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Fishing In Thailand Newsletter May 2017

May 2017 Newsletter

Hello and welcome to another month of news, updates and catches from Gillhams Fishing Resorts. We would like to thank all our followers for their support over the years, and also everybody who visited Gillhams this month.

The years are flying past at an alarming rate; each year seems to get faster and faster, and it’s not until kids are involved that you realise just how fast the years are passing by. This month on the 12th it was little Jack’s eighth birthday – scary I know! How many customers have been coming here for as long that they can remember when Stuart and Benz were waiting for the little fella to make an entry? Every year Jack has a birthday party, and it’s certainly not something that I’m looking forward to myself as a parent. An afternoon of loud, sugar-hyped kids running riot around your garden ripping heads of flowers and literally giving zero $%@*’s. But for Jack, he gets to have a day playing with all his friends and another year older… It’s not going to be long before customers have Jack as their fishing guide.

While on the subject of kids growing up fast one of Benz’s other kids has recently turned 21 years old and has decided to do his monk duty. Before he starts university he has decided to spend 30 days in a local temple learning what it is to be a monk. Thai people believe that a man must do this to learn how to be a monk in order to prepare him for life, to learn Buddhism is a very sacred part of life for Thai men. Due to this being such an important part of a young man’s life, the buildup to it is also a huge thing for the boy’s mother.

Stuart and Jack and I flew down for the main part of the celebration, the last two days. It was crazy and nothing like I expected… There were hundreds of people there in the daytime and even more in the evening. There was a big stage set up out the back of the house with bands and dancers; it was like a festival. The whole village turned out the night before the main ceremony at the temple. The party went on till about two in the morning and started again at 5am with loud Thai music banging before the sun even made an appearance; it was crazy.

Once we had been bounced out of bed from the bass that was pumping out of huge speakers outside the bedroom window, it was time for some food and then a carnival type procession to the temple. The temple was about two miles down the road, but it took over an hour to walk there. Benz’s son and his friend, who was joining him, were riding horses with loads of family and friends following and also a crazy live music truck loaded with drummers, bass players, singers and more. This really was the most bizarre but interesting thing I had ever witnessed. I’ve been living here now for 11 years and been coming here on holiday for nearly 30 and have never seen anything like it.

When we finally arrived at the temple, we then had to do three laps around the outside with the boys throwing coins wrapped in fabrics to the crowds that were supposedly for good luck. I caught a couple and then went straight outside and bought a dozen lottery tickets but never won, so they couldn’t have been that lucky. Once everything was done, they excited the temple in their orange robes ready for their month of monk duty. Like I said, it was an amazing thing to witness and something that other long-term expats have probably never seen, I really felt honored to have been invited to such an important event.

This month we’ve also been doing more work around the resort. The bathrooms have been getting an upgrade; in fact they’ve had a total rebuild. The rear bedrooms have also been done out with new paintwork and all new furniture from beds, TV stands, bedside tables and built-in wardrobes. Not all of the bungalows are finished, but it will only be a few more months. Were also making the bungalows from the pool onwards to suit with the back bedroom having large sofas, coffee table and flat screen TVs, giving couples more space and somewhere to relax or even have a quiet night in with a bottle of wine and a movie. On top of the upgrades to the rooms we have also redone the path, bungalow steps and the swims on the bungalow side with a stone finish rather than a cement finish.

Over the past week or two, many of you that follow us on Facebook have seen many live feeds with 100lb carp. We have many different Siamese carp over 100lb with many more fast approaching. Most of our carp over 100lb have been grown to this size from 30, 40 and 50lb carp. Gillhams is the best place to visit for a chance to catch 100lb-plus Siamese carp. Our growth rate clearly shows our dedication to taking care of our water quality and ecosystem. We are constantly monitoring our water here, as this is key to healthy, hard-fighting and growing fish. We check oxygen levels twice a day every day, and we check water quality once every week and also take scrapes from fish and do gill biopsies. We check for parasites on the fish and in the water, and we also check bacteria in the water.

There’s lots of work behind the scenes here at Gillhams that many people don’t even realise. For sure no other lakes do what we do, and that’s why they don’t have the growth rates we have. We even control what goes in the lake regarding food. If there’s nothing good for the fish then we don’t want it in the lake. Many baits will damage the water and the ecosystem in the lake, so we won’t have it put in. We make all our own boilies here with the best human grade ingredients for maximum growth for strong healthy fish rather than factory made baits that are made for maximum profits. Sure, there are more food sources we could be using as bait, but why would you want crap in your lake and your fish? We don’t want the water soured or growth rates affected by using food that’s not good for fish growth or water quality.

