fish, a 60lb Amazon redtail catfish. He also caught some more sought after species like the alligator gar, ripsaw catfish and Julian’s golden prize carp, which was never photographed due to it jumping over his shoulder before a picture was taken. Martin also caught an 80lb Siamese carp, and his biggest fish when he landed an arapaima of 280lb.

Then we get to Mel who has travelled the world fishing in some of the most remote and volatile areas, but when here was enjoying just chilling out and relaxing. Mel would normally arrive in his swim around 8am then play around with rigs and bait before going for breakfast, normally getting his lines wet around midday. Mel did go on to catch 12 fish including Siamese carp to 60lb, arapaima to 120lb and Mekong catfish to 130lb.

Last Angler of the month was Lord Bailey who was after something different this time and wanted to target the Julian golden prize carp, arawana or anything else other then his beloved Mekong catfish. Mike caught a total of 53 fish including 5 Julian golden prize carp, 2 arawana, ripsaw catfish and tiger catfish to name a few.

That just about sums up another month here at Gillhams, and to all our customers this month, thanks for coming and we hope to see you all again soon. To those that couldn’t book in due to the lake being full, we also hope to see you again and please remember to book next time. I hope you enjoyed this newsletter, but if not, don’t worry – the big man will be back on for April’s, but until then you’re stuck with me.

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.