Top EFSA England shore angler Dave Lovelock presents a fine siamese carp

Shore Angler V Boat a lake

Mark (left) representing the boat anglers and Dave Lovelock the shore.

Dave Lovelock, one of EFSA (European Federation of Sea Anglers) top shore anglers has arrived to holiday with us in sunny Phuket. Despite enduring a gruelling year of operations and still in pain, Dave was determined not to miss his holiday and keen to get fishing. Along with our resident expert, Mark Butland,  the three of us ventured off to the nearby Phuket Fishing Park to test our tackle and skills against the manic lake fish.

Where is everyone?

The fishing salas are empty; the Phuket Fishing Park lake is all but deserted....we have it  all to ourselves. Lucky for us but the local    businesses are getting a serious hit from the European tourists' poor exchange rates.

The Phuket beaches are busy with winter holiday makers as is the very popular tourist hotspot of Patong but this year the effect of the various ailing European currencies against the Baht is definitely having an effect on what people are doing. Last year we were dismayed to be getting 50 Baht to the  £1 but this year we are down even further to 43 Baht to the £1. When I first came to Thailand in 2004, we were getting 73 Baht to the £1 so the percentage exchange rate drop is massive. ( 1908 there was just 9 baht to the £1!!!)


It is still possible to have a cheap holiday in Thailand though because flights are actually cheaper now than in 2004 and you can fly direct from UK to Phuket. Staying at my house (plug, plug) is still the same price as when I started this project in 2008 and making payment in the UK avoids exchange rates and means there is no effect on your actual accommodation costs at £200 per week per room.


Going fishing, diving or attending the nightime shows is now expensive. It is, for example, £90 for a 3 dive day aboard a PADI boat; it is £60 for a night at the the theatre (with dinner) and it is £50 for a day at the lake using the lake tackle.


Fortunately for us we have our own fishing tackle to use as provided by sponsors Grauvell and Weymouth Angling and, as a regular visitor, I am abe to get us a small our day works out at about £38 each.


Fishing it is not a cheap activity for us poor Brits but it is a very worthwhile and action packed day's fishing and well worth the money.





Dave Lovelock with his first very lively pacu.

Mark with a mekong catfish.

This is, I am assured, a sawai catfish and distinguisable from the mekong catfish by its much smalle

David with a very nice Siamese carp.

Mark Butland with a hard fighting pacu.

Young Beer on the net!

I always enjoy learning new Thai words and Beer was a friendly and willing teacher.   He showed us the differences between the        mekong and sawai cats and even spelt them out for me in Thai. It's times like this when  my Thai language lessons really pay off!

On this latest trip we enjoyed the company of our young Thai helper, Beer. What a great name! Beer!


Beer stood ready with the net and was called into action plenty of times as the lads totalled about 30 fish. We used just one rod each, although we could use two, because the action was so full on. With only one other couple fishing, we had masses of area to fish into and the fish have been feeding very well on our visits so far.


The species caught included carp (Siamese and Indian carp), pacu, red-tail catfish, mekong and sawai catfish.

Our helper for the day, Beer, nets a manic pacu for Dave

Our helper for the day, Beer, nets another manic pacu for Dave.

Sawai catfish for Mark.

The small head of the sawai catfish can be seen more easily in profile.

These fish fight so hard and keep fighting right to the net.

Mark shows the very attractive 'yeesok' or Indian Carp

Dave gets the biggest pacu of the day.

It's all about the hooks....The Sakuma (left) lays flat whereas the Iseama has a bend....the  start of a circle hook pattern...and tends to be more effective. These are very strong hooks as can be seen by the width of the shank but pacu can even bite through these! Trace         strength varies on the day but at the mpemnt, with so few people fishing and plenty of fish on the feed, we have upped the traces to 50lb and even 60lb breaking strain. Well.......that must give an good indication of how hard these fish fight.

Richard from Wool, Dorset, set to arrive tomorrow...current resident anglers  squivering in terror!