Big Game Fishing Tours & Liveaboard Charters in Phuket, Thailand

Author:

Welcome to the Drift Inn

From a fishing point of view “high” season, when most of the boats are booked solidly, is not the best time of the year for raising a monster, for in summer the sea temperature rises and the pelagic fish go deeper or just migrate to cooler climes.

A couple of Scottish friends, having let one chew through the leader, asked me to find out the English or Thai name of what we Scots know as the Haggis Fish. Being a very slow swimmer this fish moves with the tides and unlike most fish the sexes are easily identified as the males have longer fins on the right side and the females have the opposite, meaning that as they drift the males make large anticlockwise circles and only meet up with the females for a short period of time as they meet the clockwise females in the passing, making this one of the rarest species known to man. Any suggestions on the real name of this light brown, semi-circular 1 / 1.5kg beastie would be very enlightening.

As there are no photographs to speak of this month, just Tuna, I thought a few “fishy” snaps from the Drift Inn’s fishing artwork might brighten up this month’s ramblings, it’s amazing what you can catch with a piece of wood, some paint and a few tools.

Anyone interested in my newfangled hobby or just wanting to try their hand is more than welcome as I am always open to new ideas and inspiration.

I'll leave you with a couple of pearls from an old seasalt:

Happiness is a “big” fish AND a witness. (Old fishing proverb)

Procastifishing – The art of going fishing, when you should be doing something else.

As usual, tight lines to everyone.

Fishing in Hot Water

No smoking on beaches

Welcome once again my fellow fish fondlers.

Maybe it’s just me, but I swear towards the end of the month I heard more ambulance sirens than on the supposed “week of death” and judging by the news “death week” sounds like a sound bite for:- Please behave this week as it’s a “Farrang” holiday period. T.I.T.

As usual, as the tourist season comes to its height, the water heats up and the fishing deteriorates as the fish go deeper although a few Dorado have been caught which is unusual, but nothing surprises me anymore as global warming continues to disrupt our fishing calendar. That said, we have been the Sailfish capital of the world for quite a while now for what looks like the same reason, as different species adapt to the changing environment, which we humans continue to refuse to acknowledge. So, once again, please don’t ask me what you can expect at any specific time of year.

Locally, I see the lake “fresh water” boys have been stocking up and I could not believe my eyes when I saw how big the Arapaima at Chalong Fishing Park have grown, since their introduction.

From all reports the boats have been relatively busy but as the European Market declines we seem to be left with “tourist” type Russians, who DEMAND a big fish, not forgetting the Chinese who have to be told you can’t breathe underwater, a sad reflection on their education. It also reflects on T.A.T.s (Thailand’s Tourism Authority) policy of “cheap” tourism as they continue to target quantity rather than quality, and then wonder where their recent problems arise from.

This week’s joke :- you can now be fined 3,000 USD – 100,000 Baht for smoking on the beach, as cigarette butts pollute the ocean (true) yet, over many years now no one seems to bother about the clongs spewing raw sewage and lots of other crap, straight into the sea, as seen “annually” in Patong Bay when the green slime is not flushed away as the seasonal tides change. Now that’s a load of sh1t. 555.

I warned everybody about an impending marine disaster prior to the Phoenix tragedy, now, how about the health hazard issues in our most popular tourist destination. I often wonder – can anything save the tourism industry from Thai logic?

Happy New Year 2019

Thai 2 On at night-time

Season’s greetings to all you salty ole seadogs.

The early part of the month saw Thai 2 On back in the water after getting her bum cleaned and a sizeable refit which included a Christmas present to the boat, a brand new 6ooW underwater “green” LED lighting system. This is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen and knocks daytime “bottom” fishing for six. This revolutionary new lighting, way beyond conventional systems, when lowered 10M beneath the boat illuminates a 30 meter circle of unbelievably clear visibility which in turn attracts the squid and draws the fish in. A delight to witness even if you’re not fishing, and has to be seen to be believed.

