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Krabi Newsletter April 2009

Please check out our web site … http://www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com for all the latest news and info about fishing in Thailand at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.

Krabi newsletter April 2009

Hi to all our readers. Many thanks for all the encouraging emails – the Krabi newsletter is getting more popular as time goes on. It’s nice to see so much interest in this fishing in Thailand series. We had a good April; things were going great, all our customers were a pleasure to fish with, no idiots, no whingeing, just good anglers having fun. Then it bloody happened at the end of the month – the Russian and Korean from hell, the rudest most arrogant pair of prats it has ever been my misfortune to meet! They were claiming to be billionaires, but were as tight as a duck’s bum. It’s easy to reinvent yourself here in Thailand; there are numerous self-professed SAS men, gangsters and drug dealers in all the loser’s bars, and these two were probably in the same league. The Russian claimed to have friends working in the KGB, but I think he meant working in KFC! When they booked they boasted that if Sean got them an arapaima he would get a 1,000 dollar tip, another mythical piece of bull’s dung. When he hooked one for them while they played in the swimming pool, they got confused with 1,000 and 100, and Sean got 100 dollars, which is normally a good tip, but not when you were promised 1,000!

On arrival they wanted lunch, and after scanning our menu of 120 items, they ordered a selection of ten cheeses, Greek salad and grilled vegetables. Christ we run a fishing resort not a delicatessen! On informing them that for special orders they should order in advance, they had what was to be one of many tantrums. The Korean guy who claimed to be the billionaire lives in Russia with the other berk, and all I saw was a spoilt brat who thought he could stamp his foot and everything he wanted would appear. At 9pm he demanded three girls for an hour’s massage, and when we told him the girls we use finish work at 7pm and would not come out, he said, “Get them, whatever it costs, I have money!” Our girls wouldn’t come, so we found some others, and then he haggled over the bill. Meanwhile the Russian strutted around ordering everyone about, demanding this and that, and telling us he was a fishing guide in Russia. If he is, god help his clients – he didn’t have a clue about fishing, and when he hooked a fish (oops sorry, when Sean handed him a rod with a fish on) all the customers on the lake fell around laughing because he looked like he was wielding a sword in the battlefield.

After their trip the Russian had wound in an arapaima and two Siamese carp that Sean had cast to and hooked up for him, and King Tantrum sat in his room watching TV, while Sean hooked him three arapaima, then had to call him to come and wind in for his photo, only for him to play them like a total dick and lose each one, ending up with one alligator gar that felt sorry for him. He then had a mega tantrum because he wanted an arapaima. I presume he can buy most things but you can’t buy skill at fishing, and money certainly doesn’t buy breeding and manners! The highlight of their visit, apart from them leaving the next day, was when the idiots thought the spray bottles of Jensen violet at each swim, for treating fish with cuts, was mosquito spray. They sprayed themselves all over, and in the dark couldn’t see they were bright purple! It takes five days to wear off fish in the water, so they should be feeling blue for a while! At the end they tried to knock us for part of the bill, refusing to pay around 25 dollars. Being too thick, they never batted an eyelid when I converted their dollars to baht wrong, and cost themselves 30 dollars. They went off smug, thinking they had won, when actually they paid more. The Russian also left his designer sunglasses behind, which unfortunately Helmet the dog took a shine to, and ate! Good riddance to them; they certainly are not welcome here again. In fact out the 20 Russians we have had this year, only one has had manners, so we are thinking of banning the nation as a whole, or making them take a human being test prior to booking!

Ok, only one more whinge to come, a bit later (honest), but first onto brighter notes. In the first week of April we were having some very heavy rainstorms, so we decided to flush the lake through. We raised the water two feet, then dropped back two feet to let water back up the next day. What happened? The rains stopped, so as I sit here writing this report the lake is a good two feet down, as we have had no more rain. The rainy season is imminent though, as we are getting huge rain clouds every day; there has been no rain as yet, but we have not had blue skies for a week. We have had a non-fishing family in our restaurant a few times this month who were renting a villa down the road. They were passing, popped in, and seeing Steve’s menu they sampled the food and returned on a regular basis. They are a really top family, the Watkins from Southend in Essex. Most days they came by, so on their last day we ran them to the airport. Peter Watkins lost his passport, but was assured by Krabi immigration that a picture ID would get him to Bangkok where he should see an immigration officer who would give him clearance to travel home. The first stage went to plan when Peter amazed us all by flying to Bangkok on his bus pass, but from there though it all went to pot, as he met a jobsworth who would not budge and help a pensioner return home with his family, although his arrival passport and ID with iris recognition was all on computer. Poor Peter had to stay behind, then go to the British Embassy and wait for clearance papers. Some five days later one very tired and frustrated old man arrived back in the UK. I do hope the jobsworth was proud! As for travel inside Thailand though – bus passes are go!

Talking of Bangkok, Diane Brown and husband, with their friends, stayed in the capital for a few days prior to coming to Krabi. The lads decided to take the girls to a go-go bar in Bangkok. Poor Diane was new to this kind of sightseeing adventure, and was convinced the girls had numbers on their bikinis for collecting their coats from the cloakroom after the show, bless her! After my month’s absence in the UK, I couldn’t wait to see how our baby arapaima and red tails had grown in the stock pond. I was surprised to see that the 10 to 20lb arapaima I left in February are now 15 to 25lb with a few of the top fish going around 35lb. The Amazon red tail catfish have gone from 6lb to 10lb with the top fish around 15lb, and all these fish are just 18 months old! Imagine what these guys are going to be in the next year – they get through 50kg of fish and 10kg of pellet a day between 250 of them, costing a fortune, but well on target to be their stocking weight of 100lb for the arapaima and 50lb for the red tail catfish in the next 18 months. We also left ten Siamese carp in this pond at around 20lb, and they are easily 50lb each now, so they should be 70lb at least in the same time span.

We also had an old fox creeping around the lake this month, but luckily he left our birds alone. I think he was looking for a mate, so no wonder Helmet our Weimaraner dog was looking worried! Once again we have had baby wallago leeri showing up in catches, so how long before one of the big girls makes an appearance? For a supposed fish eater, eight of them fell to maize, dispelling another myth! Which leads us onto this month’s catch report, plus some more gossip. 28 anglers came for fishing holidays in Thailand, and 16 came on day trips. Between them they caught 469 fish of 20 species, made up as follows… 48 arapaima to 350lb, four arawana to 8lb, eleven alligator gar to 20lb, 79 Amazon red tail catfish to 75lb, four Asian red tail catfish to 20lb, 18 black pacu to 50lb, nine Chao Phraya catfish to 65lb, three giant featherback to 9lb, two giant snakehead of 6lb, two Julian’s golden prize carp to 20lb, three mad carp to 5lb, three Mekong catfish to 150lb, three mrigal to 12lb, two rohu to 15lb, six spotted featherback to 8lb, 226 Siamese carp to 110lb, four striped snakehead to 3lb, 31 spotted sorubim to 30lb, two shovel nosed tiger catfish to 16lb and 10 wallago leeri to 16lb.

First out the bag this month is Graham Brown with his mate Ron, plus their better halves. This group was great fun with a good sense of humor. The guys enjoyed the fishing even when it was a bit slow – being fishermen they took it for what it was, and had fun. In their six days fishing they landed 23 fish between them of five species, the best fish being a 100lb Siamese carp to Ron. James Courtney, who spoke about Gillhams with Tony Morrel of Paradise Lakes France, just had to come and sample what is on offer here for himself after seeing Tony’s photos of his trip to Gillhams. He came for a three-night stay with his friend Dave plus their other halves. Then they headed of to Phi Phi Island for a friend’s wedding. James got caught in the Gillhams spell and sneaked an extra 24 hours in before flying home. He ended up with four arapaima to 180lb, one Amazon red tail catfish of 75lb, plus six Siamese carp, the best being a known fish, which we weighed a month ago at 110lb. Sean told James this fish was a known 100lb-plus fish, but James does a bit of weightlifting and has one of those bodies that hang in the wrong places, unlike mine, plus a six-pack. One day he will attain the perfect body like me and have a one-pack! He reckoned the fish was 75lb, but I think he is so used to lifting weights he doesn’t know his own strength, as this fish came here in Christmas 2007 at 100lb. She dropped to 98lb when she was weighed after her first capture in April 2008, but then didn’t show until January 2009 when she was still holding 110lb. Her next capture was February 2009, weighed at 110lb, so to drop to 75lb by the beginning of April is unlikely, as Gollock our fishing guide caught her again on the morning of first of May. We weighed the fish to make sure, and this time she was 108lb. So poor old James had a 100lb carp, and didn’t believe Sean.

Another nice fella to arrive was Steve Smith from Birmingham; he came with his two sons and took our option of renting a bungalow for a family holiday, fishing odd hours between day trips with the boys. Only fishing for the odd hour here and there he still managed a 110lb Mekong catfish, plus four arapaima to 150lbs, and one Siamese carp. The boys only fished once for around two hours, but Brandon had a red tail catfish and Jacob a Siamese carp. Steve is now back home, planning another trip with his other two kids. Sorry no pictures of this family Steve has not sent them to us, as is often the case we are up to our necks in water helping with your fish so we can’t get a picture. Despite promises once people go home they forget to send their pictures, very often we then get an email asking why they have no picture on our web site! This month has been hard for us as many people did not send us their pictures as promised. So we either do not have the good ones we were shown in our bar when the angler was still bussing, or an inferior one from someone else who took a picture and did send it to us. Come on guys we supply you with your dream please send your pictures as you promise!

It’s certainly been the month of the Brummies; we had Chris and Darren who came for a couple of days, then returned for two more days. On the second visit poor Darren could not fish, having being attacked by a herd of monkeys! I kid you not – Darren was having fun feeding the pack of woolly rascals and taking photos, when disaster struck – he ran out of grub for the starving hoard, and as is so often the case with monkeys, they turned vicious. Wanting more food they decided to mug Darren, and his only weapon was his camera, but as it was a present from his mum he did not wish to launch it at the beasts, so he took the next option and legged it, only to slip over grazing himself badly and twisting his back! So it was no more fishing for Darren, but he has vowed to return to fish, and also shoot the damned monkeys! He did manage eight fish on his first visit though, with his target arapaima at 130lb. Chris faired better with the two lots of fishing, taking 16 fish of five species, including a 150lb arapaima, a 60lb Chao Phraya catfish, red tail catfish to 60lb and Siamese carp to 40lb. Chris is actually still in Thailand, and is returning for the last two days of his holiday in May, so we will keep you posted next month. As for Darren, he went home with his tail between his legs! At the same time two American guys, Scott and Bill, came for a two-day stay. Now Bill is in his 70’s and smokes a few too many. He had a 110lb arapaima and retired happy and knackered for the day, and the next morning he latched onto a stingray. Now the only way to land these boring bottom stickers is once they are moving, tighten up the drag to the max and pump and wind like you are pulling a monkey off Darren! Or use an oil drum as a float to tire them prior to hooking them – meow… glass houses! Poor old Bill couldn’t muster the energy, so he sat in a chair and just kept trying, but every time the boys got the fish moving it swam for a short while and then locked down again. Fair play to Bill; he stuck at it for six hours, only for the line to part, after which Bill retired to his pit for the day, while Scott landed two Siamese carp.

We had an unusual request next from a Malaysian family who wanted to come for lunch and then experience a three-hour fishing adventure for eight people. To be honest we were dreading it, as eight novices in three hours should spell trouble. How wrong can we be? The whole family was fun, polite, and just wanted us to try for a fish. Luckily the fish gods were willing, and they were well chuffed with their two Siamese carp. When the bonus turned up in the shape of an arapaima of 110lb, smack in the middle of a huge thunderstorm directly overhead, they stuck at the task between lightning striking all around them, and duly landed their deserved prize. For the photo shoot it was most amusing, as all eight piled into the water like a scene from the fleeing passengers in the movie Titanic!

