Big Game Fishing Tours & Liveaboard Charters in Phuket, Thailand

Tag: PIST

‘One of the world’s best’

Right now fishing in Phuket has never been better, everything, with the exception of Wahoo, being caught regularly. The island even got a mention in Marlin Magazine, “Phuket, one of the world’s best Sailfishing destinations”.

As the month progressed I had the opportunity of going out, luckily rain-free – surprising as it is now “high” season – someone tell the weather Gods. The fishing was poor, although fish were to be seen everywhere as it’s now the spawning season for Tuna and what predator in its right mind wants chase a lure while they are surrounded by dinner?

You can’t miss them, but only the bigger ones were biting. So the score on the day was 4-3, with a 4-kilogram Tuna and a big Queenie, that’s not forgetting breaking a hook on a rather large Sail.

As I regularly remind folks, usually for conservation reasons, the Andaman Sea is the nursery of the Indian Ocean and this is seeing that nursery in action, moving into full steam ahead. With bait-fish everywhere it’s a bit like trying to catch smoke, you know it’s there, but…

At the time of submitting this article I have no information on the PST competition, but from what I can gather Marlin, Cobia and Sailfish were about but fishing in general was slow, as climate change continues to disrupt what we have come to expect at this time of year.

Last month I wrote about fishing myths and folklore so this month I thought I would recount a couple of other obscure things I have been asked about or told:

Fishing? I can’t be bothered learning lots of different knots.”

In reality, only one (the “Uni Knot”) or possibly two knots are all you need to know for: line-reel, line-swivel and line-hook connections, and even then that’s what your “decky” is for, this plus leader knots, boat knots and so on. I remember someone once told me, I couldn’t tie a “Bimini Twist”, as if that knowledge made you a better fisherman.

I believe your love of fishing and your catch reports speak for themselves. So don’t be put off big game fishing because some “wannabe” made it sound complicated. On charter boats you just look and learn, remembering more often than not novices run off with the prizes.

Another thing which has come up, more than once: People stop reeling in, stating, “I’ve lost the fish, the line’s gone slack.” This reminds me of a very grateful client who once was told, in no uncertain terms, to reel-in like hell, only to find a big King Mac just about in his lap.

I seem to get this fairly regularly as newbies tend to forget, these fish are faster than the boat, which is often stopped, and it never seems to occur to them that the fish might be heading right up their stern.

This month’s fishing humour comes from Jasper Forde – Shades of Gray.

You see? I know where every single book used to be in the library,” she pointed to the shelf opposite.

Over there was Catch-22, which was a hugely popular fishing book and one of a series, I believe.”

Tight lines.

Phuket Fishing January 2017

Random fishing picture

Ahoy me Hearties,

The main topic of conversation at the beginning of the month remained to be the weather, as the “winter” continued to encroach on what should be “summer” leaving much of the South of Thailand under water and conditions at sea – sure flushed the scuppers.

It’s quite common for the local fishermen to be asked “What’s in season?” Which at one time was quite a reasonable question but now with the massive changes in the weather, whether it be El Niño, global warming or a natural cycle no one has told the fish which quite frankly, are not too bright, in my case, with the odd exception. The one that got away!

For posterity, in case things never change back to normal, “bill fish” Marlin and Sailfish are usually here in the first and last 2/3 months of the year along with most of the other “prise” fish such as Wahoo and King Mackerel who tend to arrive and depart about a month or two behind their pointy nosed pals. While Tuna, long and short fin, (Albacore and Skip Jack) are here intermittently all the year round with their larger cousins, (Yellow Fin. Big Eye and Dog tooth) popping up on occasion, just to confuse the issue.

So my advice, right now, is get out there, for the “weird” weather, in relation to local fishing, has never been better, proving the point that “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.”

