Angling In Paradise - Ali Hamidi

The minute that our transport from the airport pulled into the drive, I knew the photos from the web had not done this place justice. In fact, I was a little surprised that my many friends like Dean Macey and Kev Knight of Mainline Baits fame, who’d visited this resort previously, hadn’t shaken me like a rag to get here sooner! I’ve fished many places around the globe, but as far as stillwaters go, this was paradise. Lush, green lawns and exotic plants flanked the length and breadth of the venue, as far as the eye could see there were huge water monsters leaping, swirling and topping. I asked for a slap off the missus just so I knew I wasn’t dreaming… I wasn’t, I’d just arrived at Gillhams Fishing Resort in Krabi, Thailand.
What followed was a 14-day holiday to remember. Of course, not every day was spent fishing; Thailand offers too much just to spend it in one place, but that’s the beauty of this venue. Lovely, clean accommodation along with banks of the venue gave us a base to not only fish for the huge leviathans that this lake hosts from, but also to visit some of sights in the beautiful Krabi area to keep the missus sweet!
If you’ve never heard of Gillhams, it was started, built and developed by Stuart Gillham, a former carp angler that has forgotten more than many of us will ever know. His dream was to build a stillwater in Thailand that could hold monster fish that many of us could only ever dream of catching. After much investment, impeccable planning and fishery management that is cutting-edge, Stuart’s dream was realised back in 2007. Since then, his lake has gone on to break numerous World records. With a stock inspired by the most sought-after and rare species from around the globe, this venue almost defies belief. From the mysterious Siamese carp, which grow to over 100lb, to muscle-bound mekong of over 200lb, amazing Amazon redtail to over 100lb and the cream of the crop, the thrilling Arapima to over 500lb, you really are spoilt for choice. However, that is just tip of the iceberg. The venue is home to many more species. I just couldn’t name them all, there are literally dozens of them, maybe even hundreds; from the weird to the wonderful from the small to minibus sized.
So what about my trip I hear you ask? One word… EMOTIONAL! It all started with me targeting the Siamese carp and mekong. Bites didn’t take long to come either; well, they never do when I go to the trouble of transporting my Mainline hook baits infused in various Goos! They’re not just for carp you know. Similarly to fishing anywhere for carp, I had a plumb around with the float and presented my size-1 Wide Gape B rigs and 50lb Arma-Korda hook links on top of a large sand bar. The first bite came on the drop with a Funnelweb bag dripping in Raspberry Plume Goo! I knew instantly it was mekong. Forty five minutes of battle followed before a 140lb mekong was mine! This set the pattern for this swim, and it became one mekong after another with the biggest weighing in at 165lb! My biggest EVER fish of any species and after contacting Kiana Carp, a world record capture for their products! I persevered for the carp for a few more days but unfortunately during my stay the moon phase was wrong for the Siamese and only odd ones were getting caught.
After a few days off from the resort, visiting a spa for a bit of relaxation with the missus, I was back, but this time my focus was the World-famous Arapima! With carp not feeding hard enough, I set all my sights on targeting the species that I first heard about from Jeremy Wade.
To say this turned into the most mental five days of fishing would be an understatement! Let’s just say I was very good at hooking the ‘Arry’s’, but quite awful at landing them. After a couple of days, I’d broken my first Gillham’s record only a few days into my quest for the Arapima; THE MOST ARAPIMA LOST BY AN ANGLER IN ONE SESSION! To cut a long story it finished at a tally of 20! However, by about the 17th lost Arry, Stuart was astute enough to suggest I change to circle hooks and I’d also noticed anglers around the venue landing much higher percentage on mono main line. I had braid on. I changed a couple of rods to mono. The last few fish came in far easier with these changes. My target the whole time I was there was to catch one over 200lb. This did happen, but ironically on a rod that I had out for carp. This was on a Korda Bait-Up method feeder, still on braided main line, Dark Matter tubing, with 50lb Armakord hook link tied to a Size-1 Wide Gape B. The hook bait was a Pineapple Goo wafter, and the feeder was coated in Pineapple Supreme and Almond Power Smoke! After an epic battle running into dark I finished the day with a 240lb ARRY! I was ecstatic. It had made my trip complete. All in all I landed six of the blighters, most went over the 150lb mark. God knows what I’d lost, and whilst fishing for them, I also landed a few of my other favourite exotic species, the adorable Amazon redtail catfish to over 50lb. This place really is mind-blowing.
If it feels like this news story is brief, then I apologise, BUT don’t worry, I’ve filmed the highlights of the trip in a rough-and-ready format and this will soon hit www.korda.co.uk exclusively!
I had an absolute whale, and it’s fair to say landed a few that were whale-sized. Really though, I could have fished there another 14 days and not got bored. The place is unbelievable. You can see why it’s ranked No.1 on Trip Advisor and you can see why so many people from around the world visit this place. With a week’s fishing, bait, tackle and bed & breakfast accommodation coming in at just over £1000, it’s totally affordable too. If you want to know more then send your enquiries to

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Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more articles and my exclusive video from Gillham’s soon!
Tight Lines,
Ali Hamidi