Species: Heterotis niloticus
Thai Name: Pla dapat Africa
Grows to weight/length: Up to 1m/10kg+
Stocked at Hookers: to 60cm/4kg, caught at 5.6kg
The African or Nile arowana is a species of bonytongue fish and is closely related to the well known arapaima being part of the Arapaimidae family. It is noticeably different to Asian arowana that are commonly seen and often sold for huge sums of the money in the aquarium trade. It is a long bodied fish with large scales and long dorsal and caudal fins set back on its body with a rounded tail or caudal fin. It is distinguished from its Asian aquarium counterparts by its mouth which is more terminal/flatter than the oblique protruding lower jaw of the Asian version, with a brown/bronze colour and no barbels.
We are one of only a few fishing lakes in Thailand to stock these fish and believe ours to currently be the largest. They are a great fish to target on one of our light tackle rods, feeding small but regular balls of lam that will bring the arowana close to the bank. Favourite hookbaits seem to be poly balls, a grain of sweetcorn or bread fished beneath a waggler float set slightly over depth or ledgered with a couple of SSG around 3-5m from the bank.
What makes them special is their acrobatic fight, often jumping high out of the water requiring the angler to always keep tight to the fish and react quickly by lowering the rod tip in the same way as fishing for tarpon or arapaima.