HI KHAMAGANI ,I am 23 year old angler from Rajasthan, chittaurgarh . This year after my completion of graduation in law i started fishing murrel for almost 3 months, in this period i have gathered a good amount of knowledge on the species so i decided to share the same with you guys.
Visit my introduction page at http://www.indianangler.com/viewtopic.php?t=5089
Note: It is possible that some of you guys are aware of most of these facts. I have read some post and will try to omit similar readings like the way murrel attacks on surface baits and underwater baits, effects of moon-sun, sunlight, bait actions etc.
About murrel in short: there are more than 27-28 species of snakehead in Southeast Asia mainly in Thailand. In rajasthan we have 5-6 variety of snakehead. It is a predator fish i.e. eat other fishes. IT is declared invasive species in most of the part of usa, there is bounty/reward on killing them in certain seasons. what makes murrel different from other game fish is its ability to survive in low oxygen waters to such a extent that in Drought when few ponds and lakes gets dried out this fish has ability to hide itself in mud patches for days like eels, there is very less know that disease affects them, Generally pesticides and other external factors affects them. The Fish has ability to swim reverse using pectoral fins (it can come on surface and slowly goes backwards), both male and female protects the egg and take care of Fry for 1-2 months. Number of eggs depends upon the size of female (age factor), i have heard as many as 1500 fry at a time. During feeding them the female does not eat or takes bait normally, their eyes color is also changed (red if i remember).
Physically male are shorter than female but in body formation females have slimmer body after big head while the male grows broader even after the head. Unlike most of the other fish murrel sinks i.e. it will die if u will not unhook in water for long time. Further a dead murrel will not float may be the reason behind is their evolution as low oxygen creature which can crawl in mud (lol).This fish has big mouth but comparatively smaller food pipe.
(Please Before reading below text I want to remind that angling is a sports to catch and release and not to kill every fish we catch , my personal views are same but as murrel is also a part of rare rajasthani delicacy I did wrote the below stuff. )
Murrel and Game: Although it does not ranks anywhere in giving fight in clean waters but it’s a very tacky game in weed. Also the best beasts are always in weed (undergrowth, overgrowth, tree shades in summer, rock formations in flowing waters). Except for mahsheer or other reputed game for murrel we believe in catch and cook (sorry if I offended somebody) that is the main reason we regard murrel as game fish. The fish is odorless and smooth with negligible bones if skinned in proper way. In Rajasthan and some part of M.P we call it sanwal(murrel),in olden days it was part of royal delicacy, live fish was transported on horseback from lakes /pond /rivers to the maharajas table. The meat of murrel was compared with other Game meat. One other reason was the use of each and every part of fish in medicine (that we will discuss later).
Memory of Murrel : Murrel stays in its territory ,my uncle explained me this with the story of nawabsahab who commanded to catch some 50 murrel ,tagged them with silver rings each with description of place of catches and released them in same waters, later they found most of them returned to same area.
My experience is that during casting it will bite as many as time if it taste like real bait and unless the fish sense human presence.
Ecology and Murrel : this fish adapts according to waters in which it lives , the colour,food habits changes. The biggest change come in taste of meat if somebody asks me to arrange murrel of different habitat it will be as follows:
1) Rivers with flowing waters plus rocky surface: in rocky surface their diet in selected assorted food stuff that ultimately makes their meat fine.
2) Rivers with flowing waters
3) Lakes with least interventions because of farming etc., i hate pesticides.
5) River (with dams/city sewage inlets ,industries and other waste )
Further smaller is the fish the better it tastes (best size is 800gms-2kg max)the reason is that in bigger fish threads in meat gets bigger and then its taste bad (further aged fish also tastes bad)i came to know that murrel in river kali Sindh(TRIBUTARY OF Chambal) adapted to the black gavel texture of river bed (murrel in kail Sindh has black abdomen-chest instead of white).
