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Krabi newsletter October 2011

Hello to everyone following our fishing in Thailand newsletter. Another month has passed by before we know it and Christmas draws closer. Talking of Christmas, due to people unnecessarily worrying about the floods 800 kilometers away from us we have had numerous cancellations, which has left us with spaces for December and Christmas. As these places already had deposits paid we are offering 20% discount from the website prices, so if you fancy a last-minute break we suggest you contact us ASAP.

While on the subject of the terrible floods, we would like to remind everyone that Krabi and the south of Thailand had no flooding; it was Bangkok and the north that suffered. While the north flooded, Krabi was into the dry season. The Thai government did a fantastic job to stop Savarnabhumi Airport from flooding so there has not been any disruption to flights. The floods were also held at bay allowing the tourist areas of Bangkok to remain open and flood free. The south and Bangkok central haven’t had, and will not have, any problems – once again people panicked over nothing. Please though spare a thought for all the families who have suffered in the worst ever flooding of northern Thailand – a third of the country north of Bangkok is underwater. Many families have lost everything, so if you can spare just a small amount of money to the flood relief charities please do so and try and ease these poor people’s tragic loss.

Remaining on the subject of floods with a third of Thailand underwater and all the distribution centres being on the outskirts of Bangkok plus the farms that produce livestock and agricultural produce in the north, food and essential products like beer are running out, and prices spiraling as the shortages start to bite home. Luckily we bought four months’ worth of stocks in before the shortage so we are OK here apart from my wallet, which funded the mass purchase! The only problem we had was Scott crying one day when we ran out of burger buns. We had bought enough, but Scott has been on the munch again and piled on another 10kg.

Once again my time has been split between Bangkok and Krabi putting things right between my girlfriend Benz and me. In the last three months I have accumulated enough air miles to fly to the moon, which is actually how I feel – it’s like flying to the moon getting our problems resolved. Benz will be coming back and we are both attending the fishing shows in the UK. Why not come along and see us? 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, 4/5th February Zwolle Carp Show, Holland, Ricoh Arena, Coventry 18/19 February, March 3/4 Carpin’ On, Five Lakes near Malden, Essex, 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 third prize, 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.

As I am writing this report about the fishing in Krabi we are at last stocking the new fly and lure fishing lake, and we are now on target to have this multi exotic species lake open by Christmas. We do not intend to stock monster fish, just many rare exotic species in the 1lb to 20lb range. These size fish will make it ideal for 6wt to 8wt fly outfits and light lure tackle. Next month I will be talking about the various species rules and tackle in full. The work on the extension of the new lake is on hold due to the waterlogged ground. The ground is now so wet that it will take at least six months of dry conditions before we can resume work again.

A few funny quotes this month are as follows; the first victim to speak without thinking was Bernie, who asked, “Do the floater baits float?” Then we had Phil who asked, “What sort of food is the Thai buffet?” Dave Arber took a big draw on his 20th cigarette of the evening and told me I should not smoke my one cigar as smoking is bad for you, which reminded me of John Duffy, while eating a ½ kg of ice cream with chocolate pudding, saying that I should eat more carefully! Scott Russell admitted going to a Robbie Williams concert not once but twice! Sad! John the crane driver who forgot his flannel and used wife Leslie’s thong, then commented that it is also good for flossing your teeth. Scott the gay guide commented that he is comfortable with his sexuality but not his weight. Scott was also happy this month after claiming he caught a giant stingray. The only problem was that it was on another angler’s rod, as they didn’t have the strength to carry on with the fight. It’s still a step up from most of his other catches though, which he caught from the Kids’ Bay. Lee, our fishing guide with a nose bigger than our fish, once again demonstrated his arapaima handling skills. He ignored our training and stood in the wrong place while an arapaima came to the net. These fish are dangerous if you don’t follow the rules, and Lee found out the hard way. The fish head-butted him in the privates and poor old Mr. Ree spent the next hour nursing his pride – nothing new I know, because he nurses it every night anyway!

