Amazon Game Fishes - Saltwater
(back The Fishes)

Robalo - Common snook
(Centropomus undecimalis)

Geographical Distribution:
Western Atlantic: southern Florida (USA), southeastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, most of the Antilles and Caribbean coast of Central and South.

Habitat:

They are found in salubrious waters, and can be caught from the sandbanks of the rivers up to several kilometers above the mouth of the river. They feed on small fish and crustaceans, especially shrimps and crabs.

Description:

Scale fish. From the seven species of snook found in the Atlantic Ocean, two can be caught in the coast of Brazil, the robalo-flecha and the robalo-peva. Both have a side-compressed body, and inferior salient mandible. The robalo-flecha can be as long as 3.9ft and 55 lb. It is grayish on the back and whitish on the abdomen, with a black longitudinal line that separates the two colors. The robalo-peva is smaller, reaching about 19 in and 5 kg. It has a greenish gray back and silver flanks.

Ecology:
This carnivorous, called robalo in Brazil and Venezuela, is a kind of tropical american counterpart of the european seabass and north-american stripped bass. This fish is as widespread as the tarpon in areas of mangroves, estuaries and coastal rivers of the amazonian rain forest, principally during the rainy season. This superb cousin of the african Nile perch and of the australian barramundi takes very well the fly. Its research moreover, is full of subtlety, accuracy and discretion, because we do know that our fellow uses to hide in the middle of the most intractable and interlaced mangrove roots, springing like a devil from its box on the infortunate baitfish or shrimp that commited the foolhardy to swim closer to its lurking post. However, a streamer or a popper skillfully presented close to these sensitive areas have a maximum of chances to be taken by a snook whose distrust has not been awoke. The largest specie of snook ( centropomus undecimalis) can reach and even exceed 50 pounds, which makes it an adversary that we must consider seriously.

Equipament:
Medium/heavy tackle, lines 14 to 25 lb tied to a leader of at least 2m (6.5 ft) long, since as soon as they find themselves hooked, they swim towards the branches.

Baits:
The best ones are shrimps and small fish, which can be cast near the margins and in dead drift fishing near the bottom. Artificial lures such as plugs, surface or mid water, jigs and shads are also very productive and should be worked near the branches and tree trunks by the margins.
 
Tips:
Always check a tide table (tidal flow) before going on a snook fishing trip. Choose the quarter of the moon tide and try to obtain information about fishing spots with tree trunks and branches.


Pescada Amarela - Acoupa weakfish (Cynoscion acoupa)

Geographical Distribution:
Atlantic Ocean. Western Atlantic: Panama to Argentina

Description:
Found over mud or sandy mud bottoms near mouths of rivers. Juveniles are restricted to brackish and fresh waters. Feeds on shrimps and fishes. Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes. Important foodfish. 3.5 ft max; max.weight: 38 lb
 
Habitat:
In coastal waters, ports and protected bays, in salubrious waters in the mouth of rivers and coastal rivers.

Equipment:
Medium/heavy tackle for the larger specimens, quick action rods, lines 10 to 25 lb, and hooks ranging from 1/0 to 6/0.

Baits:
Almost only natural baits of live shrimps and small fish, such as sardines, anchovies and mangrove morays.
"Artificial lures junping jigs are very productive".

Tips:
The use of leaders is recommended, since most species have sharp canine teeth.


Xareu - Crevalle jack (Caranx hippos)

Geographical Distribuition:

Eastern Atlantic: Portugal to Angola, including the western Mediterranean. Western Atlantic: Nova Scotia, Canada and northern Gulf of Mexico to Uruguay, including the Greater Antilles. Absent from eastern Lesser Antilles. Indian Ocean records are probably misidentifications of Caranx ignobilis. Reports from Pacific refer to Caranx caninus, which may be conspecific.

Descrition:
Dorsal spines (total): 9 - 9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 19 - 21; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 15 – 17. Scutes 25 to 42; no scales on chest, except a small mid-ventral patch in front of pelvic fins; upper profile of head steep; maxilla ending approximately below posterior edge of eye; front of soft dorsal and anal fins elevated; olivaceous to bluish green dorsally, silvery to brassy on the sides; prominent black spot posteriorly on gill cover at level of eye, another at upper axil of pectoral fins, and often a third on lower pectoral rays; caudal yellowish.

Biology:
Generally in neritic waters over the continental shelf. Ascends rivers. Juveniles abundant in brackish estuaries with muddy bottoms, near sandy beaches and on seagrass beds. Forms fast-moving schools, although larger fish may be solitary. Feeds on smaller fish, shrimp, and other invertebrates. Often grunts or croaks when caught.

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 hooks ranging from 6/0 to 10/0.

Baits:
Natural baits such as sardines, a great variety of lures can be used, such as middle water plugs, jigs, shads and spoons.

Common names:
Common jack - Puerto Rico, Carangue crevalle - France.

 

Pirapema - Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) King Silver

Geographical Distribution:
Atlantic Ocean.

Description:
Scale fish. The body is compressed on the sides with large scales. Its inferior mandible sticks out and upwards, the teeth are small and narrow and the border of the operculum is a bone plate. It can exceed 5.9 ft and weigh over 220 lb. The color on its back is either greenish or going from silver to almost black, the flanks and the abdomen are silver. In dark waters, it can become gold or brown.
 
