The deep blue, clear waters of the Andaman Sea are ideal for game fishing. Phuket has the great advantage of being on the migratory path of classic fighting fish such as marlin. At certain times of the year, sailfish fishing compares with anywhere in the world and remember, Phuket is also one of the top three queenfish venues. For some fishy tales take a look at Collin Piprell's article "Fighting Fish".
Fishing is good year around - for details see our Practical Info page. The southwest monsoon (June to August), when the seas can get rough, offers great sailfish fishing. Boats generally fish in the lee of islands such as Racha Noi and Racha Yai, during this season. Late November also is a good time to go after marlin, tuna and wahoo.
Phuket has a number of professional operators with good boats and equipment, offering day charter and liveaboards to longer destinations like the Similans in high season.
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Where and When
Virtually every species of bluewater fish can be caught in this month. Sailfish are common off of Racha Yai and juvenile black marlin show up all along the west coast of Phuket, providing great medium and light tackle fishing.
Meanwhile, 90km (55 miles) west of Phuket at the continental shelf drop-off, there is a fair chance of larger black marlin, often 100 to 300 kg (220 to 660 lbs). Also found are 20 kg (44 lb) yellowfin tuna, 40 kg (88 lb) wahoo and numerous barracuda, dorado and skipjack tuna.
There's also a chance to do battle with sharks like tiger, hammerhead, bull and the occasional mako shark tempted by bait during day or night fishing trips.
Catch and Release
Fishing is not every conservationist's favourite sport. But operators and amateur enthusiasts alike are coming to recognise the importance of sustainable gamefishing practices. An important part of this is the practice of releasing prizes such as marlin and sailfish unharmed.
More and more, local operators are encouraging this trend. The now-dormant Phuket Sportfishing Classic, for example, from its inception insisted that billfish be recorded and then released alive, if they are to count as points in the competition. All sharks caught were also be released. The contest also clearly marked areas such as Shark Point, a marine wildlife sanctuary, as being out of bounds. These reasonable practices help ensure that the majestic creatures of the sea live to fight another day, to give another lucky angler the thrill of their lives.
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Broome, Cape Bowling Green, and Watamu are all world-famous sailfish hot spots. Dedicated blue water anglers make regular pilgrimages to these angling Meccas to test their skills against one of the world's most popular game fish. What they haven't realized is that this corner of the Andaman Sea resembles a sailfish cocktail party and these magnificent animals appear here in droves almost year round.
The fish rich waters of the Andaman Sea are blessed with a vast population of sailfish and Thailand's spectacular island of Phuket is the ultimate venue from which to target these remarkable opponents.
Due to the lack of world-wide publicity, the extremely high quality gamefishing offered by the Phuket fleet is enjoyed almost exclusively by holiday anglers, while the majority of dedicated specimen hunters remain woefully unaware of the superb action they're missing.
This somewhat sad fact is about to change. Recently, Australian fishing "guru" Rex Hunt and his equally respected fishing partner Steve Starling, visited Phuket to film a fishing show for Australian television. Their experiences stunned the well-travelled pair and Rex was quoted as saying "I have never seen so many sailfish in one place in my life."
Although sailfish are present year round, the monsoon months of July and August always produce an impressive run which develops into a staggering feeding population concentrated around a small island, just one hour from the fleet's base at Chalong Bay. Check out our Practical Information page for further details.
10 Reasons to Fish for Sailfish in Phuket
- A respectable catch is virtually guarantied.
- Phuket's sophisticated and convenient international airport offers visitors hassle-free immigration/custom formalities with friendly, courteous officials and helpful staff.
- The wide range of accommodation on the island is designed to cater to virtually every taste and preference. Choose from stunning, world class resorts to clean, comfortable guest houses, or anything in between.
- Thailand has long been know as the 'Land of Smiles', the warm, genuinely friendly Thai people will charm even the most discerning visitors. Tourists can feel totally safe and secure to walk anywhere, at any hour of the day, as street crime is virtually unheard of on Phuket.
- Thai food is enjoyed all over the world, and in Phuket numerous restaurants feature tantalising dishes to suit every taste. If exotic, spicy Thai food is not to your liking, Phuket boasts a vast selection of international restaurants offering visitors delicacies from virtually every continent.
- Phuket can offer accompanying family and friends of fishermen a variety of activities that many other angling venues lack. Attractions include: world class golf courses, superb diving, bare boat or skippered sailing charters, numerous day tours to outlying islands, elephant trekking, wind surfing, parasailing, sea walking, mini golf, mountain biking, temple and culture tours, Thai boxing and spectacular, exotic nightlife activities.
- Phuket's gamefishing fleet consists of over 20 well equipped boats, ranging from sophisticated American/Australian style sportfishers to converted local style vessels. The vast majority of the fleet are skipped and crewed by very experienced personnel with extensive knowledge of local waters.
- As Phuket has been host to tourists for many years, the infrastructure of the island is geared to cope with the needs and demands of overseas visitors. Most hotel staff and locals working in tourist-related industries have a good command of English and are experienced in dealing with problems often encountered by travellers.
- Phuket has several world class hospitals with highly trained doctors and staff, and state of the art equipment.
- Finally, a phrase adopted by numerous visiting anglers says it all. "There may be places in the world where the fishing is better - but there's no better place to go fishing".