Richard Hart’s recent fishing expedition to Suriname and Guyana ended with the angler catching a 26-pound, one-ounce giant trahira, also known as a wolf fish. If certified by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), Hart’s catch would be a new world record for the eight-kilogram (16-pound) tippet class.
According to IGFA, Hart caught his 26-pounder while fishing the waters of Suriname’s Kalebo River on February 23. The gigantic fish took the angler an hour and 30 minutes to land, after which it was released safely.
Wolf fish are voracious predators that live within South America’s Amazon basin and in coastal rivers in Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. This intimidating species is characterized by the large mouth and sharp, dog-like teeth that give it its name. In its native habitat, the trahira prey on a variety of fish in shallow waters. Wolf fish are also popular among anglers for their aggressive bite and enthusiastic fight. Trahira will attack just about anything that looks edible, and noisy lures like poppers and spinner baits are especially effective.
Anglers new to trahira may find the fish difficult to handle. Their strong jaws and sharp teeth can prove potentially hazardous, and they are even known to launch themselves into canoes and small boats to bite an unsuspecting fisherman. The fish can grow up to well over 30 pounds. Although edible, wolf fish are not highly desired as food and they are generally released.
For a brief period in the 1970s, a small invasive population of trahira existed in southern Florida. According to the US Geological Survey, the fish were extremely detrimental to native panfish when they became established in 1974. In the space of less than three years, the wolf fish population was extirpated by unbearably cold temperatures in 1977. A recent 2008 survey found no sign of trahira still existing in Florida.
The current record for giant trahira caught on a 16-pound tippet is a 14-pound, eight-ounce specimen fished out of Brazil’s Iriri River in 2012. The all-tackle record belongs to a massive 32-pound, 15-ounce fish caught by Cittadini Gerard in the Sinamary River, French Guiana in 2007.
Image courtesy IGFA