Though territorial by nature, the no-go zone of a Haruan (Channa Striata) aka Striped Snakehead does not cover a large area and adult fish are in closer proximity from one another than many would fathom. The territorial space of the younger fish are even lesser. Like most other fish, juveniles will stay closer together for protection in numbers.
As haruans are ambush hunters they tend to camouflage themselves in snags or where there is structure underwater. These can be weeds, sandbars, car tires or any other form of structures. As long as an adult haruan does not come within striking distance of another they will happily stay out of the another’s way.
The old school thoughts of abandoning a good spot after catching a fish may not hold water in this situation. A good fishy looking spot can hold many haruans as it will for other species of fish for that matter. Not pulling a second or third fish from a good spot due to the reason that the fishes have been spooked during the commotion of landing that first fish could be the more likely cause.
Why aren’t they spooked this time
Haruans may be ambush feeders but there are also times when they will follow our lures away and out of their ambush or hiding point. And this can be quite a distance too as they are unsure of striking that strange but so enticing looking thing attached to the end of our line. The strike can be a subtle one in situations like this. While an aggressive jolting-the-rod-off-our-hands-strike can be the result of either a feeding fish or a haruan guarding its territory. Whatever the situation, the fish has been lured some distance away from that fishy looking spot which is still holding fish and which remains in relative tranquility. So what the angler should be doing is exploring this spot further and see if he can extract another fish from it.
Many angler have experienced pulling fish after fish from a single spot. Some though, are not aware that it can be the same for haruan fishing as well. I’ve experienced it many a times. Give it a shot the next time you’re out fishing for haruan in the wild. Don’t give up on a spot the after you have landed a haruan from it. The fish may just as well not be from where it was actually hooked. Get it? Though how to find and identify that good spot is another topic altogether.
Food for thought
The Haruan gets really aggressive about its territory when a pair of parents are guarding their young and the space can increase substantially as mama haruan circles around creating an invisible barrier. They do not feed when guarding their brood. This scenario which is a perfect survival method in the natural wild unfortunately makes them very vulnerable and an easy target for fishermen.
When an angler takes a parent fish away, he or she is in fact killing many haruans in that single process as compared to when they only take a single non-brooding fish. If you do hook a parent fish, release the fish double quick. Sadly, many anglers cannot resist the temptation of making a killing as the mama fish also tends to be of decent size. And that, ladies and gentlemen, coupled with poor understanding of the target specie’s biology is a sure fire way to destroy a sustainable fishery.