To this end Thai 2 On is now offering two “new” night-fishing packages so everyone can partake in this amazing experience.  Offer 1. - A  6 pm to 3 am  trip - and - Offer 2. -  A single “day” deal 7.30 am / 3 am.

Thai 2 On is also bookable Feb / Mar. for an unforgettable trip to the “Burma Banks” which although inaccessible to commercial trawling, has only in the past few years become accessible to Sports Fishing Boats and for this reason potentially one of the TOP bill fishing venues on the planet, so vast at 500 sq/km there are many unexplored areas where no one has ever fished.  See:- http://fishinginphuket.com/superior-liveaboard-fishing-charter/

The antennary for “The Banks”, is available by emailing us at info@fishinginphuket.com

Concluding the year, “High Season” – Thursday the 24th ushered in Christmas with a massive thunder storm and two phone calls. “For a boat for tomorrow.”

So that’s me analized another year, so it’s goodnight from me and - Awe the hairy breast to awe ma M8’s for 19   -  Slainte Mhath – Hupthefuck and a Merry Christmas to all those who find it offensive.

Tight lines, for the New Year.

Phuket Fishing Nov 2018

Welcome aboard me fellow fishing fumblers.

The beginning of the month saw the usual nightly thunderstorms a few of which were quite hefty. It reminded me of driving up to the Big Buddha, a few years ago, for one of the most spectacular views of nature’s fireworks in action, a truly awe-inspiring experience.

November also saw the start of our “high” season which was once again was ushered in with the sound of ambulance sirens, as the usual horde of “socks & sandal” tourists leave their brains at the airport and rent motorbikes. This year the dangers of driving in Phuket are compounded by the now infamous “Chalong Circle” where you can easily be stuck in traffic for half an hour, which can’t be fun if you’re on your way to the ICU. So, my friends please be warned.

Fishing has been excellent, with “Fish Eagle” breaking her own record by catching and releasing 16 sailfish in one day. (photo) It’s just a pity there are so few fisher-folks about to enjoy our sport at its best, but it’s a very good sign for the up and coming PST competition, which starts on the 21st.

As we steam inexorably closer to the Christmas Period I feel that once again I should share my favourite seasonal story. Some years ago one of my staff approached me and asked: “What are you getting me for Xmas?” To which I replied. “You’re Buddhist; do you even know what Xmas is?” Yes, it’s Jesus Christ’s birthday”. Was the unexpected reply, to which I was more than surprised – until the classic follow-up statement:- “You know, Santa Clause’s son.”

It was just before Christmas and the magistrate was in a happy mood. He asked the prisoner who was in the dock, ‘What are you charged with?’ The prisoner replied, ‘Doing my Christmas shopping too early.’ ‘That’s no crime’, said the magistrate. ‘Just how early were you doing this shopping?’ ‘Before the shop opened’, answered the prisoner.
As usual, tight lines to all.

Sailfish Abound in the “PST” Fishing Comp.

Ardent Anglers team

Ahoy Maties,

Now, half way through the first month of “high” season and the wind and rain continue to reflect the world’s changing weather patterns. Fortunately, stormy conditions seem to favor the fish, well at least here in Phuket - slap dab in the middle of Thailand’s Andaman Sea, the nursery of the Indian Ocean.

November is always an easy month to write about due to our annual fishing competition feeding me lots of seasonable “stocking fillers” and the 22nd saw the start of the PST competition (Phuket Sports-fishing Tournament) which last year saw Fish Eagle running away with it and judging from their recent fishing repots once again looking favorite, but fishing’s fishing and there are some seriously able hands out there.

