Samui Wining & Dining
A REEL SPLASH
When it comes to excursions there are few more relaxing things than to bait-up and go fishing!


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You’ll find it everywhere that there’s a coastline. And, where there’s not, then it’s all going on in the rivers and the lakes. Samui hasn’t got any of these. But what we do have is a coastline, and it goes all the way around. And so it’s hardly surprising that you’ll find all sorts of fishing going on around the island. There’s hardly a jetty or a clump of rocks that won’t also feature a guy with a rod, at one time or another. And then there’s all sorts of other fishing, too, from day-trip snorkelling to the more purposeful aspects of game fishing. It all depends if you’re in it for fun or you’re serious about the sport.

      You’ll find that the majority of fishing excursions here are day trips and cater for those anglers who are out for a bit of water-based fun for an hour or two. It’s a popular alternative to sitting on the back of an elephant or trekking out to the jungle. And, because of this, a pattern has evolved, a format that most operators tend to follow. Fun-fishing falls into two categories; around the island or out towards deep water. Samui is mostly enclosed by a shallow coral reef which varies in height from a few stubby inches to several feet deep in places, according to the slope of the beach. But most of the island-based trips actually move away from Samui and out towards one or more of the many tiny uninhabited mini-islands that are

dotted all around.

          Samui is an island that has (apart from tourism) just two industries. One is coconuts, which right now doesn’t concern us. And the other one is fishing, which does. There are thousands of local fishermen living on Samui and hundreds of boats to go along with this. And by far the majority of local fishing trips are arranged between your resort and one of these local fishermen.

          As local boats come in all shapes and sizes – from more-or-lesscanoes with car engines bolted to them, right up to ocean-going trawlers – the first thing to do is to find out exactly what type of boat you’ll be going on. Check that this has an adequate awning to shade you from the sun. The other aspect is a more individual one; is it a ‘longtail’, or a cruiser-type with an inboard engine? Some folks don’t seem to mind sitting a few feet away from a blaring four-cylinder Toyota truck engine bolted onto the stern, but for many it’s unbearable and can spoil the entire trip.

          The format of the day is usually very much the same – you’ll be picked up from your resort in the morning and taken to the boat, then cruise out towards one of the nearby islands. Koh Tan and Koh Matsum, in the south, are the most popular options as they’re easy to reach from both Chaweng and Lamai. You’ll chug out there (remember your camera – the views of Samui from this position are quite unusual) and drift to a halt for an hour of swimming and snorkelling. All of the boats carry refreshments on board, but best to check exactly what; you might want to take something of your own if choices are limited.

          And then another chug about for a bit before the lines come out. Yes, hand-lines. Few such boats carry rods and reels; they are expensive, easily damaged and troublesome to keep in working order. You’ll also be supplied with bait, no need to worry about that. There are places hereabouts where you’ll find barracuda, grouper, snapper or mackerel; but just look around. You can bet money on the fact that within shouting distance you’ll spot four or five other, similar, boats, all doing the same thing. You’ll be lucky to hook anything, but never mind, it’s all a bit of fun and,anyway, you’ll soon be stopping for a couple of hours on one of the islands for some sun (or shade!) a swim and a barbecued lunch on the beach. (Or maybe not: check to see if this is included before you go.)

          If you are more serious about your fishing then you’ll need to head further north. The problem is the sea floor around Samui. It’s shallow and in some directions it’ll take you 25 kilometres to get to more than a depth of 12 or 15 metres. The only safe bet is to head past Koh Phangan in the direction of Koh Tao, where most of the game fish are to be found. This is where you’ll come across the billfish, just north of Maehaad on Koh Phangan, and frequently they run to as much as 40 or 50 pounds. The area is rich in tuna, marlin, dorado and trevally; do make sure that your boat is properly equipped – you’ll need specialised gear for this. But the best region of all is just too far away for a daytrip, it’s that triangle of sea formed between the northern tip of Angthong Marine Park, Koh Tao and Chumpon. If you’re serious about game fishing then either book into a hotel in Chumpon for a few days, or think about chartering one of Samui’s sea going boats with on-board accommodation.

          It’s all about what you want. If you’re just after a sunny change of scene with a hook and line thrown in, no problem. But if you’re at all serious, then start planning now. You need to think about it all before you can make a splash with a proper rod and reel!

 

 Rob De Wet

 

 


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