Weather & Murrel : In order to catch murell in big -deep waters season and weather conditions are important while in small shallow water with less than 10 feet season is unimportant. Further habitat which are isolated from human/commercial fishing activity are best. In small waters any season with bright sunny day morning -evening when water is warm is suitable to fish except in summer. in summer both in large and small waters murrel will be active early morning 6:30 and when sun gets lil low around 4:30 pm, also in sun striking daytime on can fish near places with shades for fishes like trees adjoining to rivers and lakes . murrel has habit to take oxygen at surface so in summer it will come at surface every 5-10 mins also it will try to be near shades only while in winters it will only come on surface in small waters (because the small water gets warm in daytime). but in winters - large water murrel may go to a stage similar to hibernation ,very seldom takes oxygen (one more explanation of this summer-winter reasoning is that till the time summer comes the dissolved oxygen % water gets very less while in winter it its more )
Natural life and size of murrel :
Now that’s a debatable issue , most of the things are hearsay but i have heard these from dozens of old guns so i trust these normal life span of murrel goes to 8 years i met one guy(75-80 years) who fishes with harpoon technique (spear like weapon we call it ballam ,people in kayaks made of single tree trunk waits in summer when water gets low just above the fish, the moments the fish breath out, bubbles are released on surface and on that spot people attack with speed and precision through harpoon generally pierces fish's head) Now this old guy told me that when mureel gets exceptional sizes it will not roam upper surface instead because of her own weight it will feed on surface only .
Regarding size: a fish of 13 kg is possible and evident but a fish between 13-30 kg will be rarest and anything above this is myth. Because in most of the hearsay which i can recollect are estimates of fishes roaming on water surface, now generally what happens is the fish appears bigger in water than normally what it is (refractive index-science stuff) and second thing is most of the old catches were estimated weights by fish’s size.
Recently i came to know of record size of 28kg caught in ghandisagar dam years ago ,also a size of 16-17 kg is frequently reported by commercial fishermen.
Carp and Murrel relation: Introduction of carp in murrel habitat will increase the success rates of murrel and its fry while vice versa is disaster. But never introduce grass carp in murrel habitat it will make the water like glass not a single green thing in water.
lease forgive if used to many product references, I have tried to keep it generic. )
• Live baits -frogs ,chicken liver, fry of rohu,catla(other carps)
• Sofbaits- silicon frogs
• Mepps spinners size 2-5 silver gold , balck with yellow/orange spots
• Arbogast JitterBug/something similar for night fishing (moon light)
• Jointed lures with stripes or murrel fry lookalike.
Attractants: Fish cod liver oil tablets from medical stores (cut one tablet spread the oil on lure) works as magic on murrel , the fish bites the same lure twice or thrice till it does not get hard hooked.one can also try other animal oils castor oil etc. as attractant .
Night fishing with green light fishing: I have still doubt on this method.
Line : My favorite is braided 40lbs ,with nylon leader 60lbs ,demerit of braided is that it gets wet ( heavy once its wet ) casting range is affected.
Rod: I have many but the best is according to anglers own height for a short height person 7-8 feet is max with 2 parts. For me it is Penn Squadron 8 feet. I hate telescopic.
Landing net, a must have : it is a disaster if u can’t land a good game further after coming on surface murrel jumps thrice its lengths ,the 1-3 kgs trophy jumps most (believe me i have broken guides of two different rods in the absence of landing net.)
Reel: Anything above 2+1 ball bearing medium to small spool as will work; i use 7+1 daiwa with small spool thanks to braided line (more strength in small diameter).
MY TROPHIES: I have been successful in landing many of 3kgs,4kgs but my biggest catch which i landed is of 7.5kg male (minimum weight as inaccurate commercial scale i got) .i will be posting them in time for this time i am posting the big one only .
The guy holding this trophy is our cooking staff. The fish was caught at 4.45 pm evening on a sunny day with silicon frog in boat .Took some minutes to land because of weed .
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