Saturday, 25 January 2020

Ryan and Katie take on Promthep Point

Promthep Point isn't for the faint hearted although I have witnessed near-on swooning due to overwhelming emotion!

 I shall explain!

Here we have, with apologies to Mr Ronnie Campbell in Oban who captures magnificent Scottish sunsets, the best ever sunsets. This of course is looking down Chesil Beach from Portland Heights. Ahhh...Dorset....the best place on the planet (unbiased view from Whittall of Weymouth, you understand)

Looking Westwards along Chesil Beach from Portland Heights.

Looking Westwards along Chesil Beach from Portland Heights
Promthep Point sunset view.
Every evening during the 'High Season' coach loads of tourists arrive at Promthep Point in South Phuket to witness stunning sunsets. There are many different Nationalities with the majority being Chinese. I have watched Chinese people of varying ages watch this spectacle in often hysterical awe. There's a rush for endless photographs...mainly selfies of course...and then genuine tears of uncontrollable emotion as the sun dips under the horizon.

This is because for so many Chinese, sunsets are a thing of the past. In Bejing, giant videos allow the residents to watch sunsets captured from the past or projected from other countries. The air pollution in Bejing is often that it is in many other places in Asia. Watching a real and beautiful sunset over the Andaman Sea is an emotional experience for many people.

Sunset....Bejing, China. Watching it on a big screen is as near to this wonderful part of the day that so many in China and other parts of air polluted Asia can no longer witness for real.

Anyhow....all that aside..this is a little report about our Promthep Fishing Heroes, Ryan and Katie.

At  0530 our keen anglers were up and gone to catch sunrise at what appears to be the best location for the chance of a decent fish. In the past I have watch Thai anglers fishing with lures from here and bringing in various edible sized fish. This was to be a species hunt though and below are the various species the pair caught. They totalled 30 fish between them and counted 19 different species. 

Two-hook paternoster rigs with 12lb line and size 6 (or less at times) hooks were used. Bait was prawn with bait elastic essential as there are so many little fish the baits are attacked immediately and hooks are stripped bare within seconds. Properly presented baits and fast reactions are called for!

Our glamorous Weymouth Charter Boat Skippers, Ryan Casey and Katie Balem

The plan was to fish the first 3 hours of daylight as the temperature soon soars and Promthep is a very exposed area.

Hours of research have already been spent and names have been attached to most of the fish...but there's a few left. So..anyone with any ideas..please help. (I will update as we go!)

Kannika shown on the way back up from the Point after a morning fishing's a very hard ascent...and hot. Ask Reggie Clough and Dave Lovelock with that demon Boot Camper, Mark Harding from Alderney, urging them back up the slope after a day on the Point.

This either a black spot sea perch OR a five lined snapper.

Big eyed snapper.

Five lined snapper.
Long barbel goat fish
Checkered snapper
Two lined monocle bream

Streak monocle bream

Cheek monocle bream

Blue lines grouper

Three spot Dascyllus

Moon wrasse
Variegated lizard fish

Checkerboard wrasse

Double-tooth soldier fish
Floral wrasse

Brown banded grouper

This story will be added to as more fish are identified....and now we are headed off to Phuket Aquarium in the hope of discovering more fishy names!

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Ryan and Jack...early morning beach fishing session.

Ryan and Jack....early morning session at Ya Nui Beach!

Today...we let the photo's do the talking. There are SO MANY different species here in IS mind-blowing.

A giant puffer fush...caught on lure!
There are so many species....this is a member of the snapper family??

Member of the snapper family?
A pretty snapper family member for Ryan. Watch out ,Luke!!

Even tho' the fish are tiny...there's nothing that beats sehorefishing for us sea anglers.
How's the ID going?
A colourful parrot wrasse.

Ryan with a checkerboard wrasse.
Many different wrasse...there's 38 different wrasse
in my I.D. book for this part of Thailand.
A checkered snapper

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Ryan and Jack at Lek's Specimen Fishing Park,Udon Thani.

                         Ryan and Jack visit Lek's Specimen Fishing Park in Udon Thani.

 Yes, I's all too much information from me with a stream of Facebook postings and Blog entries!! Well, it's because everyone's so enthusiastic which is brilliant and just what I want.

