What sort of fish requires a ravenous flesh eater – the piranha- to be dangled as bait? Meet the arapaima, noted as the world’s largest scaled freshwater fish. Arapaima are native to South America and is an immense fish. It is not unheard of for the arapaima to grow over 440 pounds and max out at 8 feet. That’s larger than most NBA players!
The species are a valued native dish in South American countries for their large and mostly boneless meat. Spears and very large nets are used to catch them, but British angler Steve Townson has his own unique rod and reel method. According to fishandfly.com, Townson used a 2-pound piranha as bait on a Cat Circle hook and a 100-pound Power Pro mainline. He casts towards the fish from a very close distance whether on foot or boat, and braces for a titanic battle of muscle and persistence.
“Arapaima are the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world,” says the angler. “But they can be delicate and must be handled with care.” After bringing the heavyweight fish out of the water and subduing it enough for a quick photo, the arapaima is then released.
Arapaima have large appetites and consume other fish species as well. Below is a video of Townson on a previous excursion using different bait.