Day one confirmed that fishing was excellent with the first three boats amassing nearly 900 points and Fish Eagle, as predicted, taking 500 of these in order to keep their bow in front of the rest of the fishing fraternity. While Jez from “Chalong Fishing Park”, on board Thai 2 On and in the height of a squall, helped them squeeze into second place with his first Sailfish, apparently he was over the moon – yea I bet that made a change from Tilapia. 555

Andrew, skipper of Fish Eagle
The oilfield hookers

Another pal Laust Bendiksen, (who seems to be some kind of lucky charm) and a keen international fisherman went out as a guest on the first day with the Russian Team (Ardent Anglers) followed, the next day by the favorites “Fish Eagle” crewed the Irish Team with US and Chinese help - Team (Fish Eagle) And to show you what a fluky flounder he is, on the last day he coached our old shipmates on “Thai 2 On” Team (Oilfield Hookers) who came in 3rd with the other two boats coming 1st (Fish Eagle) and 2nd (Ardent Anglers). Laust reported three very different and enjoyable days on Phuket’s premier fishing competition, vowing, like McArthur, to return.

Joke of the week – is still the Chalong Circle.

As usual, tight lines all round

From MAGGOTS to SWEATY SOCKS

Jimmy's Drift Inn

Ahoy Shipmates,

Once again welcome aboard the SS Jimmy’s Blogg.

I like October here in Phuket as the rain now falls mostly at night, leaving the air fresh and clean and, being still “low” season, the traffic, with the exception of the Chalong Circle “Saga”, is much easier to navigate than in our busy “high” season where worlds often collide as many tourists don’t seem to know what day it is, never mind what side of the road to drive on. Talk about the “Yellow Peril”!

Information:- Same as UK –LEFT- for all my friends in the cooler corners of our plastic coated planet.

Having read the Phuket News’s inaugural article from the “Puddle Jumper” up the road, I might be biased, but a magazine in a dentist’s surgery sprang to mind. How about fishing - things like: - “Maggots for live baiting or burly. Or - How to avoid opportunists nibbling on your bait”? I feel this would be much more pertinent and topical. But there again, what does a seventy year old “pirate” know about such things - writing, fishing and the-such.

I found these just too cute not to include in this month’s blog

Mid-month and the bilge pumps were once again running full tilt, pumping more rain water than sea - See that martinet Trump - ought to get keel-hauled over his attitude to our deteriorating weather conditions, one good thing though, just look at our sunsets between storms.

Jimmy’s Drift Inn like all the other bars has been very quiet, which is just as well since the local council decided to clean the roadside drains - and Thailand being what it is, it took a JCB, a mini equivalent, a 6 wheel lorry and a myriad of welly wearing Thais (and they call us Jocks “Sweaty Socks”). Amusing to watch but blocked the road for most of the day and now I know why the power cables are out of reach, as these guys are head down and go for it.

Jez at Chalong Fishing Park just advised us he has just upped his fish stocks by introducing 300kgs of Striped Cats and another 40 Mekong Cats. He is also “quite chuffed” as the lake just broke the 40kg barrier with a very nice Mekong. Not bad at all for such a new lake, keep up the good work M8.

As usual, tight lines to all,

Jimmy

www.fishinginphuket.com

Not to be confused with “Facebook’s” Fishing in Phuket an unprincipled, pond fishing outfit in Pang Na, well outside Phuket, who appropriated our web-site name, rather than use their own, to add credibility to their business when they were starting up.

FREE PRESS BOUGHT BY PUDDLE JUMPER

Well, me Fisheroos and fellow fish fumblers,

That’s me totally independent from the Phuket News as my articles are no longer required due to Exotic Fishing Thailand’s new advertising concept which obviously will concentrate on EFT’s Fresh Water fishing and being based on the mainland, not Phuket, I think Mike will have great difficulty in keeping his finger on the pulse and relating to the trials and tribulations of us “Phuket” Salt Water warriors.

From the limited amount of fishing reports, probably due to lack of tourists and not forgetting the weather, it’s great to pass on the news that the Sails are still here in abundance. As the old saying goes, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good”. I just wish it wouldn’t blow just so strongly 555.

As October begins to bring the “low” season to an end as usual the sun-rise and sun-sets are at their most spectacular, the photographers dream season. Coming back to port with the sun setting behind Buddha Island, it was the most amazing sight as everything was bathed in the fiery light of the setting sun. As I often say, “Fishing is not always about catching fish”.

