Characins with Fangs
The latin translation for this name means "dog tooth".
It's particularly appropriate for these aggressive and fast
The huge pair of canines in the
lower jaw is accommodated by two holes to receive them in
the upper. The huge pectoral fins aid in propelling
these fish rapidly upward when attacking their prey.
Prey are stabbed by the canines and then swallowed hole.
These fanged monsters prefer elongate prey from 30 - 50% of
their body length.
||Payara/Peixe Cachorro (Hydrolicus scomberoides)
are a ferocious migratory gamefish from the family Cynodontidae.
Think of them as a sort of Jurassic salmon. They are
built somewhat like a large Atlantic salmon and share a similar
metallic silver sheen. The mouth of the payara is what
sets them apart from all other gamefish, as they sport an
intimidating set of razor sharp fangs which protrude from
the lower jaw like two glistening ivory framing nails.
Payara prefer to reside in extremely
fast water and take both lures and flies with such savage
force that one can easily rip the rod from your grasp if you
are not paying close attention. Once hooked, a large
payara will effortlessly peel off 150-yards of line/backing
despite a thirty-pound leader, strong drag and stiff rod.
Payara also make repeated salmon-style jumps, which adds to
the fish’s allure. Although payara receive much less
press than peacock bass, many anglers rate them above peacocks
in terms of both sheer strength, stamina and overall fighting
ability (and that’s saying something!)
Conventional gear for payara is virtually
the same as that mentioned in the trophy peacock bass and
dorado sections (wire leader is essential). Payara are
usually not surface oriented fish, so big Rapalas, 7-inch
jerk baits, Rat-L-Trap type lures, spoons and jigs are most
Similar to the above-mentioned dorado, payara are fished with
a slightly heavier 9-10-weight fly rod and either a 300 or
400-grain, 24-foot sink tip line depending upon water conditions.
They can be fished with a full floating line, but only during
extreme conditions as they prefer to reside in deep, fast
current. A heavy mono leader tipped with stout steel
tippet is essential. Payara take a variety of large
streamers, but prefer heavily-dressed Cloussers and Muddlers
tied on a 4/0 heavy saltwater tarpon hook.
Many smaller species of payara/peixe-cachorra
(Hydrolicus and Rhaphiodon Sp.) are found throughout
South America. Although all are fast, vicious predators,
most rarely exceed 5-pounds. The best places to catch
giant trophy payara are Uraima Falls, the Caura River and
several sections of the Orinoco and Ventuari Rivers (all in
Another World Class Fighter
Payara take the art of the fight to another
level. They combine some of the best characteristics
known among fighting fish to provide an extraordinary angling
experience. Payara are extremely aggressive and
strike with intense power. They peel off line in long
fast runs. And when all else fails, they hurl their
huge, slablike bodies high into the air. If these fish
were commonly found in the same "small-water" conditions as
peacock bass, they would rarely be landed.
For more information about payara, see our payara
Rhaphiodon vulpinus, a smaller and more
elongate relative of the payara is common in the slower lowland
waters of the Amazon Basin. Like its larger, fast-water
cousin, it's a fast, fierce predator.
Readily taken on flies, they are a
pugnacious light-tackle target.