Gillhams’ Gripe gets harder to write without going over the same ground, but here goes with a few things that once again pissed me off this month. No, Les Bamford hasn’t returned, although we do have the unfortunate pleasure of his company next month when he has promised to behave! Actually when I wrote about Les last month, he phoned me and asked, “Was I that bad?” No Les, you were worse! He has threatened to reply to my assassination of his character, and if he does I will print it next month, as for sure his excuses will make good reading.

Manners… Obviously some people’s parents never taught them to say please and thank you. Comments in the restaurant like, “Get me a beer,” or thinking the way to ask for a menu is to just walk in and say, “Menu.” Then there’s moaning at our Thai staff for not understanding English, well that’s simple to solve – order in Thai. Trying to place an order while we are writing down someone else’s, or waiting till after 9.30 when we sit down for our meal and then ordering something else. Our restaurant closes for food orders at 9.30pm, but still we get the people who want to drink until midnight and then wonder why we can’t cook something.

On the fishing side we are still getting people tightening drag settings after our guides have carefully set the drag to the correct tension, then saying that the fish broke the line. Fish do not break line – bad anglers do! Catching two fish over 100lb in a day and moaning the fishing is slow, and then there are the others who catch lots of fish of different species complaining that they didn’t catch an arapaima. The fish are there but if they are not feeding then there is nothing we can do – it’s called fishing, not catching! These same people see another angler catch a big fish and think all the fish are trained to stay in one spot.

My big pet hate is the people who shout across the lake to their friends, not considering that other people like peace and quiet. As for me, Benz reckons she left because I am a grumpy old bastard, so folks, I am trying to change my attitude and ways – not easy at 57! So if you visit and see me reverting back to my old ways please tell me (I won’t bite, I promise). But I am thinking if I change this gripe section will no longer exist, and I know you all like it from the feedback about it, so come on – if I am going to change then the antics mentioned above should also change! Joking aside, I always say 95% of our guests are great people who never do anything wrong, 3% are OK but would never be on my friends list, but we still get 2% who are just downright ignorant and rude – maybe they should also listen to Benz!

So enough of all that or you’ll think I’ve gone soft. Let’s get onto the fishing in Krabi… The total catch for the month is as follows: 1,099 fish of 32 species, made up as follows: arapaima 56 to 340lb, five arawana to 8lb, 13 alligator gar to 40lb, 294 Amazon red tail catfish to 65lb, 49 Asian red tail catfish to 30lb, 24 black pacu to 25lb, 26 big head carp to 18lb, one black shark carp of 9lb, 12 Chinese seerfish to 15lb, one Chao Phraya catfish of 85lb, seven giant featherback to 9lb, four giant stingray to 120lb, four giant snakehead to 7lb, three Hoven’s carp to 5lb, 20 Julian’s golden prize carp to 30lb, 84 Mekong catfish to 180lb, six mrigal to 9lb, three Nile perch to 10lb, one piraaiba of 12lb, seven rohu carp to 12lb, five ripsaw catfish to 14lb, 47 spotted featherback to 10lb, 348 Siamese carp to 85lb, seven striped snakehead to 3lb, 28 shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 30lb, nine shovel nosed tiger catfish to 15lb, one spotted stingray of 12lb, three striped catfish to 15lb, 15 tambaqui to 25lb, three wallago attu to 18lb, 12 wallago leeri to 35lb and one zungaro of 7lb.

As I have been away from the resort more than I’ve been here, Sean has written the anglers’ catch report so I hand this part to him.

Once again we had the pleasure of Ivan and Terri visiting us. This was their fourth visit in two years, also on this trip as a treat was their son Dave who couldn’t wait for the holiday to arrive; he even made himself sick with worrying about the size of the fish and being so excited! (Which to us means more than anything, as we have created the dream fishery). On arrival Terri and Ivan decided they would relax for the first two days while getting over the flight, but Dave was out fishing within an hour of arrival and fished every day for two weeks. Dave was well prepared for the trip having sent some flavour over for us to make him 100kg of his own boilies. He also had pop-ups and around 200 pre-made PVA nets, which he paid his brother £10 to make before leaving England. After giving Dave a two-day head start it was time for Ivan and Terri to start fishing and they were quick to start catching up with Dave. When you first meet Ivan the first thing that catches your eye is Ivan’s love for body art – he is literally head to foot with tattoos and has some of the most outrageous and cleverly designed artwork you will ever see. Ivan and Terri had fallen in love with Gillhams and have now had tattoos done to show their love of the place. Terri has had an Amazon redtail catfish with Gillhams fishing resorts written around it while Ivan’s had his whole chest adorned with Amazon red tail catfish, arawana and peacock bass copied from a picture that was painted for us by the legendry Chris Turnbull. He has even had “Gillhams Fishing Resorts” written into it.

