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Fishing In Thailand Newsletter June 2016

Hi and welcome to the June 2016 newsletter, our monthly roundup of news, catch reports, fishing in Thailand and anything remotely connected to our little slice of paradise out here in Krabi.

Firstly, congratulations to Terry “no legs” Thompson who has earned himself capture of the month with the elusive Marble Goby!!!! A fish that is surrounded in myths, that legend says it has medicinal powers especially after childbirth! He’s harder to catch than a 500lb arapaima and we think he (and his mates) are one of the coolest fish around.  Well done Terry, lucky man!



This newsletter marks the end of an era as such. After a discussion with the Big Dog the decision has been made to change the monthly newsletter into more of a catch report and latest news page to keep you all up-to-date with everything going on out here in paradise, any new things that have come along, and general information of interest. Of course we have Sticks and Billy here on site, who seem to be a constant source of amusement, so we are sure there will be some humour in the newsletters too.

Quite simply Stuart feels the newsletter has run its course, and I have to agree. When this amazing fishery grew from a wet, swampy field into what it is now, there really was some interesting news to follow. The development of the resort, the building of the bungalows, planting trees, developing the gardens, the restaurant, recently the addition of a generator and of course the fish!

The newsletters have covered the amazing growth rates of the fish and all things fishy. With the exception of the spa, which is currently being built on the hill opposite the restaurant, pretty much everything is complete now, barring the odd tweak here and there.

The format of the newsletter has previously been news/catch report/detailed summary of a few of our customers’ holidays. As the years have gone by the fish have got bigger and bigger, and many of our customers are now becoming more and more interested in catching the fish rather than it being a lad’s holiday on the beer and down the town. As most of you already know we banned the ‘un-checked-in on arrival’ guests from the resort over a year ago, as we are seeing many more couples come to visit us, often for a week’s fishing for monsters, and then a week on the beaches together, so the dynamic has changed quite considerably, and our customers have become keener to fish, not go out partying. This is all good of course, but what it does lead to is in fact quite a boring newsletter! Fred Bloggs came along and caught two Siamese and a red tail catfish on Monday, then on Tuesday he got a Mekong, a couple more Siamese and an Asian red tail, blah blah blah, and so it went on. Now I have said this before, unless something happens which is amusing, or indeed noteworthy (probably for the wrong reasons), then the subject matter is at best dull, and we see hundreds of people come throughout the year and the story is pretty much the same. So we are going to stop long individual write-ups, which are also very time consuming. We will still try and get as many photos of the amazing fish (as possible) in each newsletter, and hopefully that will mean we can include more of the customers that we see each month. The newsletter will also have the monthly catch figures, as usual, and any news or amusing stories.

We passed a milestone this month, as our Facebook page went over 10,000 people. We work hard on the website and the social media side of things, so it’s great to see people coming on board and following us and the fish (or so it seems). We know for a fact that some companies buy “likes” to make their pages look bigger and more impressive, but you only have to look at the lacklustre responses to their posts to realise that whilst they may have a lot of people who have “liked” their page, they don’t have a lot of people who are genuinely interested in what they have to offer, probably because they have thousands of people on their page from outer Mongolia who got paid to tick “like” and have never returned to it since – sad but true! We have never done that and never will.

Work is well underway now on the spa, and we are hoping to open it in February 2017. The spa will have four massage beds, steam room, Jacuzzi, a second infinity swimming pool, a cookery school and will be set in landscaped gardens with ornamental fish ponds. It’s definitely going to be a fantastic addition to the resort, now all we need is a rollercoaster and a games arcade and then it’s game set and match, I reckon! I have asked for a rollercoaster, and there was a small growl from the Big Dog, so don’t hold your breath on that one.



