This arapaima gave Jeremy Wade all he could handle.
The host of Animal Planet's "River Monsters" TV show, Jeremy Wade, has had the privilege of tangling with some of the most incredible and largest freshwater fish on the planet. From Wels catfish in Europe to alligator gar in Texas, the goliath tigerfish in Africa, the goonch catfish in India and black piranhas on the Amazon River.
It is the legendary arapaima, also known as the pirarucu, and from the moment it was hooked, this monster fish showcased some unbelievable power and strength.
Jeremy said this is the biggest fish he has ever caught in South America. Considering his career angling the various Amazonian lake and river ecosystems, that is saying something. As you saw, these predatory fish are big, mean, and pure muscle. A true challenge for any angler regardless of their skill level. To land an arapaima gigas on a fly rod is especially impressive.
Because of their impressive size and strength, many rumors have floated around about this species. Most notable are the claims of it attacking humans, none of which have been confirmed. Still, as Jeremy said, imagine sighting one of those in the shallows coming at you. It would be understandable to be a little freaked out! In addition to Guyana, this species is extremely common in Brazil, Bolivia. It was also successfully introduced to Malaysia and Thailand. More recently there have been concerns about these fish becoming South Florida's newest invasive species after a dead arapaima turned up on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River near Cape Coral. That state has enough problems with feral hogs, burmese pythons and iguanas as it is.
In any case, this was an absolutely incredible catch by Wade and it makes us want to add a fishing trip to South America to our ever-growing bucket list of prime fishing destinations.