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.
Fresh Water Fishing
Chalong Fishing Park
A Family Affair
Chalong Fishing Park is a small, family run and inexpensive fresh water fishing lake. The sort of place you can go for your breakfast and stay the day without checking with the bank. Many of the local anglers consider themselves as part of the furniture and even us “salties” turn up pretty regularly.
Jez Wilson the owner/manager along with his wife …….. go out of their way to make everyone welcome around their well-stocked lake which is home to many exotic species many of which come in around 40kgs.
For those who are new to fishing “fresh” warm water, Jez is a keen and very knowledgeable angler who is always happy to give advice and share his knowledge of the lake and its inhabitants.
For non-fishing customers including young children entry is free of charge and there is even a small “kiddies” pool and hammocks for that afternoon siesta.
Chalong Fishing Park is all about affordable "Fun Fishing" - a family friendly activity where kids under 12 are half price when fishing with an adult.
Fishing here is around a third of the price of many of Phuket's fishing parks with arguably higher catch rates. There are 3 different packages: full day (up to 12 hours) half day ( up to 6 hours) and a 3 hour session designed for walk in customers, novices and customers with children.
There are 20 different species of fish and more being added all the time, with several very good sized fish over 40 KG.
There is a fully stocked bar and a restaurant serving Thai and Western dishes right next to the lake as well as a small pool and showers.
Located in Rawai, it is very easily accessed from nearby Chalong, Kata and Karon and is only 20 minutes from Patong.
Freshwater Fishing Prices
A FULL DAY OR ANYTHING OVER 6 HOURS IS 2,000 BAHT
A HALF DAY OR UP TO 6 HOURS IS 1,600 BAHT
3 HOUR PACKAGE IS 1,200 BAHT (FOR FIRST TIMERS OR CUSTOMERS WITH YOUNG CHILDREN)
8AM – 8PM EVERY DAY
GIANT MEKONG CATFISH
CHAO PHRAYA CATFISH
AMAZON REDTAIL CATFISH
ASIAN REDTAIL CATFISH
TIGER REDTAIL CATFISH
BIG HEAD CARP
BLACK SHARK MINNOW
*some of these species were introduced as very small fish when the lake was first stocked in October 2016.
All our trips require a 50% payment in advance, the balance to be paid on the day
Fishing News Phuket March 2014
Well my fellow Ofishinados, these unrelenting winds refuse to leave our shores and persist much later, beyond the seasonal mid-day doldrums, making our sport much more challenging and downright uncomfortable at times with plenty of burley “sea-sick”, knitting “tangled lines” to the uninitiated and permanently wet shorts. On the few breaks, earlier in the Month, tuna were in abundance the largest around 3k but no reports of anything exceptional although something serious took a big lump out of a tuna we were reeling in.
Just after St. Paddy’s day we were out again with some friends from Singapore, the weather was overcast with slight wind, perfect conditions, and we landed around 40 Tuna before changing lures and searching for the big ones which refused the abundance of Tuna belly we offered on our troll lines. A great day was had by all despite the absence of screaming reels.
My birthday party is scheduled for April, and NO, I am not changing my pen-name to “The Ancient Mariner” as was mooted by so many young upstarts at the Drift Inn, I’m sticking with “Cast Away”, although, being Scots, I did like “Jock Cousteau”.
I’m pleased to announce, Wahoo 4 is back in the water after a full refit and is once again available to the RBFC “Rawai Beach Fishing Club” on the last Sunday of each month as part of Wahoo’s continuing sponsorship of the club. Thanks guys, a great job and much appreciated.
Staying with boats, the fishing bargain of the month has to be “4 Reel” which is up for sale after sickening her owner by sinking at anchor in the last big storm. So if any of you locals with time on their hands and a reasonable amount of Baht want to land themselves a real good deal, let me know and I will pass on your interest. She is / was one of my very favorite boats, fast, maneuverable and very comfortable. I sincerely hope she will not be a sad loss to the Phuket fishing fleet.
Back to the ongoing chronicles of Chalong Pier, I see that the powers that be have added corruption to their problems of corrosion and pitiful constructions. It also beggars belief that the officer in charge of Chalong Police Station “knew nothing” of his station being used as part of the extortion racket; he’s obviously not a detective.
As usual, tight lines to all.
Early February brought us the “joke of the month”, once again involving the Chalong Pier’s ongoing cock-up chronicles. In order to alleviate congestion at the end of the pier, some bright spark decided to place a chain across the pier just beyond the “Marina Bump” forcing the buses to reverse, perilously, on their return journey back down to the terminus as there was no place to turn. Dive boats had no alternative but to physically man-handle all their heavy equipment from their pick-up trucks, parked at the chain, further adding to the mayhem. Fortunately on our return from fishing this clever ruse to reduce parking at the end of the pier had been reversed. I have been assured there is a Thai word for logic, but in my considerable time in this country I have witnessed very few examples of anything even closely related to common sense, especially in relation to the marine environment and the pier facilities in particular.
The RBFC’s (Rawai Beach Fishing Club) annual 3 day competition, based out of “M.V.Phoenix” anchored off Island Four on the Similan Islands got underway in near perfect conditions on the 25th, but before it even started, I feel there ought to have been prizes for some of the team’s names, Wasted Seamen and Squid Marks, both Australian entrants, spring to mind.
The competition itself apart from a few minor “granny knots” went exceptionally well due to the diligence of Warren Crow and Andy Bright and the rest of the RBFC committee. The weather was ideal for fishing with not too much wind and slightly overcast even if it was a bit warm in the afternoons, giving us all a good excuse for another cold beer. Entries came from all corners of the seven seas, America, Australia, Germany, Russia, Singapore, Scandinavia, S. Africa, UK and of course Thailand, a real international affair.
The winners were another Aussie team who sneakily claimed a Marlin minutes after leaving the F.A.D. we were just about to depart from and compounded this gross injustice by landing a Sail Fish the next day. Well done “Fishing Darwin” team, 110 points! You put our “Squid Marks” team’s Wahoo, King Mac, GT’s and Cobia in the scuppers, but we have proved conclusively that you don’t need an expensive “fast” boat to get the results. KP Team were joint winners, you will never guess, with the same points. Not a joke, the highly trained, intelligent committee originally miss counted. Tee Hee. Sounds like a brime from SA. What you say Capt. Mono. Despite some poor catches everyone on board the “Mother-ship” Phoenix had a great time and personally I haven’t laughed as much in years, some of the stories were outstanding, yea fishermen and their yarns.
2nd place with 110 points “Mistake” 🙂 went to the KP Team with the Rawai Pla Boyz coming in third with 40. Fish Eagle arrived in with 35, with Ardent Anglers and Squid Marks amassing a respectful 30 points. PGFC (Phuket Game Fishing Club) and The Snoodles 20 points and Phuketfishing.ru 10 points.
I award the wooden spoon to Warren with the “RBFC All Stars” ( Less fish than they had fingers and still couldn’t count) who was in the Doldrums on Dorado, too embarrassed to even come onboard the “weigh-in” vessel for free beer, just because he had fewer points than a toothpick. Only kidding me old M8s, it was a very tough competition, with only 50% of the boats getting on the score board.
The prize-giving dinner was, as usual, excellent, the Kan Eang @ Pier restaurant is a superb venue and we thank them for their continued support. Music by Cold Chili was also first class with guest appearances from Elvis and our own; fishing warbler, Dave “Flob” Roberts of the Walkabout Bar, Karon, even managed to have me dancing.
Thanks also to the Phuket News “Class Act Media” for their support and having the courage to print my monthly “maritime” meanderings.
Looking forward to next year’s comp.
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.