On a personal level I have just been starting to miss England a bit, in particular the carp fishing, the gigs, and my friends and family. Don’t get me wrong; I love fishing in Thailand, and It may seem strange to some people that I miss sitting in a tent, often cold, trying to catch a fish of a size that we don’t even photograph out here, but carp fishing is well in my blood, and even with over 1000 nights spent in bivvies chasing carp, I am not quite ready to give it up yet, especially as I have a lifetime ambition of catching 100 UK 30lb-plus fish. At the moment I am on 77, so I am not done yet! Another lifetime ambition is to go to 100 gigs, and at the moment this figure is 87, so with the lack of gigs out here that’s another one that would prove difficult to achieve. I was starting to think my time was coming to an end here, so I sat down with the Big Dog and told him how I felt. “I totally understand” was the reply (as he has obviously seen this all before). He continued, “Look, most of what you do is on the internet, and you can do that from England, so why not go home in March, have six months in England where you can work a bit (agency lorry driving), go fishing, do your gigs, and then come back in September? You can still do your work for me. We will just make sure we give you the info you need.”

I hadn’t thought of that, but the wise old owl came out with it straight away. So work in Thailand for winter and then go home earn a bit of dollar and start fishing in spring, just as they start feeding properly again, take a few gigs in and then come back – cool! Deal done! I am going to try that, as I have been split down the middle on what to do going forward. If this fishery was in England you couldn’t fire me from it; it’s great, but I can tell you something, once you have lived in Thailand for a while, it definitely loses its “holiday/novelty” status, I can tell you, and for many reasons too. One in particular that grates me, is how we, the “farang”, (white man/foreigner) are constantly overcharged for everything. Here’s a quick example for you: My girlfriend and I were looking at set a drawers to put her clothes in the other day in a small furniture shop. I asked her to ask the lady in the shop how much the cabinet was, as there was no price tag on it. “1300 baht” was the reply. We walked round the corner and saw an identical one with a price tag on it for 800 baht, so just chuck 500 baht on then because I am a foreigner – nice! When you couple that to Ao Nang and Krabi being touristy places, then it all works out not being as cheap a place to live as you might think. So it looks like I will be heading home around March time and looking for a bit of work here and there. Let’s see what happens and how it all pans out.


Right that’s all the waffling finished, 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 in Thailand had some good fishing in Krabi this month with a total of 598 fish caught of 21 species, made up as follows: 19 arapaima to 530lb-plus, two arawana to 8lb, two alligator gar to 65lb, 141 Amazon redtail catfish to 75lb, 133 Asian redtail catfish to 40lb, 25 black pacu to 40lb, two Chao Phraya catfish to 100lb, two tilapia to 6lbs, one rohu carp of 20lbs, two tarpon to 20lbs, 13 Julian’s golden carp to 40lb, six Mekong catfish to 200lb, 12 Nile perch to 8lb, five ripsaw catfish to 45lbs, one tambaqui of 35lb, 223 Siamese carp to 135lb, five giant freshwater stingray to 140lbs, two spotted sorubim to 30lbs, one wallago leeri of 30lbs and a marble goby of 3lbs.

Ironically after we said about most customers taking the fishing extremely seriously and their being not so interested in beer and the local town, we had the following lot turn up, which I guess is an appropriate way to finish this style of newsletter and basically how it all started!!

The 1st of June saw a group booking of nine people turn up. It was basically a reunion trip from a previous resort booking I had made a couple of years ago, except this time there were only nine and a few new faces. The boys got to the resort at 10.30am, and by 1.30pm they had all gone out to Ao Nang. A few reappeared to do a couple of hours’ fishing on the first day, but things really got going the next day.

The first real morning’s fishing started the next day, and Gav opened his account with a small Asian red tail catfish after losing two or three Amazon red tails. His father Pete however, had a cracking start with a 40lb Amazon red tail catfish, then a 70lb Siamese carp, swiftly followed by another one at 115lb. Robert Bane or ‘ Banesy’ started off in Sala 2 where he quickly landed an Asian red tail catfish and then a few hours later a 45lb Amazon red tail catfish, which he was pleased with, but the icing on the cake for him was a 45lb Siamese carp at the end of the day. James North or “Northy”, had a great start in Sala 9, as his first cast was a Siamese of 85lb, which he then backed up with a nice 70lb’er and then a 105lb Siamese, which came as a bit of a surprise, as that was his target fish for the whole trip! Still grinning away, he also landed a 70lb’er by the end of the day. Long time fisherman Mark Taylor was fishing across in D3 where he was pleased with two Siamese of 65lb and 60lb, and after that came a Julian’s of 20lb, so he was up and running. Lee Stocker was up in E3, and he managed to land a spotted sorubim of 20lbs and then a Siamese carp.

