RBFC “Classic” Fishing Competition
Hi Me Hearties
Having being given time off for good behavior from hospital in BKK, I returned to Phuket just in time to attend the prize giving of our annual competition to the Similan Islands, where we regularly fish the waters outside the national park limits. And here’s a real classic, there’s not many competitions which get a weather warning, “Watch out for falling space debris.” As bits off an Indian space shot fell to earth.
The prize giving as usual was held at the excellent Kan Eang @ Pier, Chalong, with the inimitable Warren Crowe as mine host followed by the RBFC President Mr. Dave “Flob” Roberts advised everyone that, now that the competition was over the two main Phuket fishing clubs The RBFC and The PGFC would amalgamate with the club name being the more appropriate Phuket Game Fishing Club with their club HQ at Mad Mohally’s in Rawai who donated some magnificent trophies.
Initially the statistics seemed quite good with 3 Marlin and 1 good sized Sailfish being among the prizewinning contenders, but considering there were 16 boats on a 3 day 2 night competition with many of the boats catching little or nothing, the general consensus of opinion was the poor fishing was due to being continually surrounded by commercial “trawlers” (not to be confused with our sports “trollers”). Over the years I have witnessed the slow and unremitting demise of the Andaman Sea’s fish stocks while the commercial trawlers seem to be breeding at an unprecedented rate of knots, chasing what little is left to catch. To the powers that be:- “Is it not time you learned from other fishing nations, that in the long run, conservancy measures are in the interests of everyone, including the commercial fishing industry, their sons and daughters.”
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.
October Fishing News in Phuket
Hi once again my fellow Fisheroos.
October 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.
While 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.
July Fishing News
Well me Hearties,
July went out with a lot of wind and hiss, didn’t it just. I was out with a couple of South African friends on a four day three night trip round the Koh Ha, Koh Rok, Hin Dang circuit in pretty “lumpy” conditions so much so that we had to run for cover at Phi Phi Island, when the seas rose to 3 meters 7 seconds, talk about adventure fishing! Sorry to say we had nothing sizeable to report although at Koh Ha we ran into a shoal of, good sized, Rainbow Runners and were pulling them in 3 or 4 at a time on multiple lines, something I have only experienced with large schools of Tuna. Considering the weather I was impressed with how stable Thai2On was under these atrocious conditions and how well the crew handled her. Well done guys. On the trip I was asked the old question, “What is worn under a Scotsman’s kilt” so I replied with the old adage, “Nothing, as everything’s in perfect working order.” OK so I’ve run out of pirate jokes.
The beginning of August saw a slight improvement in the weather and on a couple of day trips out Tuna were in abundance and Queen Marlin reported catching a Sail Fish as did another local Thai boat but I won’t mention them as they sadly landed it, unfortunately we never even got a smell of them, but that’s fishing for you.
The two main fishing clubs the RBFC (Rawai Beach Fishing Club) and the PGFC (Phuket Game Fishing Club) had a joint meeting at the end of July, to sort out some of their differences and there is now talk of more collaboration. The new president of the RBFC Dave “Flob” Roberts chaired the meeting and among the topics raised was doing a feasibility study on placing F.A.D.s (fish aggregating devices) around Phuket’s fishing grounds. The 2015 RBFC “Classic” Fishing Competition which has changed its previous dates to the 18th – 20th March to avoid Chinese New Year and accommodate our friends from Singapore etc. Fishing for kids (not literary) to promote the sport and a BBQ day for parents and kids where they could catch their own meals, while Mike Bailey from Exotic Fishing Thailand, which I wrote about last month, proposed a two day, fresh water, charity event at his extraordinary venue when all proceeds would be donated to the Make a Wish Foundation who make dreams come true for terminally ill children. Nice one Mike you have my backing and that of the Phuket News.
As usual, tight lines to all and let’s get out there as the weather permits.
Burma Banks vs. Andaman Islands
Hi once again my fisherooing friends,
Between storms, as usual, fishing improved dramatically for those with the sea-legs to go out in 7-8 second swells which mid- month kept the boats in port when they exceeded 2.5 meters. So what do fishermen do when the sea is too rough to get out, polish their rods? Well in my case I spent time looking at the projections for next high season and as the local fishing stocks are becoming more and more depleted started thinking about the prospects of going further afield.
The Burma Banks as an alternative to the Andaman Islands.
With the easing of Myanmar restrictions some of our boats are now looking into the logistics of fishing “a billfish bonanza” The Burma Banks, so if anyone, out there, knows where to get all the “official” Myanmar paperwork etc. for this proposed venture, any information would be most appreciated.
Situated about half the way to the Andaman Islands this amazing series of underwater mountains covering some 1,500 square kilometers, 180KM north west of the Similan Islands is probably the only place in the Andaman Sea where the commercial trawlers have not raped and pillaged what was once our abundant sea life, as the mountain rise from around 350M to just 15M below the surface effectively prohibiting net “trawling”, not to be confused with our sports “trolling”.
