Big Game Fishing, Phuket – Interview With Wahoo’s John Pearce

Interview with Wahoo’s John Pearce on fishing around Phuket

Article written by Simon Ramsden in Thailand


Simon: What changes have you noticed since you started sport-fishing in Phuket?


John: Over the past two decades Phuket has earned the right to be classed as a true big game fishing destination, offering boats, an infrastructure and hotels of the standard well-heeled anglers expect. Over the last eighteen years that I have lived and fished the waters around Phuket as a fishing-charter captain I have seen many changes, some for the better, some for the worse – and also some things that have not changed at all.


Simon: Has the fishing got worse ?


John: It hasn’t got worse, it’s got different as the fish have changed from always being at one island to suddenly appearing at one island or another in greater numbers. My own personal observation on what is happening is that we have seen a massive increase in the number of commercial boats chasing what I call ‘baitfish’, not only for human consumption, as in fish sauce, but also for making animal feeds for chickens. Fish are creatures of habit and if suddenly the food that they have been used to getting in a particular spot is not there any more they will move and find another source.


Simon: So, with all that happening, is Phuket a good fishing destination?


John: Absolutely, yes it is! Many of our anglers have had the best battles of their lives, especially with the large numbers of sailfish around the Islands of Racha Yai and Racha Noi, even in the low-tourist season of May- September. Some lucky anglers have even gone home having had the thrill of catching one of the decent-sized black marlin that appear between October and April.


Simon: Why come to Phuket?


John: I have been lucky enough to have visited some of the great fishing capitals of the world, so I am confident in giving you these main reasons why you should put Phuket on your map of destinations if you are a fishing enthusiast. Let’s start with the international airport, which is very close to most of our two-star to five-star and above hotels and which is linked to most countries, either directly or through Bangkok. Thai people are the friendliest and smiliest folk on the planet. They serve superb, mouth-wateringly delicious and varied food. The island is blessed with lovely beaches and offers excellent and extremely varied alternative activities for non-angling companions. Phuket offers some of the best fishing to be found in Asia, on good boats which are reasonably priced and which have friendly crews, many of whom can speak reasonable English. So if you are on holiday and fancy a day or a week’s fishing, get in touch with one of the local operators and have yourself a ball. And I almost forgot: we have award-winning cold beer as well!


After you visit Phuket, why not check out these other Thai beach destinations:


Koh Lao Liang:

Ao Nang:




Runs Andaman Adventures, specialising in Thai climbing and fishing trips.

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