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Local Fishing at Khao Lak

The local fishing tours at Khao Lak are mostly recreational, but include some specialsed freshwater tours. In nearby Phuket there are companies which offer serious big game fishing.

In general, in the Andaman Sea, you will catch Grouper with bottom fishing. With live bait you will catch Dorado. And with trolling you will catch Barracuda, Tuna and Mackerel.

Typically local fishing tours at Khao Lak consist of a longtail boat trip to the FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices). Local fisherman have constructed about six or seven FADs off the coast of Khao Lak (about a third of the way to the Similan islands). A large number of long bamboo canes have been stacked together in the water. They are essentially large floating bouys anchored to the seafloor.

The FADs attract the smaller fish and provide shelter. And the presence of the smaller fish will also attract the larger fish (such as Dorado, Wahoo, Giant Trevally, King Mackerel, Barracuda, Queen Fish, Sailfish, Cobia, and various tuna species).

At the FADs you can do fly fishing, Popper fishing, fishing with jigs, and spoon and wobbler, but the best method is with live bait.

These classical longtail boats usually depart from Bang Niang beach (Chong Fah), in the early morning after sunrise and return at about 4.00 pm

Thap Lamru, about 10 kms south of Khao Lak, is the main departure point for diving and snorkeling trips to the Similan Islands. But some fishing activity also takes place from here.

Khaolak PADs

There is also reef fishing for Giant Trevally, Yellowfin Barracuda and Bluefin Trevally. You can visit three reefs often in a modified longtail boat with a large platform. The tide and conditions are important.

There are also fishung (and snorkelling) trips to Ko Pha (Pha island) by longtail boat. Ko Pha is a small island to the west of Kho Khao Island, and there are young coral reefs growing there.

The fishing season is from late October to April.

Deep sea fishing at the Similan Islands

The Similans are a group of nine spectacular jungle clad islands, with a reputation for world class diving and excellent fishing. They are a marine national park and are home to a great many species of game fish - a fishing and diving paradise in fact. These trips give you a great opportunity to combine a dream of big fishing with swimming/snorkelling or even diving in clear water, with good visibility, filled with tropical fish and beautiful corals.

The relatively shallow waters close to the islands are home to Sailfish, Wahoo, King Mackerel, Barracuda, Giant Trevally, Blue Finned Trevally, Golden Trevally, Dorado, Queenfish, Rainbow Runner, Cobia, several species of Tuna and juvenile Marlin. And so there are plenty of challenges fairly close to the islands - especially for Wahoo, Sailfish, Dogtooth Tuna Wahoo and Giant Trevally.

There are a few seamounts in the Andaman Sea. A seamount, known as Thon Mai, 25 kilometers west of the islands, is known as the hunting grounds for big Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Dogtooth Tuna and Sharks.

The evening can be spent with a BBQ on one of the many white powdery beaches, or bottom fishing over a reef for some of the superb table fish the area has to offer.

Some trips include a visit to Ko Ta Chai, a remote island 50 km north of the Similans. Popper casting or fly fishing for Giant Trevally, bottom fishing for Grouper and slow trolling or casting for Sailfish are some of the options available.

For "hard core" anglers, the Similan Islands provide some of the best Shark fishing in the region - massive Tiger Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, Mako Sharks and Whaler Sharks (reef sharks), and other species are also found.

Khaolak fishing map

There are several Fishing charters available from KhaoLak (Thap Lamu), and also from Phuket (Chalong Bay).
Some charters will also go north of the Similans to the Surin Islands, close to the border with Burma (Myanmar).

Note that most charters only operate from November to April, due to weather conditions. There is a 3 mile non-fishing zone around the Similans, imposed by the Thai government to protect the coral reefs.

Many charters strongly encourage the practice of "Catch and Release" especially of Marlin, Sailfish and Sharks. Note that fly fishing equipment may not always be provided, and you should therefore bring along your own equipment and flies.

In the case of scuba diving, a qualified P.A.D.I divemaster will assist you on every dive. Equipment is provided by local dive shops. Bring your P.A.D.I open water dive card with you.

Trips typically vary from 3 days/2 nights, 4 days/3 nights upto to 7 days/6 nights

Best fishing months for some species
( E = excellent, G = good, A = average, P = poor )

Species Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Barracuda A A A A A A A A A A A A
Dolphin Fish E E G G G E E E E E E E
Giant Trevally G G E E G G G G G E E E
King Mackeral E G G G G G E E G E E E
Marlin E E E G P P P A A E E E
Sailfish E E E G A E E E G G E E
Wahoo E G G P P P G E E E E E
Yellowfin Tuna E E E G A A G G G E E E
other Tuna E E E E E E E E E E E E

Fishing the Burma Banks

The unspoiled Mergui Archipelago consists of over 800 beautiful islands. The Burmese government allows sportfishing in this area. The Burma Banks are west of the Mergui Archipelago, and are a cluster of 20 seamounts rising from 400 meters of depth to just 10-30 meters below the surface.

