Friday, February 8, 2013

Keith and Steve at Gillhams 2nd to 7th Feb 2013

Keith Downton and Steve Gilbank are experienced and highly skilled carp anglers. Their approach to the fishing at Gillhams was similar to anglers like 'Simmo' who I'd met in December. Plenty of preparation, lots of rigs and stacks of thought had gone into this trip....this was destined to be good!!
 Here's Keith getting ready for the first session. We fished over five days with 2 half days and 3 full days.
 And here's Mr Steve Gilbank preparing his hair rigs!!
 Just look at this scenery!! Gillhams is constantly described by anglers as an 'Angling Paradise'. It certainly is. There are so many scenic views and photographic opportunities...a fabulous place to enjoy.
 And here's Steve with our guide Lee. Lee's got the thumbs up as Steve is into his first fish.
 And here we go....after over an hour's hard battle, the first Siamese Carp....and it weighs....110lb!!!!!  The official IGFA record stands at 117lb although if you 'Google' Siamese Carp you will see photographs of monsters up to an estimated 250lb. (NOT from Gillhams I hasten to add....every fish in Gillhams is treated with the utmost respect and if a very big fish, then carefully weighed in a proper sling).
 And here's Keith into a rod bender.....with one of the Karst Mountain formations in the background.
 And keith's first carp.....95lb!! Remember that for thes two anglers who have caught many carp, these fish are truly mind blowing. The pair just couldn't get over the fishing....Steve has does nothing but shake his head in disbelief at what Thailand has to offer....the weather...the food...the diving...the fishing in Phuket...and now this. It's really great to have two guests who are so enthusiastic about what they are doing and who genuinely realise just what an amazing place this is. It was great to see how they never stopped 'working' when we were fishing with constant groundbaiting throughout the day, continually rethinking the rigs and fishing for the whole 13 hours (0700 to 2000) of the fishing day.
 Our guide, Lee, is obviously deep in thought.....he really rated the lads' fishing abilities...
 Here's an example of one rig presented with a single pineapple 'popup' and a PVA groundbait bag which would have been cast into the groundbaited area. The PVA bag dissolves to add to the feed immediately around the size 1 hook.
 And here's another stonking Siamese Carp prsented by Keith.....they're very heavy to lift like this so it's a good job the lads are fit and work out regularly....well you try lifting a 100lb fish like this!! You will notice Keith and his fish are in the lake. It's too dangerous for such big, heavy fish to be out of the water for long and imagine the disasterous consequences if such a fish were dropped onto the ground. After photographing, each fish is placed gently back into the landing net and is given a recovery period during which time it is checked for any damage and iodine applied.
 Steve back into another monster which hurtled off right across the lake with up to 300 yards of mainline out at any time. The temperature was in the mid 90's so imagine what hot work this was with fights lasting an hour on average.
 And it's back into the water with another fine fish in the 90lb range....
 ...followed by a 'smaller' one of about 40lb!!!
 Steve landed a mekong catfish of 130lb. Several more were hooked but shake off the barbless hook after an hour or so's battle.....a couple of hooks were actually snapped.
 At night (1830 to 2000) we were joined by these little frogs which liked to roll the ground bait balls around the swim..............
 And look at this fabulous Simaese can only imagine the delight the lads were feeling at such truly amazing fishing..
 ....maybe this photo of Keith shaking hands with Lee our guide after another superb catch shows just how happy he is....... is Steve with Jeff, another of the English guides, laughing over this mekong catfish.

There is much to say about Gillhams and the fabulous experience it offers. This is not what can be dscribed as an 'easy' lake. You must work at it. There are lakes in Thailand (just north of Bangkok for example) where the fishing is SO easy it's no challenge at all. Gillhams presents a challenge and those anglers who can rise to that challenge will reap the rewards.

Gillhams website is superb...take time to read it....plenty of photo's of amazing fish and lots of very helpful information about how to approach the fishing.

What surely stands out to all the anglers fishing here is the massive amount of care and respect given to the fish. It's a joy to see. I despair at the treatment I have seen the fish recieve at many of the other lakes I have visited here in Thailand. Fish held high by drunken anglers and then dropped from great heights onto the's not good. There is NO WAY that is going to happen at Gillhams and it is testament to the way this fabulous fishery is run that such a professional attitude is appararent at every step of the way.

Another brilliant and successful trip with the added bonus of an Asian Redtail catfish caught by Steve and this 50lb Amazon Redtail catfish caught by Keith on the final night.


  1. Hi Paul, looks like you're having a good trip. When are you back in cold,grey Weymouth? Dave

  2. Very informative article, hope to see more in the future.