Once again sorry if we have missed you out, but we only have so much space – the consolation being you did nothing wrong so didn’t get a mention. Talking of doing wrong-uns we had two Irish lads phone and haggle over the price. When it was explained to them that the price is high because we have one of the best fisheries in the world with some of the biggest freshwater fish on the planet, one of them assured us what good an angler he was. I won’t name the guy because he knew he did wrong, and suffered a famous show of my other side! But upon turning up, instead of fishing they slept, and the next day they ventured out for an hour to complain it was too hot. This pattern continued for their stay – minimum effort for minimum fish. Feeling sorry for the self-professed pike supremo, I relented from continued pestering to let him fish the reserve in the top bay just for one arapaima. He caught one first cast of 120lb, only to retire back to his bed, mission accomplished. He appeared again at 6pm when all the lake had agreed to stop fishing at 7pm while he was asleep, so that we could all have a night on the town. To stop his whining that he should fish till 8pm and sod everyone else’s agreed plans, I reluctantly told him he could fish at 10am the next day for one more fish in the bay.

Par for the course the doughnut appeared at the crack of 3pm. He phoned me and I told him to wait for Sean to accompany him to the reserve, only to get a call ten minutes later saying he had a fish on, as he had gone and cast out alone. Rushing to the bay it was obvious the dick had hooked this fish at the time of his first call, and tried to bully it out of the bay to pretend he wasn’t fishing there. Christ knows what else he had done in our absence, and after a strange fight the fish was landed at 200lb. After a quick photo and the fish suffered an anxiety attack dislocating its jaw. It seemed to go back in place, but the fish, which had a distinct scar on its back, swam off not looking too good. Two days later the poor thing popped up dead – a cracking fish, which the prick has denied someone else catching, plus losing us a considerable sum of money. Shame he had checked out the day before, or I would have charged him for it, that’s if he had survived what all the proper fishermen on the lake would have done to him had they got hold of him! Christ knows what the state of the Irish pike waters are like after this twat has fished them! I said I wouldn’t name him, but sod it – other fisheries should know that Mr. P. Russell is banned for life from Gillhams, and other fishery owners should do the same. He’s not a fisherman; he’s just another muppet chasing trophy photos.

Onto a lighter note Shimano Malaysia contacted us to send down three of their design guys to test the new baitrunner reels they have designed. Nice guys, although probably not the best fishermen in the world, but all round nice fellas. After a very slow morning we again felt sorry for them, as these new reels needed a workout on a big fish. They had already informed us of their extensive field testing at the factory, where believe it or not they connect a line to a motorbike then roar off up the road while the guy on the rod end increases pressure till they part company. So, taking the first guy into the bay he duly hooked a nice red tail only to tell me he really didn’t want to catch a big fish, as he was a bit scared. Upon handing me the rod and asking me to play the fish, he then asked me to evaluate the reel! Well, on half a fight the drag felt good, it also cast well, and the line lay was good, but hey surely it needs a minimum test of six months on a fishery like ours, then an evaluation would be a better test than a Honda Dream and half a red tail catfish fight! To be fair the other two guys came and took a turn each, both landing an arapaima, one of 90lb and one of 140lb. So guys that’s it, the new reel will be launched with flying colors after a rigorous field test of three fish in two hours at Gillhams plus a few trips to the shops lashed onto a Honda Dream – yep, that’s tomorrow’s tackle today! Or should it be yesterday’s tackle out today! The footnote was that the guys used our Free Spirit rods, still standing the test of time after two years of hard abuse at Gillhams, even though they have never played a pushbike let alone a Harley! The Shimano boys reckoned they were the best rods they had ever used – a sure sign that Free Spirit’s extensive research and testing produces quality goods that you can spend your hard earned dosh on with confidence.

Expat Ian Norris, exiled in Australia, made his second trip this year back to Gillhams, again with his Aussie friend Ryan. They are really nice guys these two, and good anglers to boot; they both landed their dream arapaima this trip with Ryan taking the best at 200lb. They landed seven different species between them. Ian on his last trip landed a rare wallago attu (silver wallago), and this trip he went one step further and became the first guy to get both wallago species at Gillhams with an equally rare wallago leeri (black wallago) of 15lb. They are back later in the year – will he go one better and catch an albino wallago? We only have one in the lake at around 30lb, but I wouldn’t bet that the guy doesn’t pull it off.

Then the legend returned, none other than my old mate Rob Maylin. Rob caught the world record Mekong catfish here last year, and our dear friend Julia Dorn, film producer for California based Hoff Productions flew Rob over to recreate his historic capture for a show that will broadcast very soon for a major USA network. Stay tuned, our American fans, to Airdale TBD. Julia filmed here last year for National Geographic with the capture of Keith Purton’s arapaima – all you guys in the States have seen this one many times now, but still we have no date for broadcast in Europe. But I am told it is imminent, so watch out for National Geographic’s Man vs. Fish series, we have seen it already and it does more for fishing than Robson ‘Twat’ Green will ever do. All that guy seems to do is make a mockery of fishing conservation and the fishing scene in Thailand. With comments on UK TV about 90% of fish caught dying this prick is all we need in these days of anti-brigades. Put that with a guy who has no respect or knowledge of fish or fishing, and you have a disaster on the screen. Why any self respecting television show would use this clown in a fishing show is beyond me. This time we were not so lucky with Mekong catfish when they refused to play for the cameras, but Rob did land a nice brace of arapaima for the cameras, plus a 50lb red tail catfish. Rob ended his short trip with 15 fish, including four arapaima to 180lb. Did he fish his nuts off? Did he hell – we were in the middle of the heatwave before the rainy season, and it was hot and humid. After a gruelling flight, then up at dawn for fishing, the poor old chap was finding it hard to muster any energy! He spent most of his time trying to keep in the shade, and unusually for Rob not even bothering to rebait regularly. When Sean told Rob it pays to rebait every 20 minutes he replied, “F— that, I’m off to bed!” Top man, Rob!

You really must watch the recreation of Rob’s historic catch as poor old Rob was made to get in and out of the lake for retakes, not helped by Sean and me pissing about. Watch for the fish in the film making long runs down the lake, as Rob furiously winds like hell while the drag is singing out – it looks like he is attached to a motorbike! After filming we went out on the town, and oh what a night. It was going to be a meal at the seafood restaurant then a couple of pints at Amy’s bar and home by 11pm. Ha – slim chance; it was like the old Horse and Barge days, with a gaggle of drunken fishermen getting worse by the hour. From somewhere a big pair of pink glasses turned up with no glass in, and we had a cracking shot of Rob in these, but he bribed the guy with the camera to delete the shot. The party ended sometime around 4am for most of us, with just Sean and a few others taking it to the extreme and returning to the fold at 8am. Surprisingly most of the lads were out fishing by 7am, and in any fish shots that day it isn’t red eye on the camera; they are 100% genuine red eyes!

Another guest who was here for the filming was Philip Bell-Scott who came wanting to catch as many species as possible, plus to try for an arapaima on the fly. After asking all the so-called experts in Thailand what flies and tactics he needed, he contacted us. After numerous emails between us, and pictures of flies sent from me to him, he had all the correct info and turned up with exactly the patterns I told him to make. In fact they were ten times better than my efforts. Once we found patterns and methods, arapaima are easy to target. When I told Julia that we would get an arapaima on a fly for her to film, she doubted my word. So after some persuasion she set up the crew and cameras to film Phil. He fished like a pro, with accurate casting and followed our instructions to the letter. His first hook up came within ten minutes of filming – a 26lb sorubim. Then it happened – Julia was filming the fly landing in front of a big arapaima, when wham, it took the fly. One and a half hours later, in the dark, after being dragged around the lake, a very happy Phil landed his prize, a 250lb arapaima – the first fly-caught arapaima ever caught for a professional filmmaker.

After the previous day’s success Julia asked Phil to get his fly rod out again, because they wanted to recreate a few bits. We told Phil to fish for another instead of pretending for the camera, and an hour later arapaima number two was hooked up. Another epic one and a half hour battle was played out for the cameras with the light fading fast, but in time for some nice evening shots. Phil landed prize number two, and what a prize this one was – a fish of 350lb, making them the biggest two arapaima ever filmed, and on fly tackle to boot. Julia is bringing out these captures under a different film, and it will surely be one of the most unique fishing films ever, as a fly caught arapaima has never been recorded on national TV before, plus the size of the fish will probably never be matched at any other venue. For us it is a great feeling, being one of the few true fishing services in Thailand who created and own their own fishery. Here you only get guided by us on our own lake for our own fish, not like the many other parasites in Thailand who invest little or nothing with a limited experience of fishing, selling trips to other people’s venues at inflated prices and claiming to be guides! All venues in Thailand can be booked and fished by direct contact with the owners at cheaper rates than the Mickey Mouse so-called guiding services sell them for. All the commercial venues in Thailand have their own superior guides waiting to help you on arrival.

Both fish would have been potential world records, but no claim has been submitted, as Phil was using a 10wt rod, which is under-gunned for huge arapaima, so to save the fish undue stress we touched the line in both cases to ease the fish to the waiting cage. We would only ever claim a 100% genuine record, and if the rules are broken in any way we will not submit a claim, just the same as Thailand fishing legend Francois Helios. The other pretenders may cheat and lie, but as with Francois, we are the genuine article. We don’t need to drum up business to sting the punters – oops here I go again! The other species Phil took on the fly was a 7lb arawana that jumped out of the net while he came to get us for a photo. He also fished standard bait and wait tactics for four other species. On the night of the partying Phil was no slouch on the drinking front either – he held his ground till the wee hours when the tequila got the better of him and he met up with Hughie! Fair play to the fella though, he was back on the ball for a 7am start. For sure he could have been a true Horse and Barge man!

Other top guys to visit this month were Mike Bumpstead who came for a couple of days and caught his three target species of arapaima, red tail catfish and Siamese carp albeit in small sizes, which goes to show the divers did their job well, as Mike can come back after Christmas to beat all his previous PB’s. Nick Dean was another good angler who can’t wait to return to Gillhams, spending four nights and three and a half days fishing with us, accompanied by his charming wife Fon and his good friend Bob who doesn’t fish, but had a ball going out on various day trips and getting us some much needed footage of activities around Krabi. Nick got off to a slow start, but really fished like a machine towards the end of his trip. His final tally was 23 fish of five species. His main target was to fish Siam carp, as in four years of trying in Thailand this species had eluded him. All went to plan, and he caught 15 with two 60lb fish and a 50 in that tally. He also had five red tails, the top two being 60lb and 70lb, Target next trip a bigger carp and an arapaima to beat the 80lb one he had this trip.

Another super guy who came for three days, and stayed a week, was John Anderson from the Isle of White. John was gutted to leave, and said he could not return for 18 months only to contact us a week after leaving to book November! John had listened to all our suggestions of gear to bring, where and how to fish, and built up a swim by first plumbing the depth, finding his chosen spot, and then accurately baiting. He was rewarded with 53 fish for the week of eight species, made up of six arapaima to 200lb, 30 Siamese carp to 50lb, eight red tail catfish to 70lb, a fine Chao Phraya catfish that would have nudged the world record at 60lb-plus, black pacu, Indian Siamese, sorubim and a rare wallago leeri. Our good friend Francois Helios of fishing adventures Thailand sent the previous Americans to us this month, and also the true gent, 72 years young and still fishing, Lenny Kouba from Chicago. Lenny has caught seven different 100lb-plus freshwater species around the globe, and is still as keen as ever. Lenny was another perfect gentleman, and an extremely good fisherman. Fishing for three days and wishing he had booked more, Lenny is booking with Francois again for October 2010, this time for a week or more, saying Gillhams was the finest fishing venue he had visited. Coming from a man of Lenny’s standing that made us all very proud of what we have achieved here. I really missed Lenny and John when they left, their company was second to none – guys like these make my job so worthwhile, and in a short space of time I made two new friends. Len landed 17 fish of six species in his three days, topped by a PB arapaima of 150lb.

