Labeo calbasu
Indian Game Fishes / Calbasu
Family: Cyprinidae
ICUN red list status: Least Concern (LC)
Habitat: Fresh Water

A very similar fish to Rohu, Calbasu has a relatively small mouth. Targeting this fish from near structures or man made dams etc. with a very small hook gives good results.


Photo courtesy :  Aamir Bhavnagri (Catch of AbidBhai)


Labeo Calbasu (Pune)

(Rakesh Patil  describes the local prospective about this fish- from Pune)

Photo Courtesy :  Rakesh Patil

Considered a game fish as well as a delicacy by many, Labeo calbasu or Khalbouse/kanas/kalus/kanusi is a small mouthed guy from the carp family.  Found throughout the rivers in pune, The fish is a bottom feeder, loves hanging by rocky structures, feeds on the aquatic flora like green moss, algae as well as on the stale food, and temple offerings that are thrown in the river. Calbasu as large as 6- 7 kgs have been reportedly caught by locals, and the fish does give a good fight for its size.

Feeding time:

Unlike other fishes though,  labeo calbasu’s Feeding time is different, strict and limited. Calbasu strictly feeds either early mornings, or late evenings(even nights, I am guessing they are primarily nocturnal feeders).

The Bait:

The bait used by locals is plain atta(wheat flour) dough and chappati, although they also add cotton to the dough while making chappatis(they say it stays longer in the water)

The Bite:

The fish has a small mouth, but locals have been seen using medium sized hooks (#6), with a ledger rig to hook the big ones. They say calbasu is moody; sometimes it takes the bait whole. But most of the times, it nibbles at the bait, and from my personal opinion, I understand that the big ones self hook themselves (but which takes a lot of waiting) and the smaller ones either gulp or nibble at the bait.

The Fight:

The Fish is known to bend hooks. Once hooked, it runs like hell for 15-20 seconds, and then slowly comes up to take air two three times in an interval of 1 minute or so, before it tires out. The ones around 1- 2 kgs are really energetic and even jump a little out of water!

My Experience with the fish:

The one I fought self hooked itself, and fought for around 3 minutes or so on my 15lb mono, nicely rubbed my line on the rocks. I didn’t have a landing net at that time; the fish came closer and then with a quick jerk, broke the already weakened line…

An Important note: The fish when hooked looks for structures to go in, or rubs your line on the rocks. Hence a flouro/mono leader is advised.  Also, use a landing net and a rubber mat at the ready to quickly land the fish, photograph, measure and release it back into the river.

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