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 Park....so 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 fish....to 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 required...so 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!!









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