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Krabi newsletter November 2011

Hi once again from all at Gillhams Fishing Resorts. It’s newsletter time, our monthly report on the fishing in Thailand. The fishing in Krabi this month has once again been good – the lake has fished well this year. Our dry season is kicking in as I write this report and the warmer temperate species are starting to feed, namely the Mekong catfish. As the weather gets warmer, the Julian’s golden prize carp are starting to make an appearance. The arapaima and Amazon redtail catfish are doing their usual and feeding early morning and late evening; the Siamese carp as ever are staying constant, and these obliging fish always seem to be feeding. Last month we offered discounts for people taking the places available by cancelations due to the flooding in the north. These places have now all been sold, as people realised the flooding was never going to affect Bangkok airport or the south of Thailand. The floods in the north and Bangkok are now receding rapidly, and life for those unfortunate people in the flooded areas is returning to normal. The floods were never a problem for people flying into Bangkok and travelling south, but once again the media created panic and many people were worried about coming to fish in Thailand.

Dick Top from Holland came to Gillhams, fishing for a few days while on holiday with his non-fishing wife. Between sightseeing Dick managed to get some fishing in landing five fish of five species. The fishing was slow, but he was rewarded with a Chao Phraya catfish of 121lb, which shattered the previous world record of 90lb, also held at Gillhams Fishing Resorts. This fish has been claimed as a new world record and is awaiting verification by the IGFA.

For those of you looking for a bargain we are offering a 20% discount from our website prices to anyone booking with a deposit at the following shows… Brentwood Centre, Brentwood, 28/29 January, Zwolle Carp Show, Holland, 4/5th February, Ricoh Arena, Coventry 18/19 February, Carpin’ On, Five Lakes near Malden, Essex, March 3/4, and finally the Big One at Farnborough on 10/11 March. Pop along for a chat and to discuss your holiday plans, and also take a look around the show at all the latest tackle from Europe’s top tackle companies – it’s a great day out. We will also be selling raffle tickets for a free holiday at Gillhams with the first prize being ten days’ fishing and accommodation for two people, second prize seven days’ fishing and accommodation for one person, and also a third prize of seven days’ fishing for one person. Once again the draw for the winner will be at The Big One in Farnborough on Sunday the 11th March.

We are very excited about the latest change here at Gillhams. After months of talks with the Fisheries Board and a major Thai fish food producer, we have developed a high protein sinking fish pellet, and we now have large and small pellets for our anglers, so the groundbait method mix is no longer the bait you are supplied with. Each angler is now supplied with a bucket of large pellet, aprox 5kg, and additional pellet can be purchased at reasonable cost, as can the small pellet, which is ideal for loose feed and using with PVA bags which we also import and sell at similar prices to Europe. We are expecting catch rates to improve and our fish to gain even higher weights than the incredible weights achieved to date as the fish get onto this high protein diet and recognise the pellets as a food source. Our Siamese carp gained between 5 to 15lb last year and we are expecting a higher increase in the next year. Many of our Siamese carp and Mekong catfish worked out that if they filter fed on the old method mix crumbs as they descended through the water they could feed and avoid capture. Also the small fish and fry managed to eat 50% of the food, depriving many big fish of the food intended for them.

With the pellet being too big for the small fish, the food should now get to the big fish it’s intended for, which will get the bigger fish feeding on the same bait the angler is presenting and improve catch rates as well as giving them more food. The pellets break down in 12 hours, so uneaten baits will not be a problem. Any bait breaking down and not being eaten will then be eaten by shrimp and small fish, keeping the predator’s food supply healthy and in abundance. This change in bait will keep more fish searching the lakebed for food and improve the chances of catching, we should also see an improvement in the already excellent water quality as the method mix used to sour the water, which was OK in wet season when we could constantly flush the lake through, but in dry season the water quality was always a worry to us and the fishing slowed down. Things now can only get better for the fish and fishing. The groundbait will still be on sale to those who want to use it. We will monitor the water quality as always, and in extreme dry periods if necessary we will suspend the use of groundbait.

