Fishing the Philippines 2 C-E

Category Archives: Carp (Karpa)

Bighead Carp ( Hypophthalmichthys nobilis )

carp species in the Philippines

Good sized Bighead caught in the Pasig River

Common Name:  Carp

Local Name: Karpa, Imelda, Black Mass (Tagalog); ??(Bisaya)

Max Size:   146 cm (40+kgs)

Biodiversity: Freshwater, Benthopelagic

Depth:  1 – ?? meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  masa (dough bait)

IUCN Red List Status Status:  Data Deficient (DD)

The Bighead Carp is a species not native to the waters of the Philippines.  These fish native to mainland Asia were introduced for use in the aquaculture industry as a food fish.  Because of their rapid growth these carp are ideal for fish pond or fish pen grow outs.  These carp are now quite well established around the freshwater waterways of Luzon including lakes, rivers and reservoirs. Because of they are an introduced species and unknown to most, they are often called by many different names.  Names such as Imelda, Karpa, and Black Mass are just a few.

These carp can be quite a challenge for the sport fisherman because they feed mainly on zooplankton and algae.  sweet scented dough baits that dissolve slowly in the water are often used as bait.  Larger fish do occasionally surprise and take other types of bait and even an occasional lure.  Other methods used locally to catch these fish include Salvage (snagging with treble hooks) and  nets.

According to a recent article in a local news paper bighead carp are now more heavily stocked than milkfish in grow out fish pens in Laguna Lake.  Such quantity being raised shows that this introduced species is now accepted as a food fish on a large scale.


Rohu Carp ( Labeo rohita )

Labeo rohita

Common Name: Rohu

Local Name: Carpa

Max Size:  200 cm

Biodiversity: Freshwater, introduced

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

This is an introduced species of carp that is now found around the country.  It is found throughout much of South and Southeast Asia and is considered as a non-oily white fleshed fish.  These fish are omnivores and so are easily targeted by angler with bait such as worms, bread, dough bait and more.  This fish was caught in Tarlac on a worm.


Philippines Rod and Reel Record:

Angler:  Jun Davis

Location:  Bustos, San Rafael, Bulacan

Date: Feb. 10, 2017

Weight:   2.84 kgs

Bait:  molasses paste

rohu carp philippines

Spotted Barb (Puntius binotatus)


These small barbs are nuisance when you are fishing for larger fish.  They are small and are greeding eaters.  They usually tear up any live bait you bottom fish.   I have caught them thoughout Laguna in rivers and lakes.  I have seen these fish in the aquarium trade around laguna and manila.  They seem to make nice aquarium fish. They are known here in Laguna as One Spot or Paitan.

Common Carp ( Cyprinus carpio )


Common Name:  Carp, European Carp, Mirror Carp, Leather Carp

Local Name: Karpa, (Tagalog); 

Max Size:   110 cm (40+kgs)

Biodiversity: Freshwater, Benthopelagic

Depth:  1 – ?? meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  masa (dough bait), worms 

IUCN Red List Status Status:  Vulnerable (VU)**

This introduced species can be found all over the country in ponds, rivers, and lakes.  They are bottom feeders that can be caught on worms, corn, doughballs, and other natural baits.

There are many Koi or Ornamental Carp in the Philippines as well.  These fish are closely related to common carp only they have many varied color patterns.  Originally confined to private ponds and aquariums these ornamental fish are now present in wild waters around the country.

Here is a wild caught koi from central Luzon:

carp fishing philippines

**The wild populations of Europe are considered vulnerable not the introduced Philippine population.


Philippines Rod and Reel Record:

Angler:  Franz Villamar

Location:  Bustos Dam, San Rafael, Bulacan


Weight:   6.6 kgs

Bait:  boilies

carp fishing philippines

Category Archives: Catfish (Hito)

Gray Eel Catfish ( Plotosus canius )

Philippine Record fish

Gray Eel Catfish Philippines

Common Name:  Eel Catfish

Local Name:  Ito, Patuna (Tagalog);  Ito (Cebuano) , Alimusan (Hiligaynon)

Max Size:  150 cm (15 kgs)

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Freshwater (endemic)

Depth: Surface  – ??

Fishing Season:  All Year Long (best time: March – May)

Minimum Size Limit:   None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, small fish, worms, Squid

IUCN Red List Status:  (NE) Not Evaluated


Philippines Rod and Reel Record:

Angler:  Bobby Replente (picture above)

Location:  Bacolod City, Negros

Date:  March, 2016

Weight:   4.5 kgs

Bait:  Squid

Striped Eel Catfish ( Plotosus lineatus )

Plotosus sp.

