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Fishing In Thailand Newsletter May 2016

Hi, and welcome to the May 2015 newsletter, our monthly roundup of news, catch reports and anything remotely connected to our little slice of paradise out here in Krabi.

May saw the viewing of the Big Fish Off on ITV4. It was a five-part series, and the last episode was filmed from here. The series featured Dean Macey and Ali Hamidi who each had a different celebrity to look after. Basically each show was a match between each team, and they had five episodes to see who would be the overall series winner. Dean had already won three of the episodes, but that didn’t stop them being competitive as the series finale rolled into Thailand! Dean had professional boxer Mitchell Smith to look after, whilst Ali had TV reality star Ricky Rayment from The Only Way Is Essex. I remember all the equipment and stuff that turned up, and the cameras were massive; they made my little Sony Handycam look very inadequate. There was a lot of legal stuff and paperwork that went on in the background, and we even had a “fixer” to make sure everything was done correctly! The show went down a storm, and I believe it had the biggest response of any of the episodes of that series.

They started off on the small lake where they had a species challenge, and Dean and Mitchell won that. Then they had a Siamese carp/Mekong catfish match for a couple of days. Mitchell landed a 60lb Siamese, but Ricky then landed a Mekong over the 100lb mark, which meant they were even as they approached the end of the match. They decided to finish the match fishing for predators, and they all ended up in the Grassy swim, which, as many of you know, can be a good arapaima and Amazon red tail swim… well, if they are there that is! People tend to think it’s THE swim on here, but it isn’t – more arapaima and Amazon red tails often get caught elsewhere on the lake, and I must admit I thought they had made a mistake going up there, as it had been quiet for a day or two. The fish were a bit on the missing list, but Ali managed to hook an arapaima, and after an epic battle Ricky landed it. They won the match, and it made a great end to the show. The show finished with a king cobra snake on Ali’s bed and a big baboon monkey thingy making noises at Dean in his room – both appeared with professional handlers, of course. All that remained was a night on the town with a few beers thrown in and some “Hangover” style photos to be taken to finish the programme off with.


Speaking of TV stars, we also had John Wilson come to see us a few weeks ago. He came to see his friend and regular customer here Marc Pickering. John only stayed a couple of days, but he enjoyed himself and managed to catch a PB giant featherback, a nice 40lb Amazon red tail catfish and a couple of nice arawana from the main lake, before having a battle with a stingray, which unfortunately got away. John lives in Thailand now and has his own fishery called Bung Sawan Chumphon, which is a beautiful four-acre lake, which is situated about a couple of hours north from us. You can book to fish his lake if you want to, and you’ll probably meet him too! The fishery opens just three days a week to maintain the quality of fishing – Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7am till 6pm with a maximum of only four anglers fishing. Cost per day per angler is £130. Non anglers are £10 (for food and drinks). Package includes DVD, rod hire, tackle, adequate allowance of bait, fishing guide, meal (breakfast or lunch), tea/coffee or soft drinks. If you are interested in booking this fishing resort, please contact them via their enquiry form or contact the head guide, Barry Gregory direct on +66 946740227, or you can make an enquiry through and fill out the contact form.


The Siamese carp certainly bounced backed with a vengeance in May after the extreme heat of April. At one point it seemed like everybody was reeling them in, and I was itching to have a go at them, especially as it had been a year since I had fished the lake. For me personally fishing the main lake is all about timing. I won’t go anywhere near it if we have quite a few customers or if we are a couple of guides down (on holiday or whatever), but luck fell my way, and we had about a week long period where we could all have a fish, right in the middle of the Siamese carp craziness. Becky and Dale went first for a couple of days and caught a few, the biggest falling to Becky’s rods at 110lb, which she was really pleased about, as it was her biggest ever. Next up was my turn, and after losing one on the first day, I managed an 80lb’er first thing the second day. Then just as darkness fell, I hooked into what felt like a heavy fish, and just on dark I landed new PB Siamese carp of 120lb, which I was very pleased about also. So with the Siamese carp clearly on “silly season”, guide Chris had a little dabble, and he also pulled out his biggest ever at 120lb! This left three of us with very large grins on our faces, that’s for sure.