Gillhams Fishing Resorts is a big fish water; we are not in any way a runs water, so if it’s maximum numbers of fish you want, then there are plenty of other fisheries in Thailand that would suit you better – Gillhams isn’t for you. If you’re an angler who wants the chance to catch that fish of a lifetime and doesn’t mind putting work in and actually fishing, then this is the place for you. Please don’t come here and moan you haven’t caught anything in the first hour – come here ready to work hard, listen to the guides, and you could be leaving with the biggest fish you’ve ever caught or even picking up some new ideas that you can put in to your fishing at home. Not wanting to put anybody down, but next time you see Gillhams Fishing Resorts receiving bad publicity, do two things: First look at who or where this is coming from. If it’s another fishery, odds on it’s because of jealousy or the fact that they’ve been made to look stupid. Secondly, if it’s another angler, please take a look at this so-called angler, find out what they’ve done before, where they’ve fished and what they’ve caught, as you will usually find they’re inexperienced, incompetent anglers that have only ever fished easy runs waters and care more about a photo for bragging rights than the fish welfare, or maybe they’re just doing it for the other fishery owners – the fishery’s brown-noser. In the end just enjoy your fishing, as it’s the love of the sport that’s bought us all together. We’ve met many good people through fishing here and around the world that are now good lifelong friends. That’s what fishing is all about – cut the shit and enjoy your fishing.

Rainy season has been creeping in this month with some very hard downpours and some amazing storms. Richard Lloyd got a couple of cracking shots of lightning from stills he had taken out of video footage once he slowed the frames right down. We haven’t been having any days that have consistently rained from start to finish, but there has been some very heavy rain at times. The rain here is nice, as it’s not cold rain like back in Europe, and as long as it’s not all day, it’s very refreshing and clears the air and cools the temperature down. This time of year it’s always much needed, not just for the lake but also the gardens, and after every rainy season, the gardens explode with growth and colours. The lake also benefits from it with fresh water coming in. Some species also prefer the cooler water temps, so we see a few elusive species being caught. No need to worry, as most species feed all year round, and the only two species not to like the cooler water months are the Julian’s carp and the Mekong catfish – both these species prefer the warmer waters.

So let’s get on with this month’s fishing and find out what’s been getting caught and what species have been landed. The anglers who visited us for the exotic fishing Thailand has to offer had some good fishing in Krabi this month with a total of 735 fish caught of 22 species, made up as follows: 28 arapaima to 400lb, three arawana to 10lb, two Amazon stingray to 15lb, 184 Amazon redtail catfish to 75lb, 103 Asian redtail catfish to 48lb, one bighead carp of 35lb, one black shark carp of 12lb, 49 black pacu to 67lb, one firewood catfish of 25lb, six giant gourami to 13lb, two giant featherback to 10lb, 23 Julian’s golden carp to 50lb, 16 Mekong catfish to 210lb, seven Nile perch to 10lb, six ripsaw catfish to 36lb, three red bellied pacu to 35lb, one striped snakehead of 3lb, two spotted sorubim to 45lb, 264 Siamese carp to 178lb, two tilapia to 4lb, one tarpon of 30lb.

First up this month was father and son John and Jay Poole from England on their first trip to Gillhams. 11-year-old Jay was certainly in for a shock with an impressive personal best carp at the end of their stay. Jon and Jay took it in turns on the fish, but Jon would normally be out before Jay and fish till the end each day, while Jay would head back to the room. When they were both out on the bank they would take it in turns with the fish, and both John and Jay caught some good fish. It wasn’t fishing all the time, as Jon was worried his son might get bored, so they went into town on a few occasions to break the fishing up. Once the trip was over, they had caught a total of 21 fish of seven species including two arapaima of 140 and 400lb, Mekong catfish to 150lb and Julian’s golden carp to 25lb, and they both landed Siamese carp over a ton with Jay’s at 105lb and Jon’s at 125lb. When Jon returned to the UK, he immediately booked and paid for a return visit in December this year.

Richard Lloyd made a return trip this month and caught some great fish of various species in between filming the perfect storm on his GoPro. Richard fished every day but didn’t let it get to him if he had a quiet day; after all, it’s a holiday as well. Richard had three fish over a ton while here with two arapaima estimated at 100lb and 150lb and Siamese carp to 110lb. The total number of fish for Richard’s trip was 22 fish of seven species. Other fish included Julian’s golden carp, Amazon and Asian redtail catfish, sorubim catfish and arawana. Richard has also returned home and is currently looking at ways to convince his other half of another return trip.

