Species: Channa micropeltes
Thai Name: Pla Chado
Grows to weight/length: 20kg+/1.5m+
Stocked at Hookers: to 6.4kg
The giant snakehead is a fearsome predator that is synonymous with fishing in Thailand and Malaysia and is one of the top trophy fish for wild freshwater fishermen across Asia. It will eat almost anything it can find and has very sharp teeth fit for purpose. Colourations can vary – often wild caught fish will have very distinctive creamy white and black/purple/dark green stripes with a white belly, while lake caught fish will appear darker with less obvious striped markings.
A common way of targeting the giant snakehead in the wild is to spot balls of snakehead fry – their bright red colouration gives the appearance of blood in the water (which the Thais refer to as nam daeng/red water) and a lure retrieved in or around the fry ball will often result in a violent take and fight from one of the parents who are always circling and protecting the young fry.
Fishing for them in our lake requires different tactics. A small ledgered live or deadbait or meaty bait needs to be cast along any of the margin areas with a minimum fluorocarbon leader of 0.45mm (approx 10kg) in the last couple of hours of daylight. As air breathers, taking time to stalk the margins looking for a tell-tale rise can be a rewarding way of snaring one of these fantastic fish.