Saturday, January 23, 2016

The final Phuket Lake Trip...of this holiday!!

 John Bellamy, Ray Barron  and Russell Shaw took themselves off to the Phuket Fishing Park on Friday for their final lake fishing session of this holiday.

Ray was determined to 'sort the fishing' out with different and better rigs in order to cut down the bite-offs and losses. worked. 22 Paku in the 3kg to 7kg range to Ray sets a new Pacu 'House Record'.

 In addition to the Pacu there were a few catfish.
 This season, thoough, has been extra special with these beautifully marked Hovens Carp turning up. We have never caught these before but this year one or two have been landed. Yesterday, Ray landed 7 of them in the 6kg to 10kg range. Spectacular fish to take his day's total to 31 fish landed.

John Bellamy (still awaiting his pictures!!) landed 28 fish with five Siamese Carp up to 20kg, 12 Pacu, three Hovens and 8 mekong catfish.

 Having been to the park many times I know where the redtail catfish 'live'. If an angler wishes to fish for these he has to pay extra for the stronger tackle and chicken or fish baits. Ray figured it all out for himself and was able to place in bait in exactly the correct place to take one of these extremely hard fighting fish. Many lake anglers believe these to be the hardest fighter of all the species although fish like the massive Mekong Catfish or Arapaima will take consideraby longer to land because of their weight. Ray is in favour of the Arapaima taking the title of best fighting fish. Ray totalled 31 fish yesterday...which he reckoned was well in excess of 300lb of steroid fuelled fury brought to the net.

Russell regards Pacu as being far too easy to catch and prefers to consider the merits of drop-kicking them back into the lake.  He likes to concentrate on the Siamese Carp and landed three to 40lb inbetween trying, unsuccessfully to avoid the Paku landing 12 of them as a byecatch! (Politically loaded buzzword that). Russell is a keen carp angler 'back home' and enjoys trips to France in the pursuit of carp so this has been a real treat for him especially as every fish here in sunny Thailand fights like it is possessed.

 Here's Russell with one of his three carp...

And here' s another of them. We are very worried about the condition of these fish. After fishing EFT a number of times this year and seeing how carefully the fish are looked after, it is depressing to see the state of these carp. We are regularly participating in heated exchanges with other anglers about their mistreatment of their fish and watched on this occasion a German angler drop his carp four times hard onto the ground from a considerable height whilst posing for his picture.

Sadly, the park is in a very bad state with rubbish everywhere. The Australian owner, Chris, has been off work for some time now and without him there to manage the workforce it is all falling rapidly into a mess. We collected rubbish around the lake and tried to explain to the Thai guides but they look at you as if you are mad and casually throw the next empty bottle of beer over their shoulder into the undergrowth. This is, in so many ways, a deeply confusing and fraustrating country.  Thais are meticulously hygenienic yet don' t appear to give a toss about their beautiful country and think nothing of throwing rubbish everywhere and anywhere. Very strange. In fact the Phuket Park is looking remarkably like Weymouth Town Centre does every Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning.

This is the final trip to the lake for the lads as they leave for UK tomorrow. The fishing has been really amazing but with Ray John and Russell here it all took a massive leap forward with improved terminal rigs and the undoubted skills that the lads brought to the lake. Our Grauvell fixed spool reels, miles better than the gear provided by the lake, are srtruggling to cope and we have destroyed three of them. We really need good quality Shimano baitrunners to cope with these fish but the reels are in excess of £120, donations please!!

 So...why are we fanatical sea anglers concentrating on the lake fishing rather thn the sea? we are with the results. Yesterday John and Ray went to Rawai Pier whilst Russell and I joined Jenny Arnold (PADI Instructor and daughter of Martin Arnold, well-known gentlemen fishmonger and good Offshore Rebel customer) to go offshore for a three dive day at Racha Yai and Racha Noi. (Pictures of dive day to follow...)
 These are the size of the fish you can expect to catch from the shore. The lads went down to size 12 freshwater hooks and presented tiny slithers of squid on two hook running legers to take about a dozen fish of different species between them. And, although the fish were tiny, a local Thai family were delighted to be given them to take home for tea. Very little from the sea gets returned over here....we watched in dismay as a pick-up truck roared past us the other day with three sailfish in the back of it.
 Dinky little sea can just see the is only a size 12 hook!