Tom Gaby visited Gillhams Fishing Resorts for the first time this month accompanied by his other half, Laura. Even though Tom was here to fish, he mixed up his fishing with a few days off so he could see some of the sights, which included Island hopping trips, Ao-Nang shopping, Krabi night market and also elephant trekking. Tom managed to land some nice fish while on the bank with pacu to 30lb, Mekong catfish to 160lb and Siamese carp to 135lb.

Mike Globe from England made his return trip to Gillhams and noticed massive changes from his previous trip out here seven years ago. Mike noticed the obvious as soon as he arrived with how much the gardens have grown up and the lake extension, but soon the main thing Mike was noticing was the growth rates of the fish. Seven years is a long time, and Mike remembers catching a carp on his first trip at 75lb, which was one of the biggest in the lake. After catching one of 75lb, Mike was telling people how the whole lake would stop and everybody was coming round including us, whereas now this was around the smallest carp he caught on the trip. Mike landed twelve fish of five species and five fish over a ton with three Siamese carp at 118lb, 125lb, 140lb, Mekong catfish at 160lb and arapaima scraping 100lb – not bad for six days’ fishing. Mike finished the trip and said he’d be back soon and definitely won’t be waiting seven years for a return visit.

Northern angler Chris Quinn aka Victor Meldrew and his wife Julie made another visit to Gillhams. Chris is a lovely guy with a great sense of humour, but like his TV double Victor Meldrew, he can’t help but moan. If he caught three 100lb fish in a day he could find a downside to it, like it’s not too bad, but the guy opposite had four. Chris’s wife Julie is also a lovely lady who is happy just relaxing around the resort and spending time with her husband. There was always lots of banter and Mickey taking when you passed the swim. Chris also went on to catch some great fish. Chris had a main target of doing better than his previous trip – after all, he only caught 51 fish last time – hahahaha. The target was achieved with Chris landing 52 fish this year, and the second target was not having any blank days, as last year he had four blanks out of 14 days. This was also achieved, and Chris caught every day. Chris also wanted to catch a Siamese carp over 100lb, which he did with two over a ton at 105lb and 120lb weighed. So everything worked out well for Chris, and all boxes were ticked, but yes, you guessed it – there were still some small moans. On one of the days he only caught one fish, but it was a beautiful black shark carp – what a great fish to save a blank. The weather wasn’t always to Chris’s liking, as the rains are now starting. The end of the trip Chris had caught 52 fish of ten species including gourami, giant featherbacks, Amazon stingray and Julian’s carp to name a few and three fish over a ton. We look forward to seeing you both again next year – as always we all had a good laugh with Chris and look forward to his return.

Wayne Scotney made a return visit after first visiting in March this year. After six weeks away, it proved too much, so Wayne booked his second trip. While here, Wayne managed to land some nice fish, but didn’t photo everything, as he’s more interested in the safe return of the fish; he just enjoys catching them. Wayne also thought a new tattoo would be a good idea, and after having an octopus tattooed on his arm, he thought he would get something slightly bigger. Since he was in Thailand, he thought he would get something that says “Thailand”, so opted for a Thai kickboxer down the right side of his ribs.

Once the work got started, it was soon clear that this was to be his most painful tattoo. Since Wayne hadn’t eaten all day, he was feeling very bad and nearly passed out. He decided to take a break and get some food before having another four hours of work done. The following day the tattoo still needed finishing with two or three hours of work left. Feeling very sore, Wayne had to get the work done, as he was flying the following day, so off he went, wishing he had never started the tattoo. When Wayne returned home, his wife was in for a shock. He obviously didn’t check his bags too well when he was leaving Thailand, and when unpacking, inside his bag was a huge frog that had survived the journey home. Wayne took the frog to a reptile shop and found out its called a chubby painted bullfrog, and once fully grown it will eat mice. Wayne decided to keep the frog and ended up spending £150 on a terrarium for his new pet and had to explain to his wife, who has a fear of frogs, that he would be joining them and living in their front room.

Bernie Campbell also made his return trip this year with his wife Karen and sons, Gary and Robbie. Bernie and oldest son Gary fished every day while Robbie had a little go here and there. The rest of the time he’s on his iPhone watching things on the Internet and occasionally going missing… I wonder what he’s watching! Bernie is probably one of the most laid-back anglers we have had here, rolling out of bed at the crack of 11 then fishing for an hour or two before heading back for a much-deserved power nap. Gary is the total opposite and is out fishing from start till finish, watching the water, baiting and recasting. The catch reports show that hard work and having some fishing knowledge pay off, as Gary caught a total of 51 fish of seven species. In amongst Gary’s haul he landed seven Siamese carp over 100lb with the biggest at 178lb plus five other fish over a ton including Mekong catfish to 180lb. Bernie still managed some good fish with arapaima to 140lb, Siamese carp with two over a ton at 120lb and 140lb and Amazon and Asian redtail catfish to 50lb. Robbie had a few hours’ fishing with odd hours here and there and caught Amazon redtail catfish to 55lb, Siamese carp to 90lb and an arapaima of 100lb. Before leaving, Bernie and Gary booked another trip out for November this year instead of their yearly trip to Spain for the catfish.