There has been a lot of fish caught this month, so that’s enough of my ramblings, and best we get on with the whos, the whys and the flipping ‘ecks from this month’s fishing.

The anglers who visited us for some serious fishing in Thailand had some superb fishing in Krabi this month with a total of 622 fish caught of 16 species, made up as follows: 21 arapaima to 530lb, one alligator gar of 40lb, 138 Amazon redtail catfish to 80lb, one Hoven’s carp of 18lb, 46 Asian redtail catfish to 40lb, 29 black pacu to 40lb, 28 Julian’s golden carp to 38lb, 38 Mekong catfish to 200lb, four red bellied pacu to 16lb, 302 Siamese carp to 150lb, one tambaqui of 40lb, one walagoo leeri of 10lb, four arawana to 8lb, five giant freshwater stingray to 140lb, two ripsaw catfish to 25lb and one Nile perch (small).

Darren Hunt made a return trip, which started at the end of April and rolled into May. This time he brought his missus, Lisa, newborn baby daughter Rio, Mark Harley and his father-in-law Geoff Barker. Daz just loves his fishing; he’s always mad to catch something and quickly gets annoyed if it isn’t happening for him. I lovingly call him “Meltdown Mickey” (so does Lisa, but we’ll keep that secret between us). When he’s at home he’s out messing about with a fly rod (with a pop-up on the end), having at go at small carp that frequent a pond near to him. He works hard at his fishing, never stops trying, and when he arrived here I wondered how he would get on, bearing in mind that we were going through the worst month we had ever experienced here.

His first day’s angling was a quiet affair in Sala 2, and if it wasn’t for a small Asian red tail at 19.45, he would have blanked, and that would have really fired him up! As per normal he was up at the crack of dawn on his second morning, and by 7.01 he had all three rods in and ready to go. The fish were bubbling up in front of him, and they were showing and jumping in the swim. We all thought it wouldn’t be long before a Siamese carp rolled into his net, but the first fish that came along was an arapaima of 160lb two hours into his fishing, and that whetted his appetite no end. Although the Siamese were still leaping around him, it was the margin rod that went again, this time with an Amazon red tail catfish at 4pm. Daz was getting frustrated that he couldn’t get a bite from a carp, so out went the float rod for a Mekong catfish, and 30 minutes later he landed a 130lb specimen, which left him buzzing. However, before the end of the day he landed two Amazon red tail catfish at 40lbs and 45lbs making it a respectable day’s angling in anyone’s eyes.

With his heart still set on a Siamese or two, Daz was back at it again the following morning, but yet again it was other species that were pulling his string. Within half an hour he had landed an Amazon red tail catfish and a pacu, and then the frustrating wait started for him again. He tried and tried to get a bite off a Siamese carp, and they were still showing in front of him. All day they jumped and waved at him, but not one picked his bait up. I can imagine him sitting there swearing at his rods, asking why they hadn’t gone off! By the end of the day it was too much for him, so out went the float rod again, and yet again 30 minutes later another Mekong, this time weighing 145lb, was smiling for his camera.

With the Siamese not performing as they usually do, Daz moved swims for his next day’s fishing and slipped into Sala 5, two days before his birthday, in the hope that a Julian’s golden carp of 40lb or more would come and join in the celebrations. He had also mentioned that he knew there was a good chance of meeting a giant freshwater stingray round there too, and as he had never caught one before, he would put a rod out for one of them also. Daz’s first day was a slow affair, and we thought he was going to blank, but an Asian red tail catfish saved the day at five minutes before the end again. The following day went from one extreme to the other as he hooked what was obviously a stingray, and the battle commenced. Daz was up for the challenge and fought it like a demon; in fact I am beginning to think it’s his favourite moment in any given time, that moment when he has a bent rod in his hand. With guides Darren and Nick around it didn’t take long to cage the beast, and I was lucky enough to get to take the photos of this capture. I think by now you will know that Daz was dribbling with happiness – not only a new species but another one over that magical 100lb barrier at 140lb. Later that day he got a Julian’s golden carp, but at 32lb it was not quite what he was looking for.

