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Krabi newsletter September 2010

Hi, all. Here we are, another month closer to Christmas, and thanks for reading yet another Krabi, Thailand fishing report. The weather here is definitely a month behind; our wettest month is normally September, but this year it has been unseasonably hot and sunny. This has made the fishing slower than normal, but as I sit here writing this report the rains are coming in and the temperatures are down, so wait till next month to read about all the big Siamese carp being caught!

With the heavy rains now coming in the arapaima are spawning, which is a relief for us, as this has been our worst year ever for males being killed while fighting for bonking rights. In total this year eight male fish were killed during the yearly ritual of head-butting, but at least now the big lumps are playing happy families so we can introduce some new arapaima from our stock ponds.

While on the subject of new fish, we introduced four new species this month, bringing the total of fish species stocked in our lake to 44. Information on these fish has now been added to our fish library, so check them out on the website. We have added the following fish: Chinese seerfish, known to reach 300lb. These fish are members of the mackerel family. Piraaiba catfish – we have been trying to locate these awesome Amazon catfish for the last five years, as they are another species known to obtain weights in excess of 300lb. Zungaro – another Amazon catfish that is known to exceed 200lbs. Firewood catfish – yet another Amazon species, and these pretty fish are known to reach 100lb. They gained their name due to their poor eating qualities, and the native Indians dry them out and use the poor sods as firewood!

We are close to achieving our target of 50 species, as we also took delivery of some smaller fish to grow in our stock ponds, one of them being a pure albino Wels catfish which was named Evans after our mystery visitor who was here this month and can’t be named. We also purchased some golden dorado and Indian mahseer, and as we already had peacock bass in one of the ponds we are only two species away from the magic 50 species!

Also delivered this month were some big trees that we have planted by the restaurant to give some shade; these trees were so big that they had to be lifted by crane, which was bonus as by crossing the crane driver’s sweaty palm we were able to send Sean up 70ft for some nice aerial photos.

Our new chef Adam Gladding should have arrived by now, but unfortunately poor Adam had a rather personal problem; he was rushed to hospital for an emergency gonad operation. Luckily the operation all went smoothly and he remained intact (I thought we were going to get a new ladyboy!). Adam will now be arriving on the 20th October. Talking of the third gender, our fishing guide Joe aka Fishcake has announced his undying love for a local man who is now a woman! Obviously Fish has been here too long so Helmet the dog is now under lock and key! While on the subject of sausages, how about Scott Russell, owner of Yeovil Angling Centre stating one breakfast that he always gives his friend Ashley his sausage! Ok, enough, let’s get back to reality.

Matt the brown fingered gardener is once again the butt (excuse the pun) of jokes this month, and after the other month’s episode of strimming in flip-flops he has struck again! He had been boasting for weeks about his dear old grandmother’s secret recipe for macaroni cheese. While he was slinging the ingredients together he put the oven on to heat up, but 30 minutes later when it was time to put his concoction in the oven, he realized he had forgotten to light the gas, so the oven had 30 minutes’ worth of gas inside. Unfortunately Matt, being an American from the Deep South, proceeded to stick his arm inside and light this little home made bomb. The next thing he knew there was a massive explosion that was actually heard at the other end of the lake! Matt was left with no hairs on his legs, arms and eyebrows, and the oven was left without a door! Matt did however manage to complete his grandmother’s secret recipe, and let us tell you that it would have been better staying a secret! For sure this is one meal that won’t be making its way onto our menu, nor will Matt ever be allowed inside the kitchen again.

Then we had the big bloke here who won’t be named other than calling him John. Now he thought he had a right tickle because he was watching football in advance, as we are six hours ahead of the UK. He reckoned he could phone home and have a bet, already knowing the result… bless! John was also in a pub quiz the other day and lost by one point. The question was. “Where do women mostly have curly hair?” Apparently, the answer is Africa! He also got banned from the new Muslim clothing shop that opened in London, after asking to look at some bomber jackets! Ok that’s enough, and onto the bit you have all been waiting for.

