back to top

Fishing In Thailand Newsletter March 2016

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

March saw the temperatures rise; most days seemed to be around the 35-40-degree mark, and for those of us with a portly frame that led to a lot of long, sweaty, tired days, extra showers and t-shirt changes – it wasn’t pleasant! With the Big Dog, Sean and Lawrence away in the jungle on a fishing trip, it left the rest of us doing our best to either keep things ticking over or try to help customers to catch fish in searing temperatures, not the easiest of tasks, as some people were electing the pool or air conditioned bungalow as a diversion from the heat during the afternoon. The Siamese didn’t seem to like the heat, and as it got hotter and hotter, they seemed to feed less and less, and as they are such a large percentage of our overall catches, you can understand why our figures are down this month compared to normal. Interestingly the Julian’s carp went mad, and they seem to love the heat, the hotter the better for them! Most of the predatory fish seemed to feed normally as well.

Everybody’s favourite food delivery specialist, i.e., Sticks, had a little break for a couple of weeks with his girlfriend in Bali before coming back and purchasing a nice new fridge freezer for his room. He had complained about a lack of freezer space for his ice pops prior to his new purchase. An hour after plugging it in I took him to the nearest newsagent style shop where he promptly grabbed every ice pop in the shop, much to the amusement of the lady behind the counter and everyone else in the shop.

Guide Chris managed to get through the month without crashing his motorbike and has enjoyed some time off with his son who travelled over from England half way through the month. Guide Darren is a character who can put a fish in your net, a smile on your face or make you want to strangle him (and I don’t mean that in a bad way), but either way he’s the full package! He has moments of brilliance and moments, of ergh, well, not quite such brilliance. His best one this month came after purchasing a new pair of Croc flip-flops. A couple of days after purchasing them, there were clearly some injuries to both feet including some hefty abrasion marks. “These flip flops are crap,” or words to that effect, Darren announced. “I am telling you they’re shockingly bad.” We looked at his feet and agreed that clearly there must have been a design fault or something, and it warranted further inspection. As it turned out there was a design fault indeed, which turned out to be that they were size 8 and that Darren is size 10. One word –“Amazeballs!”

In the morning you see me walking Stuart’s dog Helmet around the lake. Helmet is a legend in his own little world, but the old boy is getting on a bit now, and he put a worry through us this month when he developed an eye infection, a bad limp and seemingly irritable bowel syndrome in the same day. I walked into the office, and he just about got out of his seat to greet me. It didn’t look good; in fact it almost put a tear in my eye seeing him like that. Becky took him down the vets, where he managed to smash the glass in the door and give us a nice hefty bill, but I am pleased to say he seems to have made a full recovery, so that’s a weight off our mind. Finally, on the subject of Helmet he does have a tendency to lie upside down in his bed in the office while he sleeps. Unfortunately sometimes this means he starts to choke and splutter. In a massive choke and sneeze the other day, he managed to produce a large ball of phlegm, which flew out of his mouth and landed on my arm as I was typing this very newsletter. Everyone else found it really funny… I didn’t!

Speaking of dogs, Jack’s crazy little dog Billy continues to amuse all the staff and customers here with his crazy antics, and it really is a pleasure having him about… well, unless you come out of the shower and find him sitting on your bed, like I did this month. But we do have a small problem with our black and white friend, and that is he has become extremely greedy and seems to spend most of his waking hours running around the lake looking for things to eat. This may a frog, or it may be your bread roll – you have been warned! Joking aside though, we have to ask people not to give him anything to eat; he’s putting a little bit too much weight on at the moment, and he’s getting harder to lift up!


Right that’s enough of my 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 superb fishing in Krabi this month with a total of 506 fish caught of 27 species, made up as follows: 14 arapaima to 520lb, two alligator gar to 50lb, 103 Amazon red tail catfish to 75lb, 48 Asian red tail catfish to 50lb, fourteen black pacu to 45lb, one Chao Phraya catfish of 120lb, 44 Julian’s golden carp to 45lb, 101 Mekong catfish to 210lb, thirteen red bellied pacu to 28lb, 131 Siamese carp to 150lb, five arawana to 8lb, two ripsaw catfish to 20lb, four giant freshwater stingray to 140lb, one Amazon stingray of 40lbs, two spotted sorubim to 30lb, two wallago leeri to 55lb, three Nile perch to 10lb, four giant featherback to 14lbs, one gourami of 8lbs, 2 big head carp to 40lbs, one mrigal carp of 12lbs, one jau catfish of 7lbs, one firewood catfish of 6lbs, one marble gobie of 4lbs, one tilapia of 4lbs, one snake head of 2lbs


