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Asian Redtail Catfish

cool looking whiskers


Two physical built coming from one type of fish. Those coming from deep mountain stream are slim and rarely grow big. On the other hand, river, lake and private pond variety have a fatty build. I cannot come up with any explanation other than food availability. Regardless of their physical attribute, both are fun to catch. The take is quick, the run is lightning fast. The generated shock feels like being electrocuted by faulty wiring.

The whole thing will sound fishy if I leave out the difficulties of catching. Getting bites can be frustrating for those who aren't familiar with these cats. River variety demands murky water and heavy rain prior. Pond and lake inhabitants relies on feeding frenzy. Without both, fishing can get very difficult.

A juvenile river occupant which carries a more rounded body and tail.

This one is from a deep mountain stream. Her colour is bland compared to river version.

Timing & Location Is Key

In moving waters, whether river or mountain stream, a heavy rain the night before will trigger its active feeding mode. Being a bottom feeder, it will sweep all depths and the shallowest I have caught them from is around 6 inches of water. The fisherman can stay at one spot and they will come to him. It is still possible to catch them when there is no rain. The fisherman will just have to switch from passive to active mode by walking along the river and fish their places of hiding. Fish active, you passive. Fish passive, you active. Can you see the yin and yang?

My experience with those from lake or private pond is limited. All I can say is, you need some chumming to create a feeding frenzy. This will trigger its active feeding mode. Time is irrelevant. I have caught and seen fish caught in the dead heat of afternoon. Some are caught in the middle of the pond while others, just a few feet away.

A good sign for catching Asian Redtail Catfish.
Damp earth and rapid fungus growth means frequent rain in recent time.

Slow flowing portion of a river with floating debris that congregates are their favourite haunt.


Although lacking teeth, the Asian Redtail Catfish is strictly meatatarian. A short list of what they like but not limited to, are: insect, fish, earthworm, cockle, chicken intestine ... you get the point. These fish have small mouth so it is better to tone down on the amount of bait or else the hook might not make it. As said before, they fight hard and live beneath floating debris so the hook of choice would be short shank of regular thickness.

meatatarian - meat*a*tar*ian
Someone who only eats meat and not vegetable or fruit to prevent global warming.

Grass Carp: "I had water spinach and fig salad for lunch yesterday. Couldn't believe how well theiy complement each other!"

Asian Redtail Catfish: "Well, we meatatarians prefer not to harm any plant. Do you know they lead the fight against global warming by absorbing green house gases?"

If you know where and when to fish, the choice of bait is never an issue.

I might not look happy with this catch but I assure you I really am.
It is logic defying to smile naturally when the water level is rising fast behind you.

Safety And Other Addition

Asian Redtail catfish like many other catfish have spines attached to their pectoral fin. Some fishermen prefer to clip them off but I believe in leaving them intact. The hard spines makes handling much easier as opposed to no spines. Bottom image will show how to handle any catfish with spines. Another hazard I would like to point out is the dangers of fishing in mountain streams. Walking on moss covered stones with boulders protruding from the river calls for rubber studded shoes. Fishing alone is not recommended unless you are really experienced.

Equipment wise, sinker is indispensable to catch this bottom feeder. Number 3 or 4 depending on the current. A short nylon leader is preferred over a long one. Long leader will sway the bait far away from the bottom, causing fish to miss it. Well I suppose that is all to the basics of Asian Redtail catfish fishing. I hope you enjoy reading this and fish safe!

Nicely concealed location with slow flowing water is an ideal place to launch an offensive.

A fatty caught by my friend at night. You can easily tell it is not from a mountain stream.