Last guest of the month was bought to us by another professional Thai fishing guide Neil of Fishing-Khaolak. Neil is another UK angler living and working in Thailand. He does some spectacular wild jungle river trips, and we are off on one of his adventures in June, fishing for Thai mahseer, so we are really looking forward to that one. Neil’s client was another Brit, Robert Mitchell, who came for three days, landing 19 fish of ten species. How’s this for two casts? Take one, a 110lb Siamese carp released after the pictures, and next cast a 130lb arapaima. Robert ended the session with three arapaima to 160lb, five Siamese carp to 110lb, alligator gar, Asian red tail catfish, Amazon red tail catfish, spotted featherback, mad carp, mrigal, sorubim and a wallago leeri.

That’s it from us guys, space has run out once again, and sorry if we missed you out. Watch out for next month – it’s quieter, but we have Keith ‘Made in England’ Jenkins here as I write this newsletter, so for sure there will be more news, gossip and general ramblings. Thanks for reading and supporting these newsletters. Don’t forget to book that dream trip at www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com or phone Stuart on +66861644554. Tight lines, and we hope you catch your dream, if you come here you will for sure! Till next month, goodbye and good luck from all of us here at the world’s favorite venue, Gillhams Fishing Resorts.

Please check out our web site … http://www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com for all the latest news and info about fishing in Thailand at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.

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Krabi newsletter January 2009

Krabi newsletter January 2009

Please check out our web site … http://www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com for all the latest news and info about fishing in Thailand at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.

Hi everyone and welcome to 2009. Let’s all hope this recession ends soon – it’s really crippling us, as the first thing people do in troubled times is not take an exotic holiday. Don’t forget to cheer yourselves up and come and see me at the Carpin’ On show 2009 at Five Lakes near Maldon in Essex – see the link on our website. We are on Stand 10A, and if you book and pay on the day you receive a 10% discount. If you bring a Big Carp Magazine and show me, we will give you a further 5% discount, so that’s a massive 15% off the best fishing holiday on the planet. If you buy your tickets in advance for the show you automatically go into the free draw for a week for two with flights, fishing and accommodation at Gillhams Krabi. Just click on the link above.

The first few days of January saw the end of a holiday for a few people who spent Christmas with us. It’s always a sad moment, as people who came as clients and leave as friends depart, but most rebook so we all meet again. As I write this report the heatwave continues; we are having the hottest January on record, the sun is relentless, and every day is over 100 degrees. We haven’t had a drop of rain in five weeks; the lake has dropped a foot as we water the gardens twice a day from the lake. The gardens are struggling in the heat in the jungle around us; the trees are going brown so I just hope there isn’t a fire! The intense heat and flat calm conditions are making the fishing very hard, especially for the arapaima; they are just not feeding hard at all, just taking the odd snack. The Mekong catfish have started to feed in earnest again though, and it seems the stingray like the hot weather also. Talking of stingray, I was landing one for angler Eric Keogh, and stingrays are hard to net – it takes two or three of us to manhandle them into the net. As I was shoving the fish into the net, it swished its tail, impaling its sting into my foot, and I have never in my life experienced pain like it! Within seconds my whole leg was on fire; it was like someone pushing a red-hot poker up my leg, and all my muscles started to seize up as I went into shock.

The lads on the lake bundled me into our car and drove like lunatics to the local hospital, where they had been pre-warned of our arrival. The hospital had staff waiting, and I was rushed into emergency. By now the pain was excruciating, and my shirt was soaked with sweat. Immediately two doctors appeared and started injecting my foot with anesthetics and an anti-venom type substance. Next, the doctor cut open the wound and removed the sting and a black skin that covers the sting. The wound was then packed out with antibiotics and cotton wool. I had to go to hospital every day for over a week for more injections, and to have the wound opened and cleaned. All our stingrays in the lake had their stings removed, but we did not realize that every so often a stingray has two stings. This one had been overlooked and had two; the sting folds flat to the tail and we had missed this one. The 110lb fish had its sting removed this time. We have stingray to over 200lb in the lake, and in future we will no longer net them in this way until we are sure the sting is absent. Fishing at the lake is perfectly safe as stingrays stay away from people. They are like any creature – if cornered and panicked they lash out. The only time they will sting is when you start annoying them. It was my own fault for being blas? about these beautiful fish. I will have more respect for them next time, and for our customer’s safety no angler is allowed in the lake until any fish has been contained and made safe. This ensures that our customers are 100% safe at all times. For the record freshwater stingray are believed to reach 1,000lbs with 5m wingspans, so this fish was a baby really at 110lb. Mind you, can you imagine a 110lb hornet? We have five different species of fish in Gillhams over 100lb, and landing these huge fish is dangerous. We are professionals but we still get hurt; a moment’s lapse in concentration is all it takes. I will repeat our customers are safe as long as they take our advice and do not enter the water ‘til we say it is 100% safe to do so.

We are still getting the odd person, with the emphasis on odd, who come here, get a huge fish, and feel let down because they wanted one bigger. One guy this month had a 60lb Chao Phraya catfish, which is only 4lb off the world record, but he did not want a photo because in his words he will wait for a big fish. He even admitted it was the biggest fish he had ever caught! Mind you the same guy had his biggest carp, but waited for a bigger one, then when he had an arapaima and a big red tail catfish in a day, he was also disappointed because he had to wait a whole seven hours between fish! Oh where do they come from? Luckily the real nice guys who appreciate catching fish outweigh these so-called fishermen. Some people just want a trophy shot, and do not wish to put in any effort. We even get some that are gutted they don’t get several 100lb fish a day with a couple of 300lb-plus fish thrown in. We are thinking of starting a new service for these people where people can order their fish online; we will enhance their mug behind a fish and send them the picture of their prize without them even having to take the trouble to come here, and I bet we would have some takers! The other annoying people who come here who really wind us up are the litter louts. Last week we had a prat come here who actually called his self Gayland (I kid you not) with his two boyfriends, who I presume were called Ben Dover and Phil McCavity! Now he (it) was the typical berk who only wanted a trophy shot. On arrival they commented how beautiful the place is, only to throw rubbish all around their swim! Luckily I was out all day and just missed them leaving, because their swim was an absolute tip with rubbish strewn everywhere. It took the boys ten minutes to clear the mess of food wrappers, fag ends and general crap! If I had been there I would have donned the rubber gloves and dragged them by their blouses to clear up the mess themselves! We supply rubbish bags and have sand pots in the swims for faggot ends, so please use them. I personally get really angry about cigarette ends thrown on the ground or tossed in the lake. It makes me wonder what these people’s houses are like. That’s it – monthly whinge over!

Back to a bit of humor – my manager Watt, bless him, is very gullible and Sean got him a treat this month. Watt wanted to know how he could increase the size of his manhood, so Sean informed him of a cream called 3-in-1 that triples the size of your tackle, and poor young Watt fell for it. My daughter Becca bought some Immac hair remover over at Christmas, so we put it in a plain bottle and presented it to Watt. He went off with our security man the local policeman; they smeared the cream around their parts, and sat around for an hour talking of what they were going to do with their new king size weapons! After an hour they washed the cream off, along with all their forest. They came to see me in a state of horror and shock, but were very relieved when I told them it is the first stage of growth and to repeat it next month. Oh what a horrid person I am! Roll on next month!

The top method this month looks alien to European anglers, but lots of Siamese carp are coming out to a method feeder fished 3ft below a float with a golf ball sized fishmeal boilie suspended under it. Now I just wonder, would this method work in European waters? The first of the new arrivals were our dear friends Wil and Betty from Holland, who came last year for a few days and stayed a few weeks before setting off on an epic motorcycle journey from India back to Holland. This time their trip was tame, coming straight to Thailand and back by plane. We are planning a trip together now for June when we are going into the jungle fishing for Thai mahseer, that’s if the troubles in the Congo don’t end, because the minute they do we are all planning to race to catch a Goliath tiger fish. Last year Wil and Betty came as clients, and this year, as with many of our guests, they returned as friends. They planned a five-day trip here, and once again stayed longer – as Wil got into the fishing, the trip grew to ten days. We were dreading another group that came to us, as there were 30 people. We had to arrange a speedboat to collect them from an Island 50 miles away, and minibuses to transport them from the beach to here, but they were an absolute joy to host. The whole day went smoothly, and we even managed to accommodate them for the night when they didn’t wish to leave. There was not one person in the group who was the slightest problem, but the fish kept their nuts down though, as there had never been so many lines in the lake at once. Paul and Lorraine, it was a pleasure hosting you all, and we are looking forward to you all returning this year for a holiday. As for Lorraine, she deserved a medal organizing the whole holiday for 30.

We also had a visit from two brothers who we nicknamed The Wurzels, a really nice pair of lads who lived on a farm in the country, and decided to have an adventure. They had never been out of their county, let alone the country, and they had never heard of a place called Oxford where our guide Kevin hails from. Imagine the boys’ surprise when they landed in Thailand! Apparently at home they don’t go out drinking, “We’ze don’ts goes out dranking, we’ze stays in wiz a noice cup orf tea.” We asked one brother if he saw the guy opposite land the big Mekong catfish. He replied, “Nooooooo, I warz wachin’ der arnts – oi loike arnts, they is fazinating indzects.” Yes they were proper characters, really nice lads on an adventure, and imagine their return home to the farm explaining all the things they had seen to their family, “Duz yoo nowz in that Thailand theyz eats frags snakez an bugz, and even der gals haz got willies, not likes our sis aat all, yer nowz!” I must stop, but they kept us amused and were real nice guys.

So now enough of my twaddle and onto the fishing. This month has seen 45 day tickets (30 in one group) and 38 guests on Thailand fishing holidays, fishing in Thailand from a few days to a couple of weeks. Between them they landed 465 fish of 15 species, made up as follows… 25 arapaima to 400lbs, 12 Mekong catfish to 180lbs, 255 Siamese carp to 120lbs, 72 red tail catfish to 80lbs, five alligator gar to 15lbs, four Asian red tail catfish to 30lbs, 13 black pacu to 30lbs, seven Chao Phraya catfish to 65lbs, 19 spotted sorubim to 35lbs, four Julian’s golden prize carp to 25lbs, eight spotted featherback to 10lbs, 17 rohu carp to 16lbs, 18 striped snakehead to 4lbs, five giant stingray to 120lbs, and one wallago attu of 24lb.

As mentioned earlier Wil, with his much better half Betty, from Holland were the first new guests in after Christmas. The fishing this year was slower than last, but as Wil targets big fish it suited him and his style of fishing. Wil’s target this year was to fish Siam carp. Betty once again was chief photographer, reporter, general gopher, and live bait catcher. Betty loves float fishing for our lesser species, but Wil made strict rules – no float fishing before 9am so as not to spook the fish! Wil ended his session with five arapaima to 200lb, 13 Siamese carp to 110lb, and three Mekong catfish to 130lb. That’s three species in one trip exceeding 100lb! Plus he had five red tail catfish to 45lb, and some rohu and pacu.

