Saltwater

Fishing the Gulf of Thailand, part 1

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As I have mentioned before sea fishing  is in my blood. I love the feeling of developing my sea legs, the smell and taste of the salt in the air.

The serenity of a still ocean  and the power the sea holds when she turns against you, it demands respect, but is awesome in its beauty.

However, I think there is something besides that romantic claptrap that more gifted people than I have written about endlessly before.

To me its about being with friends and making new friends, sharing stories and laughs. The fishing as always is almost secondary to the whole experience.

The boats I charter  on the East coast of Gulf of Thailand typically set off from one of two spots, Pattaya’s Bali Hai Pier or Bang Sare. In the past we have also had speedboats pick us up  at the beach and take us out to our boat in the Gulf, in the area marked ‘fishing zone’ in the pic above.

The Gulf of Thailand is fairly shallow, with much of it being not more than 20-50 metres (wikipedia has the mean depth as 45m which is about right).  As such the many species of fish found here don’t tend to grow very large.  I believe that its shallow warm waters could serve as a nursery for some pelagic species because I have hooked small dorado (3-10kgs) , blue marlin (30-100kgs)  and sailfish (20-80kgs) here, which get larger the further out you go.

Sport is excellent though with the following species usually showing up for a fight (we catch and release all bill fish, the rest we eat), what follows is a selection of species caught on my last trip out back in April :

King Mackerel (tastes great!)

King Mackerel and Pompano

Pompano

The skipper described this as a Jack fish.. not sure myself

Barracuda

Charter boat prices in the Gulf of Thailand  usually cost in the region of THB 10,000 – 20,000 a day. Various  listings can be found at http://www.siamfishing.com/boat (its in Thai, so open it in google chrome if you are not a Thai reader for a semi usable translation ).

Suggested fishing tackle: most boats will provide what you need, so you will not need to bring anything, unless you really want to.

Personally, I use a 15Kg class roller tipped boat rod (Shimano and a sturdy spinning rod (both are less than 6ft long). My reels are loaded with about 300 yards of 65lb braided line to 10m of clear monofilament leader on spinning reel (Shimano Baitrunner 6500B) and 550yards of 65lb braid with 20m of 80lb mono on my Shimano Tiagra 16 which is probably over kill (unless we luck out with a sailfish or small marlin, in which case we stand a chance of bringing it along side the boat!)

I have used 30lbs monofilament before and you would probably be okay with 25lbs. Basically anything that you’d use for taking catfish at Bung Samran should serve you fine at sea, but note that rods longer than 7ft can be cumbersome to use on a boat (especially if you have a fish try go directly under the boat. Most of the time we’ll be fishing live squid off the surface, so no need to worry about lures etc. I have a few though, but most rigs will be very simple, a weight leader, swivel and hook, and sometimes just straight to the hook or lure. Regarding hooks, I have gone for live bait hooks, of sizes about 1/0 – 4/0 .

In addition to my tackle, I’ll be bringing along the following:

  • One short-sleeved and one long-sleeved (light weight) T-shirt (the latter in case of too much sun)
  • A good sun hat can not be overstated (My hat in these pics is a Tilley and I love it, I can not recommend these hats enough)
  • Sunglasses – polarising lenses are good for fishing live baits to Dorado and active King Mackerels
  • Sandals / flip-flops  (the decking can get seriously hot under bare feet in the midday sun)
  • A towel and toiletries (most have a shower on board)
  • Leave your swimmers at home! The current’s dangerously strong where we go fishing.
  • Water resistant sunblock [SPF 50]
  • MP3 player / playing cards [Top Trumps !] (for the downtime when we travel between spots, I will bring a book too, but sometimes I can find reading at sea to bring on nausea so audiobooks are good)

On that subject, seasickness. I don’t usually have any problems but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

For details on how to prevent it I suggest checking out these sites  http://www.seasickness.co.uk/ http://fishinkona.com/seasick.htm

Take sea sickness pills at least one hour before you step on the boat, preferably earlier, most manufacturers suggests one hour but if you get ill the pills may be the first to go, so I’ll take one just after lunchtime on the day I leave.

If you are out there and already feel bad and need relief ginger works well (take it in any form, but candied maybe the easiest)

That’s it for tonight, look out for a new post which will delve a little deeper into tactics, seasons and baits for Charter boat fishing in the Gulf of Thailand.

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