So you’ve come to Thailand and are looking for some trophy fishing that you will never forget. The Mekong Catfish, and its smaller cousin the striped catfish, will be two of the species that you will no doubt encounter. Keep reading and with some basic knowledge and a bit of luck you will be hauling in these monsters in no time.
The Mekong catfish is the largest species of freshwater fish. That being said, it is what one might call an opportunistic feeder. This means they will eat just about anything they can find. However, the preferred bait for these behemoths is either rum (ground rice bran) or a mixture of bread and water called “kanom pung nuat”. This literally means massaged bread. In this article we will be discussing the best bait to mix and prepare the bait. We will also take a look at the types of rigs used for fishing in this application.
Lets look at the basics of the bait preparation. There are two main types of bait typically used. A bread/doughy mix in Thai called “kanom pung nuat” (ขนมปังนวด) or ground rice bran know as “rum” (รำ). The first is more common as it is easier to prepare and use. Normally, the only thing required is a large bag of bread flake, bread crust , or a few loaves of bread that can be shredded as the base for our mix.
The bread bits are places into a 5 gallon bucket and mixed with a bit of water and any scents you may want to use. The next step is to mix up the batch until you get a nice slightly wet, doughy consistency that can be smashed into the feeder with a small ball attached onto the hook. This require a bit of work. Typically the locals stick a plastic bag over their foot and keep smashing until it is thoroughly mixed. Be careful and add water VERY slowly. It is extremely easy to get the mix too wet and in that case you will need to add more bread as necessary to dry it out otherwise it will end up flying off your hook when you cast.
The rigs used with this bait can be seen below.
You can see here two different types of method feeders. The top one is made from foam and the bottom is your typical cage type feeder. Below the feeder about 3-5″ down the line the hook is attached. You can use either mono filament or PE braided line, however, I prefer the latter especially when fishing in the presence of pacu as their teeth can sheer off mono line quite easily. You will notice on the hook that I have cut up bits of a foam float into cubes and attached it to the hook. This just gives more surface area for the dough ball to grip and prevents it from falling off.
The next type of bait is the rum (รำ) or ground rice husk. This is placed into a bucket as before and lightly sprinkled with water. The trick here is to use as litter water as possible to get it to pack nicely into the cage feeder. The rig seen at the top will not work with rum. The hook is then left bare with only the foam chunks and pushed into the ball of rum and cast out. The theory here is that the rum make a sort of a cloud of food and the catfish will suck in the hook when feeding on the ball as it breaks down.
Both of these methods can be fished on the bottom of under a float. See below the required pieces needed to set up your float rig.
To set up a float rig you will need to slip on a bobber stop followed by a bead and then the slip float. Beneath this you will tie on the previous setup and pack the feeder the same way, noting again that this can only be used with the cage or spring type feeder, NOT the foam option.
That is about it folks. The only thing left is to give it a try. Head out to your local pond and tell me how you get on in the comments below. Tight lines.