His birthday came along and his present was a nice Siamese carp of 60lb at 2pm, and then he nearly got what he wanted when a Julian’s golden carp of 36lb became his new PB, and he was getting closer to that 40lber that he so craved. He finished early, and the whole family went down to the Carnivore in Ao Nang for a celebratory steak dinner.


Daz was back and at them again early the next morning as per usual, but he had to wait until 3pm until his first fish picked up his bait, and that turned out to be a respectful Julian’s golden carp of 30lbs, but I could tell he was getting itchy feet as the Siamese carp had woken up by now and were coming out all over the lake again. He was clucking to get back into Sala two, a swim where he had some big Siamese hauls before. He had to wait until Sala two became free of course, so he stayed where he was, and that night landed a massive Amazon red tail catfish of 80lb and a small Asian red tail catfish of 20lbs.

Sala two became free the following day, and Daz moved in there fairly promptly. It took a little while, but he eventually caught a 70lb Siamese carp and was looking forward to having a go at them the next day. The Siamese carp were now really starting to come out again all over the lake, but Daz got a little sidetracked by a nice gourami of 5lb, which was swimming round in front of him that morning. Clearly the thought of a new species was too much to resist, and the smile on his face said it all as he stalked it out and held it up for a photo at 10am that morning. After that he had a little wait, but then a Siamese carp turned up weighing a very healthy 85lb at 2pm, and although the liners continued for him throughout the day, no more fish came along until he grabbed the Mekong float rod once again and landed a 175lb monster on his penultimate evening.

His last day came, and it was all systems go – he was going to catch a Siamese carp come what may! He fished hard all day long, and I really thought he wasn’t going to get one as darkness fell, as most Siamese come out during the day, or so it seems. But he proved me wrong, because at 19.00 he landed a 95lb’er and then with just 15 minutes remaining of his holiday he popped out a 90lb’er! Awesome stuff from Daz; as per usual he gave it 100%, and even when the lake was not at its best he came away with a 23-fish hit including six fish of three different species over that 100lb mark. Geoff the father-in-law only fished a bit, but he landed some nice fish including Amazon red tails to 60lb, and friend Mark Harley had a 200lb Mekong and an arapaima of 160lb too!


Mick Toy had a few days fishing with us in May. He started off up in swim E3 on the first afternoon he arrived. Things started nicely for him, as a 55lb Siamese carp was quickly banked before the heavens opened and a tropical rainstorm came along. The weather cleared fairly quickly, but it wasn’t until the next day that Mick caught anything, and when he did it was another 50lb Siamese carp pretty much straight after the start, and then later on that day a 55lb Siamese carp rolled into his net too.

Things were going nicely for Mick, and his third day kicked off nicely with a small Julian’s golden carp around the 15lb mark, and then shortly after a lump of a Siamese carp at 70lbs made off with his hookbait, only to be landed ten minutes later. Mick’s lucky streak continued, and that afternoon he landed an 88lb Siamese carp, which made him one very happy man. His luck had a dip in fortune the next day, as the next two fish he hooked both fell off, but he then landed a 45lb Amazon red tail catfish. His next day saw a little trip up to the top lake for a few hours, and I know he had fun on the light tackle landing arawana and a 20lb Amazon red tail catfish plus others. After that he decided on a change of swims and set up in A1, which turned out to be a very good decision, as that morning he landed a new PB Siamese of 90lb, and he was really pleased about it too! It was all quiet on the western front for a few hours, and then darkness fell. Those of you who have been here before know that’s “witching hour” for the predators. It didn’t disappoint, as a major fight ensued with an arapaima, which eventually rolled into the net at 200lb, and that finished off Friday the 13th in a very lucky fashion indeed! Mick fished half a morning the next day before he left us, and all he had to show for it was a couple of empty tins of Chang beer, which was just the way he wanted it.