We have tried to find a location where we might catch some bigger fish...but so far we have failed. If anyone has been to Phuket and found some good shore fishing PLEASE let me know! When we are diving from the shore we see millions of little fish and a few good sized puffer fish and sometimes a bit titan triggerfish or a colourful parrot fish but these are rare sights. A couple of shore dives ago, and for the first time ever for me, I was confronted by two Giant Trevelly which must have been in the 20lb I guess anything is possible.

Anyhow...after the conclusion of the was appropriate to go to The Big Buddha (which is still no-where near finished even though loads has been done to the site) to give thanks for a brilliant two weeks of fun, laughter, fish and diving.

Ray has certainly made his mark here. The Eastern Culture is a complete opposite to our Western Culture in so many ways. The Thai ladies and the guides at the lakes think Ray is the funniest Englishman they have ever met and they love him to bits....Jennie, our English Diving Insructor friend, describes Ray as a 'Lecherous Drunkard'.

I leave you, Dear Reader, to make your own mind up about this...and, although I have a good deal of photographic evidence to influence the discussion, I will not submit any on this occasion but leave it all up to your imaginations.....

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 19th and 20th 2016 at Exotic Fishing Thailand

 The first problem one encounters at  Exotic Fishing Thailand is the lake restaurant. I mean, why would you want to leave it?? The view is spectacular, the food is exquisite with the chaps saying it was the best they had experienced in Thailand and the service is charming and friendly. What's not to like??

But we are here to ever onwards into the beautifully manicured surrounds of the lake itself.
 Our England International, Ray Barron from Southampton was the first into a fish with an Asian redtail catfish on his third cast.
 Russell Shaw from Bournemouth leans into a good sized Siamese Carp of around 20kg.
 Russell's Siamese Carp which was estimated at 20kg
 Mr Bellamy was concentrating on the various species of lake catfish. After some discussion it was decided that his fish shown here was a rare Salween (because it is found in the Salween river in North Thailand) Rita catfish. John also caught an Amazon Redtail (8kg) and an Asian Redtail (15kg)
 A good supply of livebait as required was provided by Kannika....
......who also provided Raymond with suitable flirtatious frolicings during the quieter moments.
 For those of a more serious nature, lake owner Mike Bailey provides a very tame doggie for animal lovers to talk to and pet. may recall the wild expedition deep into the upper reaches of the Chaew Lay lake in search of snakeheads where Yours Truly (ha ha) managed to dominate the catches with a fine specimen snakehead of nearly three ounces. is  Russell with a much bigger snakehead which must be one of the hardest fish to hold as they are seriously slipperly. Thankfully this very beautifully marked fish kept still long enough for a photo. These, like all the lake fish, are in superb condition and fight like demons.
 As the day progresses the large mountain that forms the very dramatic backdrop to this lake casts very welcome shade across it from midday onwards. There's the restaurant in the distance across the 10 acre lake.
 As darkness falls it is important to keep the fresh baits they MIGHT give an edge over the frozen scad baits.
 It had been a very hard two days for us although several arapaima had been caught by other anglers spread out around the lake. Ray Barron described this form as fishing as akin to Game Fishing at sea when lengthy periods of inaction are punctuated by adrenelin seering runs from very powerful fish. Throughout the day lots of fish raced off with the baits, appeared to be temporarily hooked and, just when it seemed proper contact had been made, dropped the baits. There were some impressively emotional displays from our men as fish were lost but Southampton's John Bellamy took first prize with his war dance and raucous wildlife scaring cry as he lost an arapiama towards the end of our session. Such was his theatrical rendition that the dancing girls 100km away in Patong must have thought a true warrior was on his way to them.

As we all know you must NEVER give up in angling. You must fish right to the very end in the hope that it will all come good. With night now upon us and the time edging towards the final whistle, Ray acrobatically stood on his carefully prepared final scad bait and flattened it. With no time to prepare another bait, Ray lobbed out the strange looking mess he had created and.... yes.....within seconds of it landing an Arapiama took it and raced off into the darkness. These fish are amazingly powerful with Ray saying that now he really did understand why everyone wanted to catch one. He experienced a fierce and testing fight from the fish which is always harder to control in the dark. After quite a number of heart stopping moments the fish was guided into the cage with our guide, Phan, telling us that the hook was now on the verge of being thrown and one more run would surely have seen the fish escape.