The next new arrivals who came to us via Siam fishing tours, were totally laid back Mark with his non-fishing wife Carol. I have never in my life met someone as chilled out as Mark, a lovely guy who just got taken in by the peace and tranquility of Gillhams. We actually had to pick up Mark and all his equipment and move him to a different spot, as for four days Mark sat gazing in awe at the beauty of our resort, failing to cast at showing fish or sometimes for that matter even failing to cast. Poor Mark ended the trip with just one fish (mind you that was one more than Siam fishing tours managed to get him). He has vowed to return with his fishing head on next time, but mind you, Mark showed that you do not need to catch fish to enjoy a trip here. Day-ticket visitor pearl necklace Terry came for a day on the busiest day of the month when we had the group of 30 in, but he saw enough to fit a four-hour session in the next morning before leaving Krabi, and his keenness paid off with a 55lb Chao Phraya catfish and three Siamese carp to 40lb. Ian Norris, an ex-pat living in Australia did the usual, a 24-hour trip, and left it ‘til the last hour to catch, but it was worth the wait when first he landed a rare wallago attu at 24lb, followed by the ever-friendly Siamese carp, Black Spot, at 70lb.

Steve Cox made a return visit for a three-day trip with his mate Colin and two Thai friends, Kuan and Jay, who are regulars at Bungsamlan Lake in Bangkok. The Thai lads gave the two Brits a proper lesson in fishing with their knowledge of Thai species, landing 25 fish to the Britt’s 11 fish! Whenever Coxie leaves Gillhams, a big Siamese carp comes out, and this trip was no exception because as he left Wil had a 110lb carp. Another 48-hour visitor was builder Steve Holberry from Manchester with his mate Mark. They landed 12 fish between them, with the icing on the cake going to Steve in the shape of a 90lb Siamese carp. The cobblers from Manchester, Ross and Slim John, made the short drive from Phuket for a 1? day trip. Slim John only made part of the first day, and retired knackered after landing seven carp in a short flurry of action, deciding to stop while ahead, and work his way through our restaurant menu! Ross meanwhile gave his all, fishing ‘til the final whistle for a haul of six Siamese carp to 60lb, one 50lb red tail catfish, and a 150lb Mekong catfish. This fish took him all over the lake while Slim sat eating a box of pies. Judging by the amount consumed by Slim, we estimated the fight took one hour, or 10 pies, 11 cakes, a bucket of ice cream, and 20 fags!

Then came the incredible hulk brothers Ricky and Terry Clark. These two giants were spot-on sound guys who came and enjoyed every moment of their stay. They came hoping for an arapaima, but whatever they caught was a bonus – just the attitude needed to fish here. Now the first day Ricky, who is about 10ft tall with a physique that makes Arnie look a wimp, caught a nice Mekong catfish. He plucked it from the landing net as if it was a minnow, “How big,” he asked? Well judging by the ease with which he had just lifted, it I would have said 5lb, but went for 120lb instead so as not to offend him! “No,” he stated, “I reckon 180lb,” and who was I to argue? But to humour him, I went to lift it, and amidst laughter from all around, I nearly followed through, and for sure it was easily 180lb. Ricky went on to take three Mekong, 17 Siamese carp, two red tail catfish, one pacu, and his target species, a nice 200lb arapaima. Terry, who is the same size as Ricky, with arms like hams, caught ten fish including two 100lb-plus arapaima. I am very glad the brothers were here when they were, as during this time I had the mishap with the stingray, and the lads plucked me from the lake like a feather and ran with me to the waiting car. Thanks you two, I owe you one. The hot weather was certainly bringing the stingrays on the feed, as two days later Keith from Liverpool landed another one, minus a sting! This fish weighed in at 120lb, and compensated for a lost arapaima.

Another laid back Mr. Nice Guy, Ken Weeks, booked in for a week. Ken came to chill out and hopefully catch a few fish. He was great fun to be with, and thoroughly enjoyed his stay here. The first few days Ken just chilled in the wrong swim, but was not bothered. Later in the week he moved to the other end of the lake, landing 31 fish for the week. He got into a shoal of Siamese carp, and took 18 to 50lb. At the same time my dear friends Jamie and Carol Mclean arrived just for a quiet break to see us. Jamie did manage a couple of short sessions between the swimming pool and sightseeing, while Carol divulged her secret steak and kidney pudding and bacon pudding recopies to Steve. Oh mate, these are to die for, and are now on the menu here at Gillhams – I have already put on another 20lbs! Jamie’s best fish from five was a red tail of 65lb. I had an enquiry before Christmas from a guy by the name of Jerker who wished to visit for a 48-hour trip. I thought it was a wind-up from a mate, but actually it turns out to be a popular name in Scandinavian countries – apparently there are lots of Jerkers over there! I suppose when they leave they say Jerker’s off! Sorry couldn’t resist that; it’s a bit like the lad called Wayne Kerr. OK back to the story… Jerker was a fishing fanatic; he booked three rods, and was buzzing from the moment he arrived. He had his better half Ida with him, and what a pair! He said that Ida could fish, but he only wanted her to use maize or boilies so as not to catch bigger fish than him. The first day Ida was a machine, taking eight Siamese carp in a short feeding spell, but the next day she properly gave Jerker a spanking with a 150lb Mekong catfish in the morning, followed by three more Siamese carp to 120lb. While all this was happening, poor Jerker in the next swim landed just two fish. The following week Jerker returned for a day’s fishing, and to save face poor Ida was not allowed to fish! He had a better day, probably because Ida was showing him what to do, landing five fish with some small carp, by Ida’s standards, up to 55lb, along with a nice featherback around 12lb.

Reiner from Dream Lake in Chiang Mai sent his Austrian client Andreas to us. By the time he arrived we were in the middle of a heatwave and the fishing was slow, but in a week he still managed 21 fish of five species. His target featherback eluded him, but on the final day, in the last hour of fishing, Andreas landed a dream fish in the shape of a 400lb arapaima! This was the same fish that rescued Len Gurd’s trip last month, again in the last hour of the last day. This arapaima is just packing on the weight – it was stocked at 300lb and avoided capture for 18 months. We are sure if it avoids capture for the next 18 months, it will reach 500lbs! At the same time as Andreas we had German client Peter in for three days. Peter’s target were predators, and he scored with two arapaima, best 160lb-plus, an 85lb stingray, and also took three red tail catfish. Germany has been making a good appearance here this month, and our final German client for the month was catfish fanatic Michael Zellner, who came for four days, and immediately rebooked for July when the heatwave will be well and truly over, as it will be our rainy season by then. Michael only landed nine fish due to the extreme heat, as we suffered the hottest January on record, but he did land his dream fish, an arapaima of 120lb. Michael’s attitude was what we wish everyone’s would be, enjoy the holiday – one big fish makes the holiday, and he could see enough potential here if the weather is kind to re book.

A bit of a sad one is the way to describe the next visitors. Here at Gillhams we want everyone to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the lake. We designed a fishery for the specialist angler where patience is rewarded with the biggest fish of your dreams. Most people catch a dream fish in a week, and sometimes two or three. We have never claimed Gillhams as a mackerel fishing location where you catch a fish a chuck from an overcrowded stock pond where all the fish are starving and emaciated. Our fish are the biggest and best-conditioned fish in Asia due to a low stocking density and an abundance of natural food. You should expect around four fish a day with a dream fish as a bonus. Henk and Job from Holland had not done their homework because if you look through our website you will see we are not a single specie overstocked bowl, and we chose the area for its peace, quiet and beauty, not like Bungsamlan in Bangkok where you can sit with crowds of muppets crossing lines amongst skyscrapers and fumes, hauling out vast bags of starved, badly beaten catfish before heading back to your hotel through traffic jams for a night of debauchery in the girlie bars. Unfortunately Gillhams was not for Henk and Job, so after a few days of only fishing part time they landed six fish, with a stingray of 80lb and Siamese carp to 50lb, before they headed back to Bangkok for a wild time in the bars, plus sticking hooks in numerous half starved and tatty Mekong and striped catfish amongst the crowds.

By contrast to Henk and Job, the next guest had read up on us, and wanted peace, quiet and big fish in beautiful surroundings. The spritely 70-years-young Arthur Hawkins, with his delightful fishing partner and wife Angie, came for a week on their way home from visiting their daughter and grandchildren in Australia. Arthur first noticed Gillhams via the article by Gary Newman in Anglers Mail after the Anglers Mail visit here. Arthur’s target was a big fish of any species, as he wanted to win a Jonny foreigner hat. In a week of chilling out and a second honeymoon, Arthur landed 13 fish of five species, the best being two arapaima to 220lb, and four red tail catfish to 75lb. Not to be outdone, Angie showed just what the women can do; she was a very competent and experienced fisherwoman who is thoroughly enjoying retirement with Arthur, fishing around the world. Angie landed 12 fish of four species, the best being four red tail catfish to 80lb, and six Siamese carp to 45lb. If poor Angie had not lost a couple of big fish, one being an arapaima, she would have upstaged Arthur. The couple both realized that the extreme heat was slowing the fishing, but agreed that Gillhams would still be paradise without the fish – in their words the fish were a bonus. Top couple, top fishing – we will see them both later in the year.

Gillhams is starting to get noticed in Singapore, so if any of our Singaporean followers are reading this and know the dates of the Singapore fishing show, please email me so we can attend and show just what we have, only a 1? hour flight from Singapore. One guy who made the trip this month was Nick Wheeler, an ex-pat Englishman working and living there, Nick came with his wife and one-year-old daughter for a week’s holiday with three days fishing, and landed ten fish in the three days of six species, with arapaima to 120lb, Chao Phraya catfish to 60lb, a baby Mekong catfish of 65lb, plus red tail catfish to 65lb along with Siamese carp and sorubim, all in all a fair bit of sport for a short trip.

So that’s me running out of space folks, but don’t forget the Five Lakes show on the 7/8 March. By the time you get next month’s newsletter I will be freezing in the UK, wearing shoes, long trousers and jackets for the first time in a year! If your fishing club want a talk on Thailand fishing holidays or fishing in Thailand, please contact me, as I still have some dates available. Forget the recession, and treat yourself to the fishing trip of a lifetime here at www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com Phone +66861644554. So, ‘til next month, from all of us at Gillhams, bye for now, thanks for your support, and catch a whacker.

Stuart and the team.

Please check out our web site … http://www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com for all the latest news and info about fishing in Thailand at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.

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Krabi newsletter March 2009

Please check out our web site … http://www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com for all the latest news and info about fishing in Thailand at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.

Krabi newsletter March 2009

Hi to all of you following this fishing in Thailand series. This last month has been hectic to say the least with my trip back to the UK and Holland. For those of you who came to see me at the shows, thank you, and a bigger thank you to all of you who booked your holiday with us. To all my friends who I didn’t make it too see, sorry but time ran out. So I suppose to start this newsletter – on with the shows. Firstly Five Lakes in Essex; this one should have been the showpiece, but to be honest the organizers let me down badly to say the least. When it was first talked about our part of the deal was giving the Carpin’ on show a prize of a week’s holiday for two with flights to the value of around ?3,000, which was for sure the best prize any idiot had ever given them. Their part of the deal, I was told, was that I would get a monthly slot on Carp-Talk online (not a lot considering 50% of the pages are repeats), mentions in all Angling Publications comics, and mentions both days throughout the show, the client base for all entries to the competition. Put all this with a free stand, accommodation and meals at the show, and it was a reasonable deal for us, and a blinding one for them.

So what did I get? The Carp-Talk online articles stopped once I had agreed to the prize, the mentions in their magazines never appeared, there wasn’t a single mention during the show, no client base, and a 2m by 2m stand not giving us enough room to swing a mosquito, let alone display our pictures! I wasn’t even asked to come on stage and draw the winner – in fact I had to go and search for someone to check if the winner had been drawn. To top that off, it took them two weeks to give me the winner’s name even though they managed to put it on Carp-Talk online the next week! And what did I get? A bill from them for a table, chairs, and plug for the rabbit hutch they called a stand, and a promise for a free stand of a decent size next year! But will they keep their word! It was comical at the show watching the organizers walking around, and every time they approached our box, oops, sorry, stand, they turned on their heels and walked back the way they came. Not once did one of them come and see us or thank me for the prize. On top of all that I let Rob Maylin share my room (twin beds, honest!). Now Rob snores louder than a jumbo jet on takeoff, so Saturday night there was no sleep – if he snores like that on his visit to us he will cause a tsunami.