John Simpson from Birmingham came back to see us again this month, and he brought his missus Carron along for some nice R&R time too. John started off in the Sala Bay, and at the time the temperature was still really hot, but it was coming to the end of the Siamese carp’s disappearing act from late April. The Julian’s golden carp seem to love the heat though, and they also seem to like that Sala Bay too, so it was no surprise that his first fish was a hard fighting Julian’s golden carp of 24lb, which he caught from Sala 6. Sweating away in the heat the next day was a hard one, and no fish fell to his rods that day. The day after was a different story however when he landed a stunning 85lb Siamese carp, which was a new PB for him and edged him closer to that magical figure of 100lb, which he made it quite clear was his target fish. Next to make it to his photo album was a nice black pacu of 25lb, which wasn’t bad for just an afternoon’s fishing.

The next day started in glorious sunshine, and it didn’t take long before John was grinning behind a 90lb Siamese carp, and with the fish sheeting up and bubbling away in his swim, we didn’t think that would be his last one either, and it wasn’t. Three hours later he was lifting a 60lb’er, then the heavens opened and a deluge of rain fell down, and only an hour and a half after lifting his 60, he then landed another at 65lb and then an hour, and 20 minutes later, yet another Siamese carp of 65lb was having its photo taken with John. Things then calmed down for an hour or so and he thought that was it for the day, but an hour into dark an Amazon red tail catfish of 25lb, came along and then another Siamese carp of 70lb rounded off what was a good day’s fishing for him.

The Siamese carp chaos continued the next day when the first run resulted in a 70lb beauty, and then 30 minutes later a 50lb’er. The carp had certainly switched back on with a vengeance, and it was only a short wait until a smaller one around 40lb then slipped up and graced his net. John fished through the day, but the carp were on the missing list until an hour before darkness when another small one came along, and then just as the sun slipped down behind the mountains, John landed another good one at the 65lb mark. John’s final day in the Sala Bay started off with a Siamese carp of 85lb, but the real joy came in the shape of a 100lb carp, which he was really made up about, but we knew that quietly he wanted one that wasn’t exactly 100lb, something maybe a few pounds more, so it was indeed, a good hundred pounder, that was what he was really hoping for.

The next day he swapped swims and went into D3, and the Siamese carp were continuing to perform. Within a couple of hours John had landed a 35lb baby, but then a real daddy came along when a 150lb Mekong catfish picked up his hookbait and made a bid for freedom. John was really buzzing about it all; the fish were on form and he was loving every minute of it. The runs continued although the arms were aching after the Mekong catfish, but a Siamese carp of 65lb was the next to come along, before an Asian red tail of 20lb joined the party too.

The next fish John caught was the fish he was really looking for as a 110lb Siamese carp made his dreams really come true. He was blown away and just couldn’t believe how the fishing had gone, but he was a long way from his dream ending, as that afternoon he landed another Siamese carp around 80lb, which we managed to film and put on our Facebook and YouTube pages.

It was getting towards the end of John’s trip, and he didn’t care how many more he caught,; he was just enjoying anything that came along, and they still came. The next day he went on to land Siamese carp of 75lb, 40lb, 50lb, 45lb and 60lb! His final day in D3 pretty much went the same way although the Siamese carp were a little smaller, and he entertained himself with a 35lb’er, two 45lb’ers and a 75lb’er before calling it a day to spend his final day in the Grassy as he was “all carped out”. His final day’s fishing yielded two Amazon red tail catfish of 35lb and 45lb respectively, and that closed his account nicely. What a session, what a haul of fish… John and Carron had a great time with us and they promised to return.


