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Acute Angling Amazon Peacock Bass Fishing Trips
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Angler's Guide to Amazon Catfish

A central knowledge base about the catfish species encountered in our Amazon fishing trips

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SorubimPsuedoplatystoma tigrinum—Valenciennes, 1840

Barred Sorubim - Giant Amazon Catfish
Barred Sorubim - Giant Amazon Catfish

If a catfish can be called beautiful, this is the one. Sorubim boast an elegant pattern composed of hieroglyphic black markings on a silver gray background dorsally and stark white ventrally. The common name sorubim is used for several similarly shaped species in the genus. Body markings, typical habitat and maximum size differ. P. tigrinum (shown above) is commonly encountered by anglers in Amazon lowland and Guyana shield highland fisheries.

Where to catch: Rio Travessao Multi-Species trip
                             Floating Bungalow trip

ID Key: Flattened head, elongate body and large terminal mouth as in other Sorubim. Silvery gray upper body with heiroglyphic markings dorsally, and tiger stripes laterally.


Identification Keys
Bars and Markings Colors Size Key Characters Similar Species
A beautiful catfish uniquely patterned with heiroglyphic black markings dorsally, blending into black tiger stripes laterally. Fin markings continue from body, evolving into spots toward margins. Body silver gray on dorsum, changing abruptly to white on ventral sides. Abdomen white. Adults: specimens up to 1 meter in length  have been reported. Flattened head
"Heiroglyphic" markings
The genus contains eight recognized species, Although all are similarly elongate, many are uniquely marked and have separate ranges.


Angler's Summary
Known Range Behavior Notes Habitat Common Names IGFA records
Countries: Brazil, Peru, Guyana, Ecuador, Bolivia, Suriname, Columbia, Venezuela, Argentina

River Basins: Amazon, Orinoco, Essequibo, Corantijn, and Parana drainages
Primarily feeding on fishes, P. fasciatum is readily encountered with cut bait on shallow sandbars in river channels. Although mostly an evening and nocturnal feeder, anglers are often surprised by large sorubim attacking artificial lures in open water at any time of day. Primarily occupies lotic (moving water) environments in blackwater river systems. English: Barred or tiger Shovelnose

Local: Sorubim, suribim, cachara

Other: Bagre rayado
35 lbs. 10 oz.

Fishing Tactics

In addition to being a great angler's target, the barred sorubim is a pleasant adjunct to any fishery. Its habit of attacking artificial lures and then fighting like whiskered tuna, makes it endearing to peacock bass anglers and catfishermen alike. In most high gradient fisheries sorubim can be targeted by anglers at evening time. They tend to congregate and forage at the edges of shallow beaches with nearby drop-offs to deeper water. Small live bait or pieces of cut bait are equally effective when cast onto the beach and allowed to drift naturally to the nearby drop-off. An effective rig consists of a 10/0 to 14/0 circle hook (or smaller J hook) with a wire leader and relatively light sinker (approx. 1 oz.), enough to keep it down while still allowing the current to slowly carry it. The take is usually quite forceful. Once hooked, sorubim will fight in open water with strong runs and surprising stamina.

Other Sorubim

Sorubim Pintado
Pintado - Psuedoplatystoma corruscans - up to 1.5 meter
This larger catfish is found outside the Amazon in the Pantanal and the Sao Francisco and Parana river basins
(Illustration from "Peixes do Pantanal" - Embrapa - poster)

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