Colossoma macroponum – Black pacu- Tamabaqui(Brazil) Gamitama (Peru)
This incredible specimen was captured on rod an reel from the banks of the Amazon River near the village of Oran, lower Amazon River Peru.
Angler Anthony Giardenelli was taking advantage of the low water conditions of the Amazon river fishing the deeper waters for catfish when this giant fish took his bait and went running downstream. Anthony immediately felt the weight and knew it was too much for his gear. There was little time to react , his fishing companion Eber Jose cut the boats tether just in time as the fish pulled the boat away from shore.
The giant took off downstream pulling out many yards of line as the aluminum boat slowly was pulled behind it. After three runs and fifteen minutes later, the fish seemed to be tiring . As the behemoth broke the surface of the water next to the boat,you could hear the shouts of amazement and excitement of the two fishermen as they watched with disbelief the fish that was before them. After gaffing the fish and a great show of force,Anthony embarked the monster into the boat in two motions. The fish weighed 81 pounds and fed over seventy people over the course of a week. The guests at Otorongo Expeditions jungle lodge were treated to a local delicacy that would be impossible to top.
The black pacu is an ancient fish related to the pirañas. The natural history of these fish is very interesting because of the time they spends the seasonally flooded forest feeding in fruits and nuts that are falling from the trees into the water. Every year these fish concentrate in the main channels during low water to fight the current upstream to their spawning grounds. They spawn from November to February high in the headwaters of turbulent white water rivers.
They are specially designed for searching out fragrant fruit in the forest. With a very well developed sense of smell and hearing they are highly attuned to the falling of fruits in the water . If you ever have the privilege to canoe in the flooded forest where these fish are present. You can easily hear the crunching of this fishes molars as they chew large hard shelled nuts under water. You can compare that noise to two pool balls clanking together underwater.
Each year there is an evident increase of catches of this species of fish. Not only with hook and line but local fishermen are even catching juveniles in their nets. This species along with others was almost wiped out by commercial fishing in the decades 70-90. There has been a great increase of proper management and even artificial recruitment in the form of releasing fry in Brazil and Peru. It is a very hopeful sign for the food security of the Amazon.
To learn more about fishing with Anthony in the Amazon check out Otorongo Expeditions