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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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JauZungaro zungaro—(Humboldt, 1821)

Jau - Giant Amazon Catfish
Jau - Giant Amazon Catfish

The Jau is one of the Amazon's largest catfish. More benthic in habit and less agile than the piraiba, its mode of battle is the application of sheer power and its prodigious weight. Although widely distributed, it is not uniformly distributed. Jau may be present in a certain river and may be completely absent in a neighboring one. The 109 pound world record was caught on an Acute Angling exploratory trip in 2005. We know there are larger fish out there, we’ve seen them.

Where to catch: Rio Travessao Multi-Species trip

ID Key: Thicker bodied and less elongate than the piraiba. Jau has a large adipose fin and heavily boned pectorals.


Identification Keys
Bars and Markings Colors Size Key Characters Similar Species
Adults are marked with a regular pattern of closely spaced small maroon to black spots, more distinct in smaller specimens. Body a dark olive on dorsum and sides, shading to off-white on the abdomen Lower fins darker with distinct patterning. Adults: may reach sizes of 1.4 meters, possibly exceeding 200 pounds.    


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

River Basins: Amazon and Orinoco basins.
Ventures well upstream in high gradient rivers. Is said to migrate in pursuit of migrating baitfish. Primarily occupies deep holes and still pools in lotic (fast water) environments in high gradient river systems. Pacamao
109 pounds, caught by Russell Jensen of Bronx, NY on an Acute Angling trip.

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