piaructus mesopotamicus, piaructus brachysomus, myleus pacu, of the characidae family
Several species with similar morphological characteristics and very near behaviours are regrouped under the generic name of pacu. These gregarious fishes present a piranha looking appearance, disc-shaped too, but with a more stocky and compact body. According to the naturalist, the pacus are vegetarian, and eat principally seeds and fruits . So they are generally found beneath the overhanging trees, waiting for the fall down of highly energetic fruits, berries and seeds that they swallow under water or to the surface, doing noisy eddies.The pacus also feed with algas that grow on the rocks, and don't desdain to scrunch some fries, water snails, freshwater crabs and shrimps. In facts the pacus are omnivorous, maybe with a vegetarian propensity. Fishes of fast waters, they are found principally in the rapids, in the midst of the rocky clusters and downstream of the water falls.
The defense of the pacu remenbers the trevally's one, and when one thinks that the average weight of the pacu is between 4 to 10 pounds, with extremes for the largest species that can reach 50 pounds, it's obvious that we have to take some precautions. So a solid 10 range rod plenty of backbones will be the perfect tool to throw a hight density line necessary to prospect the deep and fast waters where stay the pacus, to animate the flies and to control the stubborn defense of these stout fishes. A high quality progressive disc-brake reel will be indispensable to help us to conclude the hard fights with large fishes in powerfull currents.
pacu caught on fly with a seed-fly pattern.
Your experience in wet fly or nymphing with salmonids will serve you. The lines will be sinking in differents densities suitable to the depht and the speedness of the current. The lines like " teeny nymph" with high density tip are a must for this purpose. We have to know that the pacus dont feed to the bottom. Its jaw slightly prognathous characterize the fish that are