At last our fly and lure fishing lake has been stocked ready for the grand opening on Boxing Day. This lake will only be available to staying guests; no day tickets will be sold. The lake has been stocked with some cracking fish from around the world including Goliath tiger fish, Nile perch, boroco, Atlantic tarpon, peacock bass, Indian mahseer, golden Dorado, red throated pacu, barramundi, giant snakehead plus striped and cobra snakehead. We intend to stock some other rare and exotic species as and when they become available. At the moment you need to bring your own tackle until my return to the UK when I will be getting some suitable 6-weight fly rods and light lure rods. We will be allowing 6 to 8wt setups, maximum size 8 barbless hooks with minimum 8lb tippets, and the lines we recommend are floating and intermediate. Flies to try are tadpoles, cat’s whiskers, small fry patterns, mini poppers, or any trout flies you use at home will work. As for the lure rods, very lightweight baitcasting outfits with minimum 8lb line or 30lb braid, and rubber lures only – no hard plastic or metal lures. Also use only one single barbless hook – no multi-hook rigs, lures or bait fishing will be allowed.

Sean returned from his India trip with Joel and has been boring us all with nonstop talk of a return trip for a month next year. During their weeklong trip they landed 14 mahseer up to 36lb (caught by Sean) plus several around mid to high twenties. Joel lost what would have been the biggest of the trip when his hook pulled during the fight and was left with a scale on the hook which the guides said would have come from a fish around 80lb (obviously the one that got away tale!). Sean and Joel got the shock of their lives one morning being woken from their sleep by the voice of a Gillhams regular Brummie visitor, Mad Mitch, appearing from the middle of nowhere. Mitch had turned up two days early for his trip taking over from the lads for the next week. Mitch fished the following week also taking his biggest mahseer in the mid thirties. Weather conditions and inexperience with river fishing for mahseer let the boys down. The river was running dirty brown during their stay, and the general opinion was they were about one month too early.

I should have joined them, but a trip to hospital scuppered my plans. After having a lump removed from my stomach plus some skin cancer removed I decided to go the whole hog and had a set of new teeth fitted. Being afraid of the dentist I take the coward’s way out and get knocked out. I awoke to a great set of new railings, and, feeling good, I returned to Ben’s apartment and gave her what I thought was a big pearly grin. Ben screeched in horror then fell around in fits of laughter. I rushed to the mirror to be confronted by a set of teeth that would have done Red Rum proud in the most hideous shade of yellow. Immediately I phoned the dentist, threatening to punch his lights out. His reply was that they were only temporary and in five days he would fit the real McCoys. While waiting for the new teeth, Ben’s family had arranged a surprise birthday party for her. On arrival at her house I was busting for a pee and ran to the toilet, forgetting that I am 5ft 11 and the doors in her house are 5ft 6. This resulted in a gash to the head requiring five stitches, so with a bandaged head and huge yellow teeth I provided nonstop entertainment at the party! I am back home now feeling loads better, plus the new teeth are the right size and colour. Put that with the loss of 20kg, and I am now a rival for Brad Pitt!

This month fishing guide Dave has returned for his winter guiding stint. He was not allowed a four-month stay on his own, so Dave’s wife Julie has joined him. Now Julie, being a lady of leisure, has had time on her hands to take up fishing, and what better teacher could she have than Dave? Julie’s first day fishing she made some strange comments and requests. The first one was while Julie was playing a fish – she asked, “Dave, have you got the butt plug, as I don’t know were it is” (let’s hope she wasn’t hiding it anywhere). Later on Julie claimed she meant to ask for a butt pad. Julie’s next blunder was when she commented in the restaurant that, after having a rod digging in her side, she might invest in her own strap-on. Dave on hearing this, commented that he wouldn’t mind trying one out and seeing how it feels (strange couple!). Dave was also showing his casting skills of to customers but didn’t take the time to check what was around him, and as he brought the rod forward to give it the big one he hit an overhanging tree and smashed a brand new rod into pieces. All I can say is, what a good impression Dave and Julie have made on our very worried guests.