PIST fishing tournamentStill with the unusual consequences of climate change, the Fish of the Month prize goes to Ian of Thai 2 On who landed a Yellow Fin Tuna the first that’s been heard of in these waters for as long as I can remember. This makes a change from congratulating Fish Eagle on their long run of Sailfish targeting which didn’t slow down any, after they ran away with the trophies on the P.I.S.T. competition. And while we’re on about the Phuket International Sports-fishing Tournament , (Sponsored by the Phuket News) it has just been announced that the our next chance to compete will be the 22nd to the 25th November, As I assume it will be a 3 day affair as usual I would also assume the 22nd is the registration date. For further information please contact Michael Hochgeladen on 081 719 5766.

I was glad to see an end to 2016 but now I would like to add January 17 to that list as the weather and Thailand’s internal affairs continued to unsettle small businesses, as the “quality” tourist market continues to shrink despite all the “positive” propaganda issued by the relevant authorities. The “powers that be” just can’t hide the fact that their advertising attracted the wrong type of clientele meaning that little or nothing was done for the bread and butter businesses of Phuket while their counterparts in the roads department continued to dig holes in our little corner of paradise.

Tight lines to all.

November Fishing News

Chalong Fishing Park

Well shipmates, it seems to be unanimous, this has been the wettest “low” season anyone can remember and mid-month we had a “Super Moon”, the closest the moon has come to Earth in 70 years. While a full moon is often good for trolling, the early part of the month was very disappointing as regard catches. While divers reported lots of fish about, we fishermen apart from a few nice Sailfish, found pelagic fish few and far between and my personal theory was that the fresh water from all the rain we have been having was lying on the surface of the sea forcing the pelagic predators into the depths, as very few fish species can handle too much fresh water.

November also saw the grand opening of Chalong Fishing Park which while not being as “exotic” as some of the parks on the mainland, it has the big advantages of convenience and much more realistic prices for those of us who like to have rod in hand on a regular basis. The lake is surrounded by about a dozen Salas and the infrastructure includes an office, bar and swimming pool which makes the place very child friendly, I especially liked the “rope swing” chairs and hammocks which added to the chill-out atmosphere of the place.

The groundwork as regard plants, trees etc. will take some time to get established but it should not be too long before the remainder of the construction work is grassed over, which would be my only criticism of what will obviously become a first class venue worthy of recommendation.

While I was there, along with quite a few well-known local “worm wigglers” I was lucky enough to snap one of them landed a Mekong Cat which I estimated to be around 25k, a nice fish in anybody’s language. (Photo enc.)

And finally November is time for the annual P.I.S.T. Competition (Phuket International Sports-fishing Tournament) and not surprisingly; after taking the wind out of the opposition’s sails with staggering 9 Sailfish tally on the first day “Fish Eagle”- Capt. Andrew – and the “Fighting Irish” team went on to dominate the proceedings. From reports it looks like the fishing was extremely frustrating, with sailfish jumping everywhere and not biting, while the Wahoo and/or King Macs were regularly accused of slicing through steel trace. So it’s well done the boys from Cork. The Russian team “Ardent Anglers” came in with a good overall second place score, and our pals on “Thai 2 On” get a day ticket, for the whole team, to fish the “new” Chalong Fishing Park “as mentioned above” for landing the largest Wahoo, having caught the only two of the competition, a nice sponsorship gesture from “Jez” Wilson the owner/manager of the park. Full details of the competition are listed separately in the Phuket News.

So me hearties, that’s it for another month, tight lines to all.

July Phuket Fishing Report

Thailand fishing July

Hi once again me fellow Fisheroos,

Once more, me old shipmates, fishing was curtailed by the weather and on the one trip out, toward the end of the month, we had one hit from a Sail which lasted all of 3 minutes and nothing else. Great to be out again but quite disappointing really, when you consider the conditions to be good, “overcast, calm and after a storm”, especially after the fantastic season we have had.

The krakenI apologize for this month’s article being delayed, but I awaited the outcome of the PGFC’s (Phuket Game Fishing Club) committee meeting, where it was rumored that exciting, earth shattering things, were about to happen, like the arrival of the Kraken. The Kraken being a legendary sea monster of huge proportions, sometimes thought to be a giant squid with a psychotic temperament and tentacles everywhere, the scourge of anything maritime.