Dave fished his heart out no matter what the weather and they did get some torrential rain. By the end of the trip, Dave had caught everything on his wish list and more, landing 83 fish of eleven species including arapaima to 160lb, Siamese carp 85lb, Amazon redtail catfish to 65lb and Mekong catfish to 130lb. Terri caught 30 fish of eight species with Siamese carp to 60lb, Mekong catfish 120lb, arapaima and also another species on her hit list, an alligator gar. The end result for Ivan was also good – he landed 60 fish of ten species with his biggest being an arapaima of 280lb and an 80lb Siamese carp. He also managed a couple of rare fish with a Chinese seerfish and a wallago attu.

Next up this month we had John and Leslie Shury who booked in a last minute trip through Angling Direct Holidays. Both John and Leslie are big fish anglers and have fished some of the top destinations around the world, both fresh and saltwater, saying this was like blue water fishing for fresh water fish. John and Leslie fished hard every day, or rather made Scott work hard every day, and due to this they had one of their most memorable fishing trips, which left them itching to return. Between them they landed 77 fish of 15 species with Siamese carp to 50lb, arapaima 180lb, giant freshwater stingray to 110lb and some of our rare fish such as Chinese seerfish, ripsaw catfish and a wallago leeri.

This month we also had regular visitor Kevin Hudson who booked the whole resort for one week of fishing and mayhem, which at times came close to a Bamford tour with all kinds of drunken madness. In all there were 11 in the group, although there was meant to be 13, with two having to cancel due to health problems for which our thoughts are with them and their loved ones.

The week started pretty normally for most with plans of landing some big fish and relaxing, but like they say, even the best made plans fail, and for one man in particular, Bernie Page, this was to be on the first night. After a few hours fishing it was off to the restaurant for dinner and a few drinks while talking about the next day’s fishing, but unfortunately for some, the restaurant also has a bar. As the night went into the early hours of the morning and most had gone to bed, the elite were still on a mission with Bernie leading the way. That was until Bernie started throwing bar stools around and the others had to control him and decided it was time to let Rebecca close the bar at 4.30am and head off to her bed for a couple of hours’ sleep. As the lads headed off back to their rooms Bernie had gone off ahead, staggering up the path while the others lagged behind. As they got to the bungalows, Bernie was nowhere to be seen – all they could hear was groaning and a faint light coming from the bushes. On inspection they found Bernie lying face down in the bushes with his head torch twisted round the side of his head and a bleeding nose. After getting the wounded drunk to his feet and back to his room, the others decided to take their party poolside and were still out drinking when the guides came out at 6am to set up for the day’s fishing. After the first night it was clear what the week ahead had in store, and the madness carried on throughout. Somehow between the drinking and partying some fishing actually got done and all eleven lads caught, obviously some better than others, but fun was had by all including us as we didn’t have to worry about other guests and families, plus we got to watch all the madness and occasionally joined in ourselves.

Amongst the 11 lads their were some simple ones that made some very silly remarks and received very simple answers. Phil, one of the younger members of the group was the first. We had put on a Thai buffet for them, and he approached Stuart asking him what kind of food was on a Thai buffet, so Stuart answered the most obvious way he could by telling him, chicken nuggets, chips beans etc. Ha ha – THAI FOOD, YOU TWAT! Next was Dirty Dan who, after somebody had returned from town with a McDonalds burger, asked, “Where did you get the McDonalds from? JESUS CHRIST! But then again this was Bernie’s son.

