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The Giant Mekong Catfish has been called a lot of things, some complimentary and some not so complimentary! For those of you who believe the Giant Mekong Catfish is an ugly fish... you clearly haven't been properly introduced to the Wel's Catfish! At SFT we find it hard to fathom why so many European anglers are happy to venture to the Ebro in pursuit of the "tub of lard" (there I said it!) that is the Wel's, yet would find the Mekong Catfish to be an ugly specimen! And then there's the sporting characteristics too consider. So OK a Wel's Catfish puts up a good fight in the current of the Ebro, or indeed it puts up a reasonable scrap in a still-water when compared perhaps to Europ'es other freshwater fish species, but thats just Geography! If it where possible to hook up with Giant Mekong Catfish in their native habitat of the Mekong River Basin, it's unlikely you'd ever even see the thing! Let alone land it.
So yes, the Giant Mekong Catfish is not the most handsome of specimens, but it's far better looking than many of the slimy devils that take the name "catfish" in other parts of the world, and for sporting qualities it's second to none. It's been described as a "submarine" a "bulldozer" an unstoppable brut force that when hooked by some fisherman defeats them almost immediately. The reason for its power lies in it's massive tail, and anal fin that combine to form one huge rudder when the fish is in a fight. The tail and anal fin combined when sweeping thru the water as one, displace so much water that anyone could be forgiven for thinking they are hooked into some man made object like a boat with 400bhp engine or a nuclear submarine.
The Mekong Catfishes overall appearance although not really attractive is not that ugly either, it has a very muscular almost shark like frame, (not a sloppy fat one like the Wel's) that generates it's power, with greyish smooth skin and pale underside, it's low set eyes and down turned mouth can make it look a little miserable, but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in fighting charisma, which is by far this fishes best characteristic.
Name: Mekong Catfish
Species: Pangasianodon gigas
Thai name: Pla Buk
Max length in excess: 3 m
Max weight: 350 kg
IGFA record: 79kg
Diet: plankton, plants, shrimp, sticky rice, boilie, cereal, maize and fish.
Bungsamran remains the undisputed fishing venue for the Giant Mekong Catfish, although now there are several venues where an angler can target specimens in excess of 120kgs. Shadow Lake has good size specimens, as do Gillham's Fishing Resorts, in fact most Thai Fishing Venues hold 50kg plus Mekong Catfish.