Posts Tagged ‘Orinoco’

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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Part Two of Paul Reiss’ Interview with Bass Fishing Source: “Amazon Peacock Bass – The Real Heavy Hitting Monsters”

May 6, 2011

Paul Reiss, owner of Acute Angling, talks with Bass-Fishing-Source about fishing the Amazon for peacock bass in part two of an exclusive interview. Read it all below or click here.

Amazon Peacock Bass – The Real Heavy Hitting Monsters

Amazon peacock bass are quite different than anything you will find in the U.S. While the peacock bass in Florida can be great to catch, fishing for Peacock in the Amazon is not only a whole different experience but it’s also a whole different fish.

In our search for information on catching the “bass” that hits your line like a truck, we were lucky enough to get some insight from a true authority in Amazon Peacock Bass, Paul Reiss of Acute Angling.

We got a chance to ask Paul about what it takes to catch Peacocks in the Amazon, including tackle, lures and even some tips and techniques to land your next trophy Peacock. You don’t want to miss what he has to say about giving youself the best chance to land the fish of a life time.

First a quick introduction for those that may not know Paul.

Paul Reiss Peacock Bass Catch

Paul Reiss operates Acute Angling, a unique outfitting company offering guided Amazon fishing trips and explorations. After a conventional entrepreneurial career, he fulfilled a lifelong nature lover’s dream by founding a business that allows him and the anglers he takes along, to explore the world’s vastest wilderness, pursuing its fiercest sportfish and observing firsthand the amazing aquatic life of the Amazon. With two decades of field experience and doctoral study, Reiss is probably the world’s foremost expert on Amazon sportfishing and the amazing peacock bass. His company is focused on finding and accessing pristine waters for Peacock Bass, Payara, giant catfish and other fierce Amazon sportfish.

Find out more about Paul Reiss and his service, Acute Angling.

B-F-S: How long have you been fishing for Peacock Bass?

Paul: Seventeen years. My first visit to Brazil was in 1994. I quickly fell in love with the Amazon and vowed to find a way to spend my time there. The fishing business quickly evolved and along with it my research and conservation projects.

B-F-S: How do Peacock bass in the U.S. differ from Amazon Peacock Bass?

Paul: Basically, they are simply an altogether different species than thegiants we pursue in the Amazon. Even though they are related, they are as dissimilar as smallmouth and rock bass, snook and Nile perch or ladyfish and tarpon. The species that was successfully transplanted to Florida two decades ago is Cichla ocellaris, a smaller, more cold-tolerant species than the Amazon giant, Cichla temensis. Their behavior is quite different as well. Unlike the Brazilian giants, who are known for theirviolently aggressive topwater attacks, the Florida transplants are more of an opportunistic subsurface species, similar in some ways to the feeding behavior of a largemouth bass, although they typically strike harder.

Amazon peacock bass are enormous and can reach sizes approaching 30 pounds, while the Florida fishery typically yields 2 to 3 pound fish, with specimens occasionally reaching double digits. The fishing experience is also as different as the fishes. It’s hard to compare fishing in a pristine Amazon wilderness with casting in a canal in the shadow of a roaring airport. To experience the true power and ferocious nature of the giant peacock bass, there is no shortcut that bypasses the Amazon.

Amazon Peacock Bass Fishing

B-F-S: Why can you only find these big Peacock in the Amazon?

Paul: Simply put, temperature. They just can’t survive Florida winters. While Cichla ocellaris can tolerate temperatures as low as 60 degrees, the Amazon giant, Cichla temensis, won’t survive if water temperature dips below 75. They are really at their best in water ranging from 82 to 88 degrees year round, an aquatic environment not readily found outside the Amazon.

B-F-S: Many people tend talk about Peacock bass as one species of fish but my understanding is there are actually several species that are categorized as Peacocks. Can you clarify what the most popular and/or most common type of Peacock Bass?

Paul: There are actually 15 described species of peacock bass, but there is a tremendous amount of misinformation and misidentification circulating on the internet regarding their taxonomy. Even in scientific circles, classification of the genus Cichla (to which all species of peacock bass belong) has historically been a subject of disagreement. Recently, however, DNA analysis has provided clarification regarding its place in the family Cichlidae, while a revision of the genus in 2006 has done much to resolve Cichla taxonomy at the species level. There has not, however, been a widespread dissemination of this newfound knowledge in angling and non-scientific circles.

All 15 species of Cichla are relatively large, diurnal predators and all are primarily piscivorous. All of the species are commonly known as Peacock Bass in English, Tucunaré in Brazil and Pavon in Spanish speaking countries.

The giant species targeted by trophy anglers is Cichla temensis, the largest member of the genus and of the greatest importance in the lowlands of Amazonia, both as a sportfish and for human consumption. Their natural environment consists primarily of blackwater flood pulse rivers with extremely variable seasonal conditions. The species is found only in Brazil, Venezuela and Columbia, from the Rio Negro, Madeira and Orinoco drainages. There is an up-to-date and detailed species ID guide on our website, where anglers can see the pertinent information on all 15 species of peacock bass.

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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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