Even though most of the group weren’t fisherman and had come more for a holiday and a laugh most can’t wait to return next year, and who knows maybe even fish a bit more. By the time their trip was over they had all enjoyed themselves and we had also had a good time, apart from when Alan got home and deleted all his pictures by mistake. Normally we would have them here, but we were unable to get the pictures off his 1990 Fisher Price camera and were waiting for him to send them to us. The group went on to catch 136 fish of 15 species, and some of the biggest fish landed were Mekong catfish to 130lb, arapaima to 330lb, Chao Phraya catfish to 85lb, Amazon redtail catfish to 65lb and Siamese carp to 80lb.

We had a nice guy from Ukraine come for one day’s fishing, with his heart, like so many others set on an arapaima, but sometimes one day just isn’t enough. Pavel caught four Siamese carp with the biggest around 44lb but wasn’t happy as he hadn’t caught his arapaima. With only one day left of his holiday and money fast running out he could only afford half a day’s fishing on the second trip, and as we always like to see people happy and catch their dream fish, we let Pavel fish an area of the lake that’s normally closed off, and all his dreams were answered. Within an hour he had caught his first arapaima at around 160lb. Throughout the afternoon Pavel also caught Nile perch, sorubim catfish Julian’s golden prize carp, and Amazon redtail catfish, and then ended on the same high he started out on by landing another arapaima, this time hitting 180lb.

We had a group of three lads join us this month, Adie, Charlie and Rob, who had booked their trip through Angling Direct Holidays. Due to the lake being busy, the swim choices were limited, but they managed to get three swims together. Their first day was slow with Adie landing three redtail catfish in the last hour. The second day came and they decided to stay in the same swims as there were a lot of fish showing. Throughout the day they hooked into fish but were unable to land any until the evening when Adie and Charlie landed an arapaima each, with Charlie’s being the biggest at 150lb. Rob had some bad luck throughout the day and had lost four fish but ended up landing an Amazon redtail catfish of 45lb. The next day came and Rob moved to a free corner swim on the opposite side of the lake in the hope his bad luck wouldn’t follow him, and it paid of when he landed his biggest fish to date with a 105lb Mekong catfish plus a couple more Amazon redtails. Adie and Charlie stayed put and also had a good day – once again both caught arapaima plus Mekong catfish and more redtails.

The last couple of days they managed to get into a swim that had been producing a lot of fish. Rob was first up and had what was probably the best day’s fishing he will ever have, landing 17 fish including four arapaima to 160lb, Amazon redtail catfish to 60lb and another Mekong catfish. Adie was next in the swim, and it was also the last day of their trip. Adie had an even better day than Rob and landed 20 fish by 6pm, ending his haul with an arapaima of 240lb. For the last couple of hours, Adie gave the swim up to Charlie, hoping that the swim may kick up one more arapaima before 8pm when the fishing stops. Charlie managed a couple of redtails but not the arapaima he was hoping for. By the end of the trip they caught 81 fish between them and all went home with new personal bests.

As we came to the middle of the month, mayhem descended as Steve Malthouse arrived with his brother Perry, dad Steve and their mate James and his dad Terry. On arrival the lads decided they didn’t want to fish on the side of the lake where we had already set them up, stating they would prefer to fish on the bungalow side, so the gear was moved and the fishing was underway. Over the next couple of days they caught Siamese carp, Mekong catfish and a giant fresh water stingray at 120lb. As the week went on, the opposite side filled up with anglers and started producing some big fish including arapaima, Mekong catfish, Siamese carp and redtail catfish. It wasn’t long before the lads realised that they should have listened to the guides and stayed where they had been set up on arrival, but then we only live and work here every day so what do we know?

