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Fishing In Thailand Newsletter January 2016

Hi and welcome to the January 2016 newsletter, our monthly round-up of news, catch reports and anything remotely connected to our little slice of paradise out here in Krabi, and with a few of us heading home for the shows, we’ll stick that in too!

We said in the last newsletter that we won’t follow the usual format for January and February’s newsletters, as a few of us are away doing the European trade shows, and we are going to busy. Also the rest of the gang left behind will be busy running the ship in our absence.

In the old newsletters before I took over I know Stuart would let rip now and again if he felt the need to enlighten a few. It’s something I have avoided for two reasons: 1) because I didn’t want to just copy the big dog, and 2) because I felt I didn’t have the right to. At the end of the day I am an employee here and not an owner, but having said that, I have witnessed some interesting things, conversations, criticisms, e-mails, and maybe now it’s good to have a period of reflection and to put some things straight.

Recently we had a customer complain that they weren’t in the newsletter. That’s no big deal to me, as 90% of our customers don’t feature in the newsletter because of a multitude of reasons, the main ones being time and space! However, if when I walk round the lake and say, “Hello” and the response back is as dull as dishwater, or the person can’t be bothered to reply, or indeed they can’t get their head out of their iPad or iPhone, the likelihood that person will get into the newsletter is really quite remote, unless they have a really good session where their lack of charisma can be overwritten with a shed load of fish. Now to some that may seem a little harsh, but believe me it isn’t! By its nature the subject matter is very samey, boring maybe. Every month plenty of people come and catch plenty of fish and to turn that into something readable can at times be quite challenging. For example, Bob Job McPlop came from England, sat there with a face like a knotted hankie for ten days, moaned about the heat and sat there watching films on his iPad the whole time. Two or three times a day he was disturbed when a fish pulled his line so he got up and reeled them in. During his stay he landed a load of fish including Mekongs to 160… blah blah blah. You get my drift, I am sure! So come along and make an effort to get involved with everyone including other anglers and the staff, and most people are fine and up for a bit of a laugh, that’s true.

Then of course you get the customers turn up who have done little or no research into the resort or its captures. Some even barely know how to cast a rod in, let alone fish, then after ten minutes they are moaning that they haven’t landed one… Erm… sorry, these are big fish we are talking about here, and for the majority of the time it takes a little bit of patience and work to catch them. It’s not a “put and take” lake where you catch loads of smaller sized fish; it’s a specimen lake stuffed full of monsters that take a little catching. I can never understand why people moan about not catching the fish of a lifetime in five minutes. The secret is there in the wording: “the fish of a LIFETIME”. Surely that should be something that requires a little effort! It would be like me going to a golf course and moaning that I can’t hit a hole in one.

Then we get the e-mails moaning about the guides fishing on their days off. Well here’s a thing for you, all of them are fisherman and they come to Gillhams to work and then to fish on their days off. It’s not a job you do for the money; they work their socks off from 6.00am until 20.15 (sometimes longer) five days a week in the heat, doing everything they can to help people catch fish, and they get by on tip money, so spare a thought for them when they have to deal with some of the people we see turn up! If they want to fish, they go in the last choice of swims and try and make the best of it. Fortunately, the majority of customers don’t have a problem with this, but it’s a common moan, and I hasten to add it’s usually those that don’t tip or catch! The amount of times we have seen customers sitting there refusing any guiding because they have “been there, seen it, done it, bought the T-shirt” and three days in they are struggling because they refused help and all of a sudden the guides are a bunch of wankers – truly unbelievable! Especially when we have a set of guides that the big dog describes as “the best team he has ever had”!

Speaking of the big dog, he’s never too far away from something happening from the left-field as they say, and a recent trip to the doctor led to another amusing story… He had to go to the doctor to get some stitches removed and then pick some medication up, but when he went to see the receptionist, she kept calling him Sarah Floodenhop (or something like that), who it transpires is a 26-year-old fit bird from Sweden or somewhere like that. Even though he kept repeatedly showing his ID the lady refused and carried on calling him Sarah and trying to give him Sarah’s medication. In the end the laughing doctor said to Stuart that there “wasn’t a lot of brains with this one”.