Gillham’s Gripe:
Please note as an angler you have come here fishing, so you are expected to make your own bait balls and bait up your own fishing area. You are also expected to cast your own rods out and strike your own fish. Sure, our guides will help you if they have time, but when there are a lot of people fishing they do not have time to be your personal skivvy! Once again this month we have had complaints when at the 7am start time nobody had made bait balls, and we have even had blokes complaining that they couldn’t fish because nobody came and cast them out. F—k me, do these same twats go fishing at home and wait for a passing dog walker to cast them out, or call the postman over to mix their sodding groundbait? Sure we understand that lots of people have never fished for our fish species before, but come on, fishing is fishing, and there is nothing complicated about making up balls of bait and firing them out in the lake, is there?

The idea of fishing is that you go out and do everything yourself. This surely gives you more satisfaction than just winding in a fish someone else caught for you! If somebody made my bait balls and launched them into the lake for me, then cast out the rod and struck the fish, topped off by handing me the rod, then that fish would be theirs, not mine, as I would have done sod all to catch it! If you play golf you have a caddy to carry your bag, give advice on shots you are about to take and which club to use; they don’t take the shot for you so that you can tell your mates how well you have done! Our guides are here to offer advice on areas to fish, to tie and make sure your rigs are safe, to net your fish and show you how to handle them correctly, and to administer any health care the fish requires. We do not supply one-on-one guiding. Our guides assist all anglers on the one stretch of bank they are assigned to. It’s the same in our restaurant; you order your food and we cook it and bring it to your table, but we don’t cut your food up and feed it to you. There are some things you have to do for yourself – casting and baiting to name two. If you just want your picture with a big fish, please send us your favourite mug shot and we will Photoshop you with a fish. This will save you coming here and us having to listen to your whining!

Now that’s off my chest, let’s get on with the catch report. The total catch for the month is as follows: 462 fish of 19 species, made up as follows: 36 arapaima to 340lb, six arawana to 9lb, seven alligator gar to 30lb, 161 Amazon red tail catfish to 70lb, 14 Asian red tail catfish to 37lb, one black shark carp of 9lb, ten black pacu to 20lb, two Chao Phraya catfish to 75lb, one giant snakehead of 7lb, one giant stingray of 110lb, one Julian’s golden prize carp of 17lb, seven Mekong catfish to 180lb, nine spotted featherback to 12lb, 169 Siamese carp to 75lb, four striped snakehead to 3lb, 20 shovel nosed spotted sorubim to 35lb, five shovel nosed tiger catfish to 15lb, two wallago attu to 10lb and five wallago leeri to 26lb.

Peter and Tina Goodwin, ex-pats from Pattaya, came for four days fishing with their friends from the UK, John Smith and his wife. While the two guys fished the ladies took it easy with some shopping and relaxing around the pool, apart from one afternoon when Tina decided to fish and caught a Siamese carp of 32lb. During their trip Peter caught ten fish of three species, the best being a Siamese carp of 50lb. John, even though he didn’t catch as many fish, landed the biggest in his six-fish of three species catch in the shape of a nice Mekong catfish of 120lb.

John Dangerfield came with his wife and friend Steve for a four-day fishing trip, and had some good fish. John fished every day just taking one afternoon out to go elephant trekking. His wife and friend Steve were not into fishing, so they went on some day trips. Steve was also into his photography, which was handy for John, as he had his own cameraman on hand, especially as two of the fish that he caught were two of the biggest fish he’d had in his life. During his trip John caught 16 fish of five species, with the two biggest being a Mekong catfish of 120lb and a big arapaima of 320lb. The arapaima left John a bit lost for words, and even though he had an hour of fishing time left he packed up and went for a beer to let his impressive catch to sink in.

Daniel Swann arrived with his non-fishing girlfriend Sam for a week. After listening to the tales of all the fish his father Johnny had caught on previous trips here he was determined to catch bigger fish and more species than his dad. Daniel and Sam, like many others, arrived after dark, which in many ways is best as in the morning you are greeted with the beautiful surroundings. Daniel set up outside his bungalow and was up for catching any species, but informed us that he would like to catch an arapaima, plus Amazon redtail catfish, Siamese carp and if possible a stingray. While Dan was fishing his other half, Sam was relaxing around the pool and taking the occasional photo for him. Even though Dan was fishing every day Sam did manage to drag him away for one afternoon so they could go elephant trekking. After five days Dan had caught his big redtail catfish at 65lb and a Siamese carp of 50lb, so with two fish off the hit list it was time to move to where he had been seeing arapaima rolling for the last few days. At the new swim Dan had one rod out to target arapaima, one out for carp, and a third rod for the stingray. On the first evening in his new swim Dan caught his first arapaima of around 90lb.

