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Gamefish of the Amazon Basin

Amazon Gamefish Encyclopedia: A compendium of scientific and angling information for the fisherman - to help you better understand your quarry.

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Other Large Cichlids


Oscar - Astronatus ocellatus

Several other "game" species of Cichlid are native to the Amazon basin. The oscar (Astronatus ocellatus), known in Brazil as 'cara acu' and as 'palometa in Spanish speaking countries, has become common throughout the south Florida canal system, thanks to aquarist releases. It is a very common native of Bolivia and is found in varying numbers in central Amazonian black water. Oscars use their their flattened round bodies to good advantage, generating surprising force for their size as a rod and reel adversary.

Jacunda or Pike Cichlid

jacunda jacunda crenicichla pike cichlid

Jacundá (pike cichlid or mataguaro), are common in Amazonian Brazil, Venezuela and Columbia. This smaller close cousin of the peacock bass is represented in peacock waters by several species in the genus Crenicichla. Although Crenicichla species vary widely in coloration and markings, they are remarkably similar in form and habit within central Amazonian waters. Although like oscars, jacundá don't get terribly large (under 5-pounds) they'll sometimes aggressively take many of the same black bass-sized lures and flies used for peacocks.

Jacunda relate strongly to structure and strike very powerfully for their size. They fight with strong, short runs and an intense, bulldog-like style. On an ultralight casting/spinning rod or 5 - weight fly-rod and floating line, both jacunda and oscars are great fun to catch.

"Cara" - Smaller Cichlid Species

Cara Amazon Cichlid

Although not in a sport fishing league with their larger cousins, a great variety of smaller species, collectively called "cara" in Brazil, can be taken on rod and reel. Found most often in sheltered lagoons, creeks and channels, these panfish sized species are widespread, pugnacious and lots of fun on light tackle.

Although they have long been well- represented in aquaria, the smaller Cichlids of Amazonia are among the least known. Genera are constantly being revised by both aquarists and scientists, while every newly surveyed river system yields new species. The result is a confusion of names, both local and scientific. Among the many genera that may be encountered by anglers, especially with light fly rods, are; Aequidens; Bujurquina; Chaetobranchus; Cichlasoma; Geophagus; Laetacara; and Uaru. For those interested, even more genera can be viewed with breadcrumbs in clear water by day or with a spotlight at night, including; Heros; Mesonauta (festivum); Pterophyllum (angelfish); and Symphysodon (discus);

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