My favourite of all favourites is rudeness! Stuart has made it perfectly clear to all of us that if any customers are rude and obnoxious, then quite simply we don’t have to stand for it. Of course there can be language issues at times, but it doesn’t matter what country you come from, you can pretty much say please and thank you, I do know! Since we have been away we had a “journo” over… you know what I mean, one of those journalists who think if they visit us then all of a sudden the resort will become a success, because they have 15,000 Facebook likes, 11,000 of which have probably been bought! Anyway, I digress… this particular journo was so rude and up himself that his wife was so embarrassed that she actually ended up punching him in the car park and the restaurant! Sean had phoned for some advice on the situation, and Stuart brilliantly replied, “Give him his money back and show him the gate!” Ha ha! Priceless! And that was when his missus started hitting him as she was having a lovely time!

Like I said Stuart can’t abide rudeness, and although it’s well documented that he’s not always lively in the mornings, I know he always makes the effort to say hello to people every day. He doesn’t like it if someone is sitting by themselves in the restaurant at night; he makes a point of spending time with them, and we do as well, as it’s a family run business where everyone is welcomed. Sometimes however people don’t realise that Stuart is the owner/boss. It doesn’t happen often to be fair, and occasionally we have had the funny one where Stuart has politely said hello to someone only for them to blank him completely. Ok he gives them that one, but if it happens again then he just doesn’t bother any more. We had to laugh when this very thing happened to a chap from India recently, because after blanking Stuart for a couple or three days, he then found out who Stuart was and couldn’t make friends with him quickly enough. It didn’t work though, as he was clearly told that if he wasn’t good enough to speak to before, then that was fine and the chap could “go forth and multiply”. You gotta love the big dog!

So to end that piece off before we get into the shows etc., I just wanted to add that most people who come are really cool and they have a nice time (hence why the rebooking percentage is so high), and we have a nice time having them with us. Not everybody loves it, but I’ll tell you something… even though it’s only a small amount who don’t have a good time, that could become even smaller if those people made an effort with us, the fishing, the guides, finding out about the resort, the country and the weather, etc.

The show season started off with a trip to Zwolle in Holland. I met Jo Green and her partner Mike at Harwich, and we took the overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland. We then arrived at Ronnie and Bianca’s from RTV Hengelsport in Den Haag just into Holland, where we met up with Stuart. After a coffee we drove to Zwolle, got the stand set up and booked into our hotel.

For the first evening we decided that an “eat all you can” Chinese restaurant would fit the bill nicely, and it was no surprise that the big dog polished off four sittings, as he had done the night before apparently! However, the most amazing demolishing of the culinary delights went down too little Jo Green. Blimey – she ate nearly as much as Stuart, and she only weighs about five stone (and that’s wet through wearing a woolly jumper!). Boy does she like a pudding! Anyway the show started on a Friday this year, and there were quite a few people milling about, but quite frankly I didn’t think it was that great. The show is massive, and there are about four halls with exhibitors, but it seemed like not that many people came – maybe a couple of thousand? For me the biggest problem that day wasn’t that lack of people but the abundance of pick and mix sweets because there was a massive stand next to ours selling most of my favourites. I only visited it twice though, honest!

Straight after the show we went to a steakhouse that Ronnie had booked us into. The menu was all in Dutch, and I didn’t understand a word of it, but all of a sudden Stuart realised that the house speciality was “eat all you want ribs”. Well, that settled it, and we stuffed our faces full of ribs, like you do!

The second day of the show was completely different, as there were people absolutely everywhere! Many people came to the stand, and with locals Betty and Will helping us along with Ronnie and Bianca, we managed to get over and language barriers and we had a good show, always spreading the word. It was also nice to see customers taking advantage of the show discounts. We stayed in the hotel that night in preparation of the final day at the show.

The final day was going to be slightly different, as Stuart flew back to England at midday to resume his pike fishing exploits, so that just left Jo, Mike, Betty, Will and me, but we handled all the people and pick and mix nicely before we packed down and headed home, which for Mike, Jo and me would be the following day, as the ferry wasn’t running that Sunday night due to repair works.

The following weekend was the Brentwood show, and this time Jenni and Dean Handley were going to join us along with Daniel Swan. We also pulled out top trump out in the shape of Cassie Griffiths and her fella Eddie. Cassie has a strange love, and an incredible ability, of selling raffle tickets, and boy can she sell them! Stuart and I set the stand up on the Friday as everyone else made their way across the country. We met in the hotel and enjoyed a nice curry that night where I dazzled everyone with my magic trick. Daniel didn’t feel the love though, as I snored so loudly in the hotel room that night that not only did he record said event on his phone, but he also vacated the room the following night! Oops… sorry, mate!

