The Sebarau / Malayan Jungle Perch is the most important game fish in Malaysia. It is well distributed, found in most rivers and streams. It fights very well, noted by the violent strike of the lure. It has a roving character, and will readily strike at most spinners and lures.
The average size is 1 to 2 kg. However, some exceptionally large specimens have been reported, although these are now very rare. Fish in the 3-kg. class can still be found in remote or protected jungle rivers or lakes, eg. Endau, Kemapan, Tahan, Kejar, Temengor, Kenyir, Kenering. If there are ample populations of baitfish like Seluang, Kawan and Nyenyuar, the Sebarau has a chance of fast growth and thus can achieve large sizes.
Scientific name: Hampala macrolepidota, H. bimaculata
Common name: Malayan Jungle Perch, Hampala Barb
Malay name: Sebarau, Barau-barau, Badung
Other names: Adung (Sarawak), Juak (Sarawak), Barau (Sumatra)
Salient Features: Body elongated and slightly compressed. Long snout and fleshy lips. Brass-coloured scales. Tail and dorsal fins are red with black bands.
H. macrolepidota: Vertical black stripe running from dorsal fin to abdomen (may disappear in larger specimens).
H. bimaculata: Two vertical black blotches.
Preferred habitat: Large and small rivers; lakes and mining pools with flowing water.
Distribution: All states of Malaysia.
H. macrolepidota: Sumatra, Thailand, Indochina, South Myanmar, Java, Borneo
H. bimaculata: Borneo, Endau river system.
Record size: 12 kg. (estimated), Kuala Kemapan, Sungai Endau, Johor
Angling record: 6.5 kg. (IGFA); Temengor Lake
Conservation status: Common. Release specimens of more than 2-kg.
Diet: Small fishes; insects.
Common baits: Live minnows, crickets
Popular lures & flies: Spinners and spoons; silver, copper (Abu Island, Vision Island, most spinners but especially Blue Fox, Madfish), plugs: silver, orange: 7 to 9 cm. (Rapala Shad Rap, CD9, Yozuri Crystal Minnow, Slavko Bug)