Darren Davies from Wales set up in A1. The last time he was here he landed a 300lb arapaima, and this time he landed a 50lb one on his first day. He really wanted Siamese carp though and was a little concerned about his swim choice initially, as someone had told him it wasn’t a good Siamese carp swim. We told him not to worry, as that was a load of ………. The guides put him a well-known spot, and by the end of the day he had landed three at 70lb, 75lb and 80lb! Not bad for a crap Siamese swim then! Liam Overall was determined to try harder with his fishing this time, as his last holiday out here was a somewhat more laid back affair with almost as much time spent in the pool as at the lakeside. His newfound attitude seemed to benefit him, as on his first day’s angling he landed a small Nile perch, two Asian red tail catfish of 15lb and 30lb and a Siamese carp of 85lb, but the jewel in the crown for his day was a magnificent ripsaw catfish at 25lbs. Mitchell Stocker opened his account nicely too with a 50lb Amazon red tail catfish and an Asian red tail catfish of 20lbs, all in a good start for the boys.

The boys then had a night down the town, and although there were a few bleary eyes they were pretty much back on it the second day and nearly on time! Pete popped out another Siamese from Sala 10 at 75lb. Northy had a peach of a day landing Siamese carp of 40lb, 50lb, 70lb, 85lb, 85lb, then another one at 100lb, but the fish of the day for him was a 120lb Siamese carp, which left him, and I quote, ‘shaking with happiness’. Lee Stocker got off the mark with a Siamese of 75lb and an Amazon red tail of 40lb. Liam had a lie-in but landed a 60lb Siamese carp. Mitchell continued his red tail run by banking an Amazon at 35lbs and two Asians at 15lb and 20lb. Mark Taylor over in D3 really got the Siamese carp going, and he landed fish of 25lb, 30lb, 40lb, 45lb, 50lb, 55lb, 60lb and a 70lb’er! Darren wasn’t worried about A1 being a good carp swim or not anymore, as he landed fish of 20lb, 60lb, 65lb, 90lb and then a real big boy at 135lb! He also landed a small Asian red tail catfish.  Banesy moved up along the sala bank to swim 6, and it started well with a 45lb Siamese, and then he had his first Julian’s golden carp at 16lb, then a PB Siamese carp of 75lb and then his first giant freshwater stingray at 45lb, so all in all a busy day for them.

They did of course head out into the local town to celebrate their good fortunes, but it must have been a fairly sensible night, as they were all back fishing in reasonable time the next day, except for one – Gav. Gav had managed to get a swollen foot with what looked like a water retention issue or maybe an insect bite, or indeed both, but either way he spent a day or so in the superb and new hospital in Krabi town. It was basically just a precaution to make sure he didn’t get an infection or anything like that, and he returned a couple of days later as bright as a button.

Anyway I digress… The boys got fishing again, and Lee Stocker thought he would have a go in the Grassy swim. Now the Grassy swim is a funny swim really; people think it’s a banker swim for arapaima and Amazon red tail catfish, but it isn’t all the time. We see various people go in there and catch a shedload of fish, but on the other hand you can go in there and get your fingers burnt, as the swim seems totally devoid of fish. So you get one chance at it during your stay, and Lee’s came early on in their trip. His decision to go in there early turned out to be a good one, as the Amazon red tail catfish were in there, and in numbers. Lee caught ten of them during the day and their weights were 30lb, 35lb, 45lb, 50lb, 50lb, 50lb, 55lb, 55lb, 60lb and 65lb, just about 500lb in one day – now that’s impressive by anyone’s standards.

Liam was back at again, and he was getting amongst the red tails, but his were all Asian. He landed specimens of 10lb, 15lb, 25lb and a 40lb in what he described as a thoroughly good day’s fishing. Darren in A1 also landed an Amazon red tail catfish of 45lb, and then his Siamese carp rod kicked in, and he banked two – one at 95lb and one at 25lb. His last fish of the day was a arawana that he had seen swimming about in front of his swim, so he set his stall out to catch it and stalked it off the top, which was a fine bit of angling. Mitchell Stocker (Lee’s son) was happy to pull out a 90lb Siamese carp, and Mark Taylor, next to Mitchell, landed a 105lb beast of a Siamese carp. Northy was still pulling the Siamese carp out of Sala 9, and he had two 30lb’ers, a 45lb and another big one at 90lb. Pete next to him landed an Asian red tail catfish at 15lb and a Siamese carp of 55lb.  Banesy’s move into Sala 6 really came up trumps for him, and he landed a very impressive Siamese carp at 122lb! It had been an incredible day’s fishing for the boys, so in time honoured style they popped down the town to celebrate their good fortune once more.

