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 Characins with Fangs
 Subfamily Cynodontidae: The latin translation for this name means "dog tooth".  It's particularly appropriate for these aggressive and fast piscivorous predators.    
   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 productive. 
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 Venezuela). 
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 home page. 

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. 

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