Common Name:   Catfish,

Local Name:   Patuna, I-ito, (Tagalog)  Ito (Cebuano)

Max Size:   32 cm

Biodiversity:  Marine, Brackish,  Reef-Associated

Depth:  1 – 60 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait:  Shrimp, Squid and Fish

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

This is a unique species of catfish found in the ocean and occasionally in estuaries.  Their eel-like tail fish are where they get their name.  These catfish are usually quite small though bait anglers may catch some up to the max size.  There is a related species that grows quite large and makes more of a prize than these little guys. It is not uncommon to see schools of these catfish swimming in dense balls around reefs where they feed.

Like most catfish in the Philippines the spines on the eel-catfish venomous.  They leave a very painful sting that lasts for a while.  Anglers should exercise care when handling these fish. These fish are edible though they are not a sought after fish.

Pangasius Catfish ( Pangasianodon hypophthalmus )



Common Name:  Pangasius, Creme Dory, Striped Catfish, Swai, Hammerhead

Local Name:  Kanduli (Tagalog – incorrect);  Creme Dory (Cebuano)

Max Size:  130 cm (44 kgs)

Biodiversity:  Freshwater, Introduced,

Depth:  0 – ?? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:   none

Recommended Bait:  Doughbait

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern (LC)

Creme Dory Fish

CJ’s Pangasius

Here is a fine 3kg specimen of the Pangasius Catfish, also known as Creme Dory, Pangasius, Hammerhead Shark(in the aquarium trade) and Iridescent Shark.  These catfish were introduced allegedly in 1982 from Thailand where they are native as a food fish and an ornamental fish.  This fish was mainly found in the aquarium trade before, but more recently has been raised in ponds as a food fish.  Currently there are pangasius breeders in Laguna and Pampanga breeding these fish on a large scale.  These fish are known to be present in Taal Lake, Tadlac Lake, Laguna Lake, and many other ponds, lakes and rivers in around the country.  They can grow to a maximum size of 130cm weighing up to 44kgs.  This one pictured above was caught in a private pond.  These fish frequently take dough balls, bread and other baits made from plant material.

Sailfin Catfish ( Pterygoplichthys sp. )


David’s Janitor Fish caught in Laguna

Common Name:   Amazon Sailfin Catfish, Pleco, Suckermouth Catfish, 

Local Name:   Janitor Fish (Tagalog);  ??? (Cebuano)

Max Size:  70 cm

Biodiversity: Freshwater,

Depth:  ?? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:   none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Algae, Doughbait

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

  Two species of this catfish have been identified around Metro Manila and Laguna Province; Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus and Pterygoplichthys pardalis. 

I took some friends fishing at a nearby pond the other day.  We used worms for a while with no luck, so I switched to my Thai Masa (rice bran mixed with coconut milk and magic sarap) to see if we could get any takers.  I had a lot of takes but no hook ups (probably because my rigging was not that great.  One of my little friends managed to hook this Janitor fish or Pleco.  It was the largest janitor I have seen and put up a good fight for the little angler.  It was hooked in the mouth, so I dont think it was a snag.  They can be caught


Night Fishing for Catfish

On normal days at the local hole in the Mabacan River you can sit for hours and not hook a single catfish.  Recently I was tempted by a friend’s comment that the eels feed at night and so a friend and I tried out night fishing the hole.  The action was twice what it was during the day and we hooked two cats, a turtle, and a paitan in an hour.  Then just this evening I braved the rain and fished again.  I hooked one of the biggest native hito I have caught (around 12″, lol) in the first 30 mins I fished.  So far no eels, but at least I have learned that instead of sitting in the hot sun all day waiting I can fish at night and half much more fun.  Hope this helps.  I hooked all the fish on texas rigged nightcrawlers.  They seem to be the preferred food for the fishes in our river. Sorry for no picture.  I had my hands full with my light, my rod, and my umbrella


Fishing Typhoon Pedring

A friend and I fished the Mabacan river as Pedring was leaving the country.  The river was high and the water looked like chocolate milk.  We fished for eel and catfish on the bottom with large worms.  We caught a total of four Native Hito and and five One Spot or Paitan.

My buddy hooked a big Eel (Palos) which we estimated to be around 2-3 kgs, but it broke the line when we had it two feet from shore.  Fishing high muddy rivers during the end of rains seems good for eels and catfish.  They must leave their holes and rocks in search of food.

Here are a couple of the hito we caught:


African Hito (Clarias gariepinus)


This is an introduced species that is fairly common throughout the country.  It is also known as African Sharptooth Catfish.  It is mainly valued as a commercial species in the aquaculture industry where it is raised and sold in markets, restaurants, and supermarkets.  It is very similar to the local “Native Hito” species, only it grows much larger and usually has a lighter grayish color.   I have yet to catch one of these in the wild, but they are commonly stocked in pond that can be fished.  The one in the picture is a 3 kilo African Hito caught on a piece of chicken in a pond in Laguna.  The other pictures is a smaller one caught in the same pond.  Baits that these fish will take are chicken liver, guts, meat, worms, and other stink baits.

