Macey's Thai Adventure - Dean Macey

Seven years ago I was lucky enough to marry my wonderful wife Lisa. It truly was one of the best days of my life. On that day we said our vows and made unbreakable promises, one of which was that if I gave her the wedding of her dreams, then she would let me have the honeymoon of mine. Well, a few more years down the line than planned and I have just cashed in, and it was oh so sweet!
I visited Gillham’s Fishing Resort in Thailand for the first time in 2009, and the place blew me away with its beauty and the size and power of its fish. Ever since then I have wanted to get back for another go. You see, in my view, it’s quite simply the best stillwater big-fish venue on the planet!
As we drove through the gates onto the resort it was as if I had never been away. Yes, it had matured over the three years, but I still remembered every little detail. The fishing however, had changed. Instead of fishing the method and balling in groundbait it had evolved, like most venues, into pellet and boillie fishing, which is a much easier day’s work it has to be said.
Even though all the gear is provided, I still like to take my own terminal tackle with me and among the monstrous meat-hooks and tow rope hook link materials for the Arapaima and catfish, I also went armed with my ever-faithful size 1 Korda Wide Gape B. You see, for this trip I was most interested in trying to target the Giant Mekong Catfish and the Giant Siamese Carp and the Wide Gape B looked perfect for both. The first full day’s fishing kicked started the trip in fine style with a brace of Mekongs weighing a combined 310lb, but it was the second day that had me buying the drinks.
I was up at first light and already had my rods all clipped up from the day before. Both rods hit the spots at the first time of asking, followed by a couple of kilos of pellet and a sprinkling of maize. The rigs were simple but very strong, featuring 80lb Ton-Up, down to my size 1 Wide Gape B with a 20mm pellet tipped with a 14mm Mainline Fruitella pop up and a Funnel Web bag of 6mm pellets. I was planning to re-chuck every 30 minutes, but I never got that far as my left-hand rod ripped off at an alarming pace soon after baiting. The first run took over 100 yards off a tight clutch as if it didn't know it was hooked, then another, and another, until, after half an hour, I had it under the rod tip. You wouldn't think that with 6lb rods and 35lb main line there would be a fish in stillwater that could smash you to bits for fun, but these things do. After 20 minutes of trying to get it off the lakebed and quite a bit of colourful language, it finally showed itself. It was massive, by far the biggest Mekong I had seen at that point and at the first time of asking she went into the net. At just over the hour it was my longest fight ever, and my biggest Mekong to date, weighing a massive 190lb. With my first target sorted, I just had the Siamese Carp to worry about.
I left one rod on the spot that had done the Mekongs but decided, on the advice of the top quality guides that Stuart has on site 24/7, to bring one in close to target the Siamese. I fed just far enough out so that any bankside disturbance wouldn't affect the spot. At first, the area had a covering of weed and silt but by the time we left, you could have eaten off it yourself, it was that clean. I fed seven good handfuls of 6mm pellet and two of maize at the start of the day and topped it up after every fish with the same amount. Stuart had told me that the carp had put a bit of weight on since my last trip, but the sport I was about to experience was an experience that would last a long time in the memory.

Once the spot got going, I caught at least two carp off it each day, but my best day by far came on the fifth day of the trip. I had already caught three carp to 85lb, which I was over the moon with… but the best was yet to come. During the early afternoon I received a slow take, well, slow for this place anyway! As I lifted into the fish I knew straight away it was another carp, but it felt much more solid. Siamese carp fight in short, fast bursts once they get the first long run over with, but this one didn't do much. It just plodded around feeling heavy and when it wanted to take line I had no say in the matter. As the fight drew on, I started to get more and more nervous. Nothing however, could prepare me for when I saw it roll for the first time. It looked enormous! The clutch was loosened as other things got tighter, if you know what I mean. Every inch I gained on the fish, it took back in half the time. I started to wonder after a while if I was ever going to slide it over the net. You see, these creatures may still be carp, but they are turbo-charged with Mo Farrah-like stamina! Eventually, it hit the surface and I managed to keep its giant head up and tease it over the net. Even now it seems weird saying it, but on the scales she went 108lb and is by far the global fish of my life to date and one that I will remember for a very long time.
Over the two weeks I was there, I managed 21 Siamese Carp to 108lb with back-up fish of 96lb and four over the 80lb mark. As for the Mekong Catfish, well, let’s just say that 11 well over the 100lb mark, to 190lb, is enough back-breaking action for me. I also managed three Araphima to 250lb, a Wallago Attu, a Firewood Catfish, a small Snakehead, a Rohu Carp, two Asian Redtails and an Arawana, as well as taking the wife out on the occasional trip! It was a trip of a lifetime and for me, it doesn't get any better than Gillham’s Fishing Resorts!