That evening we all decided to go out on the town, and after a very crazy night, the following morning arrived with some bad hangovers and nobody fishing till after 10am, apart from Sam that is, who was still up at the crack of dawn, and decided she would have a fish with Dan’s rods. No hangover for Sam as she is an old hand at the drinking game, and completely drunk all the boys under the table! She fished till midday when a bleary eyed Dan appeared, and he was chuffed to learn she had caught nothing, as it fully justified his crack of midday start. At 4pm, with his head now cleared thanks to several bacon and sausage baguettes washed down with a couple of buckets of Coke, Dan’s stingray rod baited with giant water snail received an inquiry. He had rigged up a heavy rod and reel loaded with 150lb braid, and this outfit gave him the chance to give the fish some grief. Upon striking, Dan never gave it a chance to clamp its wings to the lakebed, and he very quickly landed a 110lb stingray. Since returning to the UK Dan has changed his name to Daniel Stingray Swann – I kid you not – check him out on Facebook! The final day Dan caught two more arapaima with the biggest going 120lb, and at the end of Dan’s stay he had landed 30 fish of eight species, some of which his dad hasn’t caught yet, but Johnny is back in October to put the record straight while Dan is considering a raid at Christmas.

Mike Bailey, our Canadian lodger was back on four different short trips this month, landing many fish of different species. Throughout the month, Mike managed some new species from his wish list, and the elusive arawana was finally caught at around 8lb. Next off his list was the Chao Phraya catfish, with a good size fish of 75lb. These are getting harder to catch now as we only have around five left. We will keep three in the lake, as we have the existing world record plus two over 100lb. Fishing hard from dawn till dusk Mike caught a total of 80 fish of 13 species including Siamese carp to 75lb and arapaima to 180lb.

Terry Rodham made his long awaited return visit bringing with him his friend Matt Holiday. The last time Terry visited us was on his 38th birthday with his wife and daughter, but this trip was a pure fishing trip for his 40th birthday. On his last visit in 2007 the restaurant and some bungalows were still under construction, so when he arrived it was a big change to how he remembered Gillhams before. Terry and Matt were both very keen to get started, but as it was 7pm when they arrived, they were going to have to wait till the following morning before they could soak some bait. After a few beers and something to eat they headed of to their pit for an early night, but sleep didn’t come easily, and they spent a restless night due to being so exited.

After hours of staring at the ceiling, they sat on the balcony watching the sun rise over the jungle and huge fish rolling in front of them. Eventually the time to fish arrived, and although during the first couple of days the fishing was fairly slow, they moved around trying to find where the fish were hiding. Terry had another birthday surprise when his brother-in-law Matt and father-in-law Steve with friend Bill, who had booked in without him knowing, turned up. When these three arrived it was already dark, so they were able to sneak up on an unsuspecting Terry, who didn’t even look at the three men as they entered his swim, thinking they were just other fisherman. Even when Terry was asked how the fishing was he still had no idea who they were due to it being dark. Then Terry got worried as one of the men standing behind him started rubbing his neck and stroking his ear! It wasn’t until Terry jumped up shouting, “What’s your f—–g game?” did he realize it was Matt and Steve. After Terry had returned to his normal colour and realised he wasn’t being molested by a stranger of the night, it was time to pack up fishing and get drinking. We are still not sure if this was a plan by his wife to keep a close eye on him, or more likely an excuse for the other lads to get out of England and on the beer in Thailand. During Terry’s stay he went on to catch 32 fish of ten species, including Siamese carp, Amazon redtail catfish, wallago, arawana, plus others. His two biggest fish were a 130lb Mekong catfish and a massive arapaima weighing in at around 320lb, leaving Terry a very happy angler with one of the best early birthday presents you could wish for.

Matt Holiday wouldn’t let the fishing beat him, even though he lost every arapaima he hooked during the first week. Arapaima can be very frustrating as anybody who has fished for them before will tell you. You just have to persevere and eventually your prayers will be answered. 60% of arapaima come adrift through no fault of your own. Read the fish library section on our website, which explains why. Matt stuck to his task and kept trying, and in the meantime he caught some other cracking fish, including Siamese carp to 55lb, alligator gar to 30lb, plus a near record breaking Mekong catfish that was weighed and tipped the scales at 180lb, just 11lb off the existing world record that’s already held here at Gillhams. On the second to last day, Buddha answered Matt’s prayers, and not only did he land two arapaima, but he also landed his biggest fish of the trip with one of 200lb. As for Terry’s brother-in-law Matt Rule and his father Steve, not much fishing was managed as they were mainly here for relaxing and drinking! Matt did manage some fishing though, and landed three fish of two species, and his dad caught his first ever fish in the form of a 26lb Amazon redtail catfish.

