Acute Angling - Exotic Amazon Fishing Trips
Meet the Pirapitinga - Bully of the Amazon
You may not have heard of this exotic before, but one hook-up will make you remember its name.
The Payara, with it's extraordinary speed, power and acrobatic agility, is recognized as one of the greatest freshwater game fish in the world. What does that have to do with the pirapitinga, you might ask? Why open
an article about one fish by talking about another? Because the pirapitinga (often mistakenly called pacu) shares the payara's water and is, pound for pound, every bit its equal in strength and power. Even more surprising, it outlasts the payara in stamina!
This big, oval, mass of muscle is far more fish than most freshwater anglers are accustomed to. When 20 plus pounds of powerful pirapitinga heads off down the river with your line wailing off the spool behind it, you'd better get the motor started and find a steady position in the boat or it will be over fast - with the fish winning. They are capable of running until you're spooled.
My first introduction to this Amazon bully came while casting a small, floating Rapala for payara on a light spinning rig in a quickly-moving river pool. With no warning, I was pounded by a shoulder-wrenching strike. Then, cutting a heavy "V" through the water, a broad shouldered shape headed upstream with my bait as though it wasn't attached to anything at all. Like a runaway locomotive, it ran, and it ran, with my line disappearing fast behind it. It was halfway to the head of the pool when my little Shimano 2000 reel started glinting silver on the spool. Whatever this thing was, I couldn't believe it was going to spool me going upstream! Mercifully, my guide started the outboard and I started cranking the reel for all I was worth.
Saved! ... For now... Slowly, I began to regain line. Meanwhile, the submarine I was attached to turned hard left and headed for the opposite bank. It wasn't fighting like a payara. It wasn't fighting like a peacock, and it wasn't jumping. It just put its brutish head down and ran.
After I recovered line again, it started off on another big run, but this time, I could feel the creature's initial power slowly starting to ebb. The fight deteriorated into a slugfest. Like a pair of overweight heavyweights past their prime, we were trading punches. He peeled off line, I pumped it back in. Back and forth we went until slowly my unknown antagonist came to the boat, exhausted. It was big, silvery-purple and round and it wallowed like a small whale at the side of the boat. It was a big pirapitinga! When we finally worked the Bogagrip into his disturbingly human-like jaws, he weighed in at 18 pounds. A minute later, I held him, facing into the current, as he gradually regained his strength. With a flick of his broad tail, he swam away.
With a blunt snout and an expression reminiscent of a bulldog, the pirapitinga has a body like a broad-beamed tuna, and a decidedly bad attitude when hooked. Growing upwards of thirty pounds, these brawny fish, like payara, are Characins, a large, widely diverse family of tropical species that also includes the famous fighting dorado, the African tigerfish, the gorgeous cardinal tetra and the infamous piranha. Although occupying the same waters as its payara cousins, the pirapitinga focuses on a very different diet. During high water conditions, their preferred diet consists of flowers, fruits and seeds. During the dry season, however, when vegetarian meals are scarcer, they take on a decidedly omnivorous bent, fiercely attacking small, fish-imitating baits.
Three years after that first encounter, I've come to count the pirapitinga as one of my favorite gamefish. At several of Acute Angling's variety destinations, our guides have learned how to enlist these brawlers into battle on a routine basis. Using a variety of techniques, anglers focusing on pirapitinga can catch several per day, typically ranging in size from 12 to 25 pounds. Anglers pursuing payara with some of the shallower running plugs are often ambushed by big, tough pirapitinga. They are also successfully caught with a simple offering of fruit on a hook. Their powerful jaws, fully equipped with crushing molars and tearing incisors, can totally destroy hooks and lures with a single encounter. Repeatedly, they surprise us with their aggressiveness, even in fast, open water. Their powerful, sustained runs, their seemingly endless stamina and their sheer size, make them a prize catch indeed.
You can pursue this great fighter along
with Acute Angling in Brazil. Pirapitinga are on the angling schedule at
several of our variety and exploratory destinations. Typically, enjoy
six full days of amazing fishing, comfortable camp accommodations and exclusive
fishing locations. Want more variety? Switch rods and pursue
trophy-sized payara or world record class giant catfish at our unique variety
destinations. For more information, call us, toll-free at 866 832-2987.
Your pirapitinga is waiting.
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