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Amazon Exotic Species

A guide to the exotic fish species
encountered on our Amazon fishing trips

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BicudaBoulengerella cuvieri —(Agassiz, 1829)

The Amazon exotic game fish species Bicuda

Several species of Boulengerella and Cytenolucius (a similar genus) are found in the Amazon basin. Most are small and not pursued by sportfishermen, but B. cuvieri is an altogether different beast. Attaining weights in excess of 15 pounds, these aggressive fast-start predators are a prized Amazon adversary. Taking to the air instantly, they keep the fight right where the angler can see it, above the water. Their repeated jumps and bony mouths make landing a big specimen an exceptional angling accomplishment.

Where to catch: Rio Travessao Multi-Species trip

ID Key: Elongate, pike-like body. Bony beak-like mouth with sharp, fine, comb-like teeth. Red and black tail.

Identification Keys
Bars and Markings Colors Size Key Characters Similar Species
None, body relatively uniform and free of any clearly visible markings. Red tail with black center stands out None, body relatively uniform and free of any clearly visible markings. Red tail with black center stands out Adults: can reach over 1meter in length, up to 15 lbs.  comb-like teeth
beak-like mouth
elongate shape
red tail
Several similar, but smaller species of Boulengerella are found throughout the Amazon basin
Angler's Summary
Known Range Behavior Notes Habitat Common Names IGFA records
Countries: Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, French Guiana.

River Basins: Amazon, Orinoco, Tocantins, Oyapock and Essequibo drainages
Often found in small groups in shallow water against beaches at midday. Actively feed in fast water, especially around rocks. In high gradient rivers, they appear to occupy all habitats, from rapids to quiet pools. English: pike-characin
Brazil: bicuda,
Other: Boulengerella
15 pounds
Teles Pires River,
Brazil, 2002

Fishing Tactics

One of the Amazon's most spectacular and challenging game fish, giant bicuda are a difficult species to target. Nonetheless anglers can improve their chances at encountering bicuda by focusing on several techniques and habitats. Since they are dwellers in high gradient rivers and distributed throughout those river's habitats at different times, anglers can encounter them in several manners;

When feeding, bicuda will actively pursue lures in fast-water tailraces below waterfalls and in rocky areas or banks at the edges of pools. In these habitats they are most easily caught with small to medium subsurface swimming plugs, such as Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows, Rapala CD 11 and bright streamer flies on a sinking line. Work close to rocks and retrieve baits fairly slowly, swimming them around and through submerged rock structure. Hookups in these conditions and with these types of bait are often surer than in other circumstances, however, it is recommended that you try to set the hook very forcefully before they start jumping. Once airborne, they are experts at sending your lure right back to you via airmail.

During sunny midday and afternoon hours, small groups of bicuda can be encountered laid up on beaches, literally at the shallowest edges. A walking stick bait such as a Heddon Super Spook cast right next to the shoreline will often elicit an immediate and violent surface strike. Who knows why? Perhaps they're annoyed at being disturbed while sun bathing! Regardless of what elicits this reaction, things happen fast now. The hookset must occur immediately under difficult conditions since lines are rarely tight and rods rarely well-positioned when an angler is taken by surprise (believe me you're never ready for this even if you're planning it). The bicuda will immediately begin tailwalking across the surface. If you survive the aerial reaction, you have a good chance of landing the fish once he begins his series of short fast runs. If not, and your lure came flying out, well, you just got one heck of a good show.

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