Fish (f i s) n.pl. - fish fish-es -  An animal that grows the fastest between the time it’s caught and the time the fisherman describes it to his friends.

For those of you familiar with fishinginphuket.com please be advised that the “Facebook” page “of the same name” is actually something else purloined by EFT, so hopefully this will give all you guys an' gals out there an insight into the character of someone I went out of my way to help when his business was in its infancy. So don’t be surprised if my Fresh Water reports come from closer to home in the future.

****STOP PRESS****
!!! Chalong Fishing Park now has Arapaima !!!

Sorry there was a severe dearth of jokes this month, hope this picture will suffice. – Contributions welcome.

As usual tight lines to all, well, nearly all

September Blues

I was advised this month that my literary talents, which I shared with the local newspaper, were no longer required, as they had found an advertiser who will “actually pay” to take over my monthly fishing column for the Phuket News. So, as of this month that’s me finished, now it’s not me you protest to when you drift in to The Drift Inn.

With the boats staying in port recently, a pirate captain of my acquaintance ordered one of his crew to “walk the plank” because poor guy couldn’t afford a dog.

Although the fishing charter business is slower than usual, which now between storms is mostly due to the lack of customers, fishing has been superb with Sailfish cuing to be caught, probably due to the bad weather which means the commercial boats have to anchor-up making the fish stocks noticeably higher, all except Wahoo which have been strangely absent for well over a year now. Anyone have a theory?

How’s about this - a great name for a speedboat, talk about “high” in the water.

Early on in the month we had a visit from five ladies from the US of A who I introduced to the local Sea Gypsies and generally took under my wing, a great time was had by all, including me. Thanks Guys for the enclosed note, most appreciated:

Finally, congratulations to Jez from Chalong Fishing Park on catching his first Marlin, fishing is always better after a good stir up. Nice to see a freshwater guy braving the briny. Well done M8.

 

So, as usual, as we wait for the hurricane season to pass.

Tight lines to all,

Loneliness of a Big Game Fisherman

Splendid isle-ation

Ahoy me hearties,

Once again it’s a foul weather report:- in fact neither my friends nor I remember such an atrocious start to the ”low” season, but while most of the companies were busy returning deposits, PST’s web site advised us that Thai 2 On managed to sneaked out between storms, mid-month, and bagged 7 Sailfish, so the boys with the bills are back. That will make for a few Jolly Jack Tars - Brilliant!!!

This month the organizers of PST (Phuket Sport-fishing Tournament) also announced the dates of the next PST competition which will be the 21st to the 24th November 2018, and assuming they will be offering an “early bird” entry as usual, I will keep you advised.

And for all you lucky, rich, old pirates, at the pinnacle of our celebrated sport, both Thai 2 On and the 60ft sport-fisher Deja Blue have advised me they are now taking bookings for the coming high season. (Mid-February to Mid-April) Thai 2 On will be returning to the Burma Banks for 5 to 8 day trips while Deja Blue with her large fuel capacity and water maker will once again be visiting India’s Andaman Islands, (January to the beginning of May) Both boats can accommodate five, at a push, but like the “day” boats we recommend a maximum of four. These are undoubtedly the two best fishing areas here in the East and the nearest thing you will get to a “guarantee” while Big Game Fishing. Please e-mail me, via the web site, for further information on either of these truly amazing fishing adventures.

This month’s humor relates to a Russian boat owner who took some Ballyhoo on board his boat. (Bait fish, for the uninitiated) He asked his new Thai decky. “Do you know how to tie these?” -  And given an affirmative.  The next morning you will never guess what he had fried for his breakfast. Yum-Yum.

Considering we have had weather warnings, for small boats, more or less continuously for the past couple of months, isn’t it about time we changed our mental attitude? Isn’t it strange how everyone seems to accept the weather as being “it’s just the weather”? With half the world on fire and the other half flooded is it not about time something was done about it before the planet spins completely out of control and demand that the world’s political ostriches, remove their heads from the sand where they have been firmly buried for far too long. While plastic and all the other toxic waste we pump into our oceans should not be ignored, warming is already burning, drowning and burying us by the 1,000’s.