Head gardener Richard has now taken a shine to fishing guide Mr. Lee and showers him with gifts on a daily basis. Amongst his gifts have been flowers picked from the garden. He was seen putting them in a vase and left them outside Lee’s room with a note attached reading, “Saw these and thought of you – thanks for your kind smiles and thoughts.” Uuuummm… How worrying! The scary thing is Lee actually went on to put them in his room along with punnets of strawberries that Richard bought for him, plus an assortment of colourful bird feathers he has collected from around the resort. Now were not sure if this has all been a joke on Richard’s behalf, or whether sharing a room with gay guide Scott has given Lee a new outlook on life. Mind you when we asked Richard to dress up as Father Christmas at our party this year he answered that he will if he has to, but would prefer to be a transvestite elf!

Also this month Richard found out that you shouldn’t have six months off the drink, but if you do it’s not a good idea to mix your drinks with sambucas, whiskey and vodka Red Bull. Richard, after having his big blowout, was dropped back at the resort by taxi at 6am. He only lives 500 metres down the road, but fell asleep on the restaurant steps. The fishing guides found him sparko on the restaurant steps, lying in a rather embarrassing puddle. Before waking him they decided some make up was required, and using an indelible felt pen proceeded to give the unfortunate victim a fine beard, moustache and glasses before waking him up and asking him to walk the dogs around the lake. Scott rushed ahead and told all the anglers not to mention Richard’s new look. Poor old Rich stopped at every angler and discussed the day’s fishing prospects, not noticing the smirks or hearing the stifled laughter when he walked to the next person. After his walk Richard merrily walked home saying hello to all the local villagers. The locals around here have long since got used to the strange foreigners in their midst and bade him good morning without batting an eyelid! Scott has lost his position as the fat guide, as new guide Jason started working, weighing in at 123kg. Scott has now started power eating, claiming that he will not be beaten, as he doesn’t want to lose both the gay guide and fat guide title in the same month.

We had a visit this month by a father and son team both called Mick Murray. The guide responsible for looking after them handed in a screwed-up paper with just ‘Mick’ scrawled on it. Now these two were a pair of cracking blokes who had some interesting stories and caught some good fish. Unfortunately, with the information supplied I can only tell you that between them they caught somewhere in the region of 40-plus fish with arapaima to 340lb and Siamese carp to 80lb. The main reason I have mentioned them here is that son Mick is a very experienced machine operator specialising in lake construction back in the UK. On showing Mick my plans to extend the lake, and removing the causeway while the lake is kept full with minimum disturbance, it turned out that Mick is an expert in this type of job. So I have agreed a deal with Mick to carry out the work for us. He is available for January 2013, so the works are now on hold until he returns to complete the task for us. These works will not affect the fishing, and with 90% of the work being carried out behind the fence, our guests’ peace, quiet and fishing will not be affected. The final part of the work removing the causeway between the new part of the lake and the existing lake will only take a few days, and again fishing can continue while this short task is performed.

So it’s onto Gillham’s Gripe, which I will keep short this month. Some of our fishing guides should be mentioned here, but as they are bone idle money grabbing pricks I can’t be bothered to mention them. Anyone returning in the future to find the guide they had on their last visit is no longer here will know who they were!
Why do some knobheads send rude emails and hide behind a computer screen? We regularly get emails slating us for having fish species that do not originate from Thailand. Ok, if you feel this way, don’t come here. Then we get the ones saying they fish at home for free or can fish a local water for £10 per day. That’s fine, do it, but you won’t catch fish to 400lb with 48 species in stunning surroundings, or stay at a resort that cost around two million pounds to develop.

