-‘Pachu’ is how this fish is pronounced in Malaysia-
“Pacu (Portuguese pronunciation: [paˈku]) is a common name used to refer to several common species of omnivorous South American freshwater fish that are related to the piranha. Pacu and piranha do not have similar teeth, the main difference being jaw alignment; piranha have pointed, razor-sharp teeth in a pronounced underbite, whereas pacu have squarer, straighter teeth, like a human, and a less severe underbite, or a slight overbite. Additionally, full-grown pacu are much larger than piranha, reaching up to 0.9 m (3 feet) and 25 kg (55 pounds) in the wild.”
as for their infamous balls-biting reputation i can’t really add much as i fished from the bank.., however Wiki has this to say about this tender subject-
“In 2013, a pacu specimen was found by a fisherman in Denmark. This led to media reports mistakenly warning that the fish could attack male testicles. The reports were based on a joke that was not meant to be taken seriously.” which in a way, makes me think that if i was a tropical fish stuck in the cold Scandinavian waters i’d probably want to bite off a few as well…
“In Appendix B of Through the Brazilian Wilderness, Theodore Roosevelt advised, “For small fish like the pacu and piranha an ordinary bass hook will do.” Concerning the pacu, he added: “A light rod and reel would be a convenience in catching the pacu. We used to fish for the latter variety in the quiet pools while allowing the canoe to drift. We fished for the pacu as the native does, kneading a ball of mandioc farina with water and placing it on the hook as bait. I should not be surprised, though, if it were possible, with carefully chosen flies, to catch some of the fish that every once in a while we saw rise to the surface and drag some luckless insect under.”
well Theodor wasn’t in the least bit wrong. this little fellow fell for a black leech imitation just as it hit the water a certain unknown distance away. (we where fishing in the dark)(an activity that’s quite unusual for me as local regulations prevent it)(that made it even more funner!) but, the most important was this little Pacu was a first for me and one of two new species to add to my ‘caught’ list. the circumstances leading to this catch make it even more special. C.K. ‘Doc Ling, new friend and Master Certified Casting Instructor with the International Federation of Fly Fishers picked me up at Kuala Lumpur airport and before even being out of the doors asked me if i was up to fishing just after dinner. conditioned reflex said ‘SURE !’ without even thinking i had spent the last 30 or so hours traveling…
nevermind sleep, tiredness and weariness. when you’re completely engulfed by fishing mojo it all works out in the end !
even at this size they put up a great fight. nothing like the typical jump up and down, left and right and all around as say, a trout or largemouth bass will generally do but these guys are strong, fit and pull hard. fine-fine sport on a lightish wt fly rod. i’ll be back for more.