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Going Fishing with Roger 3

By Roger

Hi Folks, I left last month’s article half way through a 9 day fishing holiday in Phuket. My fishing buddy and I after 6 days of bad weather finally got on a boat that cost 1,200 Bht each. We did not know but it was fish, swim, lunch and fish on the drift back. It was a boat for the tourists and they had a good time.

So we booked up for the next day on our own charter. Frank speaks Thai excellently and he had no problem in telling the owner what we wanted to do and how. It started badly as the flooding held up the captain and the prime time in the morning was slipping away. The first 6 days waves over 3 metres had stopped boats going out and this day as we headed out the swell was over 2 metres. As we cleared the second island (30 mins out) the swell picked up to 3 metres with the odd 4 metre. The idea was to motor out fast (over 5 knts) and when the captain got to his spot we would slow to 4 knots as we would we trolling with light lines, one rod a piece. As we got close to the far island the deck hand said we would go back to a grouper and snapper spot close to the second island. This was ok as the lines were airborne a lot of the time and no bites.

When we got to the spot I looked at the sheltered bay and saw loads of pleasure boats. We had ended up on another “tourist trip” ! We got a couple of 1lb snappers straight away and then it was quiet. Catching red sand fish (bpla sai deang) told me we were over sand and not coral. You do not lose any bottom gear but the best fishing is over and around coral. Frank asked the captain if we could go back to trolling as the sea looked like calming down, “we have used enough gas”. This was confirmed when he went for a nap and left the deck hand to move the boat. The last spot we ended up at produced small fish, fish like horse mackerel. The deck hand let slip that these fish were worth 180 Bht a kilo as oppose to tuna which was worth 30 Bht a kilo. That was the reason we were there!

After waiting 6 days to get out we were going to go fishing the last three days but I said to Frank that I was not going to pay another 4,500 Bht when I had caught more fish close to Koh Larn. So we spent the last day trying to hunt down a decent boat around Chalong Bay where most of the fishing boats were.

I did not like Patong where we stayed or the rest of Phuket. We will be back though, the chance of getting a 1kg plus tuna on 6 lb line is one of my goals. The next trip we will stay at Chalong Bay, go visit the local tackle shops and talk to longtail boat captains. It took a while to get what I wanted here in Pattaya and it will take a while to crack Phuket.

Ah to be back home in Pattaya / Koh Larn, great to be back on my own boat. The last couple of years I have been catching small queen fish by trolling. Each year they have been getting bigger, 4 or 5 inches long, now I am getting a lot around the 11 inch mark. These guys are fun to catch, sometimes they jump like their parents do. And they are getting chunky, just one fish is a good meal. The one thing about small queens is they have toxic dorsal spines, they crisscross just behind the head. Not a day ender but painful, and they do wriggle when you try to remove the hook. I catch them using the same trolling tactic and tackle (6lb fluorocarbon to 4 lb braid) as I use for horse mackerel. The last trip out Frank and I got 46 queens (bpla salat) south of Koh Krok and 5 horse mackerel (bpla thoo) south of monkey beach on Koh Larn.

Life is full of suprises, I went to pull up the anchor and I saw a small yellow green snake go into my engine. When I went to weigh anchor after motoring it out the snake had turned around and was resting on the fuel line. I used a stick to knock the engine out of gear, pulled up the anchor. I was too late with the camera, he was gone. I thought the snake had gone back to the sea, but the next day while trolling for squid near Naban I felt something touch my hand. As I flicked up my hand I turned around and saw the snake fall into the sea!