Now it wasn’t all bad the whole time they were here – we actually had a good laugh as every day stupid things would happen or get said, like when Steve’s dad Steve (lot of thought went into that name) put sun cream on his son’s back and wrote cock so that when burnt, he would have a new tattoo. Steve’s mate James found out that you shouldn’t take photos of yourself and then let us take your camera because we will take all the pictures for the newsletter. Also James found out that sometimes your mates are more stupid than you are, when they tell you that your skin has peeled but you can match it up with the rest of your tan quicker by rubbing oil into it – it will in fact explode in blisters, and maybe it’s not a good idea. In the end they all got the swims they wanted and all caught some big fish and even though they could be a nightmare at times, everybody had a good laugh with no harm done, apart from what they did to themselves. On departure they loaded their bags into the pickup truck and off they went to the airport, but on arrival things were still going wrong as Little Steve realised he had left his suitcase at the resort, even though he and James sat in the back of the car on top of the bags and still didn’t see that there was one missing. Luckily for the rest of the resort the bag made it to the airport just in time to check in and catch the flight.

We also had Ronnie “The Redtail” Rooker from RTV Henglesports in Holland come with his wife Bianca, daughter Georgina plus friends Robert and Patrick. Ronald made a visit last year and only caught redtail catfish apart from three times when he went to the toilet and left his wife with the rods. This time Ronald wanted different species and also a big arapaima and Mekong catfish. As the fishing started so did the jokes, as Ronald lost the first few fish he hooked while his mates landed all of theirs, including Siamese carp and the Mekong catfish that Ronald wanted. During the two-week stay, Ronald fished every day apart from two when he took his family on a boat trip and elephant trekking.

The fishing was going well, and after a bumpy start for Ronald he started getting many different species including an alligator gar that he didn’t want to photo, as he was scared to hold it, which resulted in sending his nine-year-old daughter Georgina in to help. Ronald, Patrick and Robert all went on to catch arapaima, Mekong catfish, Siamese carp and many more species. During the holiday Ronald was shown up a couple of times by Bianca as she caught an alligator gar and wasn’t scared to hold it, and also caught a bigger arapaima than him at 240lb. Funnily enough the next day, after catching her big arapaima, Bianca turned up with her ankle taped up, unable to walk properly, claiming that she had slipped and twisted her ankle, even though we know that Ronald had kicked her in a jealous rage as she caught the biggest fish. While here Georgina celebrated her tenth birthday and had to watch with embarrassment as her drunken father returned from the toilet with a trail of toilet paper hanging from his shorts. This trip Ronald was also into silly hats and had some made for him and others at the resort. One evening everybody went out and more silly hats were brought, making Ronald and Patrick look like Mr. Magica! The end of the trip came round too quickly but everybody had caught good fish, and between them they landed 85 fish of 12 different species.

Our good friend Johnny Swann made another appearance. Stuart was Johnny’s best man 100 years ago, and I am sure Johnny will repay that favour to Stuart in the near future. Apart from wanting to catch a big Siamese carp, John also wanted a stingray bigger than his son’s from last year at 120lb. Unfortunately John didn’t catch the stingray so his son Daniel has still got one over him on species. Not everything was bad though as Johnny did catch a new personal best Siamese carp of 60lb, with his biggest catch going to a Mekong catfish at 130lb, which Daniel has yet to land. Also Dan and Johnny are rivals at fly fishing, so Johnny sneaked a couple of hours’ fly fishing in and landed two Amazon red tail catfish to go one up on Dan!

We also had Peter Stout from Holland who came for the first time and definitely not the last. Peter came for 17 nights with 13 days fishing and managed to land himself 57 fish of 15 species before his fishing was over and it was time for some day trips. Peter’s biggest fish came from a giant freshwater stingray at 110lb, but during his stay he also caught redtail catfish and Siamese carp to 60lb, two arapaima, and Mekong catfish amongst many others. When the fishing was over it was time to relax, and Peter went off on the sea canoe and island trips, and was also wondering whether to sneak one last day’s fishing in before heading back to Holland.

Well, I think Sean made a good effort there at his first attempt at writing, so I can bugger off to Bangkok to try and woo Benz back and leave the next Krabi newsletter to him. That’s it for another month in paradise, and if you would like to book a holiday with us email us at, phone 0066861644554, or visit our website at

Don’t forget to make a note in your diaries to visit us at the 2012 fishing shows and take advantage of those discounts, and maybe even win yourselves a holiday in paradise. Best wishes from all at Gillhams – we hope to see you in the near future.