The vampire fish has some of the most wicked looking teeth you will ever see.
When it comes to spectacular freshwater fish species, South America may be home to more amazing ones than anywhere else on Earth. Stuff like the arapaima, the piraiba catfish, the piranha, or the arowana. Then there are game fish species like the peacock bass and the stuff of urban legends like the candiru. The Amazon Basin is home to some truly amazing species.
However, one that stands out from the crowd is a fish called the payara, Hydrolycus scomberoides, if you want to know its scientific name. It is more popularly known as the "vampire fish." Take one look at the lower jaw and you will understand why.
In this video, angler Cyril Chauquet is deep in the jungles of Brazil, on the Amazon River, seeking out the payara. It does not take him look to hook into one and it puts up one heck of a fight before he can carefully boat it and get a closer look at those famous choppers!
The payara is generally thought of as a Brazilian fish. However, it lives throughout the Amazon basin and can be found in rivers and tributaries in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia too. They grow to decent sizes too. The all-tackle world record is a 39-pound, 4-ounce lunker caught in Venezuela in 1996. Most anglers use topwaters and jerkbaits on them, but they can be caught while fly fishing too. Just imagine trying to boat something with teeth like that on a fly rod.
This fish has also proven popular in the aquarium trade where it is sometimes marketed as a "vampire tetra" for a little extra flair. As if the fish's appearance does not already sell them already. It seems that many anglers like to combine trips for the payara with fishing for peacock bass since the lures and tackle are similar.
One thing is for sure, we loved the fight in the fish in this video. It makes us want to book a fishing trip to South America to check these fascinating creatures out for ourselves one day!