Well that’s it, as my timbers are well and truly shivered, I have decided to jump ship as I believe she is now well beyond repair and have advised what’s left of the of the PGFC crew of my assessment of the situation. So no more reports on the fishing club from me.

As Thailand’s Premier Sports Fishing Competition, “sponsored by the Phuket News” is now being run independently of the PGFC I will be in a position to keep everyone advised of what’s happening on that front. For further details please contact Warren Crowe at: –  thailandclassics2017@gmail.com.

While on the subject of competitions P.I.S.T. (Phuket International Sports-fishing Tournament) another “Phuket News” sponsored event, has just finalized their arrangements for this year’s “rivalry of the reels”. This three day event will be held on the 23rd of November with the “Early Bird” bookings coming in until the end of September.

Check it out on the internet or contact me for details of available boats etc. for either competition.

Tight lines

Jimmy

December Fishing News 2015

Hi once again me fellow fisheroos.

Mid December continued to see some quite serious storms despite the tourism chappie’s claims that it’s now “high” season. Probably a better term would be the “Kite Boarders” windy spring.

Ignoring “Christmas” as it is now politically incorrect in my country to mention “Christmas” in case I offend someone, so I decided instead of talking about CHRISTMAS and the fish we catch, this month I thought I would write about “bait fish” the main reason why the Andaman Sea is nicknamed “The Nursery of the Indian Ocean”.

flying fishFirstly anyone who has ever swabbed the decks or lay sunbathing on the bow of any boat here off Phuket must have seen the amazing “Flying Fish” which abound in most tropical and sub-tropical waters. I was surprised to learn there are over 40 species of Flying Fish some with 4 “wings” just like a bi-plane. These fish although not eaten here are a main staple with the larger predator fish from Marlin to Dorado and also in many “foreign” restaurants. It is also the national fish/bird of Barbados being on their stamps, coins, coat of arms and eaten in most restaurants. The sad thing is, due to pollution they no longer frequent Barbadian waters and this caused a lot of friction between Trinidad / Tobago and Barbados when their fishing fleet went into Trinidadian waters in search of their favourite delicacy which they had inadvertently chased away. Thailand take note, there should be a lesson there somewhere, as thousands of locals lost their Flying Fish related businesses.

The other main source of food in the Andaman Sea is the Squid and many tourists visiting Phuket wonder what all the lights on the horizon are, when they first arrive. That’s the Squid fishing fleet using powerful lights to attract this other amazing creature. Called “Calamari” on your hotel menu Squid is a favourite food world-wide and the lights you see in the distance are competing with all our large predator fish for their livelihood. There are over 300 different species of Squid and the local Sea Gypsies know exactly which one to put on their hooks to catch specific “bottom” fish such as Snapper Grouper Etc. When I used the word amazing I possibly should have said bizarre, as the Squid has a beak, 8 arms and 2 methods of propulsion one of which is jet power. It is both predator and prey and uses its ability to chance colour to both hide and hunt. When attacked this wierdo of the deep can even squirt “ink” in the face of an aggressor before jetting off, and I have it on good authority that some species also “fly”.

Man goes into Mr. Moo’s shop on Chaofa Rd. East and asks for a rod and reel for his wife. Mr Moo replied. “We give a 15% discount to PGFC club members, but we don’t do trade-ins”.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year, keep yer lines tight and yer rods up. Arr Arr Arr (pirate for Ho Ho Ho)

Jimmy

November Fishing 2015

Sailing into the sunset, Phuket Thailand

Well me hearties,

November ended the way it started with the weather still not settling for “high” season.

It also started with Queen Akira, the new boat on the “Gottcha” fleet, bagging 4 Sails on her inaugural trip to Koh Ha, while yours truly released 3 Sails landed 2 King Macs and a Dorado and with a gang of locals on Mena 1 released a young Blue Marlin, the first anyone has heard of being caught north of the Racha Islands, everyone was reporting great fishing.