I had an email from a guy (I will just use his initials, BT) requesting a price for three people fishing for two days with two nights accommodation plus transport from and return to Phuket, which is 250 kilometres from us, making a 500km round trip, twice and taking five hours. I duly sent BT a price with the advertised discount, only to get a rude reply as copied here… “HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!! 2 days fishing for 36,000 baht!!!!! HA HA HAHA HA HA thanks stuart but no thanks!! that is an APPAULING price……we wouldnt pay anywhere near that at home, so we definatly will not be paying that here!!!sorry pal!!!! (600 pound for two days fishing) ha ha that made me laugh!!” (I thought I’d leave all of BT’s spelling and punctuation problems in too, just to highlight his ‘knobbishness’ – Phil the proofreader).
I thought I would reply politely as follows: “Thanks for taking the time to reply. I don’t wish to get in a discussion, and sorry you find our prices too high for your budget. Thanks for your enquiry, and sorry to disappoint you. I hope you enjoy your stay in Thailand. As you took the trouble to reply to me I will just point out the actual costs… £760 = £253 each for two nights in luxury accommodation, return trip in taxis 400 miles, and fishing for fish to over 400lb! Enjoy your fishing at home for similar sized fish!”
When I received another reply I realised that I was obviously dealing with a child, and if Master BT had mentioned that, I could have saved him staying up past his bedtime attempting to write an email, as we do not allow children here unless they are accompanied by a responsible adult! The kid’s reply was as follows: “do 1 stuart u ball bag!” Hmmm, ‘nuff said regarding this little pillock’s attitude! Let’s move on to the catch report for Gillhams Fishing Resorts…

The total catch for the month is as follows: 807 fish of 26 species, made up as follows: 39 arapaima to 350lb, seven arawana to 11lb, five alligator gar to 30lb, 188 Amazon red tail catfish to 60lb, 72 Asian red tail catfish to 32lb, 21 black pacu to 25lb, 23 big head carp to 24lb, one black shark carp of 8lb, 15 Chinese seerfish to 12lb, two Chao Phraya catfish to 121lb, three giant featherback to 10lb, one giant stingray of 110lb, two giant snakehead to 6lb, one giant gourami of 8lb, one white gourami of 6lb, three Hoven’s carp to 6lb, 15 Julian’s golden prize carp to 32lb, 92 Mekong catfish to 220lb, seven mrigal to 12lb, five rohu carp to 15lb, two ripsaw catfish to 12lb, 45 spotted featherback to 11lb, 348 Siamese carp to 85lb, five striped snakehead to 3lb, 16 shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 28lb, eight shovel nosed tiger catfish to 12lb, one striped catfish of 16lb, five tambaqui to 27lb, three wallago attu to 22lb, five wallago leeri to 24lb and two zungaro of 9lb.

Our fishing guides work hard for the anglers and their tips, but trying to extract customers catch reports from them and bait, food and drink bills is proving impossible. We supply them a percentage of the fishing money takings, plus salary, accommodation, food and laundry, and in return get back sod all in feedback – it seems that the resort and this newsletter mean nothing to them. Grab your wages and run is the policy, so if you return next year and the guide you had last year is missing, you will understand the reason why. I had such a poor feedback this month that many of the anglers are missing, as were their food, drink and bait bills! It is so frustrating creating one of the best fisheries in the world only to be let down by the money-grabbing guides who you’d think would be professional enough and proud enough to work here and supply us with this information! If you are missing from this catch report, please accept my apologies, and understand that the guide you had was just a lazy prat!

