Category Archives: Catfish (Hito)

Gray Eel Catfish ( Plotosus canius )

Philippine Record fish

Gray Eel Catfish Philippines

Common Name Eel Catfish

Local NameIto, Patuna (Tagalog);  Ito (Cebuano) , Alimusan (Hiligaynon)

Max Size:  150 cm (15 kgs)

Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Freshwater (endemic)

DepthSurface  – ??

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 LimitNone

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.

25lb Flathead Catfish

25lb Flathead Catfish  This Flathead was not caught in the Philippines, but I thought it was worth mentioning.  It was caught by Bill Engle last week and it weighed in at around 25lbs.  He caught this beauty on a live 6” channel catfish while bottom fishing in the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.  Too bad we don’t have this variety of catfish in the Philippines.  Two day previous my brother, grandfather and I went out with Bill and caught a couple smaller fish (the largest being around 3 lbs).  Too bad we were with him when he caught this monster!  Bill received a citation from the state of PA when he went to get an official weigh-in for catching one of the largest Flatheads from the Susquehanna.  He will receive a special patch to put on his hat the says “25lb’ers Club”  🙂  I hope we can do something similar in Cebu and have official fish weighing stations were sport anglers can weigh big fish.  Maybe a goal for me to shoot for:-)  Good going Bill!



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


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

BiodiversityMarine, 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.


philippine catfish