Name: Zungaro zungaro, or jau catfish.
Species: Pimelodidae siluriformes.
Thai name: Pla jauhoo.
Max length: 1.5m.
Max weight: 100kg.
IGFA record: 49.44kg 109lb.
Diet: fish, squid, shrimp, frogs, scavenger almost any food item.
The zungaro zungaro is a new species to Gillhams, only introduced in September 2010, and as such we cannot really give an accurate idea of how to target them. In their home of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, the local fisherman use fish baits or squid, fished on the bottom at night. They will take flies fished on sinking lines with fast retrieves, so do not use any fly rods lighter than a 10wt with minimum 35lb leaders in conjunction with medium sized sparkly pattern flies. Zungaro fight hard and can turn incredibly fast; the sudden changes in direction often take the angler by surprise and result in lost fish.
They hunt the deep silt channels especially during the first two hours of darkness; they are ferocious feeders and scavengers that will eat almost any bait. As with all our catfish they must be injected prior to release by our staff to ensure their wellbeing. They are very hardy fish, but not easy to photograph as they are extremely slippery – not unlike trying to hold a bar of soap! They do not like hot water temperatures so please take pictures and return them ASAP.
General facts on the zungaro zungaro catfish:
The zungaro are not indigenous to Thailand; they originate from South America on the Amazon and Orinoco river systems. They are a dark brown with a lighter belly with very faint darker spots on their heads and upper body, with one long whisker either side of their mouth. Their fins have long threadlike strands at the ends to give them fast turning speeds. In the wild they are mainly piscivorous and hunt at night, sometimes going into flood prone areas of rivers. They spawn in low water conditions gathering at river mouths where they lay their eggs in the slack water on a soft mud bottom. The young will stay in this area until they reach 2kg, at which point they venture back up the rivers. They reach sexual maturity at around 10kg, which is normally after three years. Both the Amazon and Orinoco rivers boast healthy populations of these fish. Our zungaro are a first generation of fish bred here in Thailand for the aquarium trade.