Another old friend I met up with at the show was my old pike fishing mucker Max Cottis, who I was pleased to see is now twice my size and shops at Chipperfield’s for his keks! Max has started his own company Ace Advanced Carp Equipment, which every one who demands quality should look out for. He presented me with a typical Max idea, the D-Spool Line Stripper, a brilliant bit of kit that fits on your standard electric drill, and is used to unload and dispose of your old line quickly and safely. It includes a slipping clutch in case the line snags, and this handy bit of kit will save us hours, having 70 reels to maintain. Typical Max idea – simple but brilliant. I am sure Max will come up with many ideas, so my advice to you all is check out the Ace range, as anything Max puts his name to is quality. The blast from the past at the show must go to another old mate. An Alf Garnet lookalike appeared, a little old fella in a denim jacket and jeans, and slid alongside me asking, “How you doing, geezer?” I had to whisper to Rob, “Who is this?” “It’s Ritchie McDonald,” was his reply. Christ, I would never have recognized my old mucker Richie – the only clue was the hooter! Nice to see the little bald fella and hopefully he’s coming out to see us soon.

The most asked question at the show was, “How many fish over 100lb could I catch in a day from your lake?” Oh dear, nothing changes! In comparison the Visma show in Holland was the nuts – obviously set up and run by professionals! I was invited by Leo Burger of Carps Cabin to go on one of their stands, and on arrival I was given a 5m by 4m stand in a prime location – wow, I could swing the cat! All in all Leo and his team treated me like a king, and not a bill in site – top man, top team, and a top show. Thanks to you all, plus a big thank you to our dear friends Wil and Betty who gave up their valid time to help me over the four-day show. Betty, you could sell sand to the Arabs – thanks. Finally, a big thank you to all the people who flocked around the stand to see the fine pictures we had room to display, plus all of you who booked. Lastly, while the shows are on my mind, how about this? While sorting through the archives for some fish pictures for the shows, I came across a picture of Sean stocking a stingray in February 2008. This fish was stocked while I was in England for the 2008 fishing shows, and there right by his hand was a bloody sting! Yes, now the mystery is solved – it was never removed. It didn’t grow, it wasn’t a second sting, it was Sean after his inheritance early – thank god he only stocked the one! Still on the subject of stingrays, apparently it is barbaric to remove their stings. Funny, as they don’t flinch when it’s done, and seem healthy enough, even spawning after it has been done on fish farms. Mind you, some much more barbaric things have been done to these magnificent beasts in the name of glory, records and self-hype, but I won’t comment on this, as others are going to elsewhere, but to the guy who said it – stones and glass houses spring to mind!

Since last month’s newsletter with our heatwave conditions and no rain, March has been like June here, raining every afternoon much to our gardener’s delight. The lake has had a good flush through and is at its maximum level. Perfect conditions for this month’s visit by National Geographic to film my old mucker Rob Maylin – the spawny git even got a business class ticket thrown in with the deal. Watch out in May as another mate arrives, Keith ‘Made in England’ Jenkins – now that will be a blast. I can’t wait to take Keith to our local nightspot to see the in-house band – we are gonna rock! No visit to England is complete without a visit to my dear friend Bob Baker, aka Richworth baits. Apart from a stock up of 300 method feeders, Uncle Bobbie gave us five litres of the old favorite salmon oil – wow, that’s a flavour from my dark past. I am sure the carp here are gonna love it! The day before I visited Bob I went to the Cemex Horton Church Pool to see my old mates Ladders and Dell, and as I parked the car, lo and behold a guy had a 40lb-plus carp, the first 40lb European carp I have seen in five years since my exile – oh, I want one again now! Another trip I made was to see my old mate Rob Eustace at Gold Label Tackle. The big fat boss, tubby Terry Eustace visited Krabi whilst I was in the UK – a bit of a long way to go to avoid me, I thought! We went out, had a few beers, and the obligatory Indian, only to return to Rob’s for the Chelsea game. Rob’s mate Alan Boon is a Chelsea fanatic, and when Chelsea scored, he was off the sofa dancing like a good’un, and Rob’s Staffordshire terrier seized his foot, bit through his shoe, shaking him like a rat. Obviously the dog ain’t no Chelsea fan!

Before I left home for the UK we bought 20 arapaima from 150lb to 220lb from a fish farm that went broke, plus two breeding pairs around the 350lb mark, which went to our fish farm to keep new strains coming into our arapaima breeding program. Back to the 20 fish – all our stock ponds are full to capacity, so we netted off the top bay of the main lake and put them in behind the net to settle down. Well, all the other fish in the lake tumbled that a free feast was on offer every day, so when these fish were fed, arapaima and all the catfish species sneaked over the net and cashed in on the feast. So many fish in a small space resulted in some in-house fighting, resulting in a sorubim, tiger catfish and rohu, who thought it would be a cool place to hide, getting themselves killed in the fighting, On my return, the area behind the net was bulging with various freeloaders – all our 300lb-plus arapaima were in there, so no wonder they have been absent this month. Also there were big red tail catfish and Chao Phraya – one red tail was huge, and when he gets caught he will be 100lb-plus for sure. Now the net is out of place and the food has stopped going in, some big fish should be on the cards, and the boost to the arapaima stocks should make for some good fishing over the coming months.

The plea for a giant weigh sling has been answered by Army Andy, who makes slings, mats etc to order. My dear friend Ruth from Yateley Angling put us onto Andy, as he makes specials to order for them and the Tackle Box. He has made us a stretcher type cradle that will allow us to weigh a record arapaima safely, so once one is caught under the IGFA rules, Gillhams should soon be the home of another world record. I couldn’t bring it back with me, as my bags were full of other goodies, but Rob is bringing it with him next week. Not much controversial gossip this month, as I was away, but Sean had one dick in who claimed to fish at home all year for one big carp. So he had managed to fit in a few hours to come here and get some monsters, but gave up after five hours, disappointed not to have had a fish over the 100lb mark – as Sean said, another twat! So that’s about it on gossip for this month, but watch out for next month as we have some crackers already plus we will have the return of Maylin! So it’s on to the fish reports.

12 anglers came for fishing holidays in Thailand, and 26 came on day trips. Between them they caught 407 fish of 17 species, made up as follows… 39 arapaima to 220lb, eight alligator gar to 20lb, 55 Amazon red tail catfish to 70lb, six Asian red tail catfish to 30lb, ten black pacu to 35lb, six Chao Phraya catfish to 50lb, three giant featherback to 7lb, one giant snakehead of 4lb, nine Julian’s golden prize carp to 30lb, four Mekong catfish to 120lb, six rohu to 20lb, five spotted featherback to 10lb, 215 Siamese carp to 120lb, four striped snakehead to 4lb, 20 spotted sorubim to 40lb, eight shovel nosed tiger catfish to 20lb, two wallago attu to 20lb, and six wallago leeri to 10lb.

The first visitor to arrive this month had the unfortunate name of Gordon Brown. Oh if only it had been the Gordon Brown we could have saved Britain from destruction, and put him through the fish mincer and fed him to the arapaima – it’s about all he would be any good for! This Gordon though was an American with the misfortune of sharing the other prat’s name. In a couple of days fishing he landed arapaima to 150lb and Siamese carp to 55lb, plus a small red tail. Next to arrive was a returning client Carsten Brandt with his delightful other half Eva. Now Carsten had to suffer a dramatic temperature change to come here, going from -38 to +35! Carsten comes from Greenland and had vowed last year after coming for a day and a night, to get his dream fish, an arapaima. Well he achieved that in style, landing seven to 200lb in his seven-day stay. In all Carsten landed 42 fish of six species with Siamese carp to 60lb, red tail catfish to 55lb, and a rare Julian’s golden prize carp along with rohu and alligator gar.

Then along came Neil ‘no tip’ with his much better half Kim. After leaving us last month they had been travelling around Thailand and Vietnam only to miss Steve’s cooking and our beautiful resort. This time around Kim put her foot down on the little wimp and made him take her out on day trips all week. He was allowed to fish on an hourly basis before and after day trips, and still managed a respectful catch of 28 fish of seven species for the week, these being arapaima to 150lb, spotted sorubim to 30lb, red tail catfish to 55lb, Siamese carp to 50lb, tiger catfish of 15lb, a 10lb rohu, and lastly a giant snakehead of 4lb. Now these snakehead were never stocked below 12lb, so it is another baby of a species breeding here in perfect conditions, it makes us wonder what will end up here, as fish keep breeding in the perfect environment we have created. Talking of fish that have bred here, how’s this for a catch of fish for a day ticket? Swedish angler Johan came for a day trip and landed two wallago leeri of 8lb and 10lb (black wallago), again both bred here as we never stocked these fish under 20lb. Actually six of these fish have come out this month, so there has been a very successful spawning of these beautiful rare fish. Johan also had two giant featherback of 5lb and 7lb, another fish that has been spawning away here for the last two years. Again these cracking looking fish were never stocked under 10lb. Johan went on to catch a rare Julian’s golden prize carp of 24lb, an Asian red tail catfish, plus an Amazon red tail catfish and two Siamese carp. That’s six species in a day with three of them being old Poppa Eustace’s target species for his holiday.

Talking of the old fat git Poppa Terry Eustace, he was the next arrival, taking a nicely planned trip to coincide with my trip to Europe. Terry arrived at his new PB weight of 21 stone 6lb – wow, that’s an awful lot of flab on the old bloodhound lookalike! Terry’s target species this trip were Siamese carp, and he managed ten up to 75lb, but had to suffer the swim next to him turning up one of 120lb. Terry has another passion apart from eating, and that’s catching new species, so imagine the old sod’s face when a day ticket angler opposite him caught all the ones he wanted. Terry was on a roll, and not his usual bacon one! When disaster struck, he wasn’t like the old weeble that used to wobble and not fall down – poor old Poppa took a tumble landing heavily (well he would), and he damaged his ribs, which curtailed his fishing. He had to extend his stay for another week as he was unfit to fly, and he spent the next week unable to fish, but perfectly capable of eating all day! Terry’s tally before the accident was 16 fish with two arapaima to 170lb, and a new species in the shape of an 18lb tiger catfish that the silly sod managed to delete from his camera whilst looking at it!

Swedish women can certainly fish, as Asa showed her boyfriend Mathias. This couple only came for two days’ fishing and a two-night stay, but in the first hour she landed a 170lb arapaima and a Siamese carp, only to gain a ban from fishing the next day in case she showed Mathias up further. She said her arms ached, but refused a lie detector test. Mathias never achieved the arapaima, but did land six fish of four species. Talking of short stay visitors, expat Warren made the six-hour journey here again this month from his home in Hua Hin. Last month when Warren was here he bought a kilo of the Gillham special boilies. Having used at least 15 of them, he took them home and fished a local lake with them, only to return with at least half a kilo for this trip. At the end of four days he had landed 12 fish, the best a 170lb arapaima, and went home with at least ten boilies for his next trip. Now that must be the best eight quid the fella has ever spent. He runs a restaurant as a living, and Christ, I dread to think what they do with the leftovers. I bet he doesn’t know what a sell by date is either! Another nice fella to arrive with his lovely family was Neil Cobley; he came for a two week family holiday using Gillhams as a base to go sight seeing etc, and fishing odd hours between trips out. Neil had asked a million questions prior to coming, and he brought some spods, making him the first to try them here. Also being a Nutrabaits fan, he made the kids wear the same clothes the entire trip so he could fit in 40kg of his favourite baits. He spodded vast amounts of maize, and fished his beloved boilies over the top when after a few slow days something clicked! He gave maize a try, and the change of tactics paid off when the first day he landed a cracking 120lb Siamese carp, which now adorns his Facebook profile picture. One day trip Neil went on was a day’s training at the local Thai boxing stadium. It cost him more money than a day’s fishing here to get his arse kicked! To be fair to Neil, he treated his family holiday with 100% commitment, but on his odd hours fishing he put in the same effort to prove what a good fisherman can do here if he studies the lake and puts in the work. Neil ended his holiday with more fish than those who don’t try catch while they sit fishing all day every day. He caught 34 fish of nine species, including five arapaima to 180lb, 18 Siamese carp to 120lb, three rare Julian’s golden prize carp, sorubim, pacu, alligator gar, and Asian red tail cats along with a rare tiger catfish and an even rarer wallago attu (silver wallago). Just shows what accurate casting and spodding can do! I wonder what Neil would have achieved if he had fished full days?

