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The Arapaima is at present one of Thailand's most popular targets for sports anglers. This is perhaps due more to the Arapaima's magnificent features as the planets largest scaled freshwater fish as opposed to purely it's fighting qualities. The Arapaima boasts magnificent armour like scales up to a couple of inches across, tinted in anything from iridescent olive greens to charcoal blacks and bright silver and with increasing amounts of scarlet red tipping each scale on mature fish it is beautiful creature to observe. It's torpedo like body is somewhat reminiscent of a pike, although it grows some 10 times the size of course! Even its upturned lower jaw resembles a pike.
There is an enormous amount of speculation and debate revolving around the subject of the world's largest freshwater fish, common scientific research suggests that the sealing limit for the size of the Arapaima is around 180kg to 200kg, and as such it would never be a contender for the world's largest freshwater fish. However here in Thailand it is believed that it is possible for the Arapaima to grown much bigger, although a verifiable catch of a real monster has not yet happened. The biggest Arapaima specimen we have seen is one a customer captured at Palm Tree Lagoon in January 2009, but that fish was indeed in the commonly excepted upper range of 180kg to 200kg. However this fish was only around 9ft long at the most. Bungsamran boast several fish in excess of 10ft long according to the owner and Fish of such length have the potential to go well beyond 200kg and perhaps even 300kg, so the verdict is still out on this subject, however the speculation has led some to exaggerate. A 200kg Arapaima is an exceptional fish indeed, the biggest reported weight here in Thailand thus far is 224kg (weighed after it's unfortunate death), out of Palm Tree Lagoon.
Thai name: Pla Chon Amazon
Diet: fish, animals, birds and insects.
The Arapaima can be found in many of Thailand's fishing venues, although few are really geared up to target the fish, which can cause probelms if you are fishing unguided. The biggest head of large Arapaima that are comfortably targetable can be found at Palm Tree Lagoon, However the biggest specimens although in smaller numbers are likely found at Bungsamran and Palm Tree Lagoon. Lake Monsters has a large head of smaller fish. Unfortunately due to the delicate nature of this species, the stocking at each venue tends to change as time goes by as some fish are lost to angling pressure and other fish newly stocked, so please ask before assuming a venue has large Arapaima to target.