back to top

Krabi newsletter June 2011

Hi once again to all our readers of this fishing in Thailand report. As you know the fishing in Krabi was closed throughout May, which is something we have done for the last two years due to the extremely hot conditions. Once again this May had lots of rain and cloudy days, and it seems as if the weather patterns have changed. In the last two years we have had rain in the dry season and sunshine in the wet season! So for 2012 we are staying open all year, and there will be no closure in May. Another new addition to Gillhams is we at last have optic fiber Internet connection after five years of waiting, so Gillhams can now offer Wi-Fi to all our guests, at a very reasonable fee of course!

The new season got underway to a flyer this year when the fish went on a munch-up. Paul Pananbaker landed the first fish of the season in the first five minutes, and within thirty minutes seven fish had been landed, including three arapaima. As the day went on, buzzers, whistles and screams of joy echoed around the lake as fishermen’s dreams came true. The guides had a proper workout not knowing whose fish to net first, and also having to net arapaima singlehanded due to so many multiple hook-ups. The previous record for the most arapaima landed in a day by one angler was broken with seven arapaima. By the end of the day, 47 fish of 15 species had been landed, including some of Gillhams’ rare and beautiful specimens such as ripsaw catfish, zungaro, Rita sacerdotum (giant pig catfish), and also the first appearance of the Amazon spotted stingray, firewood catfish and Chinese seerfish. The strange thing with the seerfish was that for six months they have avoided capture, so when the first one was caught I had just told the lucky captor that he is probably the only guy in the world to catch one today, when like buses, half an hour later another one comes along. In all, 17 Chinese seerfish were landed this month. While on the subject of Chinese seerfish, Scot ‘man flu super guide’ Morley asked where they come from… Derr, Scottie there is a very big clue in the name! What a month for different species June has been, with 35 different species of fish landed. The month carried on in fine form, with all customers leaving happy and vowing to return after the best Thailand fishing holiday of their lives.

As the weather in May was cool and raining we did allow one lucky angler to fish prior to opening; Ged Owen from Liverpool stayed and fished for four days. Ged even managed an extra day and night due to the lake fishing well and his other half enjoying the quiet and stunning surroundings of Gillhams. Ged landed thirty fish of six species including Amazon redtail catfish to 60lb and Siamese carp to 55lb with his biggest fish being a 190lb arapaima.

As our regulars know, we have a bell mounted on the wall in our bar which is rung for a personal best capture of a fish species, and when rung, the lucky captor has to buy everyone in the bar a drink. This makes a bit of fun for all involved, and me some extra money! One evening as the bell was getting red hot and all the anglers were bragging of their catches, Helmet the dog decided to get in on the act, and diving into the lake, he reappeared with a 1lb tilapia in his jaws. He carried his prize into the bar and sat wagging his stump of a tail at the bell, so it was down to yours truly to lift him up and assist in his paw ringing the bell. The only downside was that Helmet could not cover the round, so it was down to me to pay his bar bill. He has been on bread and water ever since!

While on the subject of dogs, Jack now has his own puppy; a lovely little brown and white Jack Russell, and as he is Jack’s dog he just had to have the name Russell! Jack also has two rabbits; Ting and Tong, plus four goldfish, believe it or not, called Fish! Sean just couldn’t be left out of the new pets, and while clearing the land next door he found a whip snake. As snakes go it is very pretty, docile, non venomous and a vivid green, and guess what name this one has? Yep, it’s called Whip! You can count on us Gillhams to name our animals with original names, but how about our lady angler Kitty who has just got a new kitten and called it Gillham! Now that’s the first time any lady has named her pussy after me!

We have also started the work of clearing the land next door, only working with one machine and limited equipment to keep the noise and disruption to a minimum. When finished, the main lake will be as wide again in places. Jack thinks all the work is being laid on especially for him, as while most kids get to play with model tipper trucks and diggers, not Jack – he has the real thing. Most days Jack can be seen playing with real life machines. He is getting a dab hand at driving the big digger; he actually sits on the driver’s lap and works all the controls! The work to the main lake will not disrupt the fishing, as the new works are behind the fence, and once the new part of the lake is dug it will be left to mature for six months. Only then will we take out the last strip and make the lake become one. When this operation takes place we will close for three weeks so there is no disruption for our anglers. The top stock pond is being doubled in size and will become a fly and lure fishing lake stocked with golden dorado, peacock bass and many other exotic fish from around the globe. Hopefully when the main works are complete we will have room to build a mini species lake for younger anglers to enjoy.

