Catla (Scientfic Name: Catla Catla; in Bangali: ‘কাতলা’) is considered as one of the most desired species of fish to catch by extreme anglers. It requires a much higher level of angling, passion, serenity, hard work for hunting catla. This is one of the most distinguished species of carp family which is found only in South-Asian water bodies. Comparatively big head, big mouth powerful jaws, strong well built body, powerful fins altogether make this fish a true game fish. To some anglers this fish is considered as the best game fish in Indian Sub-Continent. It has very sensitive lateral lines and can grow up to 50 KG (100 lbs approx). It has all the characteristics to give a sudden boost of your heart beat rate.
It is not easy to land a catla. First of all it is a very shy fish and extremely choosy about foods. They live on phytoplanktons, mollusks, algae etc. in general. They love to eat fruits, grains, seeds as well. They have very strong smelling sensors capable of detecting food sources from far away and these sensors are highly stimulated in some particular smells like sweet, lactic acid, alcohol and few spices like cinnamon and cardamom. Catlas are highly addicted to sweets. So, make sure that your baits have a good amount of sweetness if you are after catlas. Natural sweeteners like brown sugar, molasses, honey work very well. Catlas have been found to love fermented rice. Use of fermented rice in ground baits maximizes the chance of hooking them. Earthworms, grasshoppers, roaches, leaches, maggots and larvae are also widely used in this part of the world for catla fishing.
Bangladeshi anglers use different types of grain based baits for catlas. Corn, maize and rice flours are used alongside breadcrumbs and donut balls. It is found that milk butter oil and coconut oil potentially attract catlas. Try to use them during your catla session. Basically, liquid based ingredients like oils, glycerin and many flavors are used as dippers. Many successful catla anglers have been found to use flavors like vanilla extracts and strawberry essence. So, you can use them as well. No one can give a perfect recipe of catla baits. Like us, their feeding habit change in different conditions. A successful bait recipe in summer can turn into a complete disaster in winter. Make you baits as soft as possible with soluble ingredients for catlas. Good anglers always keep varieties of options for luring fish. For catla fishing the experiment is a never ending process. So, use as much options as you can and once a particular formula starts to produce fish then stick on it.
Always use sharp and strong hooks to fish for catlas, because they have a nasty reputation of breaking hooks. In Bangladesh, catla hunters use a special type of rig consisting of six to ten large hooks. These rigs are locally known as ‘jhoomka kata (ঝুমকা কাটা)’. Catlas are bottom feeders and reside generally in deeper water. They spend most of the time patrolling in schools for foods. Try to locate those patrolling areas first for a successful catla campaign. Start to build a food source in your chosen spot at least 48 hours before angling. Provide foods in every 12 hours and give them enough food to stay at the same spot. This way they will feel confident and secured to come over and over at the same spot for foods.
We would be glad to know about your ingredients. If there is a particular ingredient which you have found very productive, please join our forum and share your expertise with other fellow anglers. Good luck.
By: Nasim Hasan