The masses have not yet discovered Phuket as an ideal fishing locale. It remains a mostly untouched repository of gamefish, and thus a prime spot for amateur and expert fishermen alike. Because of their under-the-radar status and plethora of available prize fish, the Racha Islands, the Similan Islands, and the Andaman Islands are some of the most lucrative places to catch gamefish in the world.
Phuket’s beauty has caused it to become known variously as the “Jewel of the Andaman” and the “Pearl of the South.” Phuket’s waters are home to four of the world’s largest freshwater species – giant Mekong catfish, giant Siamese carp, freshwater stingray, and arapaima. Phuket’s other claim to fame, the giant snakehead, can grow to over a meter in length. Anglers regard all five of these underwater dwellers as some of the most aggressive and difficult to catch fish in the world.
Charter a day boat trip year round to the Racha Islands, the closest fishing location to Phuket, for a chance to catch billfish, sailfish, and black marlin. If your fishing delight runs more toward tuna, longfin, yellowfin, skipjack, and dog-tooth are found around Racha Island’s waters in abundance. A deep sea tour during the monsoon season (November through March) to the eastern part of the Rachas will most likely net wahoos, tenngiri, travelly, barracuda, reef sharks, dorado (dolphin fish), rainbow runners, king mackerel, black marlins, and a host of other fascinating species. Choose from bareboat sailboats for day excursions and boats to live on for extended trips. Either is feasible – after all, the Racha Islands are only fifteen miles from Phuket.
If you are looking for more distant fishing waters, take a trip north of Phuket to the Similan Islands. Although they are most well-known for their scuba diving opportunities, the Similan Islands are home to plenty of gamefish as well. Trips to the Similan Islands are only available from November to March.
The Andaman Islands are the farthest from Phuket, but also the most pure. While gamefish are available 12 months out of the year, the ideal time to hook big fish is from July to October, the southwest monsoon season. The Andaman Islands provide a variety of different gamefish, including marlins, queenfish, and dorados.
Approximately 55 miles southeast of Phuket, Ko Rok is another relatively remote fishing destination. Ko Rok is comprised of two islands nicknamed the “Sailfish Capital of Asia.” A record 24 sailfish were caught in one day at Ko Rok. Besides the plethora of fish, Ko Rok is practically uninhabited, making for a peaceful excursion to almost untouched waters. You might be the only person in sight for miles, free to fish in complete solitude amidst the surroundings of a tropical paradise.
In addition to its multiple island fishing locales, Phuket is the site of the Phuket International Sportfishing Tournament in November at the beginning of the monsoon season. The tournament draws contestants from locations worldwide, and is a prime attraction for expert fishermen.
Phuket’s diverse species selection makes fishing around the area an appealing option for beginning hobbyists and seasoned veterans alike. The Racha Islands, Similan Islands, Andaman Islands, and Ko Rok are among Phuket’s prime fishing destinations. From seriously big game deep sea tours to less time-consuming one-day charters, visitors of all stripes will find Phuket and its surrounding islands a fishing dream.