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 Executive Director: Larry Larsen;   Editor: Lilliam Larsen

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Other Exotic Species

Giant SnakeheadThere are plenty of other warmwater exotic fish swimming around that are also fun to catch ... if you can't be catching the giant peacock bass. One of them is the striped catfish, and Bung Sam Lan Lake outside of Bangkok , Thailand is where the world record comes from. The larger Mekong catfish also lives there along with many other catfish species. At Srinakarin Reservoir, the elusive cobra snakehead is a prized catch. Fish of that weight are extremely difficult to catch. Not only they are very cautious, but they always inhabit an underwater lair in a heavily snagged area. Other exotic species in that part of the world includes Siamese carp and Giant Snakehead.

Another warm water exotic that our anglers particularly love is the golden dorado and a place called La Zona Dam is where many PBA members have Doradogone to catch 45 to 50 pounders. PBA members can check out several trip summary reports on the PBA Forum under Fishing Field Reports and Fish Info. The fishery in Argentina is a great option for those wanting another fun experience. I've caught several smaller dorado in other waters and they are a great fish and worthy of at least one trip. As one dorado aficionado once Gerardwrote, "The peacock is still King, but sometimes battling a Queen with attitude is a great escape." I agree.

In South American waters there are many places that have the Giant Trairao, and French Guiana is one of the best countries to find them. I have fished for Giant Trairao with Super Traps, huge crankbaits, large minnow baits, poppers and tailspinner surface plugs. While my largest is around 20 pounds, friends have caught them up to 35 pounds.  The French Guiana trip is somewhat rustic I understand. Visitors to the Sinnamary River sleep on a floating platform with hammocks, toilets, shower and kitchen.

Nearby, in Suriname, there exists an interesting fishery exists for a variety of exotic species. Nestled between the Guyanas in northern South America, the tiny former Dutch colony offers a fishing adventure on the pristine Kabalebo River. Target species include the giant traida (aka aymara or wolf fish), Suriname Catfishgiant redtail catfish and surubim catfish. One PBA member reported, "While un -seasonal rains right before our arrival made river conditions difficult for fishing artificials, our group did find cut bait fishing action on monster catfish. Traida up to 23 pounds, surubim to 14 pounds and some awesome red-tails kept our lines tight. One monster red-tail took nearly a half-hour to land. It finally weighed in at a whopping 104 pounds on our scales."

Equally impressive to the visitors was the virgin rainforest setting, with its lush primary forest vegetation translated into tall flowering trees, amazing birdlife, butterflies galore, several species of monkeys, big anacondas, caimans, river otters and an assortment of creatures. The mountainous geography includes spectacular waterfalls and expansive vistas not seen in most Amazon fishing regions. Suriname's capital, Paramaribo, is easily reached from Miami via Trinidad, and prime time for lure/fly fishing is reportedly from September through December, and the cut bait fishing most effective January to May.

PiraracuAnother interesting exotic fish is the piraracu, and a couple of years ago , during the peacock bass season, several giant piraracu were caught on different weeks on the Rio Unini and other waters. In fact, two were taken on one of my trips to the Amazon Basin during the week.

The prehistoric giant is the largest freshwater fish in the world growing to well over 300 pounds. The one my partner and I came across in a small, winding lagoon was swimming beneath a school of its fry. My partner borrowed one of my beefed-up Rat-L-Traps, cast repeatedly at the fry ball and finally hooked the massive fish. He soon lost it. The following morning, my partner, fishing again with the same guide, went back to the same lagoon with my same plug. After a 40 minute battle he landed the 130# piraracu on the Rat-L-Trap that I loaned him. He and the guide struggled to get the fish aboard the boat for a photo before releasing it. Then, a day later, the same guide went out to the same lagoon after he had dropped off his clients. Not to be outdone by one of his clients, he caught and brought back to the Amazon Explorer that evening a monster that weighed over 200 pounds! It is shown in the photo. That was camp food for several weeks following. I have had several other reports from various PBA member outfitters that other giant piraracu were caught all over the Amazon that year.

Editot's Note: Tips reprinted with permission from PBA's "The World of Peacock Bass" monthly eZine.

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