Species: Phractocephalus hemioliopterus
Thai Name: Pla amazon daeng or Pla redtail
Grows to weight/length: 80kg/1.8m+
Stocked at Hookers: to 80cm-1m/15-18kg, caught at 24kg
The Amazon redtail catfish is easily recognisable through its striking coloration and long whiskers. They have a brownish back pigmented with dark spots with whitish yellow flanks and striking orange red dorsal and caudal fins. It has three pairs of long barbels – one on the upper jaw and two on the lower.
The Amazon redtail divides opinion amongst many anglers in Thailand and is much maligned. For some they are a nuisance fish that get in the way of catching other predator species whilst for others they are one of the hardest running and fighting fish to catch. We think this is as much to do with the size of the fish being caught, the size of the lake and stocking levels in relation to availability of natural food. Amazon redtails are often seen as a “banker” fish – if all else fails it’s easy to catch one. Our redtails have a great supply of bait fish to feed on and they have been packing on the weight since they were first stocked. This, coupled with the size and depth of our fishing lake allows them to really run and exhibit the power they have. We’ve had plenty of customers who have been convinced they’ve latched into an arapaima only to find the source of their back and arm ache was this scavenger.
The most effective method to target them is a ledgered deadbait swung out around 1m off the banks of hyacinths. While they are caught throughout the day and occasionally in more open water, your best opportunity will come later in the day when the bait fish move back into the margins as the sun starts to drop and the temperature falls.