Scientific: Lates calcarifer.
Thai name: Plaa Krapong, ปลากระพง.
Description: The fish in the picture is called a barramundi in English, the name is derived from the Aboriginal people of Australia but being a fish that appears in several areas of the world this fish has several other names. The proper name of the fish is either barramundi or Asian sea bass.
The barramundi lives in freshwater, brackish water as well as saltwater.
The barramundi is a beautiful fish armed with an armour of silver scales. This toothless predator hunts by chasing down prey with its impressive speed before opening its large mouth to suck the prey in like a powerful vacuum. Their aggressiveness makes them the perfect fish for pay ponds as they are ready to take just about any lure.
Their pointy dorsal fins and sharp blade-like protrusions from their cheeks can cause some slight injury if you are not careful. This is especially true regarding the cheeks. An unaware angler can easily get his/her hand sliced open if not careful.
How to catch them: Barramundi can be caught by both bait and lures. In the Bang Pakong river where they are quite abundant anglers usually catch them with fresh prawns on floating rigs. While lure fishing for barramundi is not popular in the wild in Thailand lure fishing for them in pay ponds, on the other hand, is truly the way to go. Poppers, plugs, crank baits, rubber shads and all sorts of lures work on these silver surfers.
In recent years fly fishing has proven itself to be very effective with barramundi. Streamers flies, prawn flies and the crazy charlie works very well.
Also due to the aforementioned sharp protrusions from their cheeks a shock leader or a similar material should be applied to your line as they can easily slice regular monofilament and braided line with ease.
Deliciousness: The barramundi is a highly prized table fish. It is one of the most farmed fish in the country and with an average price of around B140-150 a kilo it is not much of a surprise. The flesh of a barramundi is white, firm and very tasty. Its flexibility as table fish allows for it to be prepared in multiple dishes. Be it French, Thai, Italian, Chinese, Indian or Japanese cuisine it is quite likely that you would see this fish on just about any restaurant’s menu in Thailand.