Sweaty March Fishing
Welcome to sweaty March me hearties.
I see Chalong circle is now getting a bit more “free flow” and the Pier repairs are moving forwards at a rate of knots. Could this be the “Power of the Press” or something more probable, like the importance of losing considerable amounts of money on a daily basis? It’s well seen that Phuket’s road system has not got a similar “toll” or earning capacity structure.
So me faltering fisheroos where are all the fishing reports, as I have heard nothing but “It’s too bloody hot and the fish are going deep or out to the ocean.” Well me cockleshell heroes, that don’t fill the cooking pot or the column inches!
Now that we are coming up to Songkran and the “cooling off” season, hopefully things will improve as it did about this time last year when I remember sitting at my keyboard, as now, hot, sticky and also being hit over the head by a big lump of writers block, but I soon came out of the doldrums when checking my records from March – April last year which chronicled my 4th Marlin in my 16 years’ experience fishing out of Phuket.
Once again, where do these supposedly experienced fishermen get the idea they can arrive here and land a Marlin on a day trip, “guaranteed” is well beyond me, you don’t go to a golf course and demand a hole in one.
BUT me hearties historically speaking this is the time to catch the big ones, for while checking my historical anals, J I reported last year that:- “Dorado, Mena 1, Fish Eagle and Mena 1 again all catching a Marlin within a few days of each other”. (April was even better) And now the Phuket Sport-fishing Club posted this picture of a 72.5K fish which originally I thought was one of the big Tuna but now I believe it to be a Chinese Mackerel (Scientific name:- S Sinensis – Seerfish being a term for numerous large Mackerel) caught in their 7th annual “March” competition so although things might be “slow” in general there are trophy fish out there and this beastie is definitely “up there”, only a kick in the behind off a world record.
For those who don’t speak the language, I have been assured that there is a Thai word for logic but I am still trying to find evidence of this in practice: – Let’s have a water festival when there is a water shortage – Logic!
To allow sewage to flow freely into the sea, yet you can’t feed the fish for conservation reasons.
Let’s build the Chalong terminus for the new light railway – where??? Over the underpass. (for April 1 edition) Although this would not surprise those of us who have stayed any length of time in The Land of Smiles.
Any further contributions delving into the topic of “Thai logic” should be sent to The Comedy dept. Phuket News.
As usual, tight lines to all.
The Ghost of Richelieu Rock
In memory of Laurence Walker.
About 20 Ks off the Surin Islands is a place named after the only “Farang” (white foreigner) ever to be in charge of the Thai Navy; Richelieu Rock, one of the top 5 dive sites on earth. So now you can imagine the location, a rock in the middle of nowhere.
Some years ago my young mate Eric, a highly trained exponent of working in dangerous environments was relaxing of an evening, and being no longer interested in the party on board the boat, not to mention having had a “few”, decided to take a paddle around Richelieu Rock on a small sea canoe, just to chill, as one does, late at night, in the middle of nowhere.
As he had rounded the rock, losing sight of his “parent” boat, an “still chillin”, he looked down into the crystal clear water only to be confronted by the torch lights of 3 or 4 divers on a night dive about 7 or 8 meters below him. Eric being the type of character he is, stripped off, and decided to go down for a visit.
For every diver, their first night dive is very special, I mean “spooky” special, for above you is the eerie light of the moon beams trickling down and giving the water that mysterious, scary sparkle, with only the beam of your torch to give you a vague sense of reality.
At this point a very fit, agile, naked, young nutter, who is running short on breath on a “free” dive, decides to “buddy” breathe, and from behind, taps an unwitting diver on the shoulder and “signs” for air. At this point the rookie takes off, fins a flappin, in the direction of the other divers forcing Eric to the surface for air, extremely pissed off, “The ***** wouldn’t give me any air”.
