Fishing Tips: Piranha

A fish that hardly needs an introduction, the razor-toothed piranha is a bucket-list sighting for any Amazonian adventure. Some fishermen come to the region for larger prize fish, but fishing for piranha is actually relatively easy, always fun, and makes for a delicious catch to grill for dinner. When traveling along the Amazon, make sure to spend an afternoon fishing for these feisty little guys for a story worth telling back home! Here is everything you need to know about how to fish for piranha- and how to catch one.

Piranha Fishing Amazon River

How to Fish for Piranha: Where to Find Them

Piranha can be found all throughout the Amazon River and its subsidiaries. In fact, piranhas are usually caught by accident while fishermen are targeting bigger catches. If you’ll be traveling the Amazon via river cruise, you’ll want to plan an excursion on a smaller canoe or boat to fish for piranha.

For more serious fishers, the largest piranhas are said to be found in the Guyana Shield region.

red-bellied piranha

How to Fish for Piranha: Techniques, Bait & Tackle

Piranha love good bait, and you can be sure to catch them with any fresh meat at the end of your line. Many locals also bait piranhas with bread, but you may have to wait a bit longer. To make sure the line doesn’t drag on the bottom of the river, you may want to also attach a bobber.

If you don’t have fresh bait, you can also use a lure to fish for piranha. Anything flashy is a good choice, especially a krocadile spoon, but make sure not to use soft plastics or anything that piranhas can chew right through with those jagged chompers. In terms of tackle, any size equipment will work, as piranhas are fairly small and don’t put up too much of a fight. Make sure you use a wire leader though, to avoid bite offs.

Next up, it’s all about your technique. Casting should be done gently and safely so as to not catch any fellow fisherman – this isn’t fly fishing so you won’t need to pull back your ‘rod’ (usually bamboo) too far. Once your bait is in the water, moving the rod up and down steadily usually attracts the attention of the piranha. If not, a little splashing of the bait on the surface may do the trick. Once you feel a little weight on the end of the rod, pull your rod sharply upwards quickly, and hopefully to some success!

red-bellied Piranha

Once You Catch a Piranha

You followed our advice on how to catch a piranha and you succeeded, congrats! Slowly bring in your line towards the skiff, and notify your guide you have caught one. Pose for your photo, then let your naturalist guide safely remove the piranha from your hook for you. Keep your fingers a safe distance from the piranha’s teeth at all times! 

Most of the time, guests will put the piranha back into the river, however you do have the option to bring them back to your boat or lodge for dinner. On many Amazon River cruises, the on-board chef will be happy to prepare your catch for dinner. Piranhas are delicious grilled or fried, but remember to keep away from the teeth even once they’re on your plate, and be mindful that they have a ton of little bones between the meat.

All credit for these great fishing tips goes to Rainforest Cruises.

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