The Ultimate Guide to Snakehead Fishing

Video best snakehead lures
Snakehead Fishing Seasons

Northern Snakehead months: Spring, Summer and Autumn with Spring and Summer being the best.

Giant Snakehead: All year round.

Striped Snakehead: All year round.

Bullseye Snakehead: All year round.

General Fishing for Snakeheads

The most popular way to target Snakeheads is with topwater lures, this is predominantly due to their weedless nature and the exciting aerial attacks Snakehead fish are renowned for producing when attempting to eat from the surface.

Due to the nature that Snakeheads often require to breathe air they are compelled to travel to the surface for a “gulp” of air every so often. This quality ensures that they are usually located between the middle and top water columns. Lures and techniques that specifically get into these areas will see the highest rate of hookups.

Since Snakeheads also prefer heavily structured areas, fishing methods that are able to get into these areas the easiest without getting snagged will catch fish.

Lures that generally work the best for all Snakeheads are Topwater Frogs, Jump Frogs, Buzz Baits, Spinner Baits, Swim Baits, Chatter Baits, Crank Baits and a variety of soft baits fished either on the surface or subsurface.

They are also known opportunistic feeders that will consider a live or dead bait.

Breeding/Fry Season (October-December in SEA and Summer for Northern Snakehead)

Snakeheads become their most aggressive during this season. They protect their nest and guard their hatched fry aggressively in order to ensure their survival. At this stage, parent Snakeheads become extremely aggressive to anything that comes into close proximity of their brood.

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Lures that get the most hookups during this period include Topwater Frogs, Buzz Baits, Spinner Baits, Swim Baits and Crank Baits, anything that could be misconstrued as something of a threat to their young.

Hatched fry balls are highly visible in the water (Giant Snakehead fry are bright red) and they regularly come to the surface for air which resembles vigorously boiling water. Guardian parents are usually never far away and lures should be cast within a 1.5-2m radius of the fry ball for the best chances of hooking a parent. Patience is key and following the fryball with repeated casts is necessary to coax an attack.

Fishing from a boat or kayak is ideal during this time as accessing heavily structured areas presents a challenge for the bank angler and following a fryball with repetitive casts is necessary to get a bite. Vigilance is key should you lose the sight of one shoal, there could be another one nearby.

Dry Season Sight Fishing for Snakeheads (Mainly applicable for Giant Snakehead)

During hotter months in South East Asia and periods when water becomes less oxygenated Giant Snakeheads rely on supplementing their oxygen intake by rising to the surface and taking a gulp of air which they can process with their suprabranchial chamber.

Quite often during this period, fish become lethargic and are less likely to strike a lure. Success can be found if you find an area of open water where it appears that fish are rising to the surface. The telltale sign will be a sound which resembles a hiccup. By casting a lure this rise in the hopes of crossing a Snakeheads path on the retrieve can result in landing some big fish. Lures that sink and can meet a fish on it’s path back down to its resting depth work best.

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Anglers see success using this technique with Crank Baits, Spinner Baits, Vibration Styled Spinners, Chatter Baits and Swim baits.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>