The Mekong Giant Catfish (Pla Buek in Thai) is certainly one of the strongest fish I have ever come across. And it can take a long time to get some of them out even on the strong tackle.
The first one I ever caught was at Cha Am fishing Park where I was float fishing close in on the waggler with light tackle in the hope of catching a good Indian carp. This fish took nearly an hour to get out and was only a small one around 30lb.
Since then I have caught many Mekong catfish and would recommend a minimum of 30lb line if these are your target fish. Bungsamran Lake in Bangkok is one of the most famous venues in Thailand for this species (although many other venues stock them) and they claim to have fish up to 330lb?. Here I like to use the bung float / coil feeder method.
Go to a Thai fishing park and cast out a coil feeder with a piece of bread on the hook and chances are that the first fish you will catch will be a Striped Catfish (Pla Sawai ) in Thai.
Most fishing parks stock these fish as they are very hardy and normally feed throughout the day and night, in fact they feed so well that they can be a real pest at times when targeting other species.
The most common method used to catch these fish is the coil feeder which is fished like a method feeder with damp ground up bread or ground bait molded around the coil with the bread hook bait buried into it. For me though on the odd occasion that I actually fish for this species I like to use the coil feeder in conjunction with the bung type float.
Striped Catfish normally caught in fishing parks average about 6 to 10lb but can go up to 30lb or more at certain venues. One problem here is that Striped Catfish are very similar in appearance to Mekong Giant catfish with grow much , much bigger and many very big Striped catfish have been returned to the water without even so much as a photo in the belief that they were a very average sized Mekong Catfish.
Main deference’s to look out for is that the Mekong Catfish has a blunter head and another way to tell the difference was shown to me by someone at Surin fishing park.
This is to run your fingers under the top lip of a fish, and on the Striped Catfish it should be rough and on a Mekong Catfish its smooth.