Posts Tagged ‘IGFA’

Fish of the Week: Catfish – Sorubim

September 26, 2011
Sorubim

Sorubim

Our “Fish of the Week” is Catfish – Sorubim, which is a beautiful species sporting an elegant pattern of hieroglyphic black markings on a silver grey background dorsally and stark white ventrally. The common name sorubim is used for several similarly shaped species in the genus. Body markings, typical habitat and maximum size differ. P. tigrinum is commonly encountered by anglers in Amazon lowland, highland and Guyana shield fisheries.

The Sorubim is distinguished by its flattened head, elongate body and large terminal mouth. Its silvery gray upper body with heiroglyphic markings dorsally, and tiger stripes laterally, also set it apart. Sorubim’s fin markings continue from the body, evolving into spots toward margins. The silver gray on its dorsum changes abruptly to white on its ventral sides, as well as its abdomen. Specimens up to one meter in length and more than 100 pounds have been reported. The genus contains eight recognised species, and although all are similarly elongate, many are uniquely marked and have separate ranges. Common names include Barred Shovelnose (English); sorubim, suribim, cachara (local); and Bagre rayado.

This catfish can be found in Brazil, Peru, Guyana, Ecuador, Bolivia, Suriname, Columbia, Venezuela and Argentina, particularly in the Amazon, Orinoco, Essequibo, Corantijn and Parana drainages and river basins. They usually occupy lotic (moving water) environments in blackwater river systems. Primarily feeding on fishes, P. fasciatumis are readily encountered with cut bait on shallow sandbars in river channels. Although mostly an evening and nocturnal feeder, anglers are often surprised by large sorubim attacking artificial lures in open water at any time of day. The current IGFA record is 35 pounds, 10 ounces.

In addition to being a great angler’s target, the barred sorubim is a pleasant adjunct to any fishery. Its habit of attacking artificial lures and then fighting like whiskered tuna, makes it endearing to peacock bass anglers and catfishermen alike. In most high gradient fisheries sorubim can be targeted by anglers at evening time. They tend to congregate and forage at the edges of shallow beaches with nearby drop-offs to deeper water. Small live bait or pieces of cut bait are equally effective when cast onto the beach and allowed to drift naturally to the nearby drop-off. An effective rig consists of a 10/0 to 14/0 circle hook (or smaller J hook) with a wire leader and relatively light sinker (approx. 1 oz.), enough to keep it down while still allowing the current to slowly carry it. The take is usually quite forceful. Once hooked, sorubim will fight in open water with strong runs and surprising stamina.

Pintado

Pintado

Pintado – Psuedoplatystoma corruscans – up to 1.5 meter
This larger catfish is found outside the Amazon in the Pantanal and the Sao Francisco and Parana river basins
(Illustration from “Peixes do Pantanal” – Embrapa – poster)

Pintado

Pintado

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Fish of the Week: Peacock Bass – Cichla temensis

August 8, 2011
Cichla temensis

Cichla temensis

Our “Fish of the Week” is Peacock Bass – Cichla temensis, which is the largest member of the peacock bass genus. This top level predator is considered by many to be the most powerful freshwater gamefish in the world, as evidenced by its current IGFA record of 27 pounds.

Cichla temensis, in its bright spawning color phase, is called “assu” in Brazil or “three-bar” in English. They become heavier and deeper bodied in this form due to prespawn changes and matured gonads. In the “paca” form, Cichla temensis displays a darker color pattern and a more hydrodynamic shape.

Cichla temensis identification is made somewhat complex by the species’ morphological variability. Specimens are encountered in two very distinct color and pattern phases, with an array of intermediate stages corresponding to their degree of reproductive readiness. The spawning pattern transformation process is gradual – the bars darken, colors brighten and the white speckles disappear. The brilliantly colored acu (pronounced ‘assu’) is in reproductively active condition. The Paca morph has white or yellow dots (3) arranged in four distinct longitudinal rows. Both morphs have 3 distinct dark bars (2) along the sides of the body and a distinct black stripe or speckled markings from the eye to the end of the opercular bone (cheek or gill cover) (1), no ocelli on the sides or at the base of the second dorsal.

Cichla temensis

Cichla temensis

Temensis is the most elongate of the Cichla species, with a body depth generally around 25 percent of its standard length (length measured to the base of the tail). It has the smallest relative scale size of the genus, generally having from 100 to 125 scales along its lateral line.

The species has three distinct, entire bars from dorsal peak to below lateral line, almost to the abdomen. It also has a distinctive postorbital band (or series of connected blotches on operculum [cheek]). In paca form, they sport four horizontal rows of light colored speckles. Its colors are extremely variable. Juveniles can grow up to about 300 cm (12 inches), while adults can grow from 300 mm up to about one meter (39 inches). Its depth to length ratio is approximately 25 percent and it has about 110 lateral line scales. Similar species include Cichla pinima and Cichla vazzoleri.

Cichla temensis

Cichla temensis

Cichla temensis’ violent behavior and awesome tackle-busting power is the primary attraction that brings avid sport fishermen to the Amazon. Its known range include the countries of Venezuela, Columbia and Brazil. Within these countries, you’ll find Cichla temensis in the Rio Negro, Orinoco, Madeira and Branco basins, with some limited populations noted in several rivers draining into the Solimoes and Amazon. Temensis primarily occupies lentic (slow or still water) environments in lagoons, backwaters and shoreline pockets. However, they will readily enter faster waters to feed and when water levels leave most lentic habitat dry. They are mostly restricted to blackwater systems. Common names for this peacock include three-barred peacock, speckled peacock, tucunare, acu, paca and giant peacock.