Father and son duo Graham and Tom Stewart came at the end of February having spent a few days elsewhere in Thailand. After a bit of a walk round they sat down for a chat with us and said that they really wanted to have a go at the Siamese first, and if that went well, to catch as many other fish of as many species as possible. They totally did the right thing and said, “Hey, we know nothing about these fish and we will listen to everything you guys say.” OK, no problem! The guides decided that the best place to start would be around B3/C1 as the odd carp had come from that area in the preceding days. Tom was the first to score on the first day when he had two runs in an hour which resulted in two Siamese carp of 55lb and 60lb and one very big smiling face! Graham in the next swim was having fun Skyping his mate back home, but it didn’t take too long for him to get amongst the action, as that afternoon he banked a 70lb Siamese carp. So the boys were happy and had made a great start.

The second day came along, and the carp seemed to follow the same path, as the lads in Sala 2 got them first thing in the morning, and then Tom and Graham got them late morning/early afternoon, and what fantastic bites they were. Tom started off with a 65lb’er and then one over the magical 100lb mark at 105lb, which he then followed with a beast of a fish, which the guides didn’t really recognise, so they decided to weigh it. The fish weighed in at 134lb, and I think it’s fair to say Tom was blown away. Everything he had really hoped for came on his second day. Graham was plodding away next door; he wasn’t too worried what he caught, but the Siamese were playing the game for him also, and he landed specimens of 60lb, 95lb, 80lb, 80lb and then a real whopper went in his net at 150lb, which left him speechless… well, for about two minutes.

With some cracking fish landed, the boys were talking about a move already. The Mekongs were coming out of the top end of the lake, and they both wanted a crack at them. However they had to wait for a day until the swims came free, so they fished another day in the same swims. Remarkably Tom landed another Siamese of 100lb and then a small one of 35lb, but the day went to Graham as he landed Siamese of 80lb and another 150lb, followed by an Amazon red tail of 45lb, just as dusk fell.

The boys then moved swims into the area of E3 in the hunt for Mekong catfish, and things started quickly for Tom as he landed a Siamese carp 60lb and 30lb, which were then followed by elation and his first ever Mekong at a weight of 120lb. Things weren’t going so well for Graham and he didn’t get a bite that day, and all the glory went to Tom as he then landed another Mekong this time weighing 165lb. Tom was delighted with those two Mekong and Graham, to be fair, wasn’t too bothered, still buzzing after his two 150’s! The roles were reversed the next day as Graham landed a Siamese carp of 75lb and Tom’s rods were quiet. However, the final victory went to Graham when he landed a superb arapaima of 280lb, right at last knockings and right at the end of their stay with us.


Dave Graham and his wife Josie love a holiday in Thailand, and last year they came to see us for a few days. Although he started slowly Dave got amongst a few of them and generally had a nice time. They returned to Thailand again this year and they came straight to us to kick off their holiday with a spot of fishing. They only had a couple of days with us this time, and I knew a Mekong catfish was on the top of his list to catch, as he didn’t get one last time. Dave started fishing the first afternoon after they arrived, but the fish in Sala 1 had other plans. Seemingly they were having a bit of a holiday too, so his rods remained quiet. The next morning was a different story however, as by dinner time Dave had landed a good sized Siamese around the 70lb mark, and it was smiles all round… well, until he then landed an even bigger one, and then it was huge grins all round. It set the afternoon up nicely for a few tins of Chang in the sunshine. The sun fell behind the mountains, and shortly after Dave’s rod was off again. Within seconds we all knew it was a Mekong catfish, just what he was after. Dave seemed to enjoy the challenge, and after a spirited scrap the fish was in the net, weighing in at around 110lb, so understandably he was one happy bunny that night.

The next day Josie went shopping in Krabi town in the morning, and Dave fished away. However, with his (and I quote) “official photographer” away from the resort, it seemed like Dave’s piscatorial success would be on hold until she returned, which is exactly what happened. Shortly after Josie returned, Dave received a run and then landed another Mekong, this time at 130lb, which even though it was caught right in the middle of the day in the searing heat made Dave a really happy chappy, as it was his biggest ever fish. So just a couple of days fishing brought two very respectable Siamese carp, two Mekongs over 100lb and then off for a relaxing time at Koh Lanta before some chaos in Bangkok for a few days after that.