They all got back in the early hours, but burning the candles at both ends had taken its toll, and there were a few no-shows in the morning, a few ‘let’s go and chill in the pool’ statements coming out, and consequently we had a very quiet lake the following day. Lee managed two more Amazon red tail catfish, both 50lb’ers, Mark had two Asian red tails at 12lb, and the boy from the valleys in Wales, Darren, caught another Siamese carp of 70lb and two mid-twenty Asian red tails, whilst the others just chilled out and relaxed for the day.

Gav returned unscathed from his little jaunt to the hospital early the next day, and this led to a celebratory full English for most of them. Liam landed a nice Siamese at 80lb. Lee Stocker continued his red tail obsession and landed an Amazon red tail catfish at 50lb and then a small Asian. Northy was punching the air for joy as he landed his first ever ripsaw catfish at 18lb and then went onto land a 50lb arapaima.  Banesy, who remarkably was the first to start fishing, was rewarded for all his efforts with a small Asian red tail and a very small Nile perch. He didn’t find that particularly amusing, but we did! Darren in A1 spent most of the day chasing bubblers and fizzers out on front of him, hoping some more Siamese would come his way, but all was quiet until he spotted an arapaima or two up to his left, so a few pellets and a house boilie was cast alongside the marginal hyacinth, and at around 7.45pm his left rod flew off and a real battle commenced, which resulted in an enormous arapaima rolling into the cage. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to measure it, but all the guides who dealt with it said it was an easy 500lb! Never mind, Darren, I personally would love to have seen a photo of it, but as we have seen in the past, the arapaima had other ideas and leapt the cage.

The long hot days and nights out were taking their toll on the crew, and we started to see a change in their keenness to fish. The swimming pool seemed to become very popular, and so did the air-conditioned rooms with cable TV, and the fridge in the shop was getting spanked pretty hard on tins of Singha! I think in fairness they had caught so well at the start that they just didn’t care and went into holiday mode. In fact we lost a couple for a day or so at this point as long tail boat trips and sunbathing on the beach seemed to become quite popular. However not everyone disappeared, and  Banesy landed another pacu of 18lbs and then a small Siamese carp of 35lb. Northy then popped a Julian’s golden carp in the net at 20lb. Darren had a late start, but managed to catch an Asian red tail catfish of 30lb. Gav’s dad Peter kept the flag flying for the Hewitt family by landing two Amazon red tail catfish of 45lb and 70lb (which made him one very happy bunny).

The following day they seemed to get their fishing heads on a bit better, and now fully recovered and raring to go, Gav made a trip to the Grassy and luck went his way with a five-fish hit consisting of one 15lb Asian red tail and four Amazon red tails of 30lb, 40lb, 50lb and 65lb. Liam got back amongst the fish with a good sized Asian red tail catfish of 35lb and a black pacu of 20lb.  Banesy landed a black pacu of 20lb, probably after a beer too many. Northy, who was just up from  Banesy, landed another Julian’s golden carp, this time at 22lb, and Pete popped out a 65lb Amazon red tail next to Northy.

The boys then decided another night on the town would be the right thing to do, and the following morning only a few made it down to fish. Northy was one of them, landing a 75lb Siamese carp. Again, remarkably, Mr Bane was angling, and he landed an Asian red tail catfish of 35lb plus a Julian’s golden carp of 20lb. Gav fished on for another day in the Grassy, hoping an arapaima would come along, but it didn’t. Instead six more Amazon red tail catfish weighing 30lb, 30lb, 30lb, 35lb, 35lb and 50lb then came along, which gave him a good day’s sport. Darren in A1 landed another Siamese carp at 45lb and then also got amongst the pacu and landed two, one weighing 20lb and one weighing 30lb before he went off the next day to do some scuba diving. The rest of them had another day off the fishing and went down the beach for the day for a bit of chilling out… well, except for one, and that was Mitchell because he half-heartedly fished and landed an Amazon red tail catfish of 45lb.

