Adrenaline magazine - Aug 2008
Phuket - The Andaman Sea’s Premier Fishing Destination
Thailand’s island of Phuket
occupies a strategically located
site from which to
reach all the best fishing
grounds off the northwest
coast of Thailand, plus is a convenient starting-point for fishing
trips to India’s Andaman
Islands, where gigantic marlin can still be found.
Fish Phuket, Thailand - Seasons
As with virtually every game-fishing venue
there are specific seasons when the pelagic
visitors are more prolific. The most productive
seasons also depend on weather and sea conditions. Although black marlin may well
be present over Phuket’s continental shelf
for most of the year, there are periods when
targeting them may be prevented due to
adverse sea conditions. Compared with many established game-fishing venues, Phuket
is fortunate as extreme weather and sea conditions are uncommon. Very few fishing days are lost due to heavy seas or tropical
Phuket has two major weather patterns.
During the dry season, which generally
lasts from mid-October to mid-May, the
prevailing winds are from the north-east and
on occasions sea conditions may get a little choppy. During the rainy season of June to
October the prevailing winds are from the
south-west and sometimes result in long
waves and gentle swells. As with anywhere
in the tropics, it can rain at any time, but prolonged periods of heavy rain occur only occasionally, even in the rainy season.
The peak season for fishing off Phuket
generally coincides with the peak period for
tourists visiting the island. October, November
and December usually represent the most
productive months for marlin and sailfish
action. During the rainy season, Phuket often
enjoys a good run of sailfish. July and August
regularly provide anglers with ‘hot-bites’ from
sailfish, wahoo and dorado.
Phuket, Thailand - Fishing Grounds
There are three major fishing areas off
Phuket: Racha Yai, Racha Noi and the
Continental Shelf. In addition the Andaman
Islands are 450 km away and are reachable by
charter or by boarding in Port Blair, India.
The most frequented of Phuket’s fishing
grounds are the waters surrounding the
island of Racha Yai, especially off its northeast
corner. This is a sensational sailfish hot-spot
and can often produce outstanding action.
Wahoo, dorado, barracuda and multitudes of
skipjack, kawa kawa and longtail-tuna are
regularly caught off this island.
Racha Noi and the rocky pinnacles to the
south of the island can offer sizzling sport with black marlin, sailfish, wahoo and several
other desirable game-fish. When the vast schools of giant trevally embark on their
feeding frenzies, popper-casting can result in
a memorable fishing session. Jigging over the
pinnacles can also produce exciting action with
giant trevallies, rainbow-runners and even the
The drop-off, on Phuket’s continental shelf,
offers anglers their best chance of blackmarlin
action relatively near to Phuket.
The drop-off near the Similan Islands is also one of the haunts of yellowfin-tuna, although
they are rarely caught in trophy size. Big wahoo often cruise the shelf, as do barracuda
and impressive dorado. The skipjacks are
generally much bigger than their cousins
caught in shallower water. Sailfish do show up occasionally but seldom in great numbers.
The Andaman Islands archipelago, which belongs to India and is situated in the Bay
of Bengal, is approximately 450km west of
Phuket and is closer to Thailand than it is to India. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands group consists of 572 rain-forest-covered islands, of which only 36 are inhabited.
This area is an exciting new destination
for big-game fishing where the fishing
action, including major battles with massive
specimens of the mighty black marlin, is
outstanding, mainly due to the virtual absence
of commercial fishing vessels.
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