Phuket Shore Fishing

Overview

You can read other websites and they tell you there are no decent fish from the shore but that is not true (they only want you to pay more to charter a boat).  I believe the truth is that the locals know where the fish are but many areas near Phuket Island are fished out from fishing or netting.  As with any new place you need information and if there is no information go where others fish.  From my fishing experience, I know fish like structure so standing at Patong Beach I saw the best opportunity was the rocks at the ends of the sandy beach.  As I neared the area, it was a good sign that I saw people fishing there.   

What to bring (or buy)

Two telescopic travel rod is ideal from 8-12 ft with some basic fishing tackle and bait.

  • Rod: 8 ft telescopic and 12 ft telescopic rod
  • Reel: Spincasting reel with 15 lb test
  • Hooks: several sizes small fish (size 12 to 14), medium and large
  • Weight: small shots and a few heavy ones (30 g)
  • Bead and swivels: essential to prevent weights from breaking lines
  • Bait: squid is good because it stays on the hook
  • Sunscreen and maybe an umbrella to protect from the sun
  • Towel for cleaning hands
  • Knife to cut the bait
  • Polarized sunglasses to see fish
  • The fishing technique

    My usual strategy of going fishing in a new place is to go to a shop, spend money and ask for local advice.  I was amazed at how rude I was treated in Thailand.  While there fishing tackle selection was amazing at Nanai Fishing Store, the owner and the other local shoppers treated me like they were better than me and provided no help even though I spent 1,500 Bhat.  Nevertheless things are cheap but very expensive to ship and I was foolish enough to buy a fishing rod because it was so inexpensive which I ended up giving to the fish boy at the boat tour.

    The actual setup I used was hook with squid, 20 lbs leader, swivel, bead and 30 g weight.  The strategy was to try to catch any fish with one line (close to shore) and bigger fish with the other (cast out).   I think an alternative setup would be to use multiple hooks on the casting line.  It is the kind of fishing where you cast out and hope for the best leaving the rod on the rocks with tight line.  You can get lucky as I did or you may not catch.  I think the tides and whether is important and speaking to the local the fish like early morning and afternoons.

    My experience

    With my gear I set of to the rocks on Patong Beach.  I could see the small fish in the water primarily near the rocks by the shore which were up to the size of my palm.  I casted one line out with a medium size hook and good amounts of bait and the other at the edge of the shore.  It wasn’t long till I got bites on the line near the shore and brought up a small fish.  I continued fishing and got lots of bites from the line near the shore from small fish.  After an hour, I had a sudden large pull on something trying to pull my 12 ft rod in the water.  The fish pulled the line out hard and I was worried it may break my leader.  After a good fight, I was amazed to have the large swallowtail dart at the end of the line.  The other Italian fisherman on the rocks cursed me for having such good luck.

    I took the fish to the Patong Beach night market with a big smile on my face.  The locals gave me many thumbs up as they saw me carry the big fish on the streets through the city.  They fried the fish and it was delicious.

    How to make it happen

    The best part of this fishing is that it is free and just takes a bit of luck to have a good catch.  You just need to have the gear and the time.

    Key tip

    Speak to the locals fishing.   When I was fishing the guy that works at the surfing bar who also like to fish came by.  I saw his photos and he also caught a large swallowtail dart and even what looks like a giant trevally from the rocks which was incredible.  It is also good to check lines frequently as 15-20 min as there are waves which can cause junk the water to tamper with your lines.