Dave Halsall came to see us on the fishing in Thailand stand we had at Manchester Fishing Show earlier this year for a chat and a catch-up. Dave had popped over for a spot of fishing the year before and really enjoyed himself catching a good few Siamese carp, alligator gar and arawana on his short trip. Dave said the next time he came he really wanted to catch a monster fish, i.e. one over 100lbs, and preferably an arapaima. I wished him luck and said we would see him in a few weeks.

Dave turned up refreshed after a week elsewhere chilling out in Thailand and did his usual first day settling in procedure of walking around looking at the lake and having a beer or two before making his decision on where to fish. He decided on swim E3 and started his campaign the following morning. From swim E3 he cast one rod with fish bait towards the hyacinth and the waterfall, and the other two rods were cast straight out to the right of the bubbler, a known spot for Mekong catfish and Siamese carp. He worked the swim quite hard and had a real go at the fish. You could see his Spomb flying about quite a lot, and in the end his rod ripped off with a Siamese carp of 35lb that got him up and running.

His second day started very much the same way as his first did when another Siamese carp of 35lb set his alarm off first thing in the morning, but straight after he landed his first ever Amazon red tail catfish, a hard-fighting 35lb’er, and then only an hour later, the margin rod by the hyacinth ripped off again with a slightly bigger one just under 40lbs. Dave was buzzing; he’s a pretty laid back character is our Dave, and he sat there this time, just grinning away… well, until his next run came along. After a good run that nearly went down the whole lake, we all knew he was into a Mekong catfish, and the battle commenced! Dave played it like a demon; it only took a respectable 40 minutes to get it in, and when it came in, it was the monster that Dave was looking for – 170lbs of pure muscle, and Dave was left speechless after we returned it. He said although he had a couple of days to go, he didn’t care if he caught another fish or not. He did of course, as the next day he landed his third Amazon red tail catfish around the 35lb mark before he left us to go home.


Pete Rothy made his third trip to see us in May. He came with a couple of fish on his wish list: one was a 350lb arapaima that he actually got a good photo of, as the last one he caught jumped the cage and escaped before he got a decent photo, and the second was a mighty Mekong catfish of 200lb or more (his PB was 180lb caught on his last trip here). He arrived as usual full of beans, and he was well up for the fishing. Even better was that upon his arrival he was bearing gifts – ten of them in fact – Schwartz classic mix barbeque, ten little glass pots for me, which meant I could fill my fat face with my favourite seasoned carcass – now that’s a win in my world! Anyway back to the fishing… Pete started off in the Grassy swim for a couple of days. His first day yielded a 45lb Amazon red tail catfish, and the second threw up two more, both around the 40lb mark. Day three saw a change of swims, and he moved into Sala 1.

The temps were still very high, and he was definitely struggling a bit. Guide Darren was on hand that day, and Pete said to him that if he could catch him a 200lb Mekong catfish, he would take him on a night out and pay for all his food and drinks for the whole evening. Now Darren loves a challenge, and he loves catching customers fish, so this offer was like a red rag to a bull, because within seconds out went the float rod with the Spomb quickly behind. I walked past them testing the oxygen levels on the main lake at 5pm just as they started the challenge. As I was half way round the lake I could see Pete playing a Mekong. By the time I had finished doing my tests, there was singing and celebrating going on in Sala 1, and in that 40 minutes, they had hooked and landed a 200lb’er… I just had to laugh.

The Mekong madness continued the next day, and he banked another monster, this time at a weight of 150lb, but the celebrations that night consisted of our intrepid piscator going out for a meal and a few beers, in fact a few too many beers and very bleary eyed, he half-heartedly appeared the next day, very much worse for wear and basically didn’t fish at all… well, he just fished for a bit of sympathy, which he didn’t get.