But wonderful....we got what we came for and congratulations to Ray for catching it.With all his angling travels and experiences this was the biggest fish Ray has ever caught and was estimated by the staff at  being in the 75kg - 80kg bracket.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Manic Fishing at Phuket Fishing Park....

Today, Saturday 16th January......and the fishing at the Phuket Fishing Park was the best to date and we have had some amazing sessions so far this 'winter season'. Both Ray Barron and John Bellamy caught 30 fish EACH with stacks of bite-offs from the pacu and line snapping runs from other species. Ray reckoned he lost 20 fish through bite offs and sheer manic power and that with a bit more refinement next time we go, many more fish should come to the net. One reel was totally stripped off and demolished and rods were pulled straight off the rests towards the lakes with our intrepid sportsmen leaping forward to prevent their disappearance into the lake whilst simultaneously playing a manic fish on their other rod.

Ray told me he lost his first five fish before landing his first fish, a 5lb talapia, a favourite eating fish in Thai resturants.

The session started off steadily in the morning with five different species apiece. By 1300, as the heat built up,  all the other anglers around the lake started leaving....and once they had gone and our brave men had the place to themselves, the fishing went crazy.

All the fish were taken on bread crust fished beneath the feeder cages.

Ray described today's experience as the best day's fishing he has ever that says something about the venue!

The lads are having a brilliant time over here and I have to say this is definitely our most successful season with the fish.

The first time in 12 years that I have seen anyone catch a just had to be Mr Ray Barron!!
A hard fighting mekong catfish
                                                           A lovely Hobens Carp of 22lb

A mekong cat for John Bellamy

Nice 35lb Siamese carp for John

John bent into a pacu on steroids

Ray's legs in action

Jai christened Ray a ladyboy from thier first meeting at the EFSA World Game Championships held here in Phuket way back in November 2004...which is really when our 'Thai Adventure' began.

John with another nice doubke figure Siamese Carp

The lads thoroughly enjoyed guide Baw's expertise and insane humour

Great team work.......
In addition to the amazing fishing, the chaps had a riot with their guides with plenty of good humoured insanity leading to jaw ache syptoms to contend with during this evening's two parties that we are duty bound to attend.

And next Tuesday and Wednesday we are off to Phang Gna to try for a big fish at Mike Bailey's Exotic Fishing Thailand......does it get any better than this????

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Three Men in Phuket

 Our illustrious trio of Ray Baron, John Bellamy and Russell Shaw have already discovered that Phuket offers something for everyone. We have been very much full-on since the chaps' arrival with Ray declaring last night that he had managed just 6 hours sleep in the three days that he'd been here. During any quieter moments when we are actually 'at home',  the lads have been fishing in the lake right behind us. The fish are up to a 1lb and look like roach but they fight well and it is fun. We have seen a few much bigger fish rolling around....and I am sure we will catch them soon!!

But how pleasant to pick up one of the 'house rods' and a slice of bread and go and have some fishing action right on your doorstep.

By now the photo of Ray dancing in atop a bar in Patong has gone viral (well, 40 likes anyway). His socks have become legendary.
There are other things to do of course. Whilst Ray was out and about and jiving with the Tottie, Russell 'Gentleman' Shaw went off for a nice walk to discover some of the charming 'landmarks' dotted around the place. Here he is amazed that he has discovered a Lighthouse in the middle of a carpark.

Taking a photo from a plane is always a favourite passtime and this one does show a few of the offshore islands around Phuket that we intend to fish and dive around.

Even as I type, Russell is 20 miles to the south of us at the famous Pi Pi Islands experiencing his first ever sea dives with PADI. Russell has enrolled in the PADI Open Water Course.....and what a wonderful place to have your first ever dives!! Once he has gained his PADI Certificate he, John, Kannika and I will be chartering a longtailboat on Monday and hiring a stack of dive bottles and heading out to sea to do our own diving.....that will be fun!!

Here's Russell descending on his first ever sea dive which was with me at Kata the day before he started his PADI training.
And within just two weeks, I am so impressed with Kannika's buoyancy control and relaxed style. And, as expected,she uses hardly any air so I have a new Dive Buddy with enormous potential....
I have owned this house since 2008 so this is already our ninth season! This time a lot of things needed replacing....bed stuff, towels, extra furniture, pool improvements, new mains water filtration system etc etc. The price has remained the same at £200 per week per en-suite double room for the whole time and includes free use of the fishing tackle (if it isn't good enough for you, you are welcome to bring your own) and dive gear. You will, if you like, have free diving tuition and then if you wish to further your diving you can be enrolled into the PADI Open Water Course which is just under £300 for the three days....consideraby cheaper than doing it in the UK. A word of warning though. Diving in here in Phuket is considerably less demanding than diving back home in the UK. If you do your training in Blue Water it will not equip you to face the rigours of the English Channel and further tuition is strongly recommended!!!! is a photo of one of the bedrooms. One bedroom has a Kingsized bed and the other two rooms have two large single beds in each. All the rooms are en-suite and they all have private balconies.