Mike Jetson and fishing buddy Pat Lyne came for a week. Both anglers wanted to catch Siamese carp and arapaima, but as they had never caught any of the species here, all fish landed would be special, plus they would all be personal bests. The first couple of days were fairly slow with just a few fish being caught around the lake, plus the fact they had never used 6lb test curve rods or fished method feeders before. After finding their feet, things started going to plan, and both of them were getting some good fish. By the end of their stay Mike had caught 21 fish of seven species including redtail catfish to 70lb, Siamese carp to 60lb and arapaima to 120lb, but his biggest catch was a Mekong catfish of 130lb. Pat also had some cracking catches with 22 fish of four species including Siamese carp to 65lb and Amazon redtail catfish to 70lb with his biggest fish being an arapaima of 160lb.

The next guests to arrive were part owners of Yeovil Angling Centre, Scott Russell and Ashley Tomkins with their friend Jamie Rich. They came for eight days after hearing about us from a friend who had fished here before, and also our friend Stewart Downing from Pure Fishing. After doing some homework and asking me what tackle and bait to bring with them, Ashley and Scott plundered their shop for bits and pieces including opening up every pot of pop-ups in the shop and taking two from every pot before putting them back on the shelves (obviously times are hard in the tackle industry). In eight days’ fishing the lads caught 112 fish of nine species between them with Ashley Tomkins catching the most by landing 51 fish of six species including arapaima to 340lb, redtail catfish to 55lb and Siamese carp also to 55lb. The others also caught plenty of fish, with Scott Russell landing 38 fish of six species including Siamese carp to 40lb, arapaima to 150lb and a Mekong catfish of 110lb, and Jamie Rich in his stay landed 38 fish of six species with his biggest being his main target species, an arapaima of 100lb.

Most months we get many nice people visit us who make this job worthwhile, and these three were great blokes and fun to be with. We also opened the lads’ eyes with a trip to town, which went down well, plus they fitted in some day trips, so all in all they had a great time, and are already planning their return.

At the same time another group came to Gillhams from Angling Direct holidays; John, Dean and brothers Tony and Barry, another group of guys who were a pleasure to have here. It was their second fishing trip to Thailand, and all four were keen to get started. They had booked a five-day trip, but unfortunately for them they arrived while the lake was in a moody spell with the fishing not at its best… but hey, that’s fishing, and as the lads said, “There’s always next time.” All four caught fish, and while they were here some big fish were banked, so even though it wasn’t meant to be for them, they still got to see some of Gillhams’ monsters. These guys do lots of overseas fishing in places like Canada, Spain, and Thailand, and for ballroom dancer Dean Simpson, even Florida and Miami. During their five-day stay here at Gillhams they caught 26 fish of seven different species, with the biggest catch going to Tony with a 50lb Siamese carp. As with all our clients, if you experience a slow trip we will offer you a discount to return, and these four are already planning their return for the year after next.

There were some other noteworthy catches and stories this month, but as the people concerned couldn’t be bothered to send us pictures as promised, unfortunately we can’t mention them. We only publish fish captures with pictures to back them up, unlike some other fisheries here in Thailand who advertise huge fish and spectacular catch reports without pictures to back their claims up!
Any fishery that claims to have big fish without pictures on their website is more than likely not telling the truth, so I would recommend giving them a miss and sticking with the professionals.

That just about sums up September’s catch report; we have now added the 2011/12 price increase from June to our website to enable you to plan the finances for your trip to Gillhams. Places for 2011 are filling up, so I suggest booking sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. Thanks for reading our monthly newsletter, and if you have any questions please feel free to email me at or phone +66861644554.
Here is a date for your calendar; March the 5th and 6th 2011 Carpin-On show at Five lakes show Essex, stand 125 opposite the bar area come to see us and book your holiday with a discount.
Best wishes from Stuart and all the team here at Gillhams Fishing Resorts, Krabi, Southern Thailand.