With only a few days left of their fortnight trip, some of them started to try a little harder to catch a few, which meant only three hours a day in the pool instead of five! However, Darren landed another Asian red tail at 20lbs. Liam landed a small Nile Perch and then had a battle royale with a 150lb Mekong. Mitchell had a day in the Grassy where he landed two Amazon red tail catfish of 30lb and 35lb and then a respectable Asian red tail of 30lb. Mitchell’s dad Lee caught a 50lb Siamese carp almost straight away, and then his rods went quiet for the day. Northy managed an Asian red tail followed by an Amazon red tail, and then three hours and ten Singhas in the pool. Pete was pleased when a Siamese carp of 85lb plopped in his net, only to be followed by a cracking 60lb Amazon red tail catfish.  Banesy over in Sala 6 was chuffed as well because he landed two Siamese carp over 90lb before they all reeled in and headed out for a night on the town, and for some, to get some suits measured up, although I am not sure why as I haven’t heard of any impending court cases.

After a couple of days suffering with a bit of heatstroke, Mark Taylor bounced back in style with a stunning ripsaw catfish of 45lbs, which led to a lot of excitement between the guides, as it must be one of the bigger ones we have. It’s a truly stunning fish, which seems to captivate so many people. After that his luck went the other way when he landed a Siamese carp of 25lb, which led to no excitement between the guides, as it’s probably the smallest one we have. Lee landed another Amazon red tail catfish, this time at 50lb, whilst Gav spent the day chasing a few arapaima that had tucked themselves into the corner on Sala 3. He was close on a few occasions, but the crafty arapaima avoided capture whilst two Asian red tail catfish didn’t. One was small at 20lb, but the other was a corker at 40lb. Darren managed to get amongst the Siamese carp again and landed a small one at 55lb before stalking an arawana of 4lb just before darkness set in. The darkness was Liam’s friend, as he landed a 240lb arapaima, which finished his trip off nicely, although he had landed an Amazon red tail catfish of 40lb earlier in the day. This left the boys with one last real night on the town before their final day’s fishing, so they were off out again, which only led to a load of ‘lie-ins’, ‘no-shows’ and ‘can’t-be-bothereds’ the following day.

In fairness the boys had a great trip, and they caught a load of fish. What they could have caught had they been more focused on the fishing is anyone’s guess, but I think they would have landed loads and loads of fish.


June also saw the return of old school carper, long term fisherman and horse trainer Terry “no legs” Thompson. Last time he was here he landed some amazing monsters, including two arapaima over 200lb and two Mekong catfish over 200lb. He’s a good angler, and I was pretty sure he would get a few, as most people who can actually fish do. Terry turned up around 11am, and after the odd cup of tea, he made a leisurely start up in E3. The first fish to fall to his rods was an Amazon red tail catfish of a respectable 40lbs, and that came on the first evening. Straight up and at them the next morning, it didn’t take long before we were photographing a cracking Siamese carp of 85lb, then a baby at 30lb and another Amazon red tail catfish of 50lb. The following day, and with the bit firmly between his teeth (pardon the pun), Terry then landed an Asian red tail catfish of 20lb. Then he was delighted with an arapaima of 60lbs and an Amazon red tail of 40lbs before he landed one of our bigger Amazon red tail catfish, which Darren estimated at 85lbs.

Now on quite a few occasions we have had people come to fish here who have fished at some other fisheries in Thailand, and they have shown us pictures of previous fish they have caught, and the weights that have been given for these fish, and quite frankly it’s embarrassing. The best one I remember was a nice fella from Liverpool who caught a Siamese carp and was given a weight of 100lb for it. At the time he said, “No way! I have caught twenty pounders in England, and there is no way this fish weighs 100lb,” but he was told, “No it’s 100lb” etc etc. He showed me the photo he had of it, and it was no more than 45lb. That fish had as much chance of being a 100lb as I do being on the front of “Men’s Health” magazine next month!

