Species: Arapaima gigas
Thai Name: Pla chon amazon
Grows to weight/length: 200kg+/2.8m+
Stocked at Hookers: 2.4m/180kg (est)
As the lake has matured, so has the difficulty of catching our arapaima and it remains probably the fish most sought after by our customers. Its iconic shape and striking colouration make it a memorable catch, especially as our specimens, all in excess of 2m, are the largest anywhere in Pattaya. As an air breather they can be spotted regularly breaking the surface of the water to gulp for air.
Our fish go through phases in terms of the baits they prefer and also regularly change their patrol routes, so the advice of our guides is key in terms the type of bait to be used, its presentation and location. Generally, the preference is for a floating or ledgered freshwater livebait (silver barb), but cut mackerel also works as does ledgered freshwater deadbaits. The odd fish has been caught on chicken hearts, pieces of chicken and pellet but you might find yourself bringing in a redtail or two!
We have very strict handling and care instructions for our arapaima and ask that you respect all and any instructions the guides give you if you are lucky enough to catch one. Each fishery has its own rules and we ask that you follow our rules when you are fishing at Hookers. While they are one of the most powerful fish in our lake, they are also the most fragile and can kill themselves or inflict serious injury to anglers if not handled correctly.
During the fight, arapaima will often jump and twist in the air – it is important that anglers keep a tight line to the fish and if they detect or see the fish about to jump they keep their rods low. Arapaima can kill themselves with their acrobatic displays by breaking a vessel in their backs so care must be taken at all times. The guides will shepherd the fish into the cage with the leader and once inside they will cut the leader as close to the mouth as is possible. They will then support the fish’s head by its pectoral fin and introduce some oxygen. Once the fish takes a gulp of air you will be allowed to enter the water and be positioned by the guides in the middle of the fish for a photo. Please do not try and move towards the head or tail areas while the fish is in or out of the cage as serious injury can occur if the fish is startled. Following the guides’ instructions, the fish will be rolled, the cage removed and then a quick photo can be taken. Once the fish has been rolled back into the cage, the guides will resupport the head and allow the fish to take up to 5 or 6 gulps of air before they will consider releasing the fish. Only once the guides are happy will the fish be allowed to go. The whole process can take up to 20-30 minutes and we ask that you are patient while this process takes place. The arapaima is a mighty fish and deserves the care and attention it receives.