The Mergui Archipelago offers incredible gamefishing opportunities - Black Marlin, Sailfish, Giant Travelly, King Mackerel, Tuna, Wahoo, Big Snappers, Bullshark, Tigershark, Hammarhead. The season is all year round.

The departure from Thailand is at Ranong. Pickup is from Phuket or KhaoLak. Boats depart for the Mergui Archipelago from Victoria Point (aka Kawthung), Burma. These big game fishing trips are available from mid October to April.

King Mackerel, Tuna, Wahoo, Giant Trevally and Sailfish are abundant in the waters 20 miles offshore from Victoria Point. In the western area of the Mergui Archipelago, bottom fishing is very productive.

The trolling on the passage to the Banks normally provides good action with Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo and Black Marlin.

At the Banks themselves, bottom fishing with baited hooks at night is good, with Dogtooth Tuna, Snappers, Groupers and Giant Trevally being the catch. The Shark fishing is very good, and this area is also used by diving companies as a shark feeding destination. There are Tiger Sharks, Oceanic Silvertip Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, Mako Sharks and Bull Sharks and others.

Daytime options include jigging for large Dogtooth Tuna and Yellowfin Tuna, popper casting for big Giant Trevally and trolling for big Black Marlin.

Trips typically vary from 5 days/4 nights to 9 days/8 nights. The options are for fishing the Burma Banks, or the western most islands of the Archipelago. The journey time to the Banks is about 35 hours from Victoria Point.

Andaman Islands sports fishing

The Andaman islands consist of 572 islands formed from a submarine mountain range. Only 36 of them are inhabited. The islands are due west of Khao Lak / Phuket.

The fishing includes deep water jigging for Dogtooth Tuna, popper casting for Giant Trevallys, bottom fishing for Snapper, Grouper and Sharks or trolling for Wahoo, Yellow Fin Tuna, Sails and Marlin.

Most charters leave from Phuket rather than Khao Lak. The season is October to May. You will need a visa for India.

Freshwater fishing at Cheow Lan Lake and the rivers of Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is one of Thaialnad's most impressive experiences. The whole park covers 645 sq km. It is actually the heart of a complex of five contiguous conservation sites that comprise the largest protected forest on the Thai-Malaysian peninsula, covering over 4,000 sq km. The park is very spectacular with dripping thick native verdant rainforest, punctuated by towering outcrops of limestone cliffs or karsts, waterfalls and sparkling streams, an island studded lake, several caves, and many trails, mostly along rivers.

The limestone mountains (known as karsts) are the remains of an ancient coral reef dating back some 250 million years, stretching through to China and Borneo. Some of the karsts rise up to almost 1,000 metres high, making them three times the height of those in nearby Phang Nga Bay and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. Khao Sok National Park consists of:
40% foothill rainforest, 27% rainforest plains, 15% limestone crag vegetation, 15% lowland scrub, 3% rainforest at 600-1,000 metres

Khao Sok receives quite a bit of rain, due to its position at the mountain ridge separating the west coast from the east coast of Southern Thailand, and so winds from both the Gulf of Thailand in the east and the Andaman Sea in the west blow monsoon rain into the area. But actually it is only to be expected for a rain forest location.

It is sometimes affectionately nicknamed the "Gui-Lin of Thailand", which refers to a very beautiful place in China.

Cheow Lan Lake
A beautiful large reservoir was created by the construction of the Cheow Lan Dam (also known as the Ratchaprapha Dam) across the Paseang river; this Cheow Lan Lake occupies some 165 sq km. The vast area of water is actually retained by several small dams and the surrounding rock formations are overgrown with lush jungle. Limestone outcrops protruding from the lake can reach heights of 960m.

The Cheow Lan Lake is about a 90 minute drive from Khao Lak.

The Lake has a depth of more than 100 metres in some areas. The trees submerged in this lake, have created great habitat and structure for a large fish population. Big Toman (Giant Snakehead), Featherback, Rohu and Hampala Barb are abundant.

The first fishing location is about a 35 minute journey on the boat.

fishing at Cheow Lan Lake

In addition to the Lake, tours penetrate into the jungle along the numerous rivers, in search of Giant and Striped Snakehead, Hampala Barb (also known as a Jungle Perch), Thai Mahseer, River Catfish and also the very rare Cobra Snakehead. Walking along the river banks to reach the fish in places inaccessible by boat, gives the best chance to catch large Hampala Barb, and also the very wary Thai Mahseer in shallow water.

This is also one of the only places where you can get the opportunity to see Giant Mekong Catfish in the wild in Thailand.

