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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.



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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 storms.

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.



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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 occasional dogtooth-tuna.

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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