Ivo Druyts from Belgium joined us for a ten-day stay accompanied by his non-fishing wife. On his first day he showed us his secret weapon; a fish finder, which you cast into the lake attached to a rod. You can see the depth and even fish on the handheld monitor. Ivo had a very slow first two days, only catching a couple of fish, but on his third day he made a move to the other side of the lake. The move certainly paid off as on his first day in the new swim he started to catch some good fish. As the days passed his catch rate increased, and Ivo caught every fish he wanted plus more. In total Ivo caught 45 fish of ten species with arapaima to 140lb, Mekong catfish to 160lb and Siamese carp to 44lb plus other species such as black shark carp, zungaro and tambaqui. At the end of his trip Ivo presented fishing guide Scott with his fish finder with the message that on his return trip maybe Scott will be able to find fish from the off!

Gerhard Ziehenberger from Austria arrived for eight nights with just four days fishing, his plan was to check out the fishing at Gillhams in view of a later trip with his fishing mates while spending a holiday with his wife sightseeing. As is so often the case here the fishing takes hold, and some trips are cancelled to get more fishing in. His wife didn’t mind, as she found the tranquillity of Gillhams and just relaxing round the pool was a fair compensation to heading out on trips. Gerhard is sponsored at home by Nutrabaits and he is a very accomplished carp angler. His experience with fishing for big carp was put to good use here, as the fishing here is similar to European carp fishing on a stepped-up scale. By the end of his trip he had an impressive haul of fish with eight Siamese carp to 75lb, plus four Mekong catfish to 120lb. In all Gerhard landed 37 fish of 11 species and the return trip is in the making.

John Jones returned this month after visiting two years ago for Christmas with wife Becky. Becky was unable to join him on this trip, as she had to stay home with their two-month old baby, so John returned with his mates for a boys’ fishing holiday. While here they went on some day trips plus fishing after trips. Joining John were his cousin Russell and mates Giles Wallis, John Garret, Jamie and Danny Robinson. While here they found out that John Garret was petrified of snakes, so one evening they all left the restaurant just before John and set up one of their belts in a bush with line tied to it. Then, hiding behind a tree as poor John came walking up the path, they pulled the line, making the belt come across the path looking like a snake. This trick scared the life out of John, thinking he was about to be attacked in by a rare and poisonous buckle-headed belt snake. During the trip all the lads caught with some of the biggest fish being arapaima, Mekong catfish and Siamese carp. In all 69 fish were caught with nine different species and eight fish over the magic 100lb.

Also this month we had a group of four German anglers, Reiner, Peter, Michael and Gird, who joined us for a week’s fishing. During their trip they must have tried out all 22 swims on the lake, and even though they lost a number of fish between them they all landed big fish. During the week even Scott was kept entertained as the guys would strip off after taking photos of fish, causing Scott to hang around a lot more and not pay as much attention to other anglers. By the end of their stay they landed 61 fish of 12 species with Siamese carp to 80lb and Mekong catfish to 170lb. The big arapaima eluded them, but they did land arapaima to 65lb. All arapaima stocked here are over 100lb; the smaller fish are survivors of successful spawning, and we are seeing quite a few home-grown arapaima this year, which can only be good for the future.

Dave and Mark came for a week’s fishing and the trip was going wrong before they even landed, due to Mark having a case of the Delhi belly on the plane. He was unable to get out of his seat quick enough because of a woman asleep next to him. By the time he got into the aisle it was to late for poor old Mark, and he crapped himself! Being so embarrassed, he spent the rest of the flight hiding in the toilets until he had to come out and face everybody who had seen his unfortunate accident! While here they decided to rent some bikes from the town, and this time it was Dave’s turn to have an accident. As they were riding home one day, Dave decided to ride through a puddle, thinking nothing of it, only to find that it was actually a deep pothole. As he rode through he lost control and crashed the bike. Luckily he was ok, and it was just the bike that got bashed up. He also managed to come off a second time later that week and still come away unscathed. While here they did manage some fishing, and it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Throughout the stay Dave and Mark landed 17 fish of eight species between them, the biggest being a Mekong catfish of 150lb.