Giving these ridiculous weights does nothing but make people look stupid, and indeed causes quite a bit of upset when the angler in question realises what the fish really weighed. We strive to get every weight as accurate as possible. I am not saying we don’t make the odd mistake; of course we do, especially with the fish we can’t actually weigh, i.e. the ones we have to measure, as it’s not always possible to measure them, especially if they leap out of the cage like arapaima regularly do. We have a long history of weighing and videoing the weighing of Siamese carp, and the reasons for this are this twofold: 1) that we can constantly check we are getting the weights right, and 2) we can prove our weights, as there are witnesses there at every weighing. We had seen some laughable weights given to some Amazon red tails in the last 12 months or so elsewhere around Thailand, with some clever photography to boot. The Big Dog said he wanted one of our bigger Amazon red tails weighed, so with an estimated 85lb biggie in the net, we grabbed the scales and headed for Terry’s swim as soon as we found out about the capture. Everything was prepared, and we chucked a plastic garden chair in for Terry to stand on for the “catch shot” after weighing. We zeroed the scales and weighed the fish at 86lbs exactly, not a bad estimated weight then, Darren! Terry punched the air for joy, slipped into the lake, stood on his garden chair and held his prize aloft – what a stunning fish. We have weighed them before to 95lbs, and it would be great to see one go a 100lbs, but I think if the truth be known the Big Dog feels that a 100lb would be a bit of a surprise, and I quote, “due to Thailand’s redtails not being 100% true redtails and interbreeding, plus not adapting so well to still water, I personally think 100lb would be the ceiling weight, but then again you always get a freak fish or fishery owner that defies the norm.”

Terry was putting some effort in on the arapaima, and he was trying his hardest to nick one off the hyacinth to his right. On this trip they were avoiding him, but his rods were still going off regularly, and the next day he landed another Amazon red tail of 35lb and two more Siamese carp of 40lb and 55lb, followed by two Asian red tails of 10lb and 20lb. The lake seemed a little slow on his next day’s fishing, and I hadn’t heard many whistles going off, but then as I walked up the bungalow side, Wayne blew his whistle, then Terry did, and then I heard one go off in the Grassy, all within five minutes of each other. I just about managed to get all three fish on film (which was later posted on our Facebook and YouTube page) and Terry’s contribution to that film was an 85lb Siamese carp.

Terry had a bit of a lie-in the next day, and after a relaxed breakfast, he arrived in his swim and there were fish bubbling all over the place. I thought he was going to whack a load of fish that day, but the fish had other ideas, and he landed a rarely caught specimen in the shape of a 35lb spotted sorubim. Terry popped out for a meal with Big Dog and Benz that night, and then had a nice leisurely get up and breakfast the next day before landing an Asian red tail catfish quite quickly. He then had a quiet few hours before landing a superb and again rarely caught wallago leeri at 30lbs. Terry continued his steady catch rate and landed one Asian red tail catfish of 12lbs, two at 20lbs and then Siamese carp of 35lbs, 50lbs and 90lbs before landing a very rarely seen tarpon at 20lbs. In fact I have only seen two tarpon landed previously before this one. Speaking of fish I have only seen landed twice before, the next day Terry flicked a small fish bait alongside the hyacinth just to his right and had an aggressive little take off a little fellow that turned out to be a marble goby at 3lbs! Now these fish are great, aggressive little blighters, full of mystery, myths and medicinal properties, or so rumour has it. It is a harder fish to catch here than a 500lb arapaima, and I think they are an absolutely fantastic fish, which apparently has also had films made about it!

Long time carper Terry was hoping for a 100lb Siamese carp, and on his penultimate day he landed another good one at 85lb, so it was another close call for him. He also managed a couple of 15lb Asian red tails and a 45lb Amazon red tail catfish.


Chris Quinn loves his fishing, and he is an all-rounder, as they say. He is either found fishing the rivers for chub and the like or he is found looking at his massive collection of fishing books. He is a collector extraordinaire, and his collection is massive; it covers all four walls of his mini library. Chris came here for a week or so and managed to catch a few including an alligator gar, some good Siamese carp, a load of red tails, an arapaima, a wallago leeri, and a couple of black pacu.


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 send us your enquiry via our enquiries page

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)!