Amazon Game Fishes - CATFISH

Barbado
-
Flatwhiskered catfish (Pirinampus pirinampu)

Geographical Distribution:
Amazon, Araguaia-Tocantins and la Plata (including Pantanal) basins.

Description:
Catfish. It is ligth gray, but as soon as you get out of the water, it can become slightly green on the back. Some of its major characteristics are the long and flat barbels, after which it was populare named, and its very long adipose fins . it can be as long as 24in and its average weight varies from 6 lb to 11 lb

Ecology:
This species is very commom along the riverbanks, in front of vilages and towns , and for this reason it is very important for survival fishing. Its feeding habits are very diversified, but usually it is a very voracious fish-eating species for it attacks other fish that have been caught on nets. On the Madeira river during the months of November and December one can find shoals at the Teotônio waterfalls.

Equipament:
The fishing tackle used for the barbado fishing is of the medium/heavy kind ,whit lead to keep the bait at the bottom. The most appropriate lines are 17,20 and 25 lb, and hooks ranging from number 40/0 to 8/0.

Baits:
Only natural baits of fish are used, wole or in pieces , such as minhocuçu ( giant worm).

Tips:
It is a very good fighting fish. It should be stored in ice rigth afther it is caugth for it easily perishes.


Dourada (Brachyplatystoma rousseauxii)

Geographical Distribution:
Amazon basin

Description:
Catfish. Silver head and a light color body with golden streaks, after which it is named. It has long lobules on the caudal fin and short barbells. It is a large fish, which can be 4.8ft long and weigh 44lb.

Ecology:
It is a natural predator, voraciously attacking smaller fish shoals, especially scale fish. It goes on long breeding migrations, covering distances over 6.400 miles, from the estuary to the pre-Andes area in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.
The fish take 2 to 3 years to migrate up the, before spawning at the age of 3. The eggs are carried downstream reaching the estuary where they grow within 2 to 4 weeks.
Due to is superb flesh quality and flavor, it is highy commercial in the Amazon especially along the Madeira river.

Equipment:
Heavy kind fishing tackle is used with 25 to 30lb resilient lines. Snelled hooks numbers 8/0 to with 50 to 100lb steel coated lines and heavy leads to keep the lure at the bottom.

Baits:
Live baits of whole fish such as jaraqui, curimbatá and matrinxã, amongst others should be used.

Tips:
Its fishing is carried out in the beds of large rivers, in the ponds and stretches following river rapids and stony areas. It is a very good fighter, providing great excitement to the sport fisherman. Watch out not to get hurt by its stings when handling it.


Caparari - Tiger sorubim (Pseudoplatystoma tigrinum)

Geographical Distribuition:

Amazon, Araguaia –Tocantins basins.

Descrition:
Catfish. Long and Plumb body; large and flat head. The three species are very similar and can be identified especially by the patterned spots. The back is of a gryish color whit black spots, and the ventral surface is white. On the pseudoplatystoma fasciatum the spots are vertical stripes whith dots on the stripes are also vertical, but more irregular; and on the P. coruscans spots cover the entire body. The caparari can also be differentiated from the surubim by the norrowing of the head. They narrowing of the head. They can be longer than 3.2ft and weigh aroud 44 lb

Ecology:
The especies can be found in different types of habitat, such as flooded forests, lakes river channels, beaches, and islands of water plants (matupás). They are fish-eating species and migrate up the river during the spawn in the draught season or rainny season. All species are important in commercial fishing and sportfishing.

Equipament:
Medium/heavy equipament should be used considering the size of this fish. Lines should be 17,20,25 to 30lb,prepared with rigs and looks ranging from 6/0 to 10/0.

Baits:
They are captured especially whit natural fish baits ( i.e sarapós, muçum, tuviras, lambaris, piaus, curimbatás) and minhocuçu. Artificial lures like meddle water and deep water plugs can also be used, mostly in lakes, lagoons and beaches, but in this case, they should be worked real close to the river bottom.

Tips:
Watch out for the spiry pectoral and dorsal fins wehen handling the fish.

Special:
This group of species is generally known as surubim in Brazil, but in the Amazon Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum is surubim (max. 110 cm) and P. tigrinum is caparari (max. 130 cm). Both species are usually grouped in the landing reports as surubim. For convenience we will consider them together. Other names are surubim lenha or surubim tigre in Brazil, pintado, rayadao, pintadillo or bagre tigre in Colombia, and zúngaro doncella or zúngaro tigre in Peru.

Both species are piscivores and widely distributed in the Amazon Basin, excluding the estuary. P. tigrinum seems more concentrated in the lower reaches. There are few accounts of larval distribution and juveniles. Adults have been found in the floodplains and in the mainstem of the Amazon River and tributaries. The migration pattern of both species is unknown.

 

Jaú - Gilded catfish (Zungaro zungaro)

Geographical Distribution:
Amazon, Araguaia-Tocantins, São Francisco and La Plata basins, Largely distributed in South America, and probably there are more than one species with this name.

Description:
Catfish. One of the largest hide fish ( it can longer than 59in and weigh more than 220lb ). Itsa body is thick and short; large flat head. The color can vary from ligth brownish-green to a darker shade on the back, with a white abdomen; the "youngsters" have light sports on their back.

Ecology:
Fish-eating species. It lives in the river channels, mainly the deep pools, where it goes when the water is low following the shoals of characids ( curimbatá ) that migrate up the river. In the Amazon it is not commercially important, the flesh is considered remorse, but it is appreciated in the Southeast of Brazil. The pressure put on by the cold-storage companies that export jau fillets is very high and it can be held responsible for it being so hard to catch them in Amazon nowadays.