A primarily piscivorous (fish-eating) predator, C. temensis will behave as both a pursuit feeder and an opportunistic feeder. Their determined and aggressive fry-guarding behavior makes large acu readily accessible to sharp-eyed anglers. Cichla temensis is the premier peacock bass species pursued by trophy anglers. Its sheer size, violent attacks and general overall aggressiveness have made it the most highly regarded of all freshwater sportfish. It has spurred volumes of literature and endless variations of tactics and techniques. See our ‘Peacock Bass Primer‘ for a thorough introductory guide to catching this species in its native, pulsative river environments.

 

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Fish of the Week – Pescada

May 2, 2011
Peascada

Pescada

Our “Fish of the Week” is Pescada, which are large, silver predators that are well-distributed throughout the Amazon basin and in waters holding peacock bass, making them good alternative targets. They tend to occupy deeper, oxygenated waters often near lagoon mouths and away from the shoreline areas that are often visited by peacocks.

The keys to identifying pescada are its silvery body with a prominent lateral line, long second dorsal and large, oblique mouth. Their bodies are relatively uniform and free of any clearly visible markings except for a large black blotch at the base of the pectoral fin. The pescada have a reflective silver color on their lateral body, while the dorsal area is slightly darker. Their abdomen is lighter and their fins may have a reddish hue. Pescada can grow up to 15 pounds and are distinguished by their prominentlateral line, silver scales and black mark at the base of their pectoral fin. While there are several species of Plagioscon in the Amazon basin, none reach the size of P. squamosissimus (featured).

The best locations for anglers to find pescada are in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Suriname, Guyana and Fr. Guiana. Specifically, the Amazon, Orinoco, Parana, Sao Francisco and Guianas river basins are key locations holding pescada. As with other Sciaenids, pescada make underwater sounds, helping anglers locate them. Pescada also make migrations that may combine feeding and spawning purposes. They are often found in deeper waters within lowlands river systems and in slower waters and deep pools in high gradient rivers. Anglers may also know pescada by their common names “silver croaker” and “corvina.”

Russell Jensen with 11 lbs. 4 oz. Pescada Caught on an Acute Angling Trip, an IGFA World Record

Russell Jensen with 11 lbs. 4 oz. Pescada Caught on an Acute Angling Trip, an IGFA World Record

Pescada are relatively aggressive feeders and will hit a variety of artificial lures, cut bait and live bait. They can be targeted in lagoon mouths in lowlands rivers that are wide open to river channels. You can access them with deeper running swimming plugs or lipless baits such as rapalas, rattletraps, shad raps, jigs and so forth. In high gradient areas, pescada will take CD 11 and CD 14 rapalas, spoons and even flies when fished deep in quiet pools. They are often caught on cut bait when fishing for catfish. They are good fighters and tend to run deep, rarely jumping like some other exotic species do. And, while Acute Angling practices catch and release in all of our fishing, pescada do make delicious meals.

Pescada

Pescada

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Amazon World Records

April 15, 2011
It’s no secret to us that the Amazon holds the biggest exotic gamefish you can find, as evidenced by our numerous record catches over the years (detailed below). Can you imagine what strength it took to bring in that 295 pound Piraiba catfish or that 109 pound Jau? (Both of which, incidentally, were caught by Russell Jensen – you can view a video montage of his record catches with Acute Angling at the bottom of this entry.)

We’re often asked, “Where are the biggest fish located and why?” To put it simply, you’ll find the biggest fish, particularly peacock bass, only in the Amazon basin. The IGFA all tackle record for Cichla temensis (the largest of the peacock bass genus) is 27 pounds, and they often weigh in over 20 pounds. These trophy fish can’t thrive in waters that go below 72 degrees, so you’ll find them in the tributaries of the Rio Negro, Rio Orinoco, Rio Branco and some tributaries of the Rio Madeira and not in Peru, Bolivia, Florida or anywhere else.

Acute Angling’s Amazon Exotic Species records with IGFA
Species Scientific Name Weight Angler Trip Year Type Status
Pescada Plagioscion squamosissimus 11 lbs. 4 oz. Russell Jensen Rio Travessao 2009 AT* Current
Piranha Serrasalmus rhombeus 7 lb and up Russell Jensen Rio Travessao various AT Past
Piranha Serrasalmus rhombeus 8 lbs. 7 oz. Russell Jensen Rio Travessao 2008 AT Current
Apapa Pellona castelnaeana 7 lb. 0 oz. Paul Reiss Rio Caura 2003 LC* Past
* Note –     A T = All Tackle Record      LC = Line Class Record

Acute Angling’s Amazon catfish records with IGFA
Species Scientific Name Weight Angler Trip Year Type Status
Piraiba Brachyplatystoma filamentosum 295 lb. 8 oz. Russell Jensen Rio Travessao 2007 AT* Current
Jau Zungaro zungaro 109 lb. Russell Jensen Rio Urariquera 2005 AT Current
Jundia Leiarius marmoratus 25 lb. 12 oz. Russell Jensen Rio Travessao 2008 AT Past
Jundia Leiarius marmoratus 28 lb. 11 oz. Russell Jensen Rio Travessao 2009 AT Current
Redtail Phractocephalus hemioliopterus 70 lb. 8 oz. Paul Reiss Rio Alegria 2003 LC* Past
Redtail Phractocephalus hemioliopterus 16 lb. 6 oz. Russell Jensen Rio Urariquera 2005 LC* Past
Jandi Rhamdia sebae 9 lb. 8 oz. Russell Jensen Rio Urariquera 2003 AT Current
* Note –     A T = All Tackle Record      LC = Line Class Record

Acute Angling’s Amazon catfish record with the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame
Species Scientific Name Weight Angler Trip Year Status
Jundia Leiarius marmoratus 23 lb. 8 oz. Larry Larsen Rio Travessao 2008 Current

Russell Jensen’s video montage of record fish caught with Acute Angling:

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