John Cristlas came to try our style of fishing for a day, being a keen fly fisherman at home in the UK. Fishing with static baits on alarms was new to John, and after a couple of hours declared this type of fishing, although relaxing, wasn’t his thing. This all changed 40 minutes later when he latched into a 100lb Siamese carp that took him three quarters of an hour to land. This fish had him shaking with excitement, and when an hour later his fish bait rattled off he was hooked, or rather a bloody great stingray was! After an hour of tugging and pulling the hook hold gave, and poor John was left wondering what might have been. He is now going to take up carping in the UK, thinking 100lb carp are plentiful! Seriously though, he is now another statistic of somebody who is hooked on carping, and he knows to beat his PB he will have to return to swell my bank balance – oh I love the draw of Gillhams.

Space is running out again but we must mention returning client Graham Jones, who came for a ten-day stay, mainly sightseeing, but with three days fishing. The plan went out the window once Graham started fishing; he ended up fishing all ten days, landing 34 fish with the third 100lb-plus carp this month in the shape of a fine 110lb fish, plus four arapaima to 130lb along with red tail catfish and pacu. Another couple who wished they had booked their whole holiday here instead of five days were Don and Ann Spence. They had stayed at another fishery in the past that was a crap hole, and were dubious about what to expect here. As soon as they arrived they made the usual comment that our website does not do the resort justice. Don had a few fish under his belt, including an arapaima, when he hooked into a turbocharged arapaima that took him the length of the lake then burst through the net holding the new arapaima back. Sean had to swim out with the rod, dive down and swim through the hole in the net, then hand the rod back to Don who duly played and landed the 200lb beast on the sanctuary side of the net. Don ended up with 17 fish for the five days, made up of five species, which included a rare wallago attu. Another day ticket angler was father and son team Hohan and Mattrah Jonsson from Sweden. When father Hohan landed a 150lb arapaima and Mattrah failed to land one, they returned another day when dad wasn’t allowed to fish, as he had spanked Mattrah the first time. Well he got his arapaima this time around, beating dad by 20lb with a fine 170lb fish. They ended their campaign with 17 fish between them of five species. Last but not least our international appeal proved itself again with another country being represented by Denmark angler Preben Klausen coming for a five-day fishing holiday. His plan was to fish Siame carp, and despite catching 11 he failed to get a big one, but made up for it with two arapaima of 150lb and 190lb along with red tail catfish. He ended his holiday pleased, but with plenty of targets to return for.

That’s me folks, out of space for another month. We sure are becoming known worldwide for our big fish – our visitors this month came from nine different countries, which shows the power of the Internet. Watch out for next month’s news letter to see how Rob performs for National Geographic, and also to see if the Carpin’ on show have had me shot for daring to speak out against them! April has started off with some good fish and loads of gossip, so see you next month for more on the greatest fishing resort on the planet. Until then check out the website www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com or phone us on +66861644554. Forget the recession – that’s what credit cards are for – book that holiday of a lifetime and make your dreams come true. Tight lines, and catch a whacker from Stuart and all the team at Gillhams Fishing Resorts, Krabi, Thailand.

Please check out our web site … http://www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com for all the latest news and info about fishing in Thailand at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.

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Krabi newsletter February 2009

Please check out our web site … http://www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com for all the latest news and info about fishing in Thailand at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.

Krabi newsletter February 2009

Hello once again, and thanks to you all for following this fishing in Thailand series. As I write this newsletter I am in the UK attending fishing shows, meeting up with old friends, getting drunk and freezing my nuts off while in Thailand the heatwave continues. I am sitting here with man flu, feeling sorry for myself, and counting the days ‘til I can return to paradise. In Krabi temperatures are at their highest ever recorded level. The stream that skirts the lake is actually dry for the first time in memory – no one in our village has ever seen this stream run dry, as southern Thailand experiences the hottest February ever recorded. The jungle that surrounds us has changed from its usual lush green to brown. Luckily we have seven natural springs that feed the lake, and although they are running very slow they are helping to slow the lake dropping to a record low level. We are pumping water into the lake from our well and a spring next door, but with all my gardening staff watering our seven-acre gardens daily we are fighting a losing battle. Even George the tortoise is struggling; he can’t be bothered to trek from the shade on the top of the hill down to the lake, so the other day we took some water to him, and he actually drank 3? litres of water without stopping, just like Sean with his Singha beer! Talking of George he has been having jogging races with fishing guide John. It’s not a fair contest though as George wins every time! Sean, Kevin and Gollock have taken advantage of a slow down in clients to build a rock barrier on the bungalow side of the lake to stop erosion, and the gardeners have backfilled to the rocks and replanted some creeping plants, so as these grow the rocks will get hidden. Actually the plants grow faster than old John walks!

It’s strange; arapaima are such inquisitive fish. Every day the lads are working on the stones the arapaima hang motionless behind them watching the proceedings. Helmet our dog thinks all this is put on just for his entertainment, so he pounces on the arapaima, the water explodes, and they come back for more as if it’s a game. If they wanted to they could surely kill him with one swipe of the head. The arapaima have been slow feeding this month; they hate the hot conditions, but every time some wind and clouds came over or a brief rain shower they had a short feeding spell. The red tail catfish have also been slow this month due to shedding their skins to make way for new growth. I wish I could do the same as I keep growing, but I have to buy new skins! As the heat continues more bird life is appearing as all the surrounding waters dry up. We seem to have an abundance of water birds fishing here, double the amount of cave swallows are coming to drink, and some days the air is black with them. These are the birds that make nests with their spit, which makes the famous bird’s nest soup, so next time you are tucking into your spittoon of soup, bear in mind it was made thanks to Gillhams and all that fish poo! Talking of these swallows our Chao Phraya catfish have sussed out an easy food source, prowling just under the surface, lining up an incoming swallow, then wham, in an explosion of water Mr Swallow is no more! I have been thinking of tying up some imitation swallows – imagine casting those at the Chao Phraya, now that would be exciting!

We have also had an increase of hummingbirds visiting our flowers, which are flourishing due to the gardener’s continuous watering. Our top stock pond, which backs onto jungle, is being visited by all sorts of four-legged creatures, the strangest looking being an armadillo that crept in as darkness fell. All this activity, along with fish rolling, is missed by some individuals who sit in the swim covered in sun cream getting a tan while they go through the chore of waiting for a huge fish to pose with. They don’t know the depth of the lake in front of them, or anywhere else come to that. Just casting blind then putting their headphones on whilst reading their latest Beano annual as they wait for their 300lb deserved prize to hook itself. Why do some guys fly 7000 miles, pay hard-earned wonga, to arrive here and never even walk around the lake, or watch for signs of fish, and not even looking at the wildlife – they are content to just plonk their butt in the nearest swim to their bungalow, then complain how slow the fishing is, even though they never change their bait or fishing position. These same guys then proceed to moan as they say there are no fish showing, when we prize the head phones off them and toss the comic in the flower bed, we show them fish rolling and flat spots where a fish has just rolled under the surface, the flat spot is beyond their comprehension, as if you throw your ice cream wrapper into the water it produces the same effect! But when you show them a two-metre monster rolling, or a huge carp head and shouldering out of the water they tell you they have just started showing. The same guy bristles with enthusiasm when you tell him to look up at the fish eagle circling the lake this produces the enthusiastic response of, “Oh, are they special, then?” At this point I normally sod off to my office to watch the fish rolling in front of the prats while they get back to their comics. These same guys will be shown huge carp head and shouldering and crashing out at the opposite end of the lake, where the new wind is blowing into the bank, but upon being asked, “Why don’t you move on those fish, the reply is, “I am waiting for them to move to me” – oh god, help us! Even when they are in the correct spot by chance, with the wind coming to them, you can show them the colour change as waves wash the margins and create a feeding area within three meters of the bank, but the response is, “Yeah I see ‘em, but I baited up over there, and don’t want to miss them when they come to me!”

At the end of the trip they have still managed to fluke out a couple of 100lb fish, probably ten or more fish around 30 to 60lb, and as is normally the case a 200lb undeserved beauty, only to complain about how disappointed they were with the slow fishing, and how lucky that guy was who kept moving, recasting and checking the lake contours with the plumbing rod – the guy who actually fluked three times more fish than they did! The most annoying difference is this poor bugger didn’t get a deserved 200lb-plus fish. End result – the fisherman rebooks, and the nerd never comes back – good! Why do some people not listen to our guides, who are here 24/7 handling big fish day in day out. We farm our own fish and spend days and months studying them, so why not listen? We had one guy arrive this month whose whole time was spent trying to prove us wrong. When told the swim in front of his bungalow was not producing in the heatwave conditions, he spent the next three days fishing there, but hey he had one, so I suppose it was one-nil in his pea-sized brain! He had caught one arapaima at another Thai lake before, which made him an expert on them, and after two days of listening to him telling us we had it all wrong about them, I avoided him, and Kevin and Sean tried not to speak with him. John didn’t mind, because the prat was never going to catch much, so John could sleep by him all day and just nod in agreement with him. The final straw for me was when the said fishery expert, upon seeing me walk around the lake with Helmet the dog, decided to try and wind me up. Upon being told I had just had some bad news and wanted to be left alone, he chose to tell me that the fish were not feeding because the lake was too hot due to being only 1? metres deep. The shallowest part of our lake is three meters – we know because we dug it. If the doughnut had bothered to check the depth, he would have soon discovered this. Better still why did he not put on some lead boots and walk over the lake to prove his theory! The same guy got upset because he couldn’t use barbed hooks or bring his own fish to the lake for bait. When asked if he had read the rules, his comment was he thought they were wrong – so why did he come? He also wanted to groundbait with kilos of dead fish he was going to buy at the supermarket. I told him that in Thailand some unscrupulous fishermen use formaldehyde instead of ice on their catch, which would kill our fish – we only buy our fish off one lady who owns 20 fishing boats that all go to sea with ice on board. I also told him that as the fish were not feeding very well that loads of bait put in by him and the other fishermen would stuff the fish and stop the few feeding ones being caught. His reply, “Well don’t let the others do it, just me,” was enough for me. I spent the rest of his holiday joining the others in avoiding him and praying he would blank or better still drown! We had a nice quiet fisherman from Norway in who was unfortunate enough to be fishing next to him, and he summed the guy up with on word – prick! ‘Nuf said and onto the fishing.

16 anglers came for fishing holidays in Thailand, and 17 came on day trips. Between them they caught 460 fish of 20 species, made up as follows… 32 arapaima to 360lb, eight alligator gar to 25lb, 41 Amazon red tail catfish to 60lb, two arawana to 7lb, one Asian red tail catfish of 20lb, 11 black pacu to 30lb, one big head carp of 20lb, six Chao Phraya catfish to 60lb, one Giant feather back of 18lb, one giant gourami of 14lb, one giant stingray of 120lb, seven Julian’s golden prize carp to 30lb, nine Mekong catfish to 160lb, two migul to 15lb, seven rohu to 15lb, six spotted feather back to 10lb, 302 Siamese carp to 110lb, seven striped snake head to 5lb, 11 spotted sorubim to 35lb, four shovel nosed tiger catfish to 20lb.

