Sunday, February 27, 2011

Catfish and Pangasius Fishing in Apalit, Pampanga, Philippines

For truly dedicated and passionate sports fishermen or anglers, looming unfavorable weather condition at the sea or lakes will be the worst news to receive the day prior to any weekend. Such unwanted (to hear) reports have the capability to crush ones spirits and turn the world temporarily upside down. It is tantamount to the complete annihilation of a week-long (sometimes month-long) process of profuse planning, preparation, anticipation and imagination which unknowingly, has already caused involuntary excessive salivating, unnecessary drooling and spontaneous feeling of agitation not really curable even by the powerful combination of TV-watching, pizza-eating and beer-drinking moments at home. (But that would really help to lessen the agony ……… just so the wives know!) :-)

During such days when the sea or lake or river is not quite safe for venturing or at times when you are located quite far from any of them and does not have the liberty of time for some reasons or another, then the nearest available pay pond could be the angler's best friend ………… which we may not instantly realize is always there to save the weekend. No, it will not brand us already addicted to the sports. No way! That’s not the case. As I said above, we are just seriously passionate about it. Okay, okay, somehow we probably are. :)

You see, like most implements and tools, the cheap (as the wives thought) fishing gears and accessories need regular testing and commissioning for its continuous well and effectively functioning. Such investments although not really big (as declared to the wives) need ample quality time, constant monitoring and personal touch or over-seeing ……… so that it will incessantly provide us with priceless “returns” supplied in the currencies of “thrill”, “joy” and “fulfillment”. I really like saying that! :-)

So, when I and my younger brother Bogs of the Tarlac Anglers were supposed to go trolling and bottom fishing in the vast and rich waters of Laiya, San Juan, Batangas (Philippines) but hindered by the prevalent bad weather, we changed plan to just visit the pay ponds in Apalit, Pampanga instead. The freshwater ponds are however not bad at all for they are thriving with huge African catfish, monster pangasius or dory fish, ferocious snakehead or mudfish, delectable kingfish and really large tilapia or Saint Peter’s fish.

With the game plan to land catfish or “hito”, pangasius or dory fish and kingfish (sometimes called “pla-pla” in the dialect), we headed to the relatively popular Apalit fish ponds which also serves as among the alternative refuge or haven of the Pinoy-Anglers. While the place is not really built for recreation and thus not equipped with comfortable facilities, the wide ponds' evident rich ecological aquatic life will not disappoint anglers who will come for the main purpose of catching fish.

We arrived at the place with several anglers already casting. There were adult enthusiasts as well as father and son tandems already having fun and enjoying the moment. We noticed some of them have already caught huge catfish and pangasius, so we did not waste time. We immediately geared up and started casting dough ball bait in a Texas rig terminal tackle. It is the catfish who first took Bogs offering for just slightly forceful fight but anyhow stimulating.

It did not take long for me to also have a sudden bite and experience the amount of resistance a less than 2-kilogram catfish could deliver thereafter. It was not really intense but still fun and enjoyable. Removing the hook and holding the fish for the photo ops was also thrilling as we are aware and in fact wary of the strong, hollow, pointed, bonified leading spine-like ray on the dorsal and pectoral fins. As a defense, these spines may be locked into place so that they will stick outwards, which can inflict severe wounds to unsuspecting or careless anglers.

We continued to catch more and more catfish (many, especially the small ones were immediately released) but the “monster” pangasius or dory fish remained elusive. I was even envied by the boy next to me who caught a really huge one. :-( After two-long hours, we are yet to have our first bite from a pangasius and also kingfish. My brother Bogs decided to transfer to another pond which according to the caretaker has many pangasius but relatively younger and thus smaller.

The pond-shift paid up ……… Bogs was soon fishing on ……… fighting ……… and after several gripping seconds, was reeling the fierce-looking and whiskers or barbels-wielding pangasius ……… not really huge but good-eating-sized fish.

While I chose to stay in my pond for some more time in the hope to bag the mammoth fish like what the boy earlier caught, continuous bites of the seemingly insatiable African catfish proved catching pangasius even more difficult.

As the day closes to its end, I decided to try the pond where Bogs continued to catch smaller pangasius. It has not taken long before I too, was finally rewarded with the fat-bellied dory fish, also belonging to the order of catfish in reality.

We caught several fish more, returned many smaller ones and decided to call it a day with 5 large African catfish and 5 good-sized pangasius in the bag and of course, an overly joyful heart. I know it should have been more fun if we made it to the sea but the pay pond is not any bad at all and in fact just saved the day.