December 2016 is now fully booked. Bookings are being taken for the January to March 2017 period! You can email me if you fancy a holiday here ( or text me 07860 571615 or Facebook message me for details. There is a dedicated website ( that badly needs updating....but you can get an idea from it.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dave Lovelock bids us farewell.

 EFSA England Shore star Dave Lovelock from Wiltshire managed to get one last day in at the Phuket lake before having to return to UK yesterday.
 Fishing has been amazing for the past few weeks but it is now slowly returning to normality. We assume the fishing has been so extraordinarily productive because we have discovered that the fishery had been closed for 4 months. There is a new road leading to it now so I imagine that would have effectively shut down the access during construction. There is also a shiny new roof over the restaurant section so that will improve the dining area. Anyhow, here's Dave with one of the day|'s Pacu.
 We are starting to see more of these Hovens Carp which is a strikingly beautiful fish. All the fish are taken on legered or floatfished bread flake suspended under a feeder cage crammed with a bread/rice/pellet mix.
 Dave caught the best of the Mekong catfish with this very deep bellied and hard fighting specimen.

I have to say I fear for the future of this lake. I was offered a 50% share in it a few years ago but I know trying to do anything in Thailand is fraught with uncertainty. Ferangs (foreigners) are often here to provide the money and then, when they are of no use anymore, forced out of the business and often end up with nothing to show for it. It is a shame as I would like to take it over and make it into an attractive and well run venue...but I do believe that would be an impossibility. In the meantime we shall continue to enjoy our days there and hope all will be well and it continues to provide good fishing.

 Amusingly quite a few guests ask me if there are any shops in Phuket or if they should bring their own soap and toothpaste from the UK etc. Well, allow me to reassure you all that Phuket offers everything for the serious shopper ( we were, for example, looking at £2m Sunseekers and Princesses at the Phuket International Pimex Boat Show Show yesterday....well....we were looking at the Thai models showing us around them more like) and here are a couple of photo's from David's last night when we went to Patong for dinner and a stroll around the famous Bangla Road.

 You can see that Phuket offers glitzy shopping malls and, for the discerning diner,  top quality £100 per head restuarants  as well as very cheap little beachside eateries from where wonderful meals for under £5 can be bought and verything inbetween.
 The actual name Phuket is believed to be deprived from the Malaysian language 'Bukit' which means hill as this is what Phuket looks like from the sea. Scholars counter argue that the name comes from the Thai language with Phu meaning mountain) and Ket meaning jewel... thus Phuket. It  used to be  called Jung Ceylon on some of the early Western Navigation charts. We were at the Jung Ceylon shopping centre in Patong which is a great place to explore with numerous restuarants, cafes, and shops. There's even a full Chinese Junk as part of the 'decorations' and in keeping with the name 'Jung' although that is a play on words as Jung Ceylon is a corruption of the Malay words Tanjung Slang which means Cape (Telong) Salang. Ah....such is the way the history of a place is revealed though its current and previous names. Words...fascinating creatures, eh?

 The 'all you can eat' Sushi restuarants in Patong and at Tesco Lotus big shops are extremely popular eateries and will set you back about £7 for endless trips to the buffet, all the soft drinks (not alchohol...that costs extra) you can manage plus fruits and ice creams. You get an hour and a quarter in which to gorge yourself....after that you are fined 2 baht (4 pence) per extra minute that you overstay.
Kannika has proved herself to be an excellent House Manager and Hostess. She and Dave got on famously.

But now, sadly, Dave has gone and will already be back in UK ready to defend his honour in the forthcoming Flounder Championships...

Dave told us that this was the best holiday he had ever experienced in his life which makes doing this venture satisfyingly worthwhile. I want guests to have a nice time here and when they do not, which is rare but can be the case, then inevitably there is a great sense of disappointment on my part. So it is fantastic that Dave had such a great time and was such excellent and jolly company.