English name: giant snakehead.

Scientific name: channa micropeltes .

Thai name: plaa chado, ปลาชะโด.

Description: The Giant Snakehead is 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 ).

14 Responses to Giant Snakehead (Plaa Chado) – the swimming beartrap

  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

    • um, sorry not so sure what your question is. What do you mean by “those big ones”?

      • tom laverick says:

        let me change that lol.wats the best way to do a live rig for Giant Snakehead (Plaa Chado)

        • tom laverick says:

          ive never been snakehead fishing befor in the resivwas and just wanted to kno wats the best rig in live baiting.im going to bang pra cheers

          • Bangkokhooker says:

            Best way to live rig for giant snakehead? haha you don’t!

            It’s a predator fish but it likes to hide in the weeds. Lure fishing is the best method of getting them to bite especially in Bang Prah where the only fishable areas are way too noisy to any bait fish to get in.

            If you do go baitfishing for them I advise using a circle hook as they tend to swallow the bait quite deep leaving their insides all injured when unhooking.

            Giant snakeheads are gamefish so catching and killing one is considered taboo within the sports fishing community.

          • tom laverick says:

            ok mate cheers ( :

          • tom laverick says:

            what lure would you recomend for a beginer on the lure fishing caz ive tryed lots and had no luck lol but i did only try it on the odd ponds so… might be better owt in lake

  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

    • Max says:

      Hi there,
      if by any chance this message will get to you, pls contact me, I’d love to join you for fishing around Mabprachan lake or share any fishing tips etc….

  3. Norrish says:

    Hi all,

    My name is Norrish, I am crazily like fishing. I am searching for a good natural fishing place now. I would deeply appreciate if you could advice me some of good places. Then, we should meet and share some fishing experiences……


  4. VBJOHNC says:

    Hi Willy,

    I come visit and stay in the Nongprue area quite a bit. My goal is snakeheads also. Have tried the reservoir Ban Bang Phra north of Pattaya with a guide on a boat but was not able to9 land any. Have tried walking the banks of Lake Maprachan with no luck either. I will be coming again in a few weeks. Would you like a fishing buddy for a day? Would appreciate some insight on where to go.


  5. hallball2 says:

    Hi there I was thinking about buying the new daiwa tatula rod a reel I was wondering if they could handle giant snake head

  6. njc says:

    Hi Bangkokhooker,

    I recently visited the Khao Laem dam fishing for (Plaa Chado) Snakehead and managed to hire a boat with skipper on the Dam from the bank. I arrived at the Mon Bridge early after a two hour drive from a great resort called Home Phutoey on the Khwae Yai River where I had previously caught Barb, small knife fish and some jungle perch.. The views on the road to the reservoir where a joy to drive and the sunrise over the lush green mountains was breathtaking. The fishing tour itself was not pre booked or arranged and we negotiated an afternoon fishing from 11 a.m until sunset for 1500 bht the same day which I think was a bargain and a stroke of pure luck. My friend was unfortunately sick that morning as his stomach had not yet quite adjusted to authentic thai cooking, so myself and the skipper fished alone for the remaining part of the day. We fished the margins and around sunken trees for roughly 4 1/2 hours and bagged a fair few juveniles and two fair sized snakeheads. The technique we used is much like fresh water lure or spinner fishing which I do back home in England on the river Itchen for Pike, Trout and even Grayling. The only difference being that the lures were surface frog lures. This kind of lure fishing requires a solid quick cast and fluid fast action retrieve. Watching the frog splash its way frantically back to the boat was really fun, but after two hours solid casting my arms ached like a ‘mo fo’. This was one of my best fishing experiences ever and I will be returning this year to do some more luring on Thailand’s wonderful reservoirs. Only this next time round I’m seriously considering trying some Snakehead fishing on the fly rod. I will bring my fly tying kit and will need to do some diptera research as too what kind of wet or dry fly’s the (Plaa Chado) and Jungle Perch will bite. Any thoughts and knowledge gratefully received.

    Love form the UK

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