Since we were not able to catch the prized kingfish, the caretaker offered us some of the gorgeous fish which they caught earlier using nets and kept in the tank for anglers and other visitors who would want to sample its taste. It only confirmed that kingfish, though quite abundant, has gotten to be difficult to catch using rods and lines. With a very reasonable price, we took home some for the family.

My father was most excited with our catch. He particularly like catfish especially large ones and he was thrilled with the fat pangasius as it resembles a fish which he has been enjoying during his younger years in Batangas ……… the “kanduli”, a type of freshwater catfish found in Taal Lake in the Philippines.

While the African catfish proved to be tasty fried or stewed, and the pangasius is nice to be prepared fish fillet and cooked as “sinigang”, the kingfish was the undisputed winner as table fare. It is the most delicious among the three which my son verified by easily finishing off one large piece in a single sitting during lunch. Yummy indeed! :-)

In times when saltwater angling activity is simply not doable for reasons of safety, hit the waters in your neighborhood’s pay pond, it’s also fun, exciting and capable of somehow relieving the “itch” ……… so they say. Hope you’ll enjoy the post! c“,)


  1. Could you please share how to go to that fishpond?
    I'd like to experience the adventure and thrill that you had.
    Thanks in advance!

  2. Hi anonymous, here is how to get to the place (Manny's Pond):

    1.) From Balintawak through NLEX,exit at San Simon Pampanga Exit

    2.) Turn left going to Mac Arthur Highway, about 430 meters you will see a Caltex Gas Station on the left side

    3.) Turn left going to Manila using Mac Arthur Highway from that corner, travel more or less
    3.7 kms and you will see Eastern Gas Station on the right side (colored green)

    4.) Enter the gas station, pass through it (there is a road at the back) then turn right and immediately you will see an old big gate on the left side

    5.) Enter the gate and drive 300 meters straight to the compound until you reach the warehouse in the middle of the wide fish pond area.

    6.) The pond allowed for fishing are the farthest ponds located some 300 meters more or less at the back.The monster fish thrives there.

    Have a great time! Fish On!

  3. sir pwede ba akong sumali sa inyo kahit na taga pampanga ako?

  4. hi alquero, you are welcome to join. we also have members coming from manila, laguna and batangas. for as long as you love fishing and the outdoors, hop in. please email me so that i can introduce you to my brother who is currently attending the affairs of the club as I am currently abroad. he just caught a 4-kg tomman in the Lakeshore in Mexico, Pampanga over the weekend. fish on!

  5. Hi sir, also done a few fishing my self I'm from Laguna and I just browse your blog. This place seems accommodating and thank you for posting this one. Since I am from Laguna the closest i can be is the Laguna lake as my fishing haven, kaya lng those fish pens and baklad makes me feel unwanted. But this place in Apalit seems cool. Again thank you for this one. How can I join sir?

    1. Sir owenzky do you have any anglers club in Laguna?

  6. hello owenzky, some of our members (my brothers and cousin) live in Laguna too...we used to fish Laguna lake from the shores of Cabuyao ... but not many fish around....:)I just hope the fish stock will somehow improve, not only for us anglers but for the environment. Email me if you wish to join the group and our future fishing adventures...

  7. anonymous if you are asking about the per kilo price of the fish/catch, well its very reasonable at about 5-10% lower than the market price.... :-)

  8. Boss, can you share a contact number for the owner of the fishing area... Me and my family would like to visit the place maybe this weekend May 20... Also please advice if there are room for rent near the place so that we could stay over night and go fishing in the morning...
    I am very interested on visiting this wonderful fishing spot... Please text or PM me if you ready this message already... Cell #09164349609, emai:

  9. May place ba if san pwedi kumain after catching?

  10. I'm starting to fish with my kids (12 yo boy and 10 yo girl). We tried Caylabne (no luck there but small various colored small fishes) and Island Cove (small to good sized buang buang, cat fish and tilapia). We are planning to try Valenzuela tomorrow since some say that's a good place.

    Any other place (lake or fish pond 2 - 3 drive from Manila) you can recommend where we can catch large fishes? The kids are pressuring me to find them a place where they can catch bigger fishes.

  11. I am interested in fishing these ponds, and introducing a young boy from Manila to fishing. I will be taking a Bus/Taxi/Trike (I do not own a car in Manila) to get there, leaving from Cubao. Any help on locating Manny's Ponds via these modes of transport.

  12. Are the rods and bait there?

  13. This page is very informative and fun to read. I appreciated what you have done here. I enjoyed every little bit part of it. I am always searching for informative information like this. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Freshwater trolling

  14. Hi sir pede po bang mag fishing dyan kahit di pa po miyembro?



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