We have nearly completed a new stock pond to replace the one we are losing to the fly and lure fishing lake, and as I am writing this fishing in Krabi report the stock pond is being filled with spring water. Now Becca, my daughter, being blonde, comes out with some classic statements, like commenting to her brother that it must be costing a fortune filling the pond with spring water. She had visions of lorry after lorry turning up with Evian spring water to fill it, not realizing that spring water starts its life coming from underground, not from plastic bottles! We have seven springs feeding our main lake and one on the new land we have purchased, which is where we are pumping water from.

When Becca was a kid she often used to accompany me on fishing trips; she was actually quite an accomplished angler, so it is nice to see her renewed interest since joining us here. On two of her days off this month she was out at the crack of dawn fishing and established herself as the Amazon red tail queen, landing seven to 55lb in two days along with four Siamese carp to 55lb. Our new guide, Lee, translated by our staff as “Mr. Ree”, also fished one day alongside Becca and landed six fish of three species. The next day he should have been fishing but went out and got drunk only to wake up at midday with Poo in his bed! The star of the show was gay guide Scott Morley who landed 14 fish of six species in two days topped off with an 80lb Siamese carp. Mind you, Scott was fishing a swim we reserve for kids and anglers who are struggling – the last swim before the reserve is affectionately known as Kids’ Corner. Scott, having no morals and wishing to get a big catch of fish to brag about on Facebook plotted up in Kids’ Corner for two days, and just to make sure he looked the nuts, he also removed the rope, which stops people casting into the reserve bay!

No real Gillham’s Gripe this month; just the usual ongoing antics like litter and shouting across the lake. One group went on the piss until 4am, got up at 10am for breakfast and starting fishing at 11.30, only to be moaning at midday about not catching any fish. The same group were also questioning our staff as to whether we have big fish or if it’s bullshit. When it was pointed out to them that the fishermen around them who had been out since 7am and put in some effort were catching big fish, they replied that it was favouritism! I think I hit the nail on the head when I said fishermen, as this crowd were just numpties. They even moaned about the cost of fishing but had no qualms about paying some old slappers to be their companions for the trip. Although they caught very little at our lake, I sure hope they all caught something from the ‘love you long times’ they found in Pattaya! Then we get the tight sods who buy their drinks and chocolate off site, saving pennies, then filling our fridges, and they wonder why we charge hire on the fridge we had to buy that uses our electric! Finally the guys who have the fishing trip of their lives and don’t even give the guide who worked his socks off a tip, even though after coming to us, they go to the sleaze holes of Thailand rent a hooker for the week and at the end of the trip buy her a gold bracelet and a buffalo for the family! Not that I begrudge the girls their tip; they deserve it for sleeping with some silly old prat who thinks he is Brad Pitt! Oh well, I suppose Scott could offer a new service and get some good tips!

So onto the fishing in Krabi… The total catch for the month is as follows: 804 fish of 35 species, made up as follows: 58 arapaima to 340lb, six arawana to 12lb, three alligator gar to 20lb, 186 Amazon red tail catfish to 80lb, 49 Asian red tail catfish to 30lb, 36 black pacu to 35lb, two big head carp to 15lb, 17 Chinese seerfish to 10lb, one firewood catfish of 7lb, four giant featherback to 9lb, five giant snakehead to 8lb, one giant stingray of 120lb, two gourami to 6lb, one albino gourami of 5lb, two Hoven’s carp to 8lb, 14 Julian’s golden prize carp to 37lb, 11 Mekong catfish to 120lb, ten mrigal to 10lb, one Nile perch of 2lb, 15 rohu carp to 28lb, three Rita sacerdotum (giant pig catfish) to 14lb, two ripsaw catfish to 10lb, 55 spotted featherback to 10lb, 211 Siamese carp to 85lb, 16 striped snakehead to 3lb, 28 shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 30lb, 25 shovel nosed tiger catfish to 20lb, four spotted stingray to 12lb, four striped catfish to 10lb, three tambaqui to 25lb, 16 tilapia to 4lb, one yellow catfish of 3lb, three wallago attu to 20lb, four wallago leeri to 30lb and five Zungaro (jau) to 10lb.

