FL09June - Page 210



From Horton to Paradise
Sunset at Horton taken from the Looout swim ‘07.
In fact I was over the moon with all
three captures, as I had changed my
style of angling on the lake that season. I did put a few more sessions in
at Horton over the next couple of
months, but at that time my mind was
on another lake in another country, as
an old friend of mine, and a long time
friend of uncle Bob Baker, had not
long finished building his dream lake
over in Thailand. Day by day I was
becoming more and more excited at
the prospect of boarding a plane and
going over there to sample the place
and its beauty for myself. That February Bob and I had met up with our old
mate Stuart Gillham for an Indian
meal in Ashtead to catch up on old
times, and Stuart had invited me over
to stay and fish at his lake in Krabi,
Thailand, later on that year. I can
remember Stuart saying how cold it
felt over here in England, and that he
could not wait to get back to paradise.
There was a fair bit of banter as you
can imagine, with none stop questions to Stu about the place – what
was it like, how hot would it be, etc,
but Stu being Stu took it all in good
faith and did his best, between
mouthfuls of vindaloo, to tell me as
much about the lake and location as
he could. The lake at the time had
been completely finished, and the 14
two-bedroom bungalows were all
nearing completion. There was also a
restaurant and swimming pool still to
be built. Just hearing all this from Stuart made my eyes water with the
thought of all the work that had
210 FREE LINE
already been completed over there,
plus the work still remaining. I can
remember getting emails earlier from
Stu with attachment pics of him and
his son Sean up to their eyeballs in
mud and all sorts, getting burnt by
the scorching sun, and thinking thank
goodness that I don’t have to work
like that in those extreme heats. Of
course I had seen photos of anglers
holding some really exotic looking
fish such as the Red Tailed catfish and
the arapaima those were very high on
my dream list of fish that I would love
to catch on my visit.
The flight was booked through
Dial-a-Flight for the 14th October ‘08
to arrive in Bangkok at 06.30hrs on
15th Oct, then pick up the connecting
flight two hours later on to Krabi international Airport. Well I had never been
further than the Canary Islands
before, so just the experience of going
on my first long-haul flight was getting the old adrenalin going. On arriving at Bangkok Airport I certainly felt
the heat hit me like a thousand
hairdryers on you all at once. It had
been a long flight, but the Thai Airways staff were very good and couldn’t do enough for you really. My bags
were to be transferred straight from
one plane to another, so no worries
there. ‘Where’s the smoking area?’ I
was thinking to myself as I was being
carried along a never-ending escalator, or so it seemed. ‘Ahh there she
blows,’ I could just make out the small
sign on a door in the distance to my
left. It wouldn’t be long before I could
rekindle my nicotine levels to a standard where my body doesn’t scream
out for a ciggy. For those who smoke,
I wouldn’t bother taking any ciggies
into that room, because within a couple of seconds of being in there my
lungs felt like I’d just smoked 20 Navy
Cut.
After landing at Krabi Airport, I was
met by Stuart. I had bought a few bits
and bobs over for Stu in a holdall bag,
which had not been put on the plane
at Bangkok. After a quick chat with
the customs lady, she informed us
that the missing luggage would be
transferred to Gillhams Fishing Resort
asap, and with that sorted we set off
for the lake. Although I was tired, I
was buzzing with anticipation to see
for myself this dream place that Stuart
and Sean had built. On arriving at the
venue I was totally gobsmacked by
the sheer beauty of the place, and
once the greetings and meetings
thing had been done and dusted, it
was time to sit and relax in the luxurious restaurant and bar with a cold
bottle of Tiger beer. As I sipped my
cold beer and surveyed the stunning
views around the lake, I really thought
that I must be dreaming. I couldn’t
quite take it all in, as the website just
cannot do the place justice. It’s set in
a small valley, and nigh on completely
surrounded by limestone mountains.
Then there were the five-star bungalows up on the left hand side of the
complex, and a first class swimming
pool set back in between two of them.
The lake itself was a tremendous
sight with the odd arapaima coming
up for a gulp of air every so often. I
had no intentions of fishing on that
first day – it was just all too much. I
thought to myself and told Stuart and
Sean that they were not wrong, for I
truly was in paradise – what more
could an angler wish for? Steve the
English cook then bought me out of
my daydream, asked if I was hungry,
and duly made me a fry-up that was
second to none. I can honestly say
that I could barely move from my seat
after eating it (thanks, Butter Bean).
Well after a few more beers and lots
of banter Sean and Gollock, the Thai
fishing guide, took my cases along to
the bungalow where I was to stay for
the next 13 nights. Once inside Sean
then showed me how to operate the
satellite TV and DVD, and also the air
conditioning – he didn’t need to show
me how to use the mini-bar and

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