Pictured above: 3.2kg hampala barb caught off Kaeng Krajan reservoir at around 11 am in the morning.
English names: Hampala barb, jungle barb, jungle perch.
Scientific name: Hampala macrolepidota.
Thai name: Krasoob keed (กระสูบขีด).
Description: These ray-finned fishes have an almost golden plate of scales, a red tail fin with black edges and a characteristic brownish stripe along its dorsalventral axis (along its medial) between its spinal dorsal fin and tail fin. An average fish is about 1-2kgs. Anything bigger than 2kg is quite big. Anything bigger than 3kg is really big. Anything bigger than 4kg will probably get you a round of drinks at the bar. I have seen a hampala barb corpse that had grown up to 6kg and died of old age on the river banks.
Jungle barbs, unlike the snakeheads are not air-breathers. They breath underwater the old-fashioned way meaning that they need clean waters to survive.
They are also very fast swimmers. The jungle perch is a predatory fish that hunts in shoals and like the barramundi its’ hunting method is all about speed that’s why a mid-sized jungle perch can usually put up quite the fight when hooked.
How to catch them: Jungle perches tend to go after any fast moving object going through the water. Spoon lures and surface lures such as poppers are very popular for the effectiveness.
Tastiness: The hampala barb is a respectable table fish. Its preference for pristine waters ensures the clean taste of their white flesh.