Years later when retelling the story, in my bar, as an example of inexperienced divers, I remembered a story my pal Laurence had once told me, about the “Ghost of Richelieu Rock” the details of which are written up in his (MV Phoenix) ship’s log. It tells of where four divers, including an instructor, all confirm seeing a “white” ghost which just appeared out of nowhere then disappeared.
For by the time the shocked divers surfaced, Eric was well on his way back to his “mother” ship, which being on the other side of the rock would have been invisible to the traumatized divers.
Eric Roth – The Ghost of Richelieu Rock.
Laurence Walker – Gone but not forgotten.
Hi once again my fellow Ofishinadoes
With the continuing inclement weather our trips to sea have been spasmodic to say the least, so in this month’s article I thought I would write about our favorite sports fish, “the wolf of the sea”, the Sailfish.
Apart from the occasional visit by a marauding cousin the Marlin, the Sailfish is the most sought after prize patrolling our local waters and needs all the concentration a fisherman and his crew can muster to catch, as this speedster of the deep can reach 60MPH and turn on a sixpence. Their color is dark to silver gray but watch closely when you land one, as they change color possibly 3 or 4 times as we hold up our prize, before releasing back to the depths. Growing very quickly, birth to nearly full size in only a year, these potentially 3M X 100Kg fish give the angler the best photo opportunity he or she will ever get as the Sailfish when hooked, is a notoriously powerful and acrobatic fighter.
Locally, feeding mostly on our ever diminishing stocks of squid, to view them in action against a “bait ball” of small fish is something to behold. The “Sails” circle the bait ball, compressing it and forcing it to the surface at which time they take it in turn to attack the swarm with their bills, stunning the little fish then turning 180 degrees, in their own length, at high speed, to pick up the injured remnants of the ball. The water is boiling with jumping Sails, shoals of the bait jumping for their lives and all the time Frigate birds are streaking past you, often at arm’s length, to picking off the jumping fry. It’s like watching orchestrated mayhem and a site to behold. On days like this I realize what fishing’s all about, yes catching is the basic principal but when it comes down to it, seeing sites as I have witnessed, a 500+ strong pods of Dolphins, a Killer Whale and many other magical moments – That’s why we call it fishing and “not” catching.
This month’s pirate joke, and they’re getting worse.
What’s a pirate’s favorite letter?
You’d think it’d be the RRR… But they love the C.
And finally, Exotic Fishing Thailand is holding the charity event I told you about last month on November the 25th 8am till 6pm. The entry fee for the event will be 5500 Baht (5000 Baht to charity). Anyone entering the event is invited to fish at EFT the day before at a reduced price of 4000 Baht fishing 8am to 7pm. This will give competitors a good opportunity to work on some strategies for the event or just enjoy EFT at a reduced rate.
Trophies and prizes will be awarded.
There will be a pre-competition meeting at 7.30am before the main event “Nov 25th” and a free BBQ after the competition with prizes awarded at this time.
The tournament will be in support of the Make-A- Wish Foundation and EFT will donate 5000 Baht off the main event entry fee to this worthy cause and guarantee a minimum donation of 60,000 Baht.
If any of our readers are interested in participating in this worthwhile venture please contact Mike at Exotic Fishing Thailand.
Hi once again my fellow fisheroos.
August’s inclement weather and the shortage of tourist anglers meant there was not a lot of local action. On average I managed to get out about once a week between weather fronts and can report mediocre fishing with Tuna being caught in single figures, although for the real enthusiast, luckily, there was always “something special” caught on our return trips, two single Wahoo, a King Mack, a Sail and a pair of Dorado satisfactorily and individually finished each trip.