Sea Catfish ( Arius sp. )


Common Name:   Sea Catfish, Hardhead

Local Name:   Kanduli (Tagalog);  Ito (Cebuano)

Max Size:  80 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Freshwater

Depth:  1 – ?? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  10 inches

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Earthworms, Shrimp, shellfish

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

Sea Catfish are a catfish species found in both fresh and saltwater around the Philippines.  Species of this genus that have been recorded in the Philippines include; manillensis, maculatus, venosus, and arius. There are other possible genus of sea catfish found in Philippine waters however the Arius appears to be the most common.

Freshwater Catfish (Clarias batrachus)


clarius sp

native hito

Common Name:   Walking Catfish, 

Local Name:  Native Hito (Tagalog);  ??? (Cebuano)

Max Size:  47 cm

Biodiversity:  Freshwater

Depth:  0 – ? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Worms, liver, stinkbaits

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern (LC)

This is called Native Hito or Hito Tagalog by the locals.

There is another kind of catfish that is common here as well, which are basically the same in appearance except that they are grey in color and usually a bit larger.  These are the “African Hito,” which were apparently imported for the aquaculture industry.  Though they are larger they apparently do not taste as good as their smaller endemic relatives.

Category Archives: Eel (Igat)

Indong Eel


Most bait fishermen here in the Philippines have experienced catching a slimy, squirming eel of some kind.  This particular eel is in called Indong in Cebuano and is shorter and stockier in length than some others. Small eels of this and other species are called Bacasi here in the Visayas.

Eels are most often caught at night on a variety of bait.  Usually something smelly attracts them and they often gobble the bait down whole.  Anglers fishing for other species of fish are often annoyed at catching eels because they twist their slimy bodies in a attempt to escape.  This action is however often caused the line and leader to twist and wrap tightly around the eels body.  It is not uncommon for the eel to strangle itself this way on the line.  Anglers usually have to cut off their leaders when they catch an eel that tangles their line.

Eels are generally considered good eating.  This particular species is desired because of its thick flesh which contains fewer bones than some other eel species. Some local Cebuano dishes for Indong include; Sugbaonon (Grilled), Inun-unan (vinegar/ginger  based dish) and Larang (another sour soup dish).

Vencio holding an Indong

Vencio holding an Indong

An Eel Surf Fishing

surf fishing cebu  Here is an eel I caught surf fishing recently that I have not yet identified.  It is known locally here in Cebu as Ubod, though smaller ones are called Bakasi.  I caught this 4 footer on a piece of squid while fishing on  the bottom with a paternoster rig.  These are quite common down here and can grow up to 6 ft plus.

Fishing Typhoon Pedring

A friend and I fished the Mabacan river as Pedring was leaving the country.  The river was high and the water looked like chocolate milk.  We fished for eel and catfish on the bottom with large worms.  We caught a total of four Native Hito and and five One Spot or Paitan.

My buddy hooked a big Eel (Palos) which we estimated to be around 2-3 kgs, but it broke the line when we had it two feet from shore.  Fishing high muddy rivers during the end of rains seems good for eels and catfish.  They must leave their holes and rocks in search of food.

Here are a couple of the hito we caught:


Giant Mottled Eel ( Anguilla marmorata )

Anguilla marmorata

Common Name:  Freshwater Eel,

Local Name:   Igat, Palos (Tagalog),  Kasili (Cebuano)

Max Size:   200 cm (20.5 kgs)

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Freshwater

Depth:  1 – 400 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait:  Shrimp, Worms, Crabs, Fish, Frogs;

IUCN Red List Status:  Least Concern (LC)

Eels are one of the most elusive and difficult to catch fish in fresh water in the Philippines. We consider freshwater eels to be one of the prize fish to catch in freshwater.  The freshwater species are quite unlike their saltwater relatives which are numerous and often considered pests.  Freshwater eels feed mainly at night or during storms when rivers flood and are muddy.  This particular species reaches an impressive size of up to 20 kilos which makes them true river monsters.  Large eels can live in small rivers and streams often in places where they are least expected.  During the day the eels rest in deep holes and under rocks.  At night they leave the safety of their hiding places to feed.

Freshwater eels possess another unique characteristic that makes them quite amazing.  They live most of their lives in freshwater, however the migrates to the depths of the ocean to spawn.  Once they have spawned they return to the freshwater and the baby eels known as elvers follow.

Try fishing for eels at night or when the river is high and muddy with large earthworms, frogs or fish.

Published on : 22/05/2017 by Puerto Parrot

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