Sunday, March 20, 2011

3 Day Similan Islands Trip


Any boat trip on a Thai boat starts off with Chinese Crackers being suspended from a bamboo pole and lit....the noise is to call on all good spirits to protect us at sea. I'd like to do this when we go under the Town Bridge in Weymouth at the start of every Alderney trip...I get the feeling we'd be arrested pretty quick!!!




Cost of a trip to English people is the most important factor....and no matter what I put on here, no matter what the cost, there will be readers saying 'How much??? That's too much!!!' Ah, well....whatever.

Khun Moo owns a tackle shop in Chalong. I arranged the trip through him. The trip cost 50,000 Baht for the three days. 50,000 Baht is about £1,100. On top of that we paid (there were four of us) 2,500 Baht each (£55) for all the tackle to be provided. Moo bought STACKS of gear. We each had trolling gear (Penn Internationals to 50lb class Shimano rods and a vast assortment of trolling lures); an electric reel set-up (electric reel loaded with 1,500 metres of braid, 50 to 80lb class rods),; light spinning gear for live bait fishing; and popper rigs with 15kg rods and Shimano bait-runner reels. This stuff must have cost a fortune!!! You can bring your own tackle....but you need a lot because of the variety of fishing we did.

There were four Thai crew. Two worked the tackle...keeping on top of it, setting it up up etc etc along with Khun Moo. The service was excellent. When we were fishing, all four crew were on standby to assist.









Food onboard was brilliant. There was stacks of fish to eat....but also chicken, pork and plenty of fruit and veg. Very, very good meals.







Popper Lures....Khun Moo brought along two big boxes of lures...all sorts for the trolling and popper fishing.









We stopped for livebait and used the usual 'sandeel feather' rig.....plenty of mackerel and a great big live bait tank to keep them in.











On the way out to the Similan Islands we were trolling. We caught king mackerel and dorado, stacks of small tuna (for bait and Sushi) and mackeral. Here's Richie with his first ever dorado that put up a brilliant fight, leaping out of the sea many times.....very exciting.





We saw plenty of dolphin. We did see marlin jumping but we had agreed to concentrate on drift fishing, fishing at anchor, popper fishing and light lining....none of us enjoy trolling that much so this had all been agreed beforehand.





Fishing in 200 to 22 metres of depth would have been hard work using ordinary reels...especially when we were catching black grouper like these. (See previous Blog on electric reels).





At night we were anchored. You could fish all night if you could stay awake.....we fished as much as we could! Here's a terrific red snapper caught by Keith.






And here's a black grouper....we were using two hook paternoster rigs with 200lb snoods as the grouper grow to 50kg!








Some of you will have fished out of Phuket or experienced the local longtail boat fishing out of Rawai.....so compare that sort of catch with this. This is our first day's catch!!!!









It was brilliant having Khun Moo....so much tackle spread round the boat to cater for each style of fishing. Here were rigs all prepared and ready to go in case of snap-offs or required rig change.








E.F.S.A. World Chairman, Horst Sneider (many of you will meet him in the EFSA Festival to be held in Weymouth in September) was our fourth team member. Horst, as near to that great man Ernest Hemmingway as you will ever meet, has fished everywhere in the world. Listening to his tales, exploits and catches made us realise just how much of an exciting world there is out there to fish in. A good way to experience some of this is to join EFSA!!!!


Trolling is all about letting the gear do the work as the boat travels along at 6 knots. Some people love trolling and most boats out of Chalong concentrate on this style.....we just did it going out to the Similans and back...






We also fished 200m metres on the drift over coral peaks and big granite boulder sea beds.....important to maintain attention at all times due to the fluctuating depths....but the rewards were high with some cracking snapper to 10kg and grouper to 20kg.





Red snapper like these are lively fighters and make amazing eating. Here is Khun Jeng, one of our crew, with a nice red snapper caught by Richard.










If you fish electric, then you have to have a power supply....and here it is....a hefty and weighty battery. Then you need chargers to keep them topped up at night. We had electric cables and chargers all over the place....it's a LOT of gear!





Light spinning rods at the ready at the bow of the boat.











This is the Thai equivalent of the red gurnard...strange looking fish, especially the mouth area. This is EFSA Chairman, Mr Horst Sneider.










You might be able to make out the depth on the sounder...over 200 metres.










Khun Saam...another of the crew with a very nice ruby snapper.











We were like a floating tackle shop...Khun Moo had certainly worked very hard on our behalf.....









Horst is at the stern along with crewman Khun Chaa. The Thai crew were excellent....very helpful. They couldn't speak much English but who cares...it's the brotherhood of fishing and we all speak the same language of friendship.






We ate lots of fish!! (Don't worry...there's lots of other stuff to eat if you don't like fish)
The crew were all dab hands at cooking and all helped each other to do the various jobs.



The EFSA flag flies the world over.............








Now, I could write a massive feature on this trip as we did so much...but I hope the photo's give a flavour of what we got up to. You may have enjoyed the Blogs on the Freshwater fishing as well. I want to push the fishing as much as possible....but it's all up to who comes here to stay and what you can afford.
Last night I had dinner with John Pearce (you can look him up on Facebook...just type in his name and Phuket). John runs a top of the range Game Boat and concentrates on Andaman Island trips....5 dyas seems favourite. He confirmed the price yeaterday....£2,000 per day! So, £10,000 for 5 days...and you have to fly there from India. Four on the boat is as much as you want....so compare that at £2,500 each (without tips) as compared to us at £370 each.
John's boat is the height of air-conditioned luxury. Our boat was a 15 metre wooden chugger Thai boat. Facilities were very basic........so, you really get what you pay for.
This will probably be the final Blog from Thailand this year. I go back to Weymouth in 2 days time....so this 'winter season's adventures' draw to a close. It's been brilliant...each time her e gets better. But it's all up to you guys who come to stay to make it a good experience. I have to say that this season we have enjoyed the company of some smashing people....so, thanks to everyone for coming and now I look forward to returning to Weymouth and seeing my sons again....and getting back out into the English Channel with all my delightful, merry customers.
See you soon!!

3 comments:

  1. Woww!!! nice trip. If you can’t decide for your next trip…Phuket is the best choice for you!!
    I love here Surin Beach Phuket This hotel is very nice clean and the people are friendly. VERY nice hotel with helpful staff.
    And I really love white sand, crystal clear waters at Surin Beach too.
    Thank again.

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