The jungle base camp consists of basic floating raft houses close to the shore of the Lake, as well as hillside bungalows with toilet, shower, a restaurant and a campfire area for evening barbeques. In the early morning, a mist hangs over the Lake. The whooping calls of gibbons and the chattering of Hornbills can be heard, adding to the surreal atmosphere.

Fly fishing trips (eg for Thai Mahseer) to the Khao Sok Rivers are multi-day trips due to the remote location of the rivers. Fishing here is all-year round. The rainy season (mid May to mid October) is the spawning time for the Mahseer, the Barb and some of the biggest fish in the area. Their movement upstream to spawn, is a good time to catch fish over 5 kg (the Thai Mahseer in the Lake are upto 20 kg). During the dry season a very healthy stock of fish up to 6 kg fish inhabits the pools and this offers great action. The Thai Mahseer is not really a fish suitable for human consumption and the area is a sport fishing area only. The fly fishing is done in wild waters (no artificial lakes or stocked fishing parks). There are very few mosquitoes and no Malaria in the area.

Cheow Lan Lake and Khao Sok streams

List of Freshwater   fish in Thailand - categorised by common name

Catfish species

Giant Mekong Catfish, Redtail Catfish, Striped Catfish, Black Ear Catfish, Chao Phraya Catfish, Asian Redtail Catfish, Asian River Catfish, Giant Seacatfish, Grey Eeltail Catfish, Blue-eyed Catfish, Giant Catfish, Ripsaw Catfish, Tiger Catfish, Walking Catfish

Carp species

Giant Siamese Carp, Bighead Carp, Indian Carp / Rohu, Common Carp, Mud Carp, Small Scale Mud Carp, Jullien's Golden Price Carp, Soro Brook Carp, White Lady Carp, Thai Mahseer, Jungle Perch, Mrigal, Tricolor Shark minnow, Grass Carp, Greater Brook Carp

Barb species

Common Silver Barb, Golden Belly Barb, Hampala Barb, Mad Barb, Schwanenfeld's Barb, Smith's Barb

Snakehead species

Cobra Snakehead, Giant Snakehead, Great Snakehead, Striped Snakehead

Featherback species

Giant Featherback, Bronze Featherback, Clown Featherback, Indochina Featherback, Clown Knifefish, Royal Featherback

Tilapia species

Mozambique Tilapia, Nile Tilapia

Pacu species

Pacu, Red Bellied Pacu

Gourami species

Giant Gourami, Snakeskin Gourami

other species

Freshwater Stingray, Barramundi, Arapaima, Fourfinger Threadfin, Alligator Gar, Great White Sheatfish, Nandid Perch, Tarpon, Threadfin Salmon

List of Saltwater   fish in Thailand - categorised by common name

Tuna species

Dogtooth Tuna, Kawa Kawa Tuna, Longtail Tuna, Skipjack Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna

Shark species

Blackspot Shark, Blacktip Reef Shark, Bull Shark, Copper Shark, Grey Reef Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Leopard Shark, Mako Shark, Reticulated Swellshark, Silvertip Shark, Tiger Shark

Trevally species

African Pompano, Bigeye Trevally, Bluefin Trevally, Giant Trevally, Golden Trevally

Ray species

Black-blotched Stingray, Bluespotted Stingray

Seaperch species

Checkered Seaperch, Maori Seaperch

Snapper species

John's Snapper, Red Snapper, Rosy Snapper, Ruby Snapper

Parrot species

Bridled Parrotfish, Daisy Parrotfish, Dusky Parrotfish, Ember Parrotfish

Billfish species

Black Marlin, Blue Marlin, Broadbill Swordfish, Sailfish

Emperor species

Longnose Emperor, Smalltooth Emperor, Spangled Emperor, Sweetlip Emperor

other species

Amberjack, Barracouta, Barracuda, Barramundi, Bonefish, Camouflage Grouper, Cobia, Coral Trout, Coronation Trout, Dorado, Green Jobfish, Grey Mullet, Honeycomb Grouper, Long-Finned Bigeye, Longtom, Malabar Grouper, Mangrove Jack, Narrow-barred Spanish Mackerel, Rockcod, Permit, Queenfish, Rainbow Runner, Smalltooth Jobfish, Tarpon, Threadfin Salmon, Tripletail, Tripletail Wrasse, Wahoo

Fishing contacts

We do not arrange charters or trips ourselves.

May we suggest you contact someone such as :-

Khun Meik Lykke
(mobile +66 89 730 4028)   ( 089 730 4028 from inside Thailand)
(Danish/Thai ownership)

Meik has many saltwater fishing contacts and has lots of experience. He also does freshwater trips to Cheow Lan Lake , Khao Sok National Park.

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