The weather reports have also been a bit inaccurate, as the fronts seem to be moving faster than predicted, and while I’m in a grumpy mood – what about the proposed building of a supermarket on James Bond Island? 007 / 11 indeed J
Last month’s excitement came from the sinking, at its moorings, of Mena 1 but it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good as I have been assured that she will be back, at the end of this month, better than ever with GPS, a new generator and a full refit. Apparently negligence was the cause of the accident and this is the third report of poor seamanship I have been made aware of in the last month with the other two being downright dangerous to life and limb. Although I am not prepared to go into detail, it is my considered opinion our local Thai “captains” while having intimate knowledge of the area are very often not up to accepted international standards in seamanship, boat handling and/or trip preparation. While the language barrier can be a problem, a course in interpersonal relations would not go amiss either. Yes, there’s the right way, the wrong way and the Thai way.
As things were quiet my other half decided to pull the ring through my nose and have a quick holiday, so off we went to Chumphon which was a real eye opener. While the place itself is a quiet delight, half the price of Phuket and well worth visiting, I was advised fishing in the Gulf of Thailand is now 12% of what it was in its heyday. Wearing our tourist hats, we visited Chumphon’s very busy landing docks and saw many, many tons of fish no bigger than 6 inches being unloaded from a continual queue of large trawlers, which once again led me to think about the plight of the poor old Andaman Sea, as I hear the trawling fleet is once again being expanded.
As usual, tight lines to all.
Good fishing after the storms
Friday 26th July, saw the storms subside and Nick and a few friends from Singapore ventured out on Mena 1. To prove a good “stir-up” is good for the fishing as we recorded 48 Tuna, 1 x 8.5KG Wahoo a good sized Long Tom and a small Queenie. Sunday 28th brought in 56 Tuna and a 4KG Wahoo with Dan and his pals from Phuket Fit Resort as our motley crew. Non-stop action all the way! Well done the wind and rain Gods, fantastic days out with great company. So for all you Guys and Gals out there, who fancy fishing in the “low season”, firstly check out the local weather on MagicSeaweed. Com and if the swell is 1.5m or less and the time between is 8 seconds or more you could be in for an extraordinary experience, evading our regular annual storms.
Now, some years ago while visiting Jamaica I was told by the Rastas that crushed Dorado heads made great fish soup, an aphrodisiac “which puts Viagra to shame, Man”. A local fishing personality, Brian of Mad Mohally’s, Rawai, a friend with numerous I.G.F.A. (International Game Fishing Association) world records and considerable global experience confirmed that the Rastas were not joking. Unfortunately there has been a dearth of Dorado recently as I am enthusiastically waiting to try out this recipe and notice that the price of fish heads, especially Dorado seems unduly expensive in relation to the rest of the fish. Food for thought Etc. Etc.
While on the subject of international anglers, Neill of the PGFC (Phuket Game Fishing Club) has just returned from another fishing expedition to Vancouver Island, Canada, with some fantastic tails. No heads just tails. Our intrepid Fisheroo won the prize for the largest Salmon and 2nd biggest Halibut but had to give up fishing around mid day as the participants had all reached their legal quota. So following on from my previous article, it just goes to prove that conservancy measures do work, when, unlike here, they are taken seriously and enforced. Neill I hope you have no problems getting through customs with your vacuum packed catch as your last contribution to my fridge was most appreciated. Lip-smacking.
The annual P.I.S.T. (Phuket International Sports-fishing Tournament) has an “early bird” registration policy which expires on the 15th of September, a good discount if you book early for the competition on the 14, 15, 16th November. Get on to our pal Uwe at firstname.lastname@example.org and register before the 15th and Save, Save, Save. For those who don’t know the competition, it’s a 3 day event, returning to port each evening to weigh-in and have a few beers. A casual tournament, very professionally run and Phuket’s longest running angling competition.
And finally, for those who are now “desperate” to find out what a Dorado looks like :- (photo enclosed by Jimmy)
As usual, tight lines to all.
2014 Wahoo Thailand Sport Fishing Tournament
In February 2013, the RBFC (Rawai Beach Sport Fishing Club) Phuket. Held their 3rd Wahoo Thailand Sport Fishing Tournament. It was, once again, such a huge success that 2014 is now in the planning for an even bigger and better event. With a “new name”.