And so the stage was set for the annual P.I.S.T. (Phuket International Sports-fishing Tournament) competition.

On November the 19th day one of the Competition Sea Eagle with Capt. Inman loosed a broadside that devastated all the opposition, pulling Sails in port and starboard and even three at once, how’s that for line handling. Showing no quarter “hurricane Andrew” continued the onslaught over the next two days, in weather conditions that must have had the other competitors believing they were hallucinating.  “One or two were quite PIST.” Sea Eagle sailing to the finish line, “top heavy” with all the flags she was flying. If it wasn’t for their nationality it would have been like returning from Trafalgar.  A valiant effort.

So that’s us now polishing our rods until the next great competition, my personal favourite.

As it is a 3 day, potentially, “non-stop” tournament. For lazy old salts like myself, the PGFC’s “Similan Islands” competition is the most challenging “potentially bigger fish” while at the same time relaxing, for as you are permanently at sea and there is none of this, going to bed, getting up, going to the pier and provisioning the boat, every day.

Anyone interested should contact the Phuket Game Fishing Club as I believe there are a few individual places and space for a couple of boats. (Numbers are limited) www.phuketgamefishingclub.com

Sea Eagle, Phuket, ThailandSo once again me fisheroos I’ll sail off into the sunset, magnificent at this time of year, changing views, through the clouds on the horizon. Impressive.

I leave you with a photo of Sea Eagle as her crew launched their successful attempt at landing 3 Sailfish at one time. Well done “Hurricane” Andrew Inman.

Tight lines

Jimmy

November Fishing

This marlin wins catch of the month

Ahoy me hearties,

November got off to a very unusual start with one charter for a group of bird watchers who took a box full of the smelliest “burly” imaginable out to the “drop off” not for the fish but to view the local sea birds. As it was a fishing boat they trolled a few lines but the main interest was photographing the oceanic bird life with an impressive array of cameras, and lenses you could have hung a line from. Apparently the “twitchers” as bird watchers are known had a great day as they spotted something, very unusual, that hadn’t been seen for many years, while the crew stood idly by, totally bemused, with nothing to do but polish their hooks.

Sad news – For all the many of you who went out on Mena 1, Captain Heem, “The toothless terror of the Andaman Sea” died earlier in the month. R.I.P. my friend, see you in pirate heaven, you were one of the best skippers around.

P.I.S.T. (Phuket International Sports fishing Tournament) got off to a great start and on the first day 4 Sail Fish and 1 juvenile Marlin, caught on a Tuna line, were logged in. The Marlin although small must have added a load of points to someone’s score tally. Meanwhile, Queen Marlin limped home on one engine having “nearly” caught one of the biggest Sails the PGFC (Phuket Game Fishing Club) entrants had ever seen, and to add insult to injury were disqualified for being late for the evening checking in. Yea, fishing’s not always about the fish, hard luck guys, I hear someone brought a banana on board. Keel haul the lubber!!!  This year the first prize went to the Triple A Team, unfortunately I was unable to attend the prize giving which I believe was quite fortunate as the weather which had held off for the competition decided to join the party with a vengeance.

The E.F.T. (Exotic Fishing Thailand) Charity competition which I mentioned last month raised 63,000 Baht for the Make a Wish Foundation, the winner being Paul Panabaker from Canada with the biggest fish and the most species. Runner up was Neill Campbell a well-known local celebrity.

The next competition is the “BIG ONE”, The RBFC’s “Classic” 3 day Similan’s competition; the tournament has only a few spaces left on “budget” boats with sleeping accommodation and food provided by the “mother-ship” and the tournament’s control vessel. Enquiries to Warren Crow at the Rawai Beach Fishing Club’s web site, prices around 40 to 45,000 Thai Baht per head, all inclusive, great value.