We covered most of Ann and Gordan McIntosh’s holiday in the last newsletter, but they carried on for the odd day after that, so we might as well finish their story off. As they were coming to the end of their holiday, Ann and Mac had the odd day off from the fishing, and when they did fish, they seemed to turn up here, there and everywhere around the lake, but they continued to catch steadily, and Mac was delighted when he caught a 40lb Julian’s. Ann was snapping at his ankles because she had two, one weighing 20lb and the other weighing 28lb, and she also landed an Amazon red tail of 30lb, but I guess the best day went to Mac up the grassy swim, when he landed Amazon red tails of 45lb, 35lb, 25lb and 55lb and then landed an Asian red tail of 22lb. Mac’s totals for the trip were one arawana of 5lb, three Asian red tails to 25lb, two Julian’s to 40lb, two Siamese to 80lb and 13 Amazon red tails to 70lb. Ann’s totals were four Amazon red tails to 60lb, five Siamese to 80lb, two Julian’s to 28lb and an arapaima of 300lb-plus – not bad at all when you consider they take turns on a daily basis of who’s fishing and they have days off in between!


Martin Walters and his wife Elaine made a return visit to us in Late Feb/early March. Things started off at a steady pace for him, but it wasn’t too long before he bagged a nice Siamese carp of 60lb on his first day. The temperatures were really starting to rise around the time of Martin’s trip, and he was clocking 78-80 degrees by 7.30 in the morning, not that he let any of us know that (ha ha). The second day started off with a pacu of 22lb, and this was closely followed by a 45lb Siamese carp. Things weren’t exactly roaring along for Martin, but he stuck to the plan, gently feed the spots, fished well and with confidence, knowing he could do no more to catch them, and he waited patiently for the bites to come, and they did, slowly but surely. Next on his catch list was another Siamese of 50lb, which he then doubled with his next fish, as that afternoon he was seen grinning behind a lump of a Siamese at 100lb, and it’s fair to say he was a happy man!

The success continued on day four as he started off with another chunky Siamese, this time weighing 85lb, and everything seemed to be going to plan when he then hooked a Mekong, which, after a good tussle, managed to throw the hook. Martin wanted vengeance, and fast. He got that vengeance that afternoon when he then struck into another Mekong, and the battle commenced. There was no way he was going to let this one beat him, and the joy was clearly evident when one of 130lb rolled into the net 40 minutes later. With a 100lb Siamese and a 100lb-plus Mekong under his belt, Martin was on the prowl for an arapaima, and his next day’s fishing was to be in the Grassy, where he hoped to get another monster. Keen as you like, Martin was in the swim nice and early, and quickly he had his rods bang on the spots. Although you could see the odd one milling about, his rods remained silent all through the day and just into darkness. Then it happened – a screaming take and a leaping fish signalled an arapaima. But the arapaima had different ideas about being photographed, and it rolled over, throwing the hook in the process, as they so often do. Martin was understandably gutted.

The next day almost went the same way for him, as all was quiet in his swim until the sun slipped down between the trees and he sat there thinking it was going to be a blank until his rod ripped off with a 45lb Amazon red tail on the end of it! On his final morning Martin was lucky enough to land a Julian’s at 15lb before they packed up and carried on with their holiday. They then went to Koh Samui with their friends John and Hazel.


Dave Straw has been here a few times in the past, and he has an incredible habit of winkling them out. In the past he has caught many fish, and on his last trip he banked an incredible 16 Mekongs, which in fairness is enough to pull anyone’s arm off! When he arrived it was really hot, and there were a few around him generally moaning about the heat and hence not putting the effort in. A few of the catches on the lake were poor at the time, which might have been due to the fact that quite a few anglers were in the pool! I don’t blame them to be honest.

Day one was baking hot affair, without a breeze on the lake. I had pulled Dave’s leg that we needed a few catching, and he laughingly said he would see what he could do. Well, the first morning was quiet, but at 3.30pm that afternoon he had a take that led to a spirited fight and a 30lb pacu, which got him off the mark nicely. Then he had a couple of screaming takes, which he missed – maybe more pacu just getting away with it, we thought. Then one of his rods was away again, and this led to a good solid fight, which turned out to be a 150lb Mekong catfish. He literally had a swig of water, recast his rods and almost straight after, he was hooked into another Mekong, this time at 120lb, and that was the next hour gone in a blur of spinning spools, sore arms, grunts and groans. He then moved to Swim D1, which followed a similar pattern the next day. It was hot with no breeze; the first bite came around 15.00, and it happened to be a 28lb pacu. He followed it up with a 6pm bite and another Mekong, this time weighing 110lbs.