The first of the Thailand fishing holiday guests was Ian Roberts, who managed 22 fish of five species for his five-day stay. He managed the target arapaima, plus a couple of nice Chao Phraya catfish. Then Bob Armstrong and Dave Cook arrived, who bought their wives Carol and Sue with them. The girls were pleasantly surprised by the facilities and surroundings at Gillhams, as it was such a change from the French carp fishing holidays of the past, swapping a bivvy for an air-conditioned bungalow, mud for lawns and tropical gardens, puddles for a swimming pool, and a stove for a top class restaurant. Sorry lads – the French trips are things of the past – it’s Thailand from now on! Between them they landed 90 fish of five species in their two-week stay fitted in between sightseeing, shopping and chilling around the pool, both getting their target arapaima, Dave landing five to 230lb, whilst Bob landed three to 200lb. They both had a rare shovel nose tiger catfish, along with plenty of Siamese carp up to 60lb, which fell to Bob’s rods.

Another spot-on fella was returning client Alistair, who started the banter going by saying John the fishing guide looked like that bloke Christie of 10, Rillington Place fame. All week the saying was, “It wasn’t me, Christie done it,” in a fine Welsh accent just like Christie’s lodger Evans! Alistair sacrificed numbers of fish in the hope of a whacker, sitting it out at the mouth of the bay, tucked up behind a reed bed, waiting to ambush his target big arapaima, and boy did he achieve the target, with a fine fish of 360lb, which was actually a spawned-out fish that earlier in the year was hitting 400lb, but who’s bothered when they are that size? He still ended up with ten fish for the week, including his target species with two arapaima. Then came the one and only ‘speak before the brain is in gear’ Peter from Spain. Peter brought his long-suffering wife, and husband and wife non-fishing next-door neighbours, who all loved the tranquillity and beauty of Gillhams. He desperately wanted an arapaima, but wherever he fished, once he moved from the swim, one came out! Even on the day he left, an hour later the swim he vacated produced a pair of arapaima! He did manage 19 fish of five species for his six-day trip, topped of by a fine Mekong catfish of 160lb. Poor old whinging Peter thought Gillhams was expensive, as he was off to, in his words ‘a great Thai fishery that was only ten quid a day.’ We heard when he got to the said puddle, stocked with minnows, he checked out and obviously realized the difference between paradise’s and hell’s prices. One thing’s for sure, in this world you get what you pay for – see you next year, Pete? Our new regular ex-pat Warren from Hua Hin, six hours north of us, came for two days earlier in the month, taking 28 fish in two days of four species with 22 fish on his second day. He returned for a four-day trip to fish Siam carp, which are his favourite fish. Now Warren fishes the pond by his house in Hua Hin that Peter travelled to after us, so alarm bells should have rung for Peter when he found out that Warren travels to us for good fishing. Warren rubbed salt in the wound by taking a 160lb arapaima from the first swim Peter fished. The four days were not so kind to him on numbers as last time, but with 16 fish during this visit, he had his favourite Siamese carp to 50lb on the Gillhams special boilies, but really pissed Peter off when he said he would have swapped the arapaima for a Mekong catfish. Never mind – the good thing about living over here is fellas like Warren can return when they like, and he is already booked for another four days in March to try for his big Mekong plus he is after upping his 50lb PB carp.

Too many fishermen to mention them all, sorry for that guys – I know some of you like to see what we write about you, but at least if we haven’t you didn’t do anything I can take the pee about! But I must just mention the silver fox Dave along with Jim and Mark who came for a week. Dave and Mark started off a bit wobbly, and we thought they were going to be a problem, but it all sorted out fine once they got to grips with the lake and accepted it as the lake it is, where dreams come true with huge fish, but they don’t give themselves up easily. Gillhams isn’t a numbers water; it is a specialist angler’s location. We always tell everyone who comes here it isn’t a fish a chuck, but for big fish in stunning surroundings it is the best location on the planet – our lake isn’t easy, but it isn’t hard. Now David claimed silver with his arapaima, a pup at 70lb, but the Siamese carp fishing exceeded his dreams when he landed 21, with a couple at 50, and 60lb topped off by a stunning never caught before dark fish of 110lb. Mark landed a nice pair of arapaima from the swim Spanish Peter left at 160 and 170lbs, along with 18 other fish of four species. The third man in the group, Jim, just enjoyed Gillhams for what it is from the off. He caught his target arapaima on his first day, one of the home grown babies at 50lb, stating that the fish had made his holiday. He went on with a fine show of dedication to the cause after going out on the razzle on my birthday. We took a group of 20 to the local curry house, ordering the grub for 9pm 24 hours in advance, and bless the Indians they did manage to serve us all by 11pm, leaving the partying time short. Most of us returned to the fold by 2am, but Sean and Jim went for it big style and came staggering home at the crack of 8.30am. Jim had a big fry-up, then went and cast out in a quiet corner of the lake, where he proceeded to fool the arapaima into a false sense of security by pretending to be asleep. This feat of angling was rewarded with a fine 250lb arapaima, after which Jim retired and slept on his laurels for the day! Sean on the other hand slunk off into the trees to find George, and then slept behind the palm trees for the day, thinking I wouldn’t notice! Before Jim left he booked a six-week trip over Christmas – top man Jimbo!

Another thing I must mention is “I will give a ?100 tip for an arapaima” Neil. There was something else he said he would do, but I cant mention that in a newsletter read by normal people, so all I will say on it is I am glad he doesn’t honour his promises! Neil came for a day, then a week, and has even returned for two days this month before returning home. He has booked another trip, so I won’t give him too much stick. For an ugly bloke he had a very pretty partner, Kim, who gave up her beach holiday and visiting romantic places to listen to Neil talking arapaima onto the hook. He finished up with four arapaima to 150lb, plus a few other nice fish including one of the much sought after Julian’s Golden prize carp of 25lb. Phuket Ross made a return two-day trip, and caught his sought after arapaima at 120lb. Siam fishing tours client Martin Fisher took the award for the fastest arapaima when he arrived, and on his first cast, within three minutes, landed a stunning 220lb arapaima, and he ended his trip with another of 190lb. Unluckiest angler must go to Alan, another ex-pat from Pataya, who came for four days and blanked whilst fish came out all round him. Not put off, he stated he wouldn’t leave ‘til he got his arapaima. Through no fault other than bad luck, he had several arapaima shed the hook, but on his sixth day the dream came true for him with a 150lb arapaima, after which he still stayed four days, taking 27 fish on his last few days of six species, so it all came good in the end. Top day ticket rod must go to Andrew from Sweden who came for a day but fished three days, taking two Mekong catfish to 110lb, plus his second 100lb species, an arapaima, just scraping the ton! Now that’s a sign of the quality here when we have scraper one hundred pounders! Andrew also had some fine red tail catfish and Siamese carp during his day trips, and is another satisfied customer planning his return trip.

Space is running short, so sorry if you failed to make the newsletter, but thank you for visiting us. For all our Dutch friends and clients make a date to see us at the Visma show on the last weekend of March. We are on Fish-24 Gold Label Tackle stand, so book at the show, pay your deposit, and receive a 10% discount on the total cost of your holiday. Anyone booking holidays for June to October 2009 ask for our low-season discount. Don’t forget to visit www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com or phone to book your holiday of a lifetime in paradise on +66861644554. Thank you all for your support and reading my ramblings, and watch out for next month when Gillham once again has a moan up, and reviews his trip to Europe. Best wishes from Stuart, Sean and all the gang at Gillhams.

Please check out our web site … http://www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com for all the latest news and info about fishing in Thailand at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.

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2008 Review Gillhams Fishing Resorts Krabi Thailand

Please check out our web site … http://www.gillhamsfishingresorts.com for all the latest news and info about fishing in Thailand at Gillhams Fishing Resorts.

2008 Review Gillhams Fishing Resorts Krabi Thailand

What a year 2008 was – it was the first full year Gillhams was open. We first opened the doors to anglers in August 2007, and the very first anglers to fish were my old friends Terry Eustace and Joe Taylor. Terry caught his first ever arapaima here, and to this day it is still my favorite arapaima picture. Many of my friends own and run fisheries, and they all warned me how hard this business is. I did not believe them, but I now know why. Over the course of a year we have met some truly lovely great people, some OK people, and some extremely horrid ones. Luckily the really nice ones by far outnumber the a——-s! Perfect examples are people moaning because they have not had a big arapaima when it was 130lb, or saying they’ve had no big fish today when they have had a couple over 60lb, or that it’s a bit slow when they had a 100lb fish in the morning and a 150lb fish in the afternoon! We even had a guy who caught 150lb, 220lb and 340lb arapaima plus a 60lb carp and two red tails of 50lb and 60lb all in a day say it was OK but not what he expected! Christ I would love to fish his local lake. Another one we hear is, “The line broke – it’s crap.” No, it broke because they don’t know how to play fish, and when trying to stop a 300lb-plus beast at 30 miles an hour, something has to go! The list goes on, but the happy smiling faces as a decent angler catches a big fish far outweighs the idiots! Seeing grown men reduced to tears as they catch the fish of their dreams is what it’s all about to us. What a shame the good guys sometimes fail and the prats catch the whackers!

Pet hates are the fellas you haven’t seen for 15 years suddenly coming up to see us at a show, announcing he lost his contact details for me, his long lost mate, then asking for a mate’s rate! Come on – I have never been hard to find! Or the ones who come here on holiday and make you their best friend in the whole world, and invite you to their house or a couple of days thinking it now qualifies them for free holidays for life! How about advising someone what bits of tackle to bring to increase their chances, only for them to present us with a bill for it afterwards – people bringing piles of junk that we will never use and wanting us to buy it. Or moaning because the drinks and snacks in our fridge using our electric, and which our staff refill, is five pence more than the supermarket 15 miles away, then filling our fridge with the stuff they saved three quid on with a ten quid taxi fare. Or bringing end tackle with them, and then taking a few bits home along with our bits and bobs – we have hook link material, baiting needles, pliers etc stolen every month. We even had one prat who whinged so much that we wouldn’t buy some overpriced items he had brought with him that we purchased stuff off him that we get for free of our sponsors, only for him to take it out and use it during his holiday, and then take home some of the bits we had been forced to buy!

Then we get the ones who go to the local pet shop, buy some goldfish, and want to use them as bait in our lake! No wonder carp pox is on the increase in the UK with these morons about! All our fish are photographed in the water to protect them; 100lb fish bouncing across the ground does them no favours. But hey, for the ultimate photo, who cares?

Wanting to hold them out of the water for pictures on three cameras and a video, then wanting their mate to hold them the same, all in the name of ‘look what I caught!’ Get the camera ready, work out your angles and background, and take a couple of good shots – believe it or not it’s the fish that matters. Guys who get a repeat catch – this happens when fishing one swim for a holiday, as a lot of predators are territorial. If you photographed a fish two days ago in the dark in the same swim, why on earth would you want another picture? Even if you are wearing a different shirt? Well folks, the list goes on and on, but as 90% of anglers who come here care about the fishes’ welfare and want them to be just as pristine for the next person. We meet so many lovely people, for us it outweighs the bad, but when the bad ones come it spoils our day. If you are one of these people, please do us all a favour and stay away.

Anyway, that’s the griping done, so onto the year, and what a year it has been with 3,465 fish landed of 29 species. The list below shows the figures from January 08 to December 08.

