Angling Channa marulia - «Pure Zen Archery»

Jean-Francois Helias ; Fishing Adventures Thailand- Email the author

Dear friend,

The Catlocarpio siamensis, like for some other fish species, has 2 English names. One is «Giant Barb». But the Thai Fisheries Dept. and other book materials give the name of «Siamese Giant Carp». Here in Thailand, we always use «Siamese Giant Carp» as it fits so much better what this species and its fishing is really about. To call a Catlocarpio siamensis a «Giant barb» brings to my mind the picture of a big Roach who has been feeding too much on hamburgers ... I would much prefer that the IGFA uses «Siamese Giant Carp» too. But it would take ages and too many emails for me to type to success having them doing so.
Catlocarpio siamensis 75kgA 75 kg catch of Catlocarpio siamensis, the Siamese Giant Carp, caught by a customer of Fishing Adventures Thailand.

Most important to me is the homologation of this well deserved record. I'm glad that my friend Terry, a faithful return client and good friend as well, got at last his 52.00 kg carp homologated. For the anecdote my friend, a few days before this catch, he landed a bigger Catlocarpio siamensis, a 53.00 kg. But this bigger carp could not qualify for a record because one of my team guides had touched the rod. This guy has more luck than anyone angler I know. He caught a total of 6 Catlocarpio siamensis in 8 days fishing. This is not supposed to happen. To land 20 fish a year is already a good fishing season ...

Speaking about world records, 3 more IGFA All Tackle World Records will be soon on their way to the IGFA Headquarters for homologation. I assume it will take a longer time to have them homologated as the IGFA is currently without any WR administrator. One is for a 3.70 kg «Mrigal» (Cirrhinus cirrhosus) caught recently by my team guide Noi, another is for a big 3.30 kg «Giant Goramy» (Osphronemus goramy ) caught by another of my team guides, Nok, and the third one - to me the sweetest of all - is for a 2.65 kg «Great Snakehead» (called locally «Cobra Snakehead») or Channa marulia caught on Sept. 14 [2004.] by yours truly.

2.65 kg C. maruliaThe new IGFA All Tacle World record for C. marulia: 2.65 kg, caught by J.-F. Helias, Thailand, Sept. 14th 2004
This 2.65 kg «Great Snakehead», the biggest of 3 Channa marulia that I caught last week on a 3 full days fishing trip in the thick jungle of the Srinakarin reservoir, is breaking the current record (2.55 kg) currently held by my French client Gerard Cittadini, since July 2001. It is one of the 2 most important records I have been after for years. As a dedicated snakehead angler for life, this record catch is the one I wanted so bad to get what I personally call the Snakehead Grand Slam (The IGFA has in fact only a very few slams. This for various species such as billfish, bass, trouts and salmon. But there is no slam for snakeheads. It doesn't exist. The Grand Slam I'm talking about is a fictional one I came up to parody the IGFA slams. This because Channa micropeltes, striata and marulia are the 3 main snakeheads here we catch with lure fishing. To catch Channa micropeltes
Head shot of C. micropeltesHead shot of an adult C. micropeltes caught by J.-F. Helias, Thailand.
and striata is very easy. But to add the marulia is the ultimate challenge to any snakehead addict angler. Only a very few guys have succeeded). I already succeeded with both the IGFA All Tackle World Recordfor the «Giant Snakehead» (Channa micropeltes) and for the «Chevron Snakehead» (Channa striata). TheIGFA All Tackle World Recordfor the «Great Snakehead» (Channa marulia) was the only one missing in my quest to accomplish having all records for our 3 Thailand's main game fish snakehead species.

Now that I'm done with this personal challenge, I can focus on the second one. This is trying to win back the IGFA All Tackle World Recordfor the «Giant Snakehead» (Channa micropeltes). The current record is for a fish of 9.20 kg fish caught in Malaysia. I lost 2 fish, both unhooked, this year that were certainly much bigger than this current record. I have now to go on with this challenge, hoping Lady Luck will be kind enough to put me on a bigger fish. I'll take care of all the rest to make it bite and to land it ...

This recent Srinakarin reservoir jungle trip was one of the most exciting and thrilling experience I had with top water lure fishing for snakeheads in years, my friend!
2.22 kg C. maruliaC. marulia catch at Srinakarin (Thailand): 2.22 kg, caught by J.-F. Helias, Thailand, Sept. 14th 2004

I have done thousands and thousands of casts through the years for the «Great Snakehead» (Channa marulia) . But I only had the chance previously to catch 4 of them. These 4 catches were already plenty knowing that lots of local guys who like me are crazy about snakehead fishing have not caught a single one yet in one or two decades. We are speaking here of a ghost prize fish, the ultimate dream for any snakehead hunter. So to hook up 3 «Cobra» in 2 days, considering how much this species is such a rare one and certainly the most elusive of all our Thai freshwater species, is to me a kind of miracle in itself!

A part of these 3 sweet catches, the best feeling to me (as it has always been) is not the fish in themselves but truelly the beautiful way I made them strike. It would be too long to explain in details by typing how I just did that. To make it short, I would just say that the 3 perfect accuracy casts I did on top water to trigger the strike of these fish from where they were hiding (my casts had to be done from long distance and in very small diameter holes, between branches of submerged trees and thick weeds) were what I call PURE ZEN ARCHERY. As accurate and as lethal as the arrow of a Japanese Samurai! If recorded on VDO, these 3 marvellous casts followed by immediate strikes would be all pieces of top water lure fishing anthology!

Forever top water snakehead hunter! Your friend, Francois

Acknowledgement and Source(s)

This text is a mail to a customer of J.-F. Helias, but since Jean-Francois is a good writer (he once was journalist), we wished to publish it. The author has granted the right to publish it on the org's site. The copyright of text and photos is still with the author/photographer in full amount.

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