Phuket, Thailand (April.08)

Phuket, Thailand (2.04.08)

 

Following on from my solo fishing holiday in Oman (see Return to Oman); I owed the family a break, so found my self on a 5 day trip to Phuket. What a fantastic place, especially after Malaysia. Great hotel (Laguna Beach Resort), wonderful service, and roast gammon for breakfast every morning …. mmm!

 

I was still flush with the fishing bug following my Oman trip. I called up a local charter company, Wahoo, to enquire about the quality of fishing, boat availability and price. A boat was available, prices were reasonable, and to be fair, the company warned me that the fishing was patchy, and that we could expect small tuna, with longtails to a max of 5kg, and an outside chance of a sailfish. I decided to book a day with the family and was pleasantly surprised, given the cost (c. £300 for the boat & lunch if I remember correctly), to be greeted at the dock by a 42’ boat, the Wahoo Four, complete with a crew of 3 and a full compliment of quality trolling rods & gleaming gold new Tiagra 50’s, together with some casting / bait rods. The boat even had a fighting chair!

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Trolling commences! (2.04.08)

Me with scenic backdrop (2.04.08)Trolling commences ….!

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We set out to head south & troll around the many islands that dot the area, stopping first to collect some live-bait. As we motored to the live-bait spot, the crew started making up strings of Mouldcraft birds on heavy leaders. I watched them for a while and then went out to get ready to fish for live-bait. We tried a few locations, with no luck, for about half an hour (the bait rod-reel combos were poor quality & didn’t help matters) before the crew decided that it was no good. “We’ve already got some live-bait in the tank” I was assured as we set off & put out a trolling spread. About half-an-hour later, as we headed towards a fairly large island, we got our first strike & the deckie began winding in a string of small bonito (little tunny). I had to wrestle the rod off him to pass it to my son, Siôn, to bring the fish in. Nothing to be excited about – 3 fish up to 250g max! I also picked up a couple of small fish when reeling in lines! We continued trolling and, a short time later, had a better strike on a single hard-head squid lure, Siôn reeling in a personal minimum best longtail tuna – a fish of about ¾ lb …!!

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Siôn playing a longtail tuna #1 (2.04.08)

Siôn playing a longtail tuna #2(2.04.08)

Siôn's longtail comes to hand (2.04.08)

Sion reeling in a (very small) Thai Longtail Tuna

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Siôn's PB smallest longtail ...! (2.04.08)and here it is ……!

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This fish was followed a short time later by a small skipjack tuna landed by my younger son, Ceri (a new species for us).

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Ceri in action #1 (2.04.08)

 Ceri in action #2 (2.04.08)

Ceri with Skipjack tuna [new species] (2.04.08)

Ceri catching a Skipjack Tuna 

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Skipjack tuna (2.04.08) Skipjack tuna close-up (2.04.08)Skipjack Tuna!

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It was lunchtime by now. We anchored into a small bay between two islands in c.10m of water for lunch and snorkelling. The crew made up a nice salad & we were offered the small longtail for sashimi. I was surprised to be served thin strips of white fish (there had been a small grouper in the cool box when we boarded). The chef swore that it was tuna sashimi, but I’d just spent almost 4 years eating my self-caught yellowfin & longtail tuna, besides having a Japanese wife & eating sushi & sashimi on a regular basis. We were eating grouper, no doubt. The crew had helped themselves to the two tuna for their lunchtime curry & palmed me off with grouper!!

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Family relaxing on the top deck (2.04.08)Relaxing on deck

 

After a leisurely lunch we continued fishing. Late afternoon, we saw a sailfish jump, and another boat passed us and showed off a nice dorado. We decided to live-bait, only for me to find an almost dead queenfish, a small scad, a small bream-like fish and a lizard fish. I was pretty pissed off – I’d trusted the crew when they told me that they already had bait – I’d rather have spent more time in the morning getting a live-well full of decent baits. My misgivings were compounded when, a short while after, the (expertly bridled) scad bait was nailed with a decent strike. Again the crew had the rod – no chance for the paying customer to actually catch a fish, only for a missed hook-up & a bait head left to show for our efforts. As we had nothing else decent to put over the side, the live-baiting was over & we made the long journey home, trolling birds without further action.

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The spread (2.04.08)

View of one of the many islands (2.04.08) View of the islands (2.04.08)

Views of the Islands

 

I enjoyed the day on the water, but the fishing was poor. I was disappointed with :

·        The crew not readily offering the rods to the clients (i.e.us).

·        The lack of live-bait – this limited our chances of catching a decent fish.

·        The crew trying to convince me that the white fish they served me was longtail tuna.

·        The overly heavy tackle  – I suspect 50’s are never required in the waters around the islands.

This entry was posted in (5) Thailand, Travel, Tuna, Tuna - Longtail, Tuna - Skipjack. Bookmark the permalink.

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