This month’s humor was provided by a tourist when out fishing, he asked about port and starboard. I explained “Port is Left” and “Starboard is Right” facing the bow (pointy end). While explaining the safety issues arising from navigating at night, “as the port lights are red and the starboard green”, we both looked round for an example and were more than slightly perplexed to find that our local Thai boats had all sorts of fancy colors some even with “fairy” lights and all this as we listened to the various captains using the ship’s radio as a karaoke. T.I.T. Only in Thailand.

The fish of the month prize, caught just after the PIST competition, goes to a Thai boat, which we will not mention because of their attitude toward the “catch and release” principal. Anyway guys, Great  Fish.

Tight lines, me fisheroos.

Jimmy

October Fishing News in Phuket

Phuket fishing charter

Hi once again my fellow Fisheroos.

A bull doradoOctober arrived with a vengeance, 3 meter plus waves and 60kph westerly’s which once again brought all the debris in from the Indian Ocean and as usual some of the biggest catches were “plastic”. This may sound like bad news but at this time of year, it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, for when you see a large amount of flotsam in one place, “usually due east of Chalong, but it could be anywhere depending on the tides and winds”, it is always worth investigating as Dorado are often found lurking under the rubbish, using it as a sun shield and a way of camouflaging themselves from their prey below. Apart from being a great fighting fish Dorado, otherwise known as Mahi- Mahi or Dolphin Fish are my favorite eating. Two fillets from a fair sized fish will make a substantial meal for four and it’s exceptionally easy to do. Using a sharp knife cut your fillets, place them skin down on a frying pan oiled with butter for about 2/3 minutes, squeeze on some lemon/lime juice before turning over, a few “new” potatoes and you have a meal fit for a King. Arrr me hearties – ship’s cooking at its best! For those chartering one of our “Gin Palaces”, boats which carry white wine and cream, a Dorado fillet poached in a wine and cream sauce with a few shallots will also keep the most discerning pallet very happy.

Now, if you thought last month’s pirate joke was bad, how about this contribution from one of our readers: –   Q. What do pirates learn at school?   A. The three RRRs of course. Please, please, no more.

Male and female doradosWhile talking about school, the fishing club has intimated that it is keen to involve children in our passion and as such would be happy to take out families for a day’s fishing with the emphasis on the children. Kids could learn their knots, drive the boat, fish, sample “fresh” wasabi and even snorkel, seeing the fish in their natural environment. Anyone interested should contact either myself or the Rawai Beach Fishing Club; ask for Warren, as he’s a big kid at heart.

In conclusion I would like to wish all the competitors in this year’s P.I.S.T. competition, to be held on the 20th /22nd November, tight lines all round. Registration is to be held at the Tamarind Bar, Chalong on the 19th from 6pm onwards. For those that don’t know the Phuket International Sports-fishing Tournament (P.I.S.T.) is a 3 day event arriving home to port every night for the  daily “weigh-in” and more than a few social bevvies, hence the name.

Once again, tight lines to all.

Jimmy,

Phuket International Sportsfishing Tournament 2013 (PIST) Review

Phuket tournament catch

Hi once again my fellow Ofishinadoes

Following October’s atrocious weather November also remained seriously fickle although the annual P.I.S.T. (Phuket International Sports-fishing Tournament,) the start of our fishing “high” season had three days excellent angling weather. Well done “Fish Eagle”, a well deserved win. Once again, for the second year running, Dorado’s abounded.

Commiserations to “Queen Marlin” for losing a Sail when “4 Reel” and a “sleeping” (that’s how to scupper the competition) Gerry ran over your line, I also hear you brought in two dead Sails. If you had just photographed them and not returned the poor beasties to port, you might have been on the podium as your points total would have been much higher. In my view, although you did the right thing, it’s a bad rule that could encourage cheating.

Bad luck also to “The Rawai Pla Boyz” Naval Frigates going at a rate of knots, klaxons blaring and on general quarters, are not meant to be used for surfing in their wake. I hope your repairs were not too expensive and you get back out there soon.