Am I the only voice in the wilderness shouting - ENOUGH! Sometimes I wonder, am I completely alone on this planet? While I have experienced this/that incredible feeling of isolation combined with a sort of happily womb-like security that all “sea” fishermen can relate to, this is definitely not the case when returning to dry land, where every damned thing seems to want to take a bite out of you, one way or another.

No one owns the water. No one owns the lands. No one owns the oceans. No one owns the sands. These are given by our Mother. The planet provides for free. Only by the hands of the greedy does the Earth require a fee.  Anon.

As usual, tight lines all round.

Ramblings of a fisherman

July Report – Safety at Sea

Hi Shipmates

As you may recall, last month I wrote about the stupidity of many tourists and the greed of numerous boat operators, little realizing I was predicting yet another maritime tragedy.  Condolences to all those left behind and shame on “all those” who turned a blind eye to the conditions, which were all too obvious and predicted well in advance.

If I can go from “Pirate to Prophet” so easily, those responsible for public safety at sea, and in general, should have the authority to act on behalf public safety and if they already have this power and not acted, be replaced immediately with people who actually know what they are doing.

Does anyone remember the chain across the pier to stop access for parking, when the buses had to drive up and “reverse” down the pier - So how about the same thing for extreme weather conditions and no buses? If you remember the crazy chain idea, how about the “new” marina which has been falling to bits ever since it was built, or the concrete “mooring buoy” blocks which actually sunk a dive boat, lost their buoys and had to be moved. Or the section of pier that recently sunk. Or the bus that nearly blew off the pier – and now this catastrophe.

As an old Scottish pirate/piper once said:- “When Big Business and Crime (zero dollar tourism) get into bed together, listen to the music and you will know who’s paying the piper.” Unfortunately, Thailand being what it is, unless there is a fundamental change in the Thai psyche and therefore their approach to problems, or lack thereof, we will continue to hear this tragic lament?

Although it sounds like an oxymoron, I have been told there is a word in the Thai dictionary for “logic” which I have spent many years coming to terms with, now unfortunately and belatedly, I have to add “responsibility” and “accountability” to my list of words that don’t travel comfortably or accurately across the borders into Thailand, causing all sorts of things to fall short of “internationally accepted” standards which would be the solution to many of their difficulties. But don’t rock the boat, seems to be the order of the day.

Nice to see Russians have their “Essex Girls” too.

Going out to sea from Chalong, a Russian tourist asked a friend of mine, while pointing at the windmill on the hill. “What’s that?” Without blinking and with a deadpan face, Colin said. “O that’s the air-con for Nai Harn Beach, it keeps the tourists cool.” Priceless. Hook, line, & sinker!

Wind, wind and more wind (and not just from me) and as there is no point in a weather report, and still trying to stay topical, this month’s Pic (above left) is what happens to carbon fiber rods, when struck by lightning. The second photo (above right) is of my late pal “Chook” one of the fishermen who also lost their lives in the storm. R.I.P. Chook.

As usual, tight lines to all - when we eventually manage to get out.

Phuket Fishing News for June 2018

Welcome to June me cockle-shell heroes.

I see Rainbow Warrior arrived in Phuket at the beginning of the month. Boy, have they got their work cut out for them, steaming into the lion’s den (or rabbit warren) of Thai conservation plans and achievements. Greenpeace - you have my most sincere best wishes; I just hope you have not bitten off more than you can chew on this visit, with “No Feeding the Fish & No Smoking on the Beaches.” Being two their latest conservational achievements.

The 10th of June saw the passing of my fishing partner of more than a dozen years, Nareen. R.I.P., my friend, you will be a sad loss to the fishing community, even though you could get sea-sick on a jetty. Condolences to his family, please know, I will also miss him.