Biology:
Inhabit coastal waters, bays, estuaries, mangrove-lined lagoons, and rivers. Often found in river mouths and bays, entering fresh water. Large schools may frequent particular spots for years. Feed on fishes like sardines, anchovies, Mugilidae, Centropomus, Cichlidae (mainly those forming schools) and crabs. The swim bladder, attached to the esophagus, can be filled directly with air and permits the fish to live in oxygen-poor waters. Has high fecundity, a 203 cm female is estimated to produce over 12 million eggs. Spawn in waters which can be temporarily isolated from the open sea. Famous for its spectacular leaps when hooked. Marketed fresh or salted. Large scales are used in ornamental work and in preparation of artificial pearls. Used to be cultured commercially in Colombia. Highly appreciated by sport fishers. The flesh is also highly appreciated despite its being bony. The world record for hook and line is 283 lbs.

Equipment:
Medium/heavy; lines 14, 17, 20, 25 and 30 lb; reinforced hooks sizes 4/0 to 8/0.

Baits:
Natural baits such as sardines, a great variety of lures can be used, such as middle water plugs, jigs, shads and spoons.

Tips:
Right after it is hooked, it jumps out of the water several times, requiring a great deal of attention from the angler so that the line does not loosen up and breaks. Be very careful when removing the hook because the border of the operculum cuts like a knife.

Special:
Also called pirapema, camurupim in Brazil, sabalo in Venezuela, palika in French Guiana, it's not necessary to present this extraordinary game fish which is probably at the origin of many addictions for tropical flyfishing. Indeed, the infortunate who enjoyed the incomparable pleasure of the capture of the " silver king" with a fly, is instantily and irretrievably struck by an incurable desease, the only treatment of which is a diligent and obsessing quest of its responsible all over the mangroves and flats of the tropical Atlantic Ocean.

If the perrenial stereotype of the tarpon's waters are the blue swimming-pool coloured flats of Florida, Belize and Yucatan, we have to know that our animal is a fish definited as " euryallin", scientific term that means: able to live both in fresh and salt water. So, with a top period during the rainy season, we can abundantly found it in tropical mangroves, coastal rivers and lagoons of Amazonia.


Bijupirá - Cobia (Rachycentron canadum)

Geographical Distribution:

Worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters except the eastern Pacific. Western Atlantic: Canada to Bermuda and Massachusetts, USA to Argentina, including the Gulf of Mexico and entire Caribbean. Eastern Atlantic: Morocco to South Africa. Indo-West Pacific: East Africa.and Hokkaido, Japan to Australia. Not recorded from the Pacific Plate, except marginally.

 
Description:
The Cobia is a large, long, slim bodied fish with a broad depressed head, a protruding lower jaw. The Cobia is overall a dark brown color with a prominent dark lateral stripe that runs from the eye to the tail. Its distinguishing first dorsal fin is composed of 7 to 9 spines that are not connected by a membrane.

Biology:
Occurs in a variety of habitats, over mud, sand and gravel bottoms; over coral reefs, off rocky shores and in mangrove sloughs; inshore around pilings and buoys, and offshore around drifting and stationary objects; occasionally in estuaries. Forms small groups and may pursue small pelagic inshore. Feeds on crabs, fishes, and squids. Spawns during the warm months in the western Atlantic; eggs and larvae planktonic. Caught in small quantities due to its solitary behavior. Good food fish; marketed fresh, smoked, and frozen. Also caught for sport.

Equipament:
Medium/heavy; lines 14, 17, 20, 25 and 30 lb; hooks sizes 4/0 to 8/0.

Baits:
Natural baits such as sardines, a great variety of lures can be used, such as middle water plugs, jigs, shads and spoons.

Common names:
Bacalhau - GuineaBissau, Beijupirá or Bijupirá - Brazil, Black King Fish -Índia, Black Salmon - or Cobia - USA and Cuba.


Mero - Itajara (Epinephelus itajara)

Geographical Distribuition:
Western Atlantic: Florida, USA to southern Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Eastern Atlantic: Senegal to Congo (reported as Epinephelus esonue; rare in Canary Islands. Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California to Peru.

Biology:
A solitary species occurring in shallow, inshore areas. Found on rock, coral, or mud bottoms. Juveniles found in mangrove areas and brackish estuaries. Large adults may be found in estuaries. Adults appear to occupy limited home ranges with little inter-reef movement. Feeds primarily on crustaceans, particularly spiny lobsters as well as turtles and fishes, including stingrays. Territorial near it's refuge cave or wreck where it may show a threat display with open mouth and quivering body. Larger individuals have been known to stalk and attempt to eat divers. Over-fished, primarily by spear fishing. Marketed fresh and salted. Meat is of excellent quality. Important game fish. Reported to reach weights of more than 315 kg. 

Equipament:
Medium/heavy; lines 14, 17, 20, 25 and 30 lb; reinforced hooks sizes 4/0 to 8/0. 

Baits:
Almost only natural baits of live shrimps and small fish, such as sardines, anchovies and mangrove morays.