After Saturday Nov. 23rd’s storm many boats were damaged at Ao Yon. Obviously October / November are good months to have shares in a boatyard. It looks like “Sail in Asia”, along with many others, were hit quite hard, while all our “Mena” crews, much to their disgust, were on standby for the duration and got tossed about for hours only to wake up the next day to start with salvage operations on a friend’s submerged dive boat.

Great Catch at the Phuket International Sportsfishing Tournament

Bad weather and three day of solid competition fishing with P.I.S.T. did not deter our pal Ian on “Thai2On” who gets Jimmy’s “Fish of the Month Award” while on a trip to the Similan Islands. Marlins are always great to see, nice one Tubbsy. (Picture above)

This month’s Pirate joke:- Pirate walks into a bar with a ship’s wheel between his legs, Bar man says. “You know you have a steering wheel between your legs?” Pirate answers “ Aarrr aye, it’s driving me nuts.”

Please keep the stories / jokes / anecdotes coming in.

Tight lines to all,

Jimmy

Phuket International Sports-fishing Tournament: the secret of (El) Dorado

Hi once again my fellow Ofishinadoes.

P.I.S.T.  The Phuket International Sports-fishing Tournament

Phuket International Sportsfishing Tournament 2012 Trophy

Well P.I.S.T. 2012 got off with its usual bang from the starters firework although many of the boats on the first day reported fishing was a bit of a damp squib. I was even said to me by a friend who knows I write for the P.N. “It will take a cunning linguist to make this sound exciting.” And initially I was a bit worried.

For the past few weeks following the annual beach “clean-up” the waters around Phuket have had an inordinate amount of flotsam including trees, one of which I managed to hit, plastic galore and flip-flips (flip- flops for the one legged), which most boats blamed for their poor performance, but as any experienced Big Game fisheroo will tell you flotsam is good for catching Dorado as they like to assemble around what many would consider rubbish. The RBFC team, after a poor start, took advantage of this knowledge and landed 24 Dorado in 2.1/2 hours.

Bull Dorado being the most aggressive normally are the first to strike but it’s always worth hanging around as Mahi- Mahi or Dolphin Fish, as this world traveler is often called, mostly travel in pairs and the females can be almost suicidal when the male has disappeared, unlike my Missus, who would be off to  the insurance people, toot sweet.

Winners of the Phuket International Sportsfishing Tournament 2012

On the competition, Thai2On released 3 Sail Fish and the biggest thing landed was an impressive 15k Wahoo, a local prize winner if I ever saw one, not like the miniscule Rainbow Runner brought in by “The Rawai Pla Boyz” on the hope of no one else bringing one in. This was even smaller than our “PGFC team’s” embarrassingly small Queen Fish brought in for exactly the same reason.

Once the boats had adapted to the conditions catches improved quite dramatically and Peter Pauli and the Captain Hook Team won the biggest overall catch. Well done guys.

The trophies this year were, by far, the most impressive yet and the fishing competition with the world’s best name P.I.S.T. came to a very successful conclusion thanks to Uwe Schittek and his organizational team, and while on the subject of names, the ladies from Texas “The Deadliest Snatch” on their annual fishing pilgrimage also steamed in with a reasonable tally.

Trophies for the Phuket International Sportsfishing Tournament 2012

For those not in the know regarding Andaman Sea fishing, the rules are:-

  1. Know your “hot-spots”.
  2. Watch for fish jumping, which is a bit of an art, as the Andaman Sea with its weird tided loves to imitate this phenomenon.
  3. Look out for Frigate / Pirate Birds. These bent- winged, V tailed, toe-rags of the air, when congregating and diving are a great sign of fish. – This week’s quiz  :- What do you call a flock of Frigates – a flotilla?
  4. Last but not least, when the water conditions are scummy, look for the biggest concentration of flotsam because under it is liable to be Dorado by the bushel, the tastiest and fastest growing fish around.

Tight lines

Jimmy

First posted in the Phuket News