I am always banging on about how coming to my place encourages you to make your own adventure. Kannika and I are here to assist with bookings and making everything as easy as possible for you. But, ultimately, it is ALL down to you and how much effort you want to put in to your holiday in sunny Phuket. Saying that...there's NOTHING wrong with having relaxing times at the beach. As I type now, our energetic youngsters have headed off to the beach for the afternoon to enjoy some snorkeling.....looking at fish, of course!!
 Ryan and Jack need no introduction. Ryan, the skipper of Meercat, has committed himself even further to a career of chartering and is now the proud owner of Meercat running out of Weymouth.
Jack will be known for the summer time 4 hour inshore trips aboard Ryan's traditional Berry Boat, Eclipse, which used to be the old 'Gypsy'. Ryan, for a short time, was the UK's youngest skipper....and then Katie Balem, skipperess of Eclipse, took that mantle becoming Weymouth's only practising female charter skipper. So these are go-ahead young people, full of energy which they have brought here with them.
 Here's Jack with a lovely carp. It took Jack a bit longer to get going than Ryan. Being young he thought his constitution could handle the very long flight, time shift and the many attractions offered to a young man on his first visit to Thailand. Wrong! The photo's from the first day appear to show Jack upside down for much of the day!!
 Ryan, cool as ever, got straight into the fishing  on the first two days and caught some fabulous siamese carp and catfish.
                                                     Here's one of Ryan's catfish....
 Ryan is here demonstrating the UK carp angler's photographic pose where the angler gazes lovingly at his fish and ignores the intrusion of the camera.
 Jack kmade an excellent recovery and came into his own on Days 3 and 4 of the lads' four day booking. This is the more unusual black shark carp, sometimes referred to as the black minnow.

Another superb carp from Ryan

And to finish up this short posting, I include again these words from Doug Isles which you can find on his Facebook Page. Just look up Lek's Fishing Park and stacks of information will appear.

Lek’s Specimen Fishing Park ( A Private & Exclusive Fishing Lake For Hire )

Conveniently situated only 3 km from Udon Thani airport…… (pick up / drop off taxi service available from anywhere in surrounding areas)

In a private and secluded North Eastern Thailand setting the mixed specimen coarse lake boasts well over 50 different fish species ranging from huge Mekong Catfish (350lb+) to Giant Siamese Carp (up to 100 lb +), with vicious predators such as the Arapaima (up to 300 lb), Alligator Gar, Chao Phraya Catfish, Amazon Redtail and many more…. the un-pressured fast runs water produces very exciting catch rates leaving the angler in suspense as to what might be landed next!

Some of the bigger fish require strong equipment so we only use high end imported fishing tackle (which is included in the fee, ) Free Spirit rods with Shimano XTA LC Big bait runners, Solar Stainless Rod Pods with Delkim alarm indicators, full tackle box and enough bait to last you all day….. you will also be provided with a personal guide / assistant to give you advise and a helping hand to land any of the larger fish .. (the amount of assistance you require is up to yourself)

It can get very hot in Thailand so we provide cover and protection from the sun and rain with our private luxury salas which are equipped with cool fans, a fully stocked mini bar with western and Thai food also available.. (plug sockets and fast WIFI connection which is very popular with any none fishing spectators / family members) …

We are looking at keeping the lake un-commercialised so to avoid disappointment we would prefer that bookings are to be made in advance….

To contact us and obtain directions to our lake you can email us for the fastest response at or call us on 0860593028 within Thailand or +66860593028 from abroad…

Lek’s Ranch & Fishing Park Udon Thani
Tel: 0860593028

It's always so important how customers are treated as to the impression they gain of any business. Doug Isles, the owner, wanders around his lake in the afternoon and stops for lengthy chats. He is a very personable and incredibly interesting man....and all of my guests who have gone there come back telling me what a pleasure it is to sit and chat with Doug who comes across as a genuinley 'nice' guy who is full of information which he imparts with the gentle air of someone who really does know and understand what he's talking about.

If you plan to come to stay with Kannika and me in Phuket in the future, please check out Lek's as a possibility to visit. I warn you now that bookings must be made WELL in advance to have a chance of the dates you'd ideally like!!

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Chalong Fishing Park with Art and Mark

                                       Mark and Art at Chalong Fishing Park

It's hard to believe that Mark Butland's lengthy 7 week stay with us in Phuket is over and right now he is on his way back to a rainy and windy UK. Before leaving he and his fishing buddy, Art Powell, who leaves tonight after a two week holiday with us, managed one more session at Jez Wilson's Chalong Fishing here's a last few photo's of the pair together along with some comments by Jez himself with what he is aiming to achieve with his ever improving Fishing Park.

Jez writes: ''We aim to supply fun catch and release freshwater fishing for anglers of all abilities. All equipment and standard bait will be supplied and guides will be on hand to assist you. There is a restaurant on site for meals and refreshments and a swimming pool as well''.