His third day turned out to be quite eventful, because the bites started earlier and in style, with a much sought after Julian’s carp at 12.30 and then a couple of hours later and after a good hour-long fight, a brute of a Mekong graced his net at 180lb. The house boilies seemed to be doing the trick for him, as all of his fish had come to them, and this was the case with his next fish, which was a Siamese carp of 50lb. So, it was quite an eclectic mix for him during the daylight hours. As dusk fell he popped a couple of baits in the margin, one with pellet on and one with half a fish on. It was the fish one that went, and it soon became obvious that we had a stingray to deal with, and, even worse for all concerned, at 7.45pm in the dark. These fish are tricky enough to land in the daylight and can take up to an hour at times, so I am sure you can understand why I am saying ‘even worse for all concerned’. The outcome wasn’t the best however, as the stingray managed to make its escape.

With the temperature sticking at 40 degrees, Dave battled on and was rewarded with another Julian’s of 15lb the next day at a slightly later bite time of 14.30. He had just returned the fish when another Mekong shot off with his boilie rig, and another arm-crunching fight in the heat ensued. Fair play to Dave; he didn’t give in, and his prize was a very respectable 160lb beauty. The Julian’s continued for him the following day when a cracker of 28lb slipped into his net at 13.30, and three hours later it was business as usual as he fought another Mekong, which turned out to be 140lb! Amazing monster catfish stuff! You could almost set your clock by his margin rod with a fish bait on it, as at 19.45, the same time as the stingray made an appearance, an Amazon red tail of 30lb finished the first block of his fishing off, and he then had a day off before a well-earned break and maybe a change of scenery.

After his day off, Dave started out in Sala 3, and there were definitely thoughts of a rematch with a stingray, and if the truth be known maybe a small desire to catch something a little different. The guides had been fishing the sala bay quite a bit, and two or three of them had landed bighead carp, which I know interested Dave a lot. The first bit of action for Dave was a pacu of 30lb, again caught on a house boilie. The sun really hit home that day, and he decided to have a couple of hours away from the lake before returning early afternoon, when he managed to nick an Amazon red tail of 45lb with half an hour to go. He didn’t fish too hard the next day because of the heat, so consequently his rods were quiet and nothing was landed. With the searing temperatures being a bit of a distraction to him, Dave decided to move to swim B1, where at least it was a little cooler and more shaded. Things were fairly slow to start with, but then at last knockings he hooked into and landed a 40lb Asian stingray on a fish bait.

Dave kept his catch rate going by landing a 45lb Amazon red tail catfish the following afternoon, even though he had a couple of hours off during the day once more. Next on Dave’s agenda was another move, and he then slipped into Sala 1 where he popped out an Amazon red tail of 50lb almost straight away before going to the restaurant for a cool down and breakfast with his wife, only to return a couple of hours later and land a 30lb pacu and another Amazon red tail catfish, this time at 45lb. For his last couple of days Dave managed to move swims again and finished off in Sala 1 where he finished his session off with four more Amazons weighing 40lb, 35lb, 35lb and another biggie at 60lb. Personally I thought this was a great effort and a good result for Dave.


When Jon Warman walked onto the complex I just knew things would go well for him. He is an all-round angler who openly admitted that whilst he had done a lot of fishing in his time, that this was a different kettle of fish (so to speak) to what he was used to, and he made it very clear that he would listen to and follow the advice of the guides from the word go. He started off in Sala 3, and on his first afternoon’s fishing and under the watchful eye of (guide) Lee he popped out a 14lb Julian’s, which was a cracking start. The next day around 11am, Sala 1 became empty, and Lee urged Jon to go in there, so he did. Within an hour he landed a 35lb Asian red tail, quickly followed by another at 15lb.

There seemed to have been many arawana swimming in pairs around the swims recently, and this was to be John’s next capture, as he stalked one right in front of his swim. He had sat there watching them milling about, and it was just too much temptation not to try and catch one for him. By the end of the day he had added another Julian’s carp of 30lb to his list, and he was pleased with the start that he had made and also the fact that his friend and fishing buddy Ian Johnson had arrived to join him and hopefully catch a few himself. Although keen, Ian was clearly knackered from the journey, and although he gave it a shot, he was soon fast asleep in Sala 2 whilst his family chilled out in the pool and bungalow.

