The Giant Arapaima (Pirarucu)

The Giant Arapaima (Pirarucu)

The Giant Arapaima (Pirarucu)

A true once in a lifetime opportunity to see and catch the world’s largest freshwater fish.

July 27th we will be on a journey to a private preserve in the wild. A national park if you will where many species of fish and wildlife are protected and call home. Over 300 lagoons stretch across this giant river system, all of them fishable and all of them loaded with fish.

We have been granted the first ever sport fishing license for this area. We get to be first, whoever is going with us on this adventure will have an amazing opportunity to catch some huge fish with a fly rod. Fisheries like this do not exist. Of the few Arapaima fisheries in the world, most are targeting fish in land locked lagoons where water has become an issue for the fish and they are trapped. Pretty much fish in a barrel. It is hard to find an Arapaima in the wild, they are heavily protected in the Brazilian Amazon.  It is illegal to sell one of these prehistoric fish commercially from the wild. The supermarkets and restaraunts that serve these fish are all using farmed raised variety.

We have plenty of past experience with these fish and are very fortunate to have them at our Labarinto Da Tartaruga destination. But not like this, not as a headliner of a trip. Not this big and not these kinds of numbers.

The Journey

Travel to Manaus Brazil to get this trip started, after arrival to Manaus, be escorted to our new amazing Amazon River Cruiser where you will spend 7 nights. The first day will be traveling aboard the boat to reach our fishing destination. At the end of our trip the boat will take us back to Manaus where we will stay until our international departure.

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Join us on this exciting adventure aboard our new Amazonian River cruiser. The boat is amazing in itself, huge staterooms with air conditioning and private baths, several outside decks, indoor and outdoor dining areas and plenty of room to spread out and relax while not out on the water chasing fish.


A variety of traditional Amazonian meals will be prepared during our visit. The highlight will be the amazing local fish served all kinds of ways. Full breakfasts, lunches on the water and amazing dinners served at one of the dining areas on the boat.

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The Fishing


We will spend 5 full days exploring, chasing and catching a fish that could be larger than the fisherman. These predatory fish will hammer a well placed streamer and go ballistic with numerous jumps and tail walks. Not for the faint of heart for sure. When your line comes tight on your first Arapaima you find out quickly who the boss is. 9-10 weight rods will be put to the test casting 5-8 inch streamers to fish that commonly surface and roll and give up their location. When you get one on it is like hooking a Tarpon in shallow water with all kinds of trouble around.


There are also several other species of fish to be caught on this trip highlighted by another amazing amazonian freak of nature called the Arawana. This place is loaded with them. They protect themselves because they are loaded with bones and don’t eat well. Hahaha. Arawana spend most of their life in the top foot of the water column in search of food. Bugs, birds and just about anything you can leap out of the water and catch. These fish will crash on a popper like it’s the last thing to eat on the planet. Weighing up to 12 pounds, these fish will put 7-8 weight rods to the test. These fish in themselves would be worth the trip. Sight fishing for crazy jumping fish on big popper all day long? Wait, what? And this is not even the target fish?

Other species include a variety of nut eating fish that can be caught on nut patterns like the Pacu and Tambaqui which are also large tackle busting fish.

We fish from well equipped fishing boats borrowed from our Peacock Bass operation. Two casting platforms, ample room for storage and both gas and electric trolling motors. Our base camp will be the mothership where we will leave and return to each fishing day.

In 2025 Bucket List Fly Fishing will be offering this trip on the retail market. Another ultra exclusive low pressure private water fishing adventure. We are confident that this place will be the #1 Arapaima sport fishery in the world. We are very grateful for the opportunity to both be granted the permission to have this place to ourselves for the next 10 years and also to be able to share it with our friends and guests. Bucket List Fly Fishing works very hard year after year to search and explore the next great adventure. 100% this is a “Bucket List” trip.

The 2024 excursion will be a one of a kind life changing fishing trip. Hosted by long time Amazon explorer and fisherman, Rob Anderson. This 8 person trip will take place from July 27 until August 2. We are looking for a few more people to join us. The mission, to catch these giant fish while taking photos and video of everything for future marketing purposes. We need a few people to be the first to get to fish this preserve, catch these giant fish, get your photo taken and get to do it for about ½ of what we will charge the following season. $3000 gets you a spot on this trip. We are only trying to cover costs. Getting to see this place and fish it and come home with amazing footage is the goal. When we put out the video footage we are going to get and start to advertise its exclusivity, we will get over $6000 for this trip without a problem.