The Chalong Fishing Park Thai menu is extensive and excellent....but his English breakfast is fantastic and a very welcome break after the regular intake of spice and rice of Thai cuisine.

We Brits hanker after good old British grub when we're fishing!!

Jez continues; ''There are many high end fisheries in Thailand all catering for different customers, requirements and budgets and while we have nearly 20 different species of fish with many now approaching 40Kg (estimated) we do not call our fish monsters but we do frequently have very good catch rates with the fishing at affordable and realistic rates''.

Art Powell with a hard fighting Mekong catfish. The biggest of these is now at an estimated 40Kg. That seems pretty big to me!!

During our sessions at the lake we have often reached double figures of fish caught with the infamous EFSA England wizard, Dave Lovelock from Wiltshire catching over 30 fish on several occasions. These catches feature between 5-10 different species right from the smallest talapia up to the Mekong catfish with the heaviest now touching 40kg. This certainly makes for a hectic day's fishing.

Jez mentions ''realistic rates''. Over recent years our UK Pound has dropped considerbly in value. Just last year we were getting 44 Baht to the Pound. I see that today's rate in the local Phuket Exchanges is 38. A 6 Baht drop in a year is a considerable percentage. Many of you have visited us in the past will recall the days of 60 Baht per Pound. Our activities here in Thailand are now considerably more expensive and we are mindful of this expense. Jez's rates allow us to visit his lake frequently with the added bonus that it is just a 15 minute drive away from the house.

Jez continues: ''While we are constantly adding more fish and species we do not intend to overstock our waters as this would be detrimental to health of the fish and the quality of the water. Some days are easy, some days are tough and from time to time there are those 'red letter' days and that's why it's called fishing and not catching''.

Art presents one of the Park's Siamese carp. These are difficult fish to hold and easy to drop which is why the photo's take place in the water to ensure the fish's safety.

This is a Chao Praya catfish. The Chao Praya River is the main river running through Bangkok and is translated into the 'river of Kings'. If you're on a river boat trip you can see lots of fish 'feeding places' where people can buy food to give to the make merit and bring about good Karma in your life! This means that the river is jammed full of fish.....with this particular catfish being a dominant species. The have a long black tipped dorsal fin that comes out of the water like a shark's fin. They are known as 'Freshwater Sharks' and the Thai's are frightened of them!!

                                                   Mark Butland with a Siamese carp.

Jez often writes on his Facebook postings that his Park is like the United Nations with so many different nationalities enjoying the fishing together. When I visit the Park, I am always impressed with the busy atmosphere there with most of the Salas around the lake full, often with families and friends
from all parts of the world grouped together. The atmosphere is very friendly and it's nice to just wander around and chat to the different people.

Jez says:''We have put a lot of effort into making the fishing park a pleasant and comfortable place to spend some time for both anglers and non-anglers alike'' and this approach has certainly paid off with an atmosphere around the lake that encourages people to want to stay for a beer or several and a chat.

Chalong Fishing Park has also become a central meeting place for people who have moved to Phuket and set up businesses such as bars and restaurants. These local businesses have been very supportive of Jez's efforts and send customers his way and vice-verse. As we all know, it really does pay to work together and support each other when working in customer based businesses.

Here's Art Powell with a red-tail catfish caught at 1900. Darkness descends very rapidly when you are just 450 miles North of the Equator. It's really an 11 hours of darkness/13 hours of daylight pattern throughout the year here in Phuket.

Like many self-employed people, Jez works very long hours. The lake is actually open to customers from 0800 to 2000. A 12 hour day requires a couple of hours either side for the inevitable lengthy preparations and tidying up these are more like 16 hours day, 7 days a week in the 'Peak Season' that is now upon us. You have to be dedicated and enthusiastic to do this....and Jez and his team certainly are. His Thai Guides are like athletes...they run around that lake to ensure they are on hand when a customer needs the net or other forms of assistance!

Jez's parting words: ''As time goes on the park's flora and fauna are maturing with birds and other wildlife making this their home and it's hard to believe we started this project just 3 years ago''.

There's lots to see and enjoy at Chalong Fishing Park. Well Done to Jez, his wife Jen and the Team for making this such a great place for everyone to come to.

Look up Chalong Fishing Park on Facebook....there's lots of information and contact details. Jez also works hard to give a daily detailed update on Facebook of what's happening and the fishing at the park.

It's all looking great...and I'm looking forward to our next visit!!