RBFC Thailand 2014 “Classic” Sport Fishing Tournament.
Fishing will be held between the 25th-27th February 2014 “offshore” from the beautiful Similan Islands. Renowned as Thailand’s ‘premium sport fishing area’ some 70 miles N/West of Chalong Bay, Phuket.
As always the Prize monies offered are the largest in Asia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Already there are some 20 enquiries. Including teams from Australia, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Dubai, Oman, USA, Hong Kong,the UK and Singapore, even before advertising has begun.
The boats normally cruise up the day before. Making for a very enjoyable 4 days in one of Thailand’s (Asia’s) most sought after destinations.
A number of sponsors are also confirmed. Including Wahoo Charters, Phuket News, IRE and PPI. Further major sponsors are now being sought.
There is still a number of game fishing boats available, so any team enquiries should be forwarded to:
Warren Crowe at… email@example.com
Before they all go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities should also please contact Warren.
From Greenpeace to “G” spots
Hi again my fellow Fisheroos,
The end of June was definitely not for the fair-weather fishermen among us, with 3 meter seas, rain and high winds making our sporting adventures uncomfortable if not downright dangerous.
The high winds and waves also took their toll on the “new” Chalong Marina where bad design and poor workmanship has left the walkways in an extremely treacherous condition, with large holes and loose flooring being the latest hazard to be negotiated when going to sea from this jinxed project.
Following closely on the “buoys” fiasco which led to the sinking of the Russian “Booze Cruise” boat, it seems to me the powers that be seem only too happy to spend money without supervising the efforts of their landlubbing contractors, who should not be trusted to build Lego blocks. The sea, any sea, deserves “respect”; a word many Thai people, especially after the Tsunami, don’t seem to realize is earned and not demanded. This is possibly the crux of the problem, where deference to a clueless superior often overrides good old common sense.
It may be just me, but at this time of year everything seems to drift into a negative vein, which has now been “topped off” with the latest Greenpeace report on Thai fishing stocks, and I quote directly :-
“Thailand’s seas are rapidly approaching a danger zone” – Hundreds of commercial vessels were operating daily in the Gulf and destroying all marine life in their wake. “If this continues, Thai oceans will become barren and lifeless,” – “In the next five or ten years if we do not try to fix the situation and protect resources, fish stocks or fish populations will reach below numbers that will no longer be productive,”
Sad to say I can only concur, for as any sports fisherman who has been in these waters for a number of years will tell you. “Every year the fish are getting fewer and smaller” Some of us can remember when a Sailfish or even a Marlin was a weekly if not daily occurrence. Now I wonder why we bother working a catch and release policy for billfish, as we just seem to be leaving more for the commercial boats who don’t give a toss for our conservation efforts. OK you can say we Europeans did the same to the North Sea, but “two wrongs don’t make a right”. So everyone PLEASE, PLEASE support the Greenpeace initiative, try to back their sustainable fishing policy in the waters many of us have grown to know and love. IT’S IN EVERYBODY’S INTEREST, as the war between conservationists and commercial boats cannot be won. The capitalists may get a short term financial gain but in the long term, as in most wars, everyone loses. You would hope that Thai culture would see the necessity for a bit of Yin and Yang
To end on a lighter note, I have often stated that fishing always improves after a good “stir-up” and on one of the few days we could get out our boat landed 2 x 4k Rainbow Runners the largest I have seen locally. The next day 14 year old Anthony from New Zealand on MV Hooker out with the PGFC caught “and released” his first sailfish, from all accounts he handled himself like a real pro. Well done Anthony.
Photograph courtesy of “PGFC” Phuket Game Fishing Club
This month’s fishy humor – For those ladies who don’t know how to keep a fisherman satisfied. The “G” spot is located at the end of the word fishing.
Budget Fishing in Phuket Video 1
Eric and Jerry from Singapore on a day trip on Mena 3