If you have any interest in Joining me, Rob Anderson on this trip, call me. I would love to tell you more and why this is a must do trip either this year or in the future.

Cell.: 775.742.1754

Facts about arapaima:

  • • Arapaima is among the oldest freshwater fish on earth;
  • It is among the world’s largest freshwater fish, reaching as much as 3 m (9.8 ft) in length;
  • • Arapaima can grow to over eight feet long and weigh more than 400 pounds;
  • • It breathes atmospheric air, gulping oxygen with a primitive lung called a labyrinth organ rather than gills;
  • • Arapaima have tapered, copperish-green heads, upturned mouths, and scaly, streamlined bodies that are black with a white center;
  • • The arapaima’s mouth works like a vacuum. When hungry, it opens its mouth to suck up nearby food.



SCIENTIFIC NAME: Arapaima gigas

DIET: Carnivore

SIZE: up to 15 feet

WEIGHT: up to 440 pounds

Also known as the paiche or the pirarucu, the arapaima is an air-breathing fish that plies the rainforest rivers of South America’s Amazon Basin and nearby lakes and swamps. One of the world’s largest freshwater fish species, these giants can grow up to 15 feet long and weigh up to 440 pounds, though fish that big have not been reported for many years. More commonly, they’re about six feet long and 200 pounds.

Arapaima have tapered, copperish-green heads, upturned mouths, and scaly, streamlined bodies that are black with a white center. A dorsal fin stretches along their backs toward their massive tails, which are red. Their Brazilian name, pirarucucomes from the Tupi language and translates roughly as “red fish.”

As obligate air breathers, arapaima can only stay underwater for 10 to 20 minutes. They tend to stay near the water’s surface before coming up to breathe, using a modified swim bladder that opens into the fish’s mouth and acts as a lung. The noisy, distinctive gulp it makes sounds like a cough and can be heard from far away.


This South American giant uses a “gulper” feeding strategy: By opening its large mouth, the fish creates a vacuum that pulls in nearby food objects. Arapaima survive mainly on fish, but they’re also known to eat fruits, seeds, and insects.

Fierce predators, they can also use short bursts of speed to leap out of the water to grab birds, lizards, and even small primates from low-hanging trees.


Their movements and reproductive cycle are highly dependent on the Amazon’s seasonal floods. When the rivers overflow, fish are dispersed into floodplains containing so much decaying vegetation that oxygen levels are too low to support most fish. Then, during low-water months, arapaima construct nests in sandy bottoms where the females lay eggs.

Adult males play an unusual reproductive role by incubating tens of thousands of eggs in their mouths, guarding them aggressively and moving them when necessary. The eggs begin to hatch as rising water levels provide them with flood conditions in which to flourish.

‘Cod of the Amazon’

Arapaima gigas was long believed to be the only species of arapaima, but in 2013 scientists proved that another species of the fish exists. Since then, further studies have shown that there may be five or more species of arapaima.

Sometimes referred to as the “cod of the Amazon,” arapaima are considered an excellent food fish and have provided an important source of protein in the Amazon for centuries. Local people often salt and dry the meat, which can be stored without rotting, important in a region with little refrigeration.

Their proximity to the water’s surface makes the arapaima vulnerable to human predators, who can easily target them with harpoons and spears. Their numbers have declined dramatically throughout the region mainly because of overfishing. In recent years, new management practices involving local fishing communities in Brazil have boosted arapaima populations.

Arapaima don’t just grow big, they also exhibit the fastest known growth rates in any fish. This makes the arapaima an ideal species for farming. Arapaima have been introduced as an aquaculture species to other rivers in tropical South America. It has also been introduced for sport fishing in Thailand and Malaysia.

Check out some more stories!

Zoom Meeting July 7 2022

Join us for an exciting free get-together on zoom. We are going to discuss our upcoming seasons and events and recap some events and outings we have just finished. The highlight of the night will be our January 2023 season at our centerpiece fishing location in the Amazon jungle.

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