The beginning of the month saw the return of M V Thai 2 On from her annual trip up north to the world renowned Burma Banks where once again they saw plenty of action, with our old shipmate Ian “Tubsy” Tubbs admitting with a “red face” that he just missed the Grand Slam record, (A Black Marlin, a Blue Marlin and a Sailfish in one day’s fishing.) by failing to land the “easy” one, the Sail, but the overall count was still impressive with Ian’s catch report for his two back to back trips reading as follows :-
9 Marlin raised - 5 strikes – 3 caught with the biggest being a 560lb Blue. GTs up to 50lb – Dog Tooth Tuna and snapper.
Fish Eagle also submitted a catch report stating the bottom fishing around Racha Noi, mid-month, was excellent as they pulled in some nice Grouper and Snapper.
The Burma Banks
An easy, but full day’s cruise from Phuket, fishing most of the way, Phuket boats arrive at the Thai / Myanmar border, which for the first and last bookings of the season is a “free day” to T2On’s lucky passengers. During the rest of the season normal procedure is for the crews to pick up their passengers on the Thai side of the border “Ranong” for the short trip across to Myanmar (Burma) “Victoria” to welcome aboard their compulsory Myanmar guide and pay the 100 USD entry fee which then allows her access to very possibly the best Bill Fish fishing anywhere.
For those unacquainted with the Burma Banks this is a huge plateau covering some 1,500 square kilometers. The waters surrounding the banks are 300/350 meters deep rising in an easy gradient to around 15 meters from the surface, making this vast area inaccessible to the commercial trawlers who in the past few years have severely impacted our sports trolling elsewhere in the region. (Notice the difference in spelling - the difference between net and line – sports and commercial fishing.)
Situated 180km North West of the Similan Islands and 90 to 180 Km due west of Ranong (Thailand) and Kawthaung, Myanmar (Burma) Nearly half way to the Andaman Islands (India) although in international waters the economic rights are claimed by the Myanmar Government hence the entry fee and compulsory guide who so far has always acted as a useful and welcome member of the crew.
Because of strong currents and no place to “run” for protection from foul weather, the “banks” can only be visited during our “high” season, mid- February to April, for obvious safety reasons.
Understandably there is nothing to see but sea, then again - let’s face it Guys, you’re here for the fishing and this is one of the best fishing areas anywhere, with Marlin and Sailfish in abundance, great “jigging” and bottom fishing.
This month’s humor - although not fishing related - typifies the trials and tribulations of living in Thailand:
A friend who got his Thai driving license five years ago, at the same time as myself, phoned to say we needed to renew, so I got my paperwork together and went to Phuket town only to be told. “Can’t do - Ting tong Farang, you’re a year early.” On meeting my pal we find out, his expires in April 2018 and mine in 2019 even though we received our licenses only minutes apart. TIT.
Comment of the month:
A rather famous boxing pal, John “Boy” Hutchinson, a regular visitor to Phuket, came out fishing with us, his first time on a small boat. He asked me where the toilet was and on his return, much to everybody’s amusement, stated in his broad Irish accent. “Bloody Hell - it’s like trying to pee into a whiskey glass standing on a bouncy castle”. Us old pirates know better – “Never spit into the wind.”
As usual, tight lines to all.