We had a return of the uncouth Les Bamford and his friend who can’t be named, as he wasn’t in Thailand! To be fair to Les he wasn’t too bad this time, maybe due to his last visit when he was named and shamed in Gillham’s Gripe and put on his final warning. Les only had a couple of incidents, and behaved better than on any of his previous trips. The last night was probably the only night Les got really drunk and went back to his old ways when he called one of our regular guest’s wife a pikey, and nearly got a slap from her and her husband. This particular night the sambucas came out in full force and Les had to be asked by Becky to go back to his room and sleep it off. While on his way back to the bungalow Les thought he had fallen into some rods and broken one. He phoned Sean, informing him that it was actually his mate who broke the rod and not him (nice grass). This was funny because there wasn’t a broken rod – he did fall into some rods, but their wasn’t any damage. We had a broken rod in the stores so thought we could wind Les up that he’d broken it. How he knew his mate had broken the rod still remains a mystery…
The next morning Les appeared with a split eye and other cuts and bruises, and then his unnamed mate appeared with a cut nose and scuffed knuckles, leading us into thoughts that maybe No Name had done to Les what many of the past guests had wanted to do, and given him a dig. With all said and done though it was another funny trip with Bamford and Co. He tried his hardest to behave himself, and also succeeded to the best of his capability, so well done, Les. By the end of the trip they had somehow managed to catch 19 fish of seven species, with No Name landing three of his target species, which were redtail catfish and arapaima to 160lb, plus a Mekong catfish of 180lb on his last evening. Even though No Name had a good trip he vowed he would return to Gillhams again, but next time on his own. It’s funny because in all the trips Les has made to Gillhams he has never had the same person return with him twice, apart from Mad Dave.

Paul Phillips made his annual trip to Gillhams with his wife Michelle for a week’s fishing trip that ended up being ten days. While here Paul managed many different species while targeting the Siamese carp, of which he landed some good ones to 80lb. Amongst the other species, he caught some rare fish such as wallago leeri, Chinese seerfish, mrigal and bighead carp to 20lb. While Paul was fishing, Michelle relaxed around the swimming pool with the rest of the girls laughing at all the anglers making a song and dance about catching slimy old fish, giving them a kiss and releasing them back into the lake. When the trip was finally over and Paul couldn’t manage to pull any more days fishing he had caught a total of 33 fish of ten species, including several Mekong catfish over 100lb.

Phil Donaghy and his wife Ruth from Scotland made his second trip after visiting last year. This time round, Phil wanted to beat his previous best arapaima of 160lb. The first couple of days were quiet, but Phil soon made up for it, as all he was catching for the next couple of days were arapaima, including the one he came for of 200lb. During his stay Phil landed 22 fish of seven different species including Siamese carp to 55lb, Amazon redtail catfish to 45lb and Mekong catfish to 80lb.

Next up we had a really nice group of Romanian anglers, and even though they weren’t all out for the 7am kick-off due to heavy nights on the town and returning early hours of the morning, they all landed big fish and went away happy anglers and talking about booking the whole resort next year so they can fish later into the evening before going out drinking and not having to lose fishing time by sleeping in every morning. While here all four enjoyed relaxing around the lake drinking all our supplies of Tiger beer and Bacardi Breezers. Each day after they had their full English breakfast they washed it down with bottles of gin. All this isn’t normally the best recipe for catching fish, but it seemed to work for them, and at the end of the day it would be off down the town to carry on drinking the night away. During their one-week trip the four guys landed a total of 34 fish of 11 species including arapaima to 230lb, Siamese carp to 75lb and Mekong catfish to 125lb.

That’s about it for another month, but don’t forget to visit us at the shows. If you are planning a trip in 2013, contact me on 0066861644554 or email For those of you reading this newsletter in a magazine, please check out our website at
The December newsletter will be out after Christmas, so we would like to thank everyone for following this fishing in Thailand monthly report on the fishing in Krabi. All of us here at Gillhams would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Hopefully we will see you all next year here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts, but wherever you fish in the New Year, may you all catch the fish of your dreams.