Arapaima – 432 total, best 400lb, best month November – 44 fish.

Alligator gar – 151 total, best 35lb, best month August – 21 fish.

Arawana – 12 total, best 8lb, best month September – five fish.

Asian red tail catfish – 40 total, best 31lb, best month November – six fish.

Barramundi – six total, best 31lb, best month February – two fish.

Big head carp – two total, best 30lb, best month July – one fish.

Black pacu – 186 total, best 55lb, best month December – 33fish.

Black shark carp – two total, best 10lb, best month March – one fish.

Chao-Phraya catfish – 62 total, best 64lb, best month September – 11 fish.

Common carp – six total, best 25lb, best month April – two fish.

Giant featherback – three total, best 21lb, best month May – one fish.

Giant freshwater stingray – two total, best 90lb, best month November – two fish.

Giant Gourami – nine total, best 15lb, best month March – five fish.

Julian’s golden prize carp – 105 total, best 45lb, best month May – 25 fish.

Mekong catfish – 46 total, best 185lb, best month May – seven fish.

Mrigal (Asian grass carp) – five total, best 18lb, best month November – three fish.

Red tail Amazon catfish – 504 total, best 80lb, best month August – 76 fish.

Rohu carp – 83 total, best 21lb, best month December – 37 fish.

Siamese carp – 1,325 total, best 98lb, best month December – 213 fish.

Spotted featherback – 34 total, best 15lb, best month November – eight fish.

Shovel-nosed spotted sorubim – 379 total, best 45lb, best month October – 65 fish.

Striped snakehead – 40 total, best 5lb, best month December – 15 fish.

Tambaqui – eight total, best 29lb, best month October – three fish.

Tiger catfish – four total, best 20lb, best month March – two fish.

Wallago Attu (silver) – nine total, best 25lb, best month August – three fish.

Wallago leeri (black) – five total, best 35lb, best month April – two fish.

We hope this list is of use to you, and if there is fish species you are targeting, it may provide you with some clues. Personally unless you are targeting Mekong catfish and
Julian’s golden prize carp, which hate the rain, we rate the wet season between June to October. There are still many good sunny days between rainstorms. But regardless,
Gillhams produces numbers of big fish every month – check the newsletters on our website where you will see returns for every month since we opened.

Highlights from each month of 2008 for us are as follows…

January. Joe Taylor taking two hours to land an 85lb Mekong catfish and stopping the whole lake going to breakfast in the process. Then we had dreams come true in the shape of arapaima. First was Simon Wynn who came on a day ticket then extended his holiday and changed his flights twice, vowing to stay at Gillhams until he caught an arapaima. Finally landing one of 160lb, he broke down in tears of joy. Then there was John the policeman who had spent years trying around the world for arapaima, then coming here and landing six up to 200lb. When you see the good guys win it makes our job worthwhile.

February. This month finally saw the completion of all the holiday bungalows at Gillhams, and with the swimming pool done, our dream was now taking shape. Top angling this month must go to 11-year-old Andrew Purton who stuck through the pain to land a 130lb Mekong catfish totally unaided after a two hour fight, only to follow up the next day with a 170lb arapaima, plus a nice 30lb Julian’s golden prize carp. It’s a strange name for a carp; I can only presume many years ago some hooray family were in Thailand with young Julian when he landed his golden prize carp, and the name stuck. Anyone out there got any suggestions?

March. This was special for me as I returned home after a long 11 weeks promoting Gillhams around Europe. This month saw four arapaima over 300lb landed, one to match angling legend and world champion Dave Roper, one to Dave Negus, one to Alan Jones, and last but not least one to Keith Purton. Now this one was special; Keith had fished Gillhams in October 2007 and caught a 350lb arapaima, which was filmed by Lee Jackson and found its way onto YouTube. From there National Geographic spied it and arranged to come here and film Keith in a remake of the capture. To cut a long story short, Keith caught the same fish again for the film crew! What makes this tale unique is no one else had ever caught this fish. Watch out for that one on your screens on the National Geographic channel. “Man vs. Fish – Arapaima” should screen in the UK in February this year.

April. Had a really good crowd in with some good fish caught. Joe Burkett caught a PB 98lb carp, adding 78lb to his best. Comments on the lake were unlucky it wasn’t 2lb heavier for the ton – strange, some people! Walking around the lake one evening I came across Bob Martin with piles of money set up along the bank. My guide Gollock was drooling as Bob had them lined up as tips – a red tail over 50lb was one pile, and an arapaima another. I had noticed on my way to him some good fish showing in the bottom corner, so we moved him down, and on his first cast he landed a 70lb red tail catfish, then next cast a 380lb arapaima! Gollock binned the tips, and didn’t even buy me a beer, the tight sod! Also another special fish to me was when my daughter Rebecca landed a PB arapaima of 200lb.

May. Now this was the month my old mate Rob Maylin arrived and fished like a demon, showing just what he is capable of. He started on the arapaima, breaking the lake record for most in a day with five up to 300lb-plus, then got amongst the carp as only Rob can, landing them up to 65lb. All the time he was hauling he kept whingeing ‘cos he reckoned we don’t have enough Mekong catfish in the lake. Then he hooked one, and after an hour he was getting knackered, but the fish showed no sign of tiring. After another hour of agony, Rob was asking us how long these things fight for. When we replied that a big one can take three hours plus, he was panicking in case he would run out of power before the fish. After 2 ½ hours we slipped the net under a new world record Mekong catfish of 185lb 2oz. His comment was, “Don’t stock tot many of those!” We told him to cast out again for a brace, but instead we went out and got wasted in true old-time carper’s fashion. The same month another legend John Allen landed a brace of arapaima at 330lb and 350lb. John, for those old enough to remember, had caught a big catfish many years ago in Cassien, France. He never thought he would catch a bigger freshwater fish in his life, but hadn’t reckoned on Gillhams. Finally in this month to remember Mike Woodley equaled the world record Chao Phraya catfish at 64lb. We did not claim this fish as we have fish double the
size in the lake, and would rather wait to break the record in style!

June. This was a sad month as our client and friend Sean Fay from the Oxford area sadly passed away. On a lighter note Steve our chef didn’t take our warnings about arapaima being aggressive in the cage, as they look docile. Poor old Steve leaned over to get a closer look at one he had just helped to land when wham, it gave him a Glasgow kiss causing a nice black eye, a split lip and a loose tooth! June was a very wet month with few clients and no monster fish – mind you there were plenty of good fish landed – 171 fish to only 13 clients. Everyone who came had at least one of the 25 arapaima landed this month.

July. The weather for this month was better than usual, even if we did get a flash flood. Our old mate John Allen popped up again; John lives the other side of Thailand, but only a 1hr 20min flight away. His target species this time was the Siamese carp. The fishing started slowly for John, but after baiting heavily for a couple of days the carp moved in. John landed 57 carp over the next few days with three at 50lb, two at 60lb, and the icing on the cake in the shape of a 90lb Siamese carp, giving John the biggest carp of his career. John reckons Gillhams gives him a bigger buzz than any place he has ever fished, and coming from a guy that has done it all, we take that as a complement. July also gave me another angling achievement after a year of trying, I finally sussed the method with my first fly caught arapaima at 150lb, which made me the 14th person to land one on a fly in the world. Mind you, now we have the fly pattern and tactics sussed it is reasonably easy to take them using this method.

August. The big arapaima were back on the feed with four over 300lb this month as the weather settled for the usual dry month between the rains. Sjoerd from Holland was the star this month, and apart from a 300lb-plus arapaima he had a clash with one of our turbocharged Mekongs. Now this fish had a story with it… Sjoerd had agreed with ‘her who must be obeyed’ to a five-day fishing, then five-day sightseeing trip. So it was with disappointment that he packed up on the fifth day, but on seeing his little face I suggested doing a couple of hours for free in the morning from 7am to 9am before his girlfriend woke up. All was going well when at five to nine Leonie appeared on the balcony pointing at her watch. As she did so, the alarm went into a one-toner, Sjoerd struck and the fish went on a mission. Poor Sjoerd landed a 120lb Mekong catfish some three hours later much to his girlfriend’s disgust. That was the last time in the holiday Sjoerd was seen fishing, but he said it was worth it and is rebooking, so all must be calm now in his kingdom!

September. This was the month we had the Anglers Mail team over. We had lots of rain, but the fish were used to this weather by now. They landed three arapaima over 300lb between the three-man team, with a total of 228 fish. Some strokes were pulled, but I am not allowed to mention Adam Parker ‘cos he gets upset! Also the Anglers Mail star Gary Newman had an embarrassing situation that he blamed on the drink – email me for details! The lads also had red tail catfish to 75lb and carp to 70lb, not to mention a rare Wallago Attu of 20lb to Vince. My old Harefield fishing partner Matt turned up this month and caught the biggest fish of his life with a fine 70lb Siamese carp, plus a nice arapaima brace of 180lb and 200lb.

October. The IGFA finally accepted Rob Maylin’s world record Mekong catfish at 185lb 2oz. Damien from Siam Fishing Tours gave his partner Jules a lesson in fishing. Now Jules has never caught a 200lb-plus arapaima, but has some strange theories that they don’t feed in bright sunlight, which is a bit like when I fished in the Colne Valley years ago when the carp didn’t feed when the pubs were open. You have to be in it to win it, and Damien was – he landed six species for six PB’s topped by a 220lb arapaima – top bloke, top angling. While this was happening, a guest who nearly shares my name, David Gillman, landed our 350lb plus arapaima, Henry. Another mate arrived at the end of the month – “I talk a lot don’t I” Derek Mallows, aka Ladders. He fished short spells, but when he did the man was a machine. He wanted to land a 100lb-plus fish and ended up with four arapaima to 170lb plus a Mekong catfish of 110lb. Add red tail catfish and Siamese carp over 50lb, and you can see why everyone at Horton is wearing earplugs now!

November. Well it all happened this month, as my old mates Lee Jackson, Len Gurd, Dave Woods, John Allen and Chris Turnbul all descended on us. Amongst drinking, partying and a bit of fishing, a good old fishing party was had by all. Len has even made a DVD of the event, so watch out for that one, ‘cos Jacko has a 250lb arapaima on it. Now we have had stingrays in the lake from day one, but none were ever landed. This changed when Martin Roker was told a free day’s fishing was on offer to the first person to land one, and the next day he had a 90lb stingray and claimed the prize! So much happened, and some good fish landed, but I must mention the fishing family from Great Yarmouth (someone has to live there!) Lloyd and Lin Clark with Luke, their 14-year-old son. Wow, this family were fishing mad, and could all fish. Lloyd landed seven arapaima with the best at 340lb. Lin, not to be outdone, landed a PB carp of 70lb amongst her tally of fish. Then Luke went into super mode and stole the show when after a totally unaided display of how to play a big fish that would put adults to shame, landed a 90lb Mekong catfish after a 1½-hour battle.

December. This was another busy month with so many visitors we can’t mention them all. But fish of note were Len Gurd’s 400lb arapaima caught on his last cast on his last night. This fish gave Len a battle to remember, lasting over two hours. The old gits’ club was formed with Len Jacko and Woodsy being the founder members. To join you only need to be able to drink vast quantities of wine, wear women’s clothes, and have caught an arapaima! We rounded off a full year of Gillhams being open with a big Christmas party – three

Since Gillhams opened at the end of August 2007 we have probably been responsible for more personal bests than any other lake in the world. So many people have come here and caught fish beyond their wildest dreams, and we have the best job in the world making people’s dreams come true. Although at the beginning of this report I complain about idiots and freeloaders, really they are the minority, and 90% of our clients are lovely people. We have made many friends, most clients are returning, and we have the best job in the world. But please, if you are in the 10% bracket stay away and leave Gillhams for the people who want a holiday in paradise with the biggest fish in the world.