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    Entries in lure fishing (6)


    Buzzing for Summer Snakehead

    Bass anglers like to talk about the summer being the best time of the year for topwater action. The same seems to be true for snakehead, although its safe to say that most snakehead fishing is done on the surface regardless of the time of year. This time of year, however, snakehead seem paritcularly irritated by anything that flaps, wiggles or splashes across the surface. Maybe its because many of the fish are guarding schools of fry. Their hair triggers may be all the more sensitive. 

    This morning, revisited a pond I had not been back to for several years. Its near my home and I had written it off as containing nothing but tilapia. My error may have had to do with the fact that I was fishing the wrong baits on my last visit. This time I arrived with a tackle bag stuffed with frogs and buzzbaits. 

    I started off with the frogs and got a few promising strikes, but no hookups. Then I reached for a Booya Buzzbait that I had originally picked up up for bass fishing. A couple of casts parallel to a bed of weeds and water lettuce and a small striped snakehead hammered it.

    Looking closer at how it was hooked and it was easy to see why the hookup had been easier then with the frogs. While fish seemed to target the legs of the frogs I had been fishing, usually missing the hook, this fish seemed to home in directly at the buzzbaits skirt which hides a sharp 2/0 long-shanked hook.

    I switching locations on the shore and was quickly into two larger fish. These fish were hooking themselves without me having to worry about waiting until they took the bait all the way into their mouths. This can be a problem when using frogs on small to medium-sized snakehead, as they have smaller mouths than the bass many of these lures were designed for. Again, we are talking about smallish to medium fish, not the big toman and haruan found down south.

    The only drawback to the buzzabaits is durability. A couple of hard hits from snakeheads and my Booya Buzzbait's wire was bent out of whack. It was almost impossible to bend them back perfectly straight. 


    Video of the Week: GT Fishing in South Taiwan

    This popped up in my YouTube recommondations. Not much description with the video, but that looks like Kaohsiung fishing guru Mr. Kenneth in most of the shots. 


    Shimano Waxwing Jigs

    I assume these are now available in Taiwan, since they were released last summer. Waxwing jigs would be great for shore/jetty fishing for jacks, bonito and barracuda on the east coast. I'll have to give them a try.



    Species Profile: Snakehead

    Family: ChannidaeBlotched snakehead (Channa maculat)

    Scientific names: Channa maculat (blotched snakehead), Channa asiatica (small snakehead), Channa micropeltes (giant snakehead)

    Common names: Snakehead, blotched snakehead, giant snakehead, small snakehead, toman, haruana

    Habitat: Ponds, lakes, slow streams, swamps, and canals. Can live in stagnant or low-oxygenated water. Prefers cover from which to ambush prey.

    Size range: Giant snakeheads can reach sizes of 2 meters. Sizes of 50-90 cm are more common.

    Angling tactics: Casting shallow running or top-water lures is the most common approach. Spinnerbaits and soft plastics can be productive. Frog imitators are the most popular snakehead lures. Braid leaders are recommended.


    Maligned outside of Asia as an invasive and potentially destructive species, the snakehead has become the boogeyman of exotic fishes in the U.S. and Asia. While media reports painting a picture of an indestructible monster fish border on the ridiculous, the snakehead’s reputation as a voracious and highly adaptable predator is deserved. Specimens have been known to attack and devour largemouth bass roughly their size, and their ability to breath air with primitive lungs means that they can potentially move from one body of water to another, though rumors of specimens actually “walking” may be another bit of “fishzilla” hyperbole.


    That’s all academic since we are talking about Taiwan, where the snakehead is a native species increasingly sought after by anglers, particularly with the growing popularity of lure fishing on the island. Today, anglers from Japan and other Asian countries come to Taiwan to do battle with this hard hitting game fish.


    Snakeheads can be found in almost any body of still or slow-moving fresh water: ponds, lakes, even drainage canals that seem far too small to support a large predatory fish. Snakeheads will sit and wait under mats of weeds and other debris, ready to pounce on anything that moves into striking range. Other fish, amphibians, small aquatic birds, even unlucky rodents can end up on the menu.


    Anglers usually throw lures near cover and try to coax a strike. Top-water lures such as poppers or anything that makes enough of a commotion to attract attention appear to work best. Frog imitators are a favorite lure among diehard local snakeheaders. Just such a lure was pushed into my hands when I inquired at a local tackle shop about the species. Most of the thrill of snakehead fishing comes from the initial strike when the greedy fish attempts to incapacitate the bait swallow it whole. What follows is usually a tug-o-war with the snakehead trying to make it back to the safety its lair and to potentially wrap your line around a submerged log or some other aquatic obstacle.


    The clerk at the tackle shop recommended a braid leader because the fish’s toothy maw can easily saw through most monofilament, so also watch those fingers when unhooking!



    Video of the Day: Giant Snakehead on Spinnerbaits

    A crew of Japanese anglers take on a pair of monster snakeheads on a large lake Taiwan. They are apparently from Snakehead Magazine, which struck me as odd that there would be a publication devoted to this species. Strangly, all the graphics are in English. And then there is the always annoying fact that Taiwan is refered to as Chinese Taipei. This is an angling video, no need to pander to mainland China.


    Species Profile: Barramundi

    Family: LatidaeBarramundi

    Scientific names: Lates calcarifer

    Common names: Barramundi, Asian sea bass, giant sea perch

    Habitat: Inshore reefs, bays, harbors, estuaries, and lagoons. Can tolerate  salt, brackish and fresh water.

    Size range: Up to 200 cm.

    Angling tactics: Casting solid and soft body lures is the most common tactic. Barramundi are most active inshore and in river systems in the warmer months, but can be caught year  round.

    The barramundi takes its name from the Australian aboriginal word for “large-scaled river fish.” How’s that for a to-the-point description? Found from the Arabian Peninsula to East Asia, the barramundi is prized throughout the region both as an important commercial fish and a favorite of recreational anglers.  Equally at home in salt and fresh water, Australians stock many of lakes and reservoirs  with this hearty and hard-fighting fish.  The barramundi is a centerpiece of Thai cuisine and farmed extensively there and in several other Asian countries, including Taiwan.

    In Taiwan barramundi can be found both in commercial fish farms, as well as coastal rivers, lagoons and harbors all along the west coast and southern tip of the island (see map). It  shares this habitat with the Japanese sea bass (Suzuki fish) and it is easy to confuse to two because of their similar coloration and general appearance. The barramundi can be distinguished from the bass by its rounded tail fin and concave back that give the fish’s head a more pointed and protruding appearance.

    Barramundi are aggressive predators whose diet is comprised mainly of smaller baitfish, crustaceans and squid. Lures and saltwater flies (streamers) that imitate these seem to work best. Live and dead bait can also be productive, but live is the preferred choice.  Fish will often hold around structure and ambush passing baitfish. Dawn and dusk are considered good times for barramundi, particularly in the summer months. The peak of the tide is also optimal when fishing bays and estuaries.Japanese sea bass (suzuki) for comparison