Equipment:
Heavy and extra-heavy action rods; lines ranging from 30 to 50lb; mounted hooks numbers 10/0 to 14/0. And olive-like lead weighting between and 661 lb and 2204lb should be used, depending on the depth and current of the water.

Baits:
Only natural baits such as small scale fish, tuvira,, muçum and also, minhocuçu ( giant worm ).

Tips:
It can be caught in the deep pools under the rapids, especially at night. It is very important to keep the bait at the bottom.


Piraíba - Laulau (Brachyplatystoma filamentosum)

Geographical Distribution:

Amazon, Araguaia-Tocantins Basnis


Description:
Catfish. Dark color, big head and small eyes. It can weigh 66l lb and be 6.4 ft long, but the specimens captured nowadays weigh less than 220 lb. The ones weighing up to 132 lb are known as filhote (that means youngter).

Habitat:
They can be found in deep places, wells and countercurrents near the riversides, in rapids and confluences of large river. It is not really sought by commercial fishermen since many believe that its flesh is not healthy and can cause diseases. Besides this, the muscles and intestines are usually full of parasites.

Ecology:
B. filamentosum is known in Brazil as piraíba or filhote (for individuals less than 80 kg), as zúngaro salton in Peru and as pirahiba, lechero or valentón in Colombia. It is a very large riverine piscivore (max. 300 cm), distributed through the whole Amazon Basin, including nutrient-poor tributaries of the Amazon River, the Tocantins and Araguaia rivers and the estuary. Young juveniles of B. filamentosum were reported in the mainstem of the Amazon and Negro rivers. Large juveniles and adults are found mostly in the mainstem of rivers and visit the floodplain only occasionally. The migration pattern of B. filamentosum is not known.

Juveniles and subadults may be found in brackish water of river mouths. Found on soft bottoms. Feeds on fish. Stomach contents are said to include parts of monkeys. In parts of the Amazon, this catfish occasionally makes prey of a man. Flesh considered excellent quality. Captured using nets and longlines. Threatened due to over harvesting.

Equipament:
Extra-heavy equipment should be used because of the size of this fish. A medium-size specimen of about 220 to 330 lb can fight for hours, before getting tired and surrender.

Baits:
Scale or catfish weighting from 2 to 13 lb can be used as bait (i.e. matrinxã , cachorra and piranhas).

Tips:
The natives, usually catch the piraíba in the confluence of the rivers. They take a very strong rope with a large hook tied to one end, the other end is tied to the stem of the canoe and go in search of the piraíba. They use a whole medium-size fish as bait, and for the fish to bite. When it does, it is so strong it can even drag the canoe for several kilometer. Depending on the size and strength of the fish, the rope must be cut so it does not turn over the canoe.


Pirarara - RedTail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)

Geographical Distribution:
Amazon and araguaia-tocantins basins.

Description:
Cast fish, large size. One of its characteristics is the enormous size of its head, with strong bones and with a pre-dorsal bone plate. It is one of the most colorful catfish in the Amazon region. Its colors are very beautiful with a greenish brown back, yellowish middle part of the body and the whitish abdomen. The dorsal and caudal fins are sort of orange. It can exceed 3.2ft in length and weigh more over 110lb.

Ecology:
It can be found in channels, floodplains, and flooded forests, including black water and Clearwater tributaries , reaching headwaters and parts of the Amazon estuary. It is known to feed on fish, fruits and crabs. It is known for attacking human beings, especially children that swim in the rivers.

Equipment:
Heavy type equipment for lines 30 to 50lb. The hooks mostly used range from 8/0 to 14/0 due to large size of its mouth.

Baits:
This species is caught exclusively with natural baits. Whole fish or in fillets the red piranha is one of its favorite as well as birds and turtles.

Tips
The best time for the pirarara fishing is during the dry season in moonless nights, on river mouths or along the main channel. To avoid the risk of losing the great deal of snag.


Surubim - Barred sorubim (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum)

Geographical Distribuition:
South America: Amazon, Corintijns, Essequibo, Orinoco and Paraná River basins.

Ecology:
Occurs throughout the principal riverbeds and sometimes in the flooded areas of forests. Its biology is similar to that of P. tigrinum but it appears to be more fond of shady streams. Feeds at night on fish (loricariids, cichlids and characoids) as well as crabs. Confines its foraging activities to riverbeds. Its yellowish flesh is succulent and like that of other silurids, it is without bones. Females reach a more notable size. They become sexually mature at 56 cm, males at 45 cm. Fecundity is estimated at 8 million eggs per kg. Utilized for human consumption.
The especies can be found in different types of habitat, such as flooded forests, lakes river channels, beaches, and islands of water plants (matupás). They are fish-eating species and migrate up the river during the spawn in the draught season or rainny season. All species are important in commercial fishing and sportfishing.

Equipament:
Medium/heavy equipament should be used considering the size of this fish. Lines should be 17,20,25 to 30lb,prepared with rigs and looks ranging from 6/0 to 10/0.

Baits:
They are captured especially whit natural fish baits ( i.e sarapós, muçum, tuviras, lambaris, piaus, curimbatás) and minhocuçu. Artificial lures like meddle water and deep water plugs can also be used, mostly in lakes, lagoons and beaches, but in this case, they should be worked real close to the river bottom.

Tips:
Watch out for the spiry pectoral and dorsal fins wehen handling the fish.