Andy Morgan and Dave Chatterton came out from the UK for a week’s fishing in the hope of landing some monster fish with the main target being Siamese carp. The first couple of days were a bit of a learning curve, but they still managed a few fish, and after having a chat with Stuart in the restaurant one evening, things started to take a turn. The next morning at around 9am, Andy’s bite alarm suddenly screamed off, and after 30-minute battle an absolute monster of a carp broke the surface a metre in front of the swim, and the guide slid the net underneath and he was landed. Seeing the fish was a big carp, the guide called for some help and a set of scales. Many of you might have seen the weighing of this fish, as we had it on a live feed, and it has gone on to having nearly 600 shares and close to 100,000 views. It was weighed in at 172lb, making this possibly one of the largest carp ever caught on rod and line and weighed live for thousands of people to see. Andy was speechless, as he was only talking with Stuart the night before about this dream capture of a carp over 100lb, never thinking that the next morning he would catch this beast. Andy went on to catch many more fish after the carp. He caught Mekong catfish to 120lb and arapaima to 140lb plus many other species.

Dave also had some great fish during his stay with his biggest being an arapaima estimated at 280lb. On the last day of fishing, Dave really had a red-letter day with the carp, but it wasn’t looking likely for one over a ton. Just after 7pm with less than an hour to go, Dave’s rod started bouncing on the pod with the bite alarm screaming. As he struck into the fish, it was soon clear he had another big fish on. Twenty minutes later Dave also had a big Siamese carp in the net. The scales were called upon again, and with the light fading quickly, we managed to get another live feed, and Dave was a very happy angler when his dream capture hit 117lb.

Last of all we had Matt Ellis and his wife Moira make another return trip accompanied by Wes and Michelle. The girls this time were as keen as the guys with three days’ fishing booked while Matt and Wes were fishing ten days. The first full day’s fishing Wes got off to a great start when he landed his first Siamese of the trip weighing in at 130lb, all before breakfast. Matt was also in for a good day with a couple of carp close to the ton and a Mekong catfish at 150lb.

The following day it was time for the girls to start, but they decided to fish on the other side of the lake opposite their husbands, and the competition was underway. The girls were also off to a good start with Moira landing a beautiful Siamese carp at 110lb. Later on that day both girls had landed nice fish with Asian and Amazon redtail catfish and a couple of other smaller Siamese carp (smaller being around the 50lb mark). The girls had a productive three days’ fishing and really enjoyed themselves doubled up in one swim having a few ciders while catching some great fish. The guys carried on fishing through their ten days, leaving the girls relaxing around the pool and spending time in the spa.

Matt and Wes went on to catch some great fish – in total they caught 68 fish of nine species between them including eight Siamese carp over 100lb with the biggest at 172lb, arapaima, Mekong catfish, Amazon and Asian redtails, Nile perch, ripsaw catfish, giant featherbacks and barramundi.

Once their ten days were up, they then had two day tickets at EFT fishery a couple of hours away. The four of them went on the first day, but the girls decided to stay here on the second day and fish together, as they had already caught some nice fish and now had the bug. This day was even more eventful than the previous days. They went on to get a few double hook-ups, landing Siamese carp, Mekong catfish and Amazon redtails. That evening the guys returned from their second day ticket and were looking forward to a relaxing day with the girls, the only problem being the girls had already booked for a fifth day, leaving the guys in a role reversal, as both Matt and Wes spent the day around the pool and relaxing in the spa. The trip came to an end with the girls landing a total of 19 fish of six species with Mekong and Siamese carp over a ton, Amazon and Asian redtails to 55lb, Julian’s carp to 50lb and Nile perch.

Unfortunately that’s all we’ve got time for this month. We’ll see you again next month with more captures and stories of what’s going on over here in paradise. For those of you planning a return or first trip, please send us your enquiry via our enquiries page or email us at

Tight lines from all of us at Gillhams Fishing Resorts. We hope your next fish is the one of your dreams, which it probably will be if you come to Gillhams!