It was Ian’s second day that was a day to remember for them both. Jon got the ball rolling with a 110lb Mekong and then a Siamese carp of 75lb, which he was understandably chuffed with. With Lee on hand, Ian landed a 15lb pacu on a Mekong float rod, and then literally ten minutes battled his first Mekong, and there was plenty of drama with that fight, as the fish charged round the corner heading for Sala 3! Ian is a pretty stocky fella though, and he gave the fish some stick. After a bit of “toing and froing” as they say, he landed the beast at a weight of 120lb, and it was obvious for all to see he was really pleased about it too!

Things continued well for Ian, and the next day he quickly landed a 20lb pacu, but then had to wait a little bit until an Asian red tail came along, before another solid fight with a Mekong catfish around 5pm. This time the monster weighed a juicy 140lbs, and it signalled the end of that day’s fishing for him. John on the other hand had a quiet day and didn’t land anything.

There was to be a role reversal the next day, because it was Ian’s rods that were quiet, and John was getting the action. It started off quite quickly with a couple of Amazon red tails, one of 38lb then one of 20lb, and next up was an Asian red tail before two more Amazon red tail catfish of 30lb and 40lb. Then the icing on the cake came along in the shape of a 65lb Amazon red tail, which finished the day off nicely for him. A day’s hauling red tails was just what Ian wanted, and he got that the following day when he landed five to 55lb, three of which he landed in the first hour! Then it was time for a celebration, so Ian and his family along with Jon and some of the guides then went out for dinner that night and enjoyed a good old steak at everyone’s favourite restaurant, The Carnivore.

John’s last day was soon upon him, and it started in fantastic style when he landed an arapaima of 180lbs. Darren had been guiding him that day, and they had been watching them in the corner that morning. Darren had seen two of them milling about and pretty much expected one to get caught. John was delighted obviously, but still fished on and landed two more Amazon red tails at 40lb and 50lb. Ian on the other hand landed one red tail, but it was a real cracker at 70lb, and he was equally as chuffed.

Ian’s last day’s fishing was up in the Grassy swim. In fairness he was happy with what he had caught, and it wasn’t a last desperate attempt to catch something special before he left. We had seen some arapaima up there the day before and said he had to have a try for one, so he did! The day started early, and he was bang on it with the then departing Jon, who was helping him bait up etc. First thing in the morning, they were watching two arapaimas feeding on his bait and confidence was high for a quick bite as soon as 7am came and he could cast in. The arapaimas weren’t playing the game however, and the morning passed with nothing more than a few raised eyebrows and high expectations.

Ian fished hard all day, but as 6pm came he was ready to throw in the towel. Lee and I wouldn’t let him though, and we geed him on to go for the final push. The arapaima turned up again, and they were all over his baits; it was definitely “edge of your seat” stuff as the sun fell down behind the trees. The line was twitching the whole time, and the expectancy was high, through the roof even, and when the take finally came we were sure it was going to be an arapaima. It wasn’t; it was in fact another superb Amazon red tail catfish, but Ian didn’t care. He was so pumped up from the buzz and expectancy of the “arapaima chase” that he just wasn’t bothered, especially with the superb fish he had already caught anyway. With all the fishing done Ian stayed on with us for another week, and they did the long tail boats, the elephant trekking, sightseeing etc. etc.


Finally, and quickly, as time and space is getting short, Gary Hipple came out with his wife Fran and son David to celebrate his 60th birthday. Normally when Gary and Fran come out there are always a few things that happen: 1) Gary catches a load of carp, 2) Fran goes shopping with Becky, and 3) They all go down The Carnivore steak restaurant a few times! Gary came at the time temperatures were up in the forties, the water was hot, and it seemed like the Siamese, in particular, were off the feed. I had a chat with Gary, and I told him that I thought it would be interesting to see how such an experienced Siamese carp angler would get on, with the fish not coming out as much as usual. Well to cut a long story short, Gary did get amongst the fish. He pretty much caught something every day, and on a couple of days he caught two or three Siamese. The fish he caught were Siamese of 110lb, 75lb, 35lb, 45lb, 130lb, 70lb, 75lb, 50lb, 60lb, 50lb, 75lb, 70lb, 55lb and 75lb! Now I think that’s pretty impressive, especially when the fishing is “slow”. He also caught an arapaima of 150lb, a Julian’s of 14lb, a Mekong catfish of 130lb, two pacu of 25lb and 40lb and an Asian red tail catfish of 25lb!


Gottfried Hainzl also popped to see us for a day or two and he landed a few fish including a big arapaima over the dream weight of 500lb!


Chris Tasker and his lady shared a few gin and tonics and also enjoyed some good days here including catching Siamese carp to 150lb, an arapaima of 240lb and Mekong to 110lb!


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 Stuart 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)!