Giant Snakehead (Plaa Chado) – the swimming beartrap

English name: giant snakehead.

Scientific name: channa micropeltes .

Thai name: plaa chado, ปลาชะโด.

Description: The Giant Snakeheadis also known in some circles as the fresh-water torpedo. It is a hunter that can easily weigh up to 7-9kgs and be over a metre in length when they’re all grown up. They are easily identified by their long torpedo-shaped body, hard bony bullet-shaped head and sharp pointy teeth. They usually have dark snakelike patterns on their scales however, females tend to temporarily lose the pattern during pregnancy while inhibiting a pinkish gray colour all over.

These lean mean killing machines are at the top of the aquatic food chain among fishes. Their sharp razor-like teeth tear their prey apart like they are made from marshmallows. They have been known to eat just about anything stupid enough to swim near their territory. Autopsies have revealed that not even birds are safe.

How to catch them: the easiest way to catch a giant snakehead is by using live bait. The locals find that live eels that can be bought from most fresh markets work best. Fishing line of at least 20lb with a steel leader is a must for the live bait method in order to deal with their heavy bulk and flesh-slicing teeth. On top of the live eel, some anglers would also employ the use of cow’s or pig’s blood (also found in the fresh markets) to draw them in. To use the blood, simply just pour it all out in the area you wish to attract the giant snakehead. Then all you have to do is cast your live eel to the bloody spot and wait.

However the fun way to catch the giant snakehead is by lure fishing. For more info go here.

Deliciousness: The plaa chado are not that tasty and recipes involving them usually call for a lot of soup and spices to mask the quality of the flesh but then again just about any type of meat can be edible when served in a spicy tom yum broth. However, their lack of table appeal is made up for by their appeal as a game fish.

Pictured below: giant snakehead caught at Bang Phra reservoir placed next to a flip-flop (44cm ).

  1. tom laverick says:

    hi there im new to fishing for giant snakehead m8 and i sort of kno what rig i need but i wonnderd if puting a float on those big ones with wheight in bottom allready is that ok.cheers m8

  2. Willy Hesenius says:

    Hi Bkkhooker,
    I am living since 5 years in Nongprue near Pattaya. Only 3 Km of my home we have the Lake Maprachan which is under high fishing pressure.
    I was fishing on Plaa Ninh with kung as bait and mostly successful. But since a couple of weeks there are only Snakeheads on my Hook. The blog about the Snakeheads was really helpful, as I know now that we have not only small ones here so I bought today a bunch of Frog Lures and other Spinners and will go for the “Big Ones”
    Maprachan is my favorite Lake beside heaps of Ponds and small lakes in this area and if people are nearby and fancy a good day fishing, let me know.. I am NOT a guide but will be always open for exchange of experiences and ‘gone fishing’ instead of hanging out in walking Street – Pattaya

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