The two days were absolutely manic! Many people visited the stand and booked discounted holidays, many people came to say hello, and Cassie pounced on anybody that came anywhere near the stand and sold raffle tickets like they were going out fashion! It was great to see so many friends and customers. Dean Macey joined us, and I think it’s fair to say Stuart was pleased with how it went. On the Sunday Jenni was pleased when Eastenders star Scott Maslen, who plays Jack Branning, came and said hello, and she got a lovely photo with Scott and Dean. One for the photo album, I think!

Before I started working at Gillhams there was a guide called Scott Morley, and I take it many of you knew him. I never met him, but Stuart has always spoken extremely highly of him and has often said he was the, or one of the, best guides he has ever had. Unfortunately, they had words that ultimately ended up with Scott leaving the business on bad terms. I for one know that Stuart always regretted this and wished it hadn’t happened that way. Whilst we were at Brentwood Scott walked up to the stand to see Stuart and said hello… Now that took balls of steel, but the big dog was actually really pleased about it. I am pleased to say that they patched things up, and the big dog in true style offered Scott a free holiday whenever he wants to take it.

Speaking of the big dog, he’s been having a go at those pike again, and it’s been going well with a couple of enviable pike weighing in at 32lb 12oz and 27lb 12oz on his recent outings. If you ask Stuart what his favourite fish is, he will always answer that it’s the pike. What a shame the weather in Thailand doesn’t suit them, as I am sure you will agree if it did, Gillhams would have the biggest in the world. Stuart’s pike fishing season will end on the 18th February, and at the time of writing he has four days left (watch this space)!

After the Manchester show, Stuart, Sean and Lawrence, with some friends and clients, head off to Guyana and Suriname on a mammoth five-week adventure. They will make a blog of this awesome trip, and I for one can’t wait to hear about it and see the pictures.


Right, that’s enough of our ramblings, so best we get on with the whos, the whys and the flipping ‘ecks from this month’s fishing.

The anglers who visited us for the exotic fishing Thailand has to offer had some good fishing in Krabi this month with a total of 569 fish caught of 19 species, made up as follows: 31 arapaima, three arawana, two alligator gar, 127 Amazon redtail catfish, 37 Asian redtail catfish, 15 black pacu, two Chao Phraya catfish, one giant gourami, four striped snakehead, four giant featherback, 11 Julian’s golden carp, 101 Mekong catfish, ten Nile perch, one ripsaw catfish, 19 red bellied pacu, three spotted featherbacks, 192 Siamese carp, four big head carp and two black shark carp.

I managed to get my hands on a few pics this month so we can quickly share a few of them with you.

First up is punk rocker and all round nice guy Ian Breslin. He came in early January and had a good hit from Sala 9 including a rarely caught Thai masheer and a nice big striped catfish of 50lbs!


Marc Pickering made his first trip of the year with his betrothed, Alison. As usual he caught a load of Siamese carp and Mekong including three Siamese over 100lb and Mekongs to an impressive 160lbs.


The very bubbly Wayne Shepherd and his mate Bob Bell also made their usual jaunt to Thailand for a month, which includes Chiang Mai, and two visits to us. They also carried on from where they had left off last year and caught a load of whoppers, including a nice 300lb-plus arapaima for Bob.


It’s always great to see Norfolk expats Paul Barnard and Charlie Bircham arrive at Gillhams with their crazy girls Liz and Sharon. There are always plenty of laughs and a few fish, but this time there were plenty of laughs and a load of fish, including Charlie’s first Siamese carp over 100lb, of which there were two!


Angling legend Bill Phillips and his lovely wife Angie also came to see us a couple of times as they toured Singapore and Thailand. He didn’t do so badly with a couple of Mekongs over 200lb, a massive Siamese, which we weighed at 175lbs, and a load of big Amazon red tails, plus others of course!


You can meet us and find out more about Gillhams, Thailand’s premier fishing resort at the following shows:

20-21 February – NORTHERN ANGLING SHOW – Manchester
19-20 March – THE BIG ONE – Farnborough

Well, that’s it for this month from all of us at Thailand’s premier fishing resort . We’ll see you all again next month, with more news of rod-bending MONSTER fish action!

For those of you planning a return or first trip, please email us at or phone +66 (0) 861644554, and please remember we are +6 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).