The next day was a blank, and then he landed a small arapaima of 50lbs, which strangely he was quite happy about, unlike the day after where albeit a little hungover he blanked so then decided on another change of swim and popped himself into Sala 8, tucked away nicely in the corner. Pete ambled down the next day, and after a slow start managed to bag himself a 70lb Siamese carp, just in time to save a blank that day. Over the next three days, and it has to be said, with some appalling timekeeping, he managed a few Siamese carp to 100lb. We noticed that as time went by Mr Rothy’s timekeeping was becoming worse and worse, and he was often seen eating his breakfast around the 10am mark before actually starting his fishing. This however did not seem to slow his catch rate down at all, and on his next day’s angling/generally messing about, he went on to land three Siamese carp all around the 70lb-80lb mark, and then about an hour into darkness, he added a nice 150lb arapaima to his photo album.

The next day (and late again) our very strange website guy came ambling into the swim around 11am only to pull out Siamese carp of 95lb, 55lb and 50lb, and somewhere in amongst that lot he also caught his first ever Julian’s golden carp at 22lb, which obviously put a smile on his face! His final day saw him appear on time in his swim, fairly quickly catch a small Asian red tail catfish, and then it was a wait for him because the Siamese carp had gone quiet in his swim. The wait ended right at last knockings, after some, and I quote: “messing around with bait” Pete’s left hand rod (which was tucked right in the corner) ripped off with a hard fighting 300lb arapaima attached to it. This was his last fish of the trip, and it was great to see someone have a go at Sala 8 and reel so many good fish in. I think those swims on the sala side are much overlooked by people, and as I am sitting here now, writing this newsletter, there is a lad in Sala 4 or 5 who landed a 120lb Siamese carp today and a 105lb Siamese carp yesterday. Pete didn’t quite get both the fish he was after, but now at least he had a decent shot with a 300lb arapaima.


Carp fishing legend Ronnie Buss came over for his usual fishing in Thailand holiday, and as normal he got amongst the fish quickly. On his first day he slid his net under a healthy specimen of 90lbs – good start. Day two started off well too, as he landed another 90lb specimen, but that was it for the day, as the Siamese carp were playing a little bit hard to get. The next day Ronnie then moved into the Grassy to have a go at the Amazon red tail catfish, or that was the plan anyway, because he quite quickly landed a beautiful and big Hoven’s carp at 18lbs, which was a surprise, and then the Amazon red tail catfish kicked in and he landed five to just over 35lb.

Things were going nicely for Ronnie, and the next day saw a further three fish landed including two more Amazon red tail catfish to 40lb and another Siamese carp of 30lb. He then had a day or two with the carp on the missing list, and then he had a quick trip up the hospital for a check-up prior to another quick trip and some small surgery, which meant only a little bit of fishing time and hence no fish. With the hospital and all that out the way he caught a new PB in the shape of a Julians golden carp weighing 28lb, which he was really chuffed about. The Siamese continued being a bit evasive, but a day or so later he landed another good one at 85lb. Then the Siamese carp seemed to get going again, and Ronnie didn’t take long to catch another couple around the 75lb mark.

Taking a fairly leisurely approach (leaving the lake to have his breakfast with his wife, Jo) to his angling, Ron then went and caught two decent sized pacu of which one was a PB of 36lbs, then a small Siamese carp of 40lb, and a couple more seventies before a move to the Grassy swim on his last day. He set his stall out for Julian’s golden carp, which he had seen jumping a few days previously, and he caught a new PB at 32lb, which was a good solid bit of angling. He also landed a new species in the shape of a Nile perch, a clonking 65lb Amazon red tail catfish and two arawana. So all in all Ronnie did a good job with a 29-fish hit including five new PBs and three new species, and this was with a couple of days off for hospital treatment too.


Pav Taylor came out on the Help for Heroes trip last year. He has been here to see us on a couple of occasions since, however his trip this May was his most successful with a 32-fish haul including three different species over 100lb and a PB 200lb Mekong and a PB Siamese carp of 110lb.


Finally and very quickly, as the sands of time for this month have run out on us, Lee Fisher came on his second visit to see us, and being an experienced carper of 40-odd years, he had one thing on his mind: Siamese carp! He did very well too; he caught 33 fish in nine days, which were all carp except for nine Amazon red tail catfish that he caught on his last day in the Grassy.

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)!