THE LESS AGGRESSIVE COUSIN
"A light rod and reel would be a convenience in catching the pacu. We used to fish for the latter variety in the quiet pools while allowing the canoe to drift, and always saved some of the fish as bait for the big fellows. We fished for the pacu as the native does, kneading a ball of mandioc farina with water and placing it on the hook as bait. I should not be surprised, though, if it were possible, with carefully chosen flies, to catch some of the fish that every once in a while we saw rise to the surface and drag some luckless insect under."
Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Characiformes (Characins) > Characidae (Characins) > Serrasalminae
Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 88.0 cm TL male/unsexed; max. published weight: 25.0 kg. max. reported age: 28 years
Freshwater; pelagic; pH range: 4.8 - 6.8; dH range: ? - 15
Climate / Range
Tropical; 23°C - 28°C
South America: Amazon and Orinoco River basins. Reported from Argentina.
Juveniles mimic Serrasalmus nattereri. It feeds on insects and decaying plants. It possesses powerful teeth that can cause serious bites. It is an important food-fish.
in the Rio Negro River
The Fish with Human Teeth
More recently, South American rivers including the Amazon have become a popular destination for recreational anglers, who go to fly fish for pacu. The International Game Fishing Organization has sponsored fly-fishing courses for native Brazilian fishermen, typically accustomed to subsistence fishing, so they can work as guides to fishing tourists.
When bait-fishing in pacu-stocked ponds, anglers in Malaysia are advised to use circle hooks, size 2 or larger, and braided leather rather than nylon leaders which are easily broken by the pacu's teeth. Since pond pacu often nibble at the bait before taking it, anglers should let them swim away with the bait. If the angler simply allows the line to tighten, the circle hook will slide to the side of the fish's mouth and embed its point there.