Go fishing – the traditional Samui way
Fishing. It always has the feel of a great adventure especially if you’re taking a boat out to sea. And it’s an activity that combines both excitement and peacefulness, a place where two extremes not only meet but somehow complement each other.
When you come to Samui, you may think there’s not much in the way of fishing trips, as you won’t see any loud adverts for them. There’ll be plenty else going on to capture your attention, so you may just end up thinking they don’t exist here. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Samui is big on fishing. In fact, it’s one of the principal industries here. And it always has been. An enormous daily catch is necessary in order to keep Samui’s hundreds of restaurants going – virtually all of them serve seafood, and much if it is locally caught.
However, not all Samui’s boats are used for bringing in industrial-sized catches. Some are used for taking holidaymakers out to sea where they can spend a great day catching their own fish, albeit in smaller quantities. It’s possible – just about – to come back empty-handed, but this is only very rarely the case. You’re likely to come across a whole plethora of fish, depending on the time of day you go and the area you visit. You’ll find pomfret, stingray, barracuda, squid, snapper and grouper.
So how does it all work? How do you get to go on a fishing trip on Samui? It’s really easy to arrange. Just drop into a travel agency as all of them have contact with firms who arrange the trips. If there are enough of you, it’s possible to privately charter a boat. Just ask and see what kind of deal you’re offered. It’s quite alright to bargain, but since fishing’s popular, you may find it hard to get the price down. You should always check that there’s adequate insurance, a life jacket and that everything you need will be on board. Typically what you’ll need to bring is suntan cream, a towel, camera, swimsuit and a large bottle of water – even though there will be plenty on the boat. Bring sunglasses too, as staring out to sea while sunlight is bouncing off the water can prove too dazzling after a while. You certainly won’t need to bring bait, lures or any other equipment.
If you’re more adventurous, then head down south, into the most undeveloped part of the island and here you’ll be able to hire boats directly from small fishing enterprises. The captain may not speak very good English but using your imagination, you’ll be able to make yourself fairly easily understood. You’ll find boats for hire if you start at Thong Krut and head eastwards along the coast.
If you hire a boat via a travel agency, then a typical day starts off, not at a quay but at your hotel; a minibus will come to collect you and your party and take you in comfort to wherever the boat is moored. You’ll find it’s substantially sized and will be able to deal with the buffeting waves that you may or may not encounter. Once everyone’s aboard the boat, it sets off for the fishing grounds. As you leave Samui, you can look back and see how green the island is; some of the best views are from the sea. You’ll be able to see shores fringed with coconut trees and strips of almost incandescent white sand.
The time goes by quickly and is usually very relaxing, though once you start fishing, you may have to wait a while before you feel that familiar tug on your line, but maybe not. And don’t worry if you’ve never been fishing before – you’ll soon learn while on the go. Afterwards the boat will usually take you on to a further fishing ground and the procedure will repeat itself. At some point you’ll have lunch. And guess what’s on the menu? Fish. Your own catch. There’ll also probably be the chance to snorkel and see some of those fish in their natural habitat.
Afterwards, the boat will head back for Samui, usually arriving around 4:30 to 5:30 pm. In case you’re thinking that’s too early to return, then you need to think about the safety angle; the boat shouldn’t set off back to land at the last possible moment as the sun sets so quickly in the Tropics. Then it’ll be suddenly night and you don’t want to be stuck on a boat on possibly heaving sea. Check out Sa-ard Watersports, a company that we highly recommend http://www.saardswatersport.com/tours.html. They provide all the fishing rods and bait that you need. They head out from Bangrak for Koh Phangan and various islands. Lunch is part of the deal, at a beachside restaurant.
Some people maintain that the old ways of Samui are dying out, but in the case of fishing, this is simply not true. Time to join in? It’s an age-old pursuit that always inspires.