While we are all aware Big Game fishing, at this level, is expensive The Burma Banks should considerably reduce costs of the only other world class, adventure fishing, venue within the range of our boats as they will use less fuel and our clients will not have the expense of flying to India and from there to Port Blair to meet our boats at the Andaman Islands. With this new proposed scheme it is envisaged that next “high” season guests will be taxied to Ranong, on the Thai /Myanmar border to “checked out” and then taken across to Kawthaung to clear Myanmar customs, and from there strait out 100/200KM to the “banks”. As there is no “cover” for safety reasons the boats will only be traveling this distance,” to the middle of nowhere”, between mid- February till mid-April when the weather is more or less guaranteed. Again, any information on the above would be most appreciated.
This month’s joke. Now that Burma has changed its name to Myanmar, does that mean the Burmese are now to be referred to as Myanmartians?
The PGFC (Phuket Game Fishing Club) has had to temporarily restrict the opening hours of their club house, The Gaff, due to illness as that exultant Irishman Laurence Walker is now back in the UK under medical supervision. Having talked to him a few days ago he is as optimistic as ever and hopes to be back in Phuket in a couple of months. All the best M8 all your pals are rooting for you.
The R.B.F.C. (Rawai Beach Fishing Club) announced at their AGM that their annual “Classic” (Similan Islands) Fishing Competition will change its normal dates to the 18/19/20th March 2015. The committee, with full approval, decided they wished to avoid Chinese New Year to accommodate all their friends from Singapore and Hong Kong. It was also muted that they expected much better fishing at that time of year. Well for our puddle plonking “executives” anything has to be better than their previous performance Tee Hee. Better luck next year guys, need some tips? Following the AGM at Jimmy’s Drift Inn we all departed for our “official” club house The Paradise Bar, Rawai as it was Annie’s birthday and a great time was had by all, with no seats available by 7.30 just demonstrating the popularity of this charismatic young (by my standards) lady. Happy birthday Annie.
How to tell when its swell at sea
Fishing around Phuket often dramatically improves after a good “stir-up” but that doesn’t mean your trip has to be an uncomfortable experience since many Thai boats will go out with little regard to conditions.
When looking at the forecast, a few squalls are probably beneficial to the ardent angler, but what you should be checking are the sea conditions, known as “swell ratings”, which can be found on my web site under “Marine Forecast”.
So what is a “swell”? It is a two-part equation relating to wave strength: the wave height and the time between waves. For example, I would not recommend going out in a 2m swell at eight seconds or less, whereas a half-metre swell every 14 seconds, could rock you to sleep. Therefore the smaller the wave and the longer the time lapse, the better.
In other news, I was very pleased to hear that marine conservation is now being taught at one of our local schools. Kids in class 3K, at ABC International School in Rawai, are learning all about oceanic pollution. It’s a pity we could not fill the school with “commercial” fishing boat management, who don’t seem to realise they are jeopardising the future of their children. Let’s hope that when the kids at ABC have families of their own, they might know what a fish looks like.
This month’s catch of the month goes to the RBFC’s ‘Last Sunday of the month’s’ fishing team on the boat Wahoo 4, who like myself encountered large schools of GT’s (Giant Trevally or Kingfish) around “Tuna Rock” south of Racha Noi and landed a respectable pair at 13kg and 17kg. Yours truly, who was also on the scene in the Mena boat, pulled in two 10kg + GT’s on a multiple 30lb “Tuna” line, quite a feat.
Unfortunately for the Mena team, Wahoo 4 and its crew of RBFC misfits have to take pride of place, as on their way home they caught and released a sail fish estimated to be around 25kg. Well done Nick, Robin, Bruce, Stephen and John. Commiserations to Patong Peter, his Belgian friends and me!
And finally a warning, as the weather and tides do their annual change most are aware that swimming off the west coast of Phuket can be extremely dangerous due to the rip tides, but for the lighter, faster crafts this change also means there are a considerable amounts of hazards such as large logs floating just beneath the surface – sailors beware.
– Also posted at: http://www.thephuketnews.com/cast-away-how-to-tell-when-its-swell-at-sea-46239.php?news-alert=1#sthash.hPw93Fo4.dpuf
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.
WAHOO / RBFC 2013 Fishing Competition.
There is an old saying which begins, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day”. The Queen Marlin team won a prize for altering this old adage by changing “Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime” to:- “Give a man to fishing rod and he will drink beer indefinitely”.
Although the Wahoo Competition has some serious rivalry and to my mind the best of the year, it is also the greatest fun as the boats pull up to the Mother Ship (MV Phoenix) to weigh in their catch – What a load of FS “same as BS but fishier”. In reality there were 3 Marlin and 5 Sails tagged and released but to hear the stories, half the boats had Moby Dick chewing on their leaders while the balance blamed blunt gaffs and faulty hooks.
Personally I was a bit miffed not to be called to the rostrum for the largest fish of the tournament, “possibly joint biggest”, with a 2.2 Meter Sailfish, measured from the tip of the bottom jaw to the inside of the V in the tail. (IGFA rules) Unfortunately the competition rules were for the most, caught and released and the Captain Hook’s team got two babies – sour grapes J well done Capt. Hook Grrrrr.
Originally posted in the Phuket News