The amazon is filled with all kinds of river monsters and we all know the Piranha is the most famous. But one of the biggest river monsters in the Amazon, and one of my favorites, is the one they call the Arapaima.
Arapaima are these long sleek looking fish that can grow up to 2 and half meters ( or around 8 feet). The record weight this monster is 200 KG or about 440 LBs, but on average they are about half that.
Arapaima are considered to be an ancient fish - scientists estimate they are descendants of fish that date back more than 250 million years.
One of the reasons I think they’ve been so successful at survival are these amazing armor-like scales that cover their body. These scales are super light, but so strong, not even Piranha can bite through them.
Today I’m with my my friend and pro fisherman Steve Townson, sometimes called the fish finder. We’re deep in the Amazon where we hope to catch one of these monsters for a close up and personal encounter…
STEVE: What we’re going to do is paddle up there where there is a lake, see if we can pick up an Arapaima or two…
As it turns out, Arapaima prefer Lakes & small creeks to Rivers…
STEVE: They prefer this, they like a nice quiet life… protect themselves from Predators because they are really easy to catch.
One of the other reasons Arapaima are easy to catch is because they are air breathers.
Steve: Because they come up - gulp air and go down. So you cast out in front of them and bang!
It all sounded like we could get this done quick, but no sooner did we get to the lake, than it started to rain and lightening. That’s not good when you are in aluminum boat… we had to take cover…
But like I always say, at BillsChannel, when the going gets tough, the tough reach for the cooler.
It was too dangerous for us to stay out on the open lake, so Steve decided to explore a small creek.
It wasn’t easy going, but the rain stopped, and gave Steve a better chance of spotting an Arapaima coming up for air.
A few bubbles appeared next to his float. That’s when Steve knew he had come to the right place.
Steve: I knew he was here…
Arapaima are gentle creatures but they can be very dangerous…. Steve and his guide have to be very careful… they can launch at you and inflict some serious damage.
Once we got the thing up close you could see the spectacular scales the Arapaima armors itself with. I can see why scientists are studying the scales to see how something so thin can be so strong.