Mid-month, toward the end of Ramadan, the hatches were well truly batoned as the island’s west coast received its annual onslaught from the sea. So here we go again, more flip-flops on the beaches and you have no idea how difficult it is to find a PAIR. --- While looking, --- I said to a guy I met on the beach “I see you’ve lost a flip-flop.”  No mate” was the reply. I’ve just found one. – Or - the one-legged Irish pirate, Long Sean O’Silva, who ordered a pair of flip flips.

Amazingly I had two separate inquiries to go out fishing during the big storm which resulted in 3meter X 7second seas, I explained the weather was too bad, to the extent of being bloody dangerous. As if they couldn’t look out of the window and get hit by a falling tree -- With a bit of luck.

Unlike a few years ago, it is now blatantly obvious to me, it takes extremely little brain power to travel the world these days, especially when you watch the Chinese going out on speedboats during these atrocious conditions, at least the Thais and their other operating partners have their insatiable greed as an excuse for their corporate insanity.

Sticking with stupidity, discussing the state of the roads in Australia with a friend from down under, the now “Internationally Infamous” Chalong Circle reared its ugly head. Quote:-

“You could get the boats to leave from Rawai wharf. Oh wait - that was a project of the Chalong Underpass and Pier Building Company wasn’t it? Maybe the bloke who made your “Falkirk Wheel” has got a spare few days; he could create a dock down there!”

---   Cheers Roy.

Family fishing in Phuket

As regard this month’s fishing, the few boats that did go out said there is an abundance of Tuna, all around the 1.5kg mark as the young fish continue to put on weight, gorging themselves on Flying Fish and Squid before leaving the shallow, warm waters of the Andaman Sea and venturing out into the Indian Ocean.

As usual, right lines all round.

Pictures:-

  1. (top) Mena 1 in her new livery leaving Chalong Pier.
  2. (above) The picture “family” this month is an oldie but goodie.

May Phuket Fishing Roundup

35kg giant trevally

Ahoy me hearties.

And with our entry into May, once again it coincided with the Tuna Bashing Season, more small tuna, around 1K, than you can shake yer boson’s mate at.

Freshwater fishermen are renowned for keeping their favorite fishing hole/spot a closely guarded secret, often becoming extremely annoyed if anyone else happens along by chance. This for obvious reasons rarely happens at sea with all the modern technology, GPS Etc. but following on from my “Burma Banks” article last month, I just was advised of an exceptional find “marked” by Thai 2 On, which for the third year running has come up a winner with one or two large billfish caught on every occasion. Skipper “Ian” has nicknamed this hot-spot “The Big Drop Off” as it goes off the scale on his depth sounder at 350 meters which means you can’t hang about overnight unless you have a sea anchor or a skyhook. Found by accident due to a foul-up at the Myanmar Immigration which changed the boat’s customary course when heading to the Banks, this “Holy Grail” of fishing is now it’s “A Must” for T2On en route to and from the Banks.

Congratulations to Daniel Johannson who has just caught the biggest Halibut ever,  “tagged and released”, a monster at 462lbs not bad with the world record standing at 515lbs. Wait till you catch it next time Danny Boy. For those “warm-water” fishermen who don’t know what a Halibut looks like, here’s one we prepared earlier. Picture courtesy of “Big” Bo Neff our longtime resident “cold-water” pro.

Not to be outdone I went out mid-month with a couple of my pals on Mena 2 and pulled in a huge, by local standards, GT (Giant Trevally) estimated at 30/35kgs, a personal best, which will feed me and most of my neighbors for the next week or so. Caught on a steel line and my mate’s Rapala, I had a 40-minute fight on a 50lb leader. Photo above for all those septics who demand photographic evidence, another one for the anals.

Overheard in a restaurant: - Customer “What’s wrong with this fish?” Waiter “Long time no sea, sir.”

Finally, if you are wondering about why I included a catch report from the other side of the world – “I only did it, for the HALIBUT.” Ouch!

As usual, keep yer rods bent yer lines tight and send in any decent catch reports, as I can’t guarantee my luck every month.