Rob Snowdon and Joel Fennel made their return after booking at the Five Lakes show in Essex. Between them they purchased £100 worth of raffle tickets and won the first prize holiday for two. It was actually Rob’s 50 quid’s worth that held the winning number, when asked the date he would use it to share with Joel, his reply was, “Sod that, I ain’t coming with him!” Rob and Joel arrived three days before the opening so they could join in with the events before the 1st. They stopped on the way in Malaysia to see some friends, and while there Joel plucked up the courage to have a tattoo, but half way through he wimped out and never had the color filled in, so he now sports a nice black and white West Ham logo! I am not surprised he bottled the tattoo, as he also carries a Jimmy Choo manbag. Bloody hell, what are the Hammers fans coming to?

They also sent a couple of hundred kilos of bait over via a friend’s shipping business, which all went wrong after they gave a mate in the company £100 to ship it behind their mate’s back! After delivering it to their so-called mate, he binned the 100 quid and dumped the goods onto a forwarding agent who didn’t have a clue on how to get it out of the docks and through customs, let alone to Krabi. As I write this, two months after its arrival in Thailand, the shipment is still somewhere in Bangkok, but all should be OK as Joel is on the case!

Not that they needed their special bait, as between them they landed 134 fish of 22 species with the majority of the fish going to Rob who landed 110 fish of 21 species against Joel’s 24 fish of 11 species. The difference in catch rates was all down to neither of the guys being able tie knots, so as Rob got our guides to tie all his and bait up for him, while Joel on the other hand, who can only tie a bow and cast accurately up to 10m, did it all himself.

Like so many others before them, they all think they have a wonder bait that will rip the water to pieces instead of the resort bait that the fish feed on all day every day. Joel only managed six days’ fishing before heading back to stay with a friend in Malaysia, plus he wanted to leave Thailand before having to pay child maintenance arrears! Before his departure Joel landed some new species, including a freshwater stingray of 120lb, which gave him the hardest 35-minute battle of his life. Rob stayed and fished for 16 days to achieve his mighty haul and ended up needing another holiday after this one to recover. Rob came to Gillhams loaded with worms, a camera and a few other bits of tackle, and only managed to fit in a couple of shorts and one tee shirt for his entire stay. In amongst his tackle were some hooks that were (along with the bait that never made it) going to be the ultimate, but all they proved to be was the ultimate let down, again just like his container load of boilies. In the first three days he dropped every fish he hooked and even straightened and snapped some of these hooks before doing what normal people would have done after the first couple of dropped fish and changed them. He finally started getting things right and had the best fishing experience anybody could dream of.

Aaron Hyde also returned for the opening week, looking incredibly different from the last time we had seen him. The ex-Frankie Boyle lookalike had shed five stone in the past six months, including one stone of ginger beard. Aaron fished his week landing some new personal bests plus some new species. He decided that he couldn’t leave his dream trip and new friend, so he changed his flight and stayed on another four days, allowing him to dangle his rod for a few more days and nights. Aaron went on to catch 24 fish of ten species, including two Mekong catfish, three arapaima and a 65lb Siamese carp, making it a very memorable trip and had him itching to return as soon as time permits. Anyone needing a flight arranged for them, look on our web site under flights; Aaron works for Kenwood Travel and will help you with all your plans for a fishing holiday in Thailand.

Paul Pananbaker from Canada returned to Gillhams with his mate Lord Michael Bailey, (promised pictures failed to arrive!) Paul’s target being an arapaima. To Paul’s amazement not only did he catch one in the first half hour of fishing, but actually went on to land three on his first day. Even though Paul only had enough time to fish for two days, he went on to catch ten fish of six different species including a Chinese seer fish. With six species under his belt including his main target species, arapaima to 220lb, Paul left Gillhams to carry on his trip of Thailand a very happy man, even if the rest of his trip did mean having to travel with Lord Bailey. Lord Bailey, as many of our regulars know, rents one of our bungalows on a full time basis. He woke up one morning, eager to get out fishing, and as he swung his hairy legs out of bed his feet met with a slimy, slippery mess. Fearing the curry had taken its affect on him, he gingerly turned on the lights only to find his worms had all escaped from the fridge and were all over the floor! Despite the setback, his lordship still managed to land 26 fish of eight species over two short trips.

Our other regular visitor, Dave Arber, leased some land from us and built his dream home overlooking the lake. (Once again thanks for the pictures!) Dave is in the fortunate position of running his company from home so he can work on his balcony watching the lake and sneak in for a couple of hours’ fishing when the conditions look good. Fishing short sessions this month the old silver fox sneaked out 43 fish of eight species. There is some friendly rivalry between the silver fox and Lord Bailey as to who will break an IGFA world record here. If I was a betting man I would put my money on the most competent angler and choose Helmet the dog!
While on the subject of IGFA world records we have Siamese carp in excess of the current record of 114lbs 10ozs, and if you break that record here at Gillhams and it is accepted by the IGFA we will reward you with a free seven-day and night trip including flights for one person.

Mark Ennew and his friend Paul joined us for the opening week. They arrived three days before opening day so they could sample some of Thailand’s other attractions like the deserted island trip, and Gillhams small species fishing match, which Paul won despite complaining prior to the match that it would be rigged for us to win! The day before the off Sean arranged a golf match, but as it was the morning after I had arranged a drinking trip into town, only Paul managed to make the golf. The plan was to get the drinking out the way before the fishing started, but the best laid plans still failed as the drinking and partying carried on throughout the trip. Mark and Paul landed a total of 56 fish of 12 species. Both guys even managed a couple of lake records; Mark became the first person to catch a Chinese seer fish at Gillhams, and even managed a personal best while in the toilet! Paul beat the previous record of five arapaima landed in one day by landing seven! He also caught one of 300lb later on in the trip. Some of the other species landed were spotted featherbacks, shovel nose tiger catfish, Julian’s golden prize carp and Mekong catfish to name a few.

Jut Cole also returned for the opening week. Jut had his sights set on Siamese carp. After talking with me he decided to fish the swim we call Cobleys, and after some careful work with a plumbing rod, found a small sand bar that is known to produce big carp. Once he found this little hot spot, Jut proceeded to bait and recast accurately, and while others were landing fish of all species around him, Jut carried on knowing that the carp can sometimes just take a little longer to move in and start feeding. After the first day Jut had only landed a couple of fish, but was confident that he was on the right spot, and as he was only interested in catching Siamese carp, he was going to sit it out knowing that eventually he would catch the fish he was after. After three days’ fishing he started getting line bites as the carp moved onto the baited area, which was fizzing with bubbles from feeding fish. On day three he landed a 50lb carp. Day four arrived and Jut was back on the spot baiting and recasting regularly, and by the afternoon his hard work paid off, when after a 15-minute fight his prize was in the net – a Siamese carp of 85lb. By the end of his trip Jut had caught 14 fish including his second biggest carp of the trip at 80lb. Jut came to Gillhams, listened to advice, fished well and reaped the rewards.

Next we had Wolfgang Wildermann and Gunter Zeidler from Germany making their second trip this year. Both anglers fished well, landing 24 fish of nine species including Siamese carp to 85lb, arapaima to 300lb and Mekong catfish to 100lb. These guys are very easygoing and a pleasure to have as guests, and even though they love their fishing they also realize that it’s a holiday, fishing a few hours in the morning and again in the afternoon spending the rest of the time relaxing and celebrating big fish with even bigger cigars.

Jim Anderson came to Thailand in May last year when we were closed. Despite the disappointment of not being able to fish, he promptly booked for a week’s fishing this year in June. Jim was accompanied by his wife and son Jamie who was on his early 21st birthday present. On the day of arrival they had not booked any fishing, so just chilled out walking around the lake and talking to the other anglers. The Andersons are a family that people take to upon meeting, as they are laid back, easygoing people who are up for a laugh. Jamie had set his targets for the trip, wanting an arapaima and an Amazon redtail catfish. Size wasn’t important to him, although a big one wouldn’t go amiss! After the first day Jamie had caught his Amazon redtail catfish, but dad Jim on the other hand had caught nothing after many jokes and a lot of ribbing from Jamie. The following day came, a move of swims was made, and to Jamie’s amazement the tables had turned and within 30 minutes his dad had landed two Amazon redtail catfish, and not only that – an hour later he also landed an arapaima at 150lb… He who laughs last… Throughout their stay they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and even Jim’s wife, who was dreading this part of the holiday, loved every minute of it and said that it was the highlight of her holiday and wished she had come here for the entire two weeks. In the end Jamie beat his dad on the arapaima front when first he landed a 200lb-pounder then smashed that personal best with another of 340lb. By the end of their stay, Jim and Jamie had landed 32 fish of nine species, and having now returned to Scotland they are already planning their return to paradise.

Daniel Newman from Australia booked five days’ fishing while on his tour of Asia with his girlfriend. Daniel was keen to get started, and even though he hadn’t booked the first day for fishing he couldn’t resist starting early. After watching a particular swim producing arapaima he made his move and went on to catch his first arapaima. As his trip came to an end, Daniel couldn’t resist the temptation of staying on for one more day and night, and as his girlfriend was enjoying the relaxing side of the resort, it wasn’t a problem. This extended day proved a good move, as Daniel managed to land two more arapaima including the biggest of his trip at 180lb. Daniel landed a total of 33 fish of nine species.

Martin Foreman and his wife returned to Gillhams, once again being able to fit three days’ fishing into their Thailand holiday. The first couple of days Martin was struggling and only landed six fish, and then on his last day he had a change of swims and within the first hour he landed three redtail catfish. As the rains came the fish went on the feed and he was getting double hook-ups with arapaima and red tails, even having a double hook-up with an arapaima and a giant stingray. Martin managed to land the arapaima but unfortunately not the ray. Having to finish at 4pm so that he could get a flight to Bangkok, Martin had hooked around 20 fish that day and landed 12. This last day had saved his trip with a final tally of 18 fish of 6 species.

Alan Wade-Smith came for his first trip to Gillhams after hearing about us from his local tackle shop, Fosters of Birmingham. When Alan arrived he could hardly walk due to a fall he had two days prior to flying. Not having enough time to change flight tickets he battled on, and after a 12-hour flight turned up here in agony. During his first day here Alan was taken to an osteopath, and to his surprise was actually feeling better. On his return he decided to go for a swim before dinner. After a few lengths, Alan decided he didn’t want to push his luck, but then on his way back to the bungalow disaster struck and he fell over, only to put himself straight back to the way he was on arrival. Two days later and it was time for Alan to take his chances and see how his back would hold up against Gillhams’ monsters. Alan was in a lot of pain, but didn’t let it to stop him fishing. He battled on with his wife pushing him around in a wheelchair, and despite the pain and frequent trips to the osteopath, Alan still managed to land 27 fish of 11 species, including his main target fish, a 170lb arapaima. At the end of their holiday Alan’s wife needed an extra holiday after pushing him round in his wheelchair. We think Alan was actually feeling better, but like most men enjoyed the attention and the running around his wife was doing, making sure he had cold drinks etc.

The last group to visit in June was arranged by Michael Charalambous, a returning customer who had talked four of his fishing mates into joining him. Michael’s mates were Phil Ringer, Steven Cook, Tony Fenwick and Richard Hull, who are some of the top match anglers on the circuit. It must be a tough old game at the top of this field as their sponsors had supplied them with next to sod all in the way of bits and pieces! As the guys got fishing they found it hard to accept that not every fish that swims lives in the margins or eats fluoro pop-ups, and for the first couple of days, even though they landed some nice fish, they struggled until they starting using the resort baits and fishing the way our guides told them. By the end of their stay they all started landing some good fish, and they also rotated swims every day so they all had equal chances. This is something you don’t see very often with other groups who get in direct competition with their mates. Match anglers, although competing against each other when fishing matches, always seem happy to share information with each other. There is no jealousy towards each other, which is something the specialist anglers should learn from! The other thing I always notice about match anglers is they are forced to fish at the wrong time of the day from a swim they are given, and they then have to make the most of what they have, which, I believe, makes them better anglers than your average big fish hunter. Between them they landed 78 fish of 16 species, and all but one landed an arapaima, with Phil being the arapaima champ landing three up to 220lb. At the end of the trip all five guys were busy working out when they could return. Also we are all trying to work out how to make an international fishing match here at Gillhams. With the amount of small fish present here it would need a very high weight to win it that’s for sure. Probably the biggest drawback for setting up this match would be how all the equipment could be transported here.

Paul Stevenson was our last visitor this month. Paul, who has been working in Singapore for the last seven years, is returning home to Blighty. The strange coincidence was that when we asked where he was returning to, it turned out he is moving five miles from my old hometown Uckfield. Paul only had one and a half days to spare for his fishing, but made up for it with 12 fish of six species, topped off with a fish of a lifetime in the shape of a 340lb arapaima.

That sums up another month’s fishing in Krabi. If you wish to come fishing in Thailand, please contact Stuart either by email at or phone 0066861644554. A few people send us enquiries via our web site at If you send via the site please ensure you put your correct email address on the enquiry page or we can’t reply. Should you send any enquiry to us and not get an answer in 48 hours, please resend checking your email address is correct. Thanks to you all for reading this Krabi news letter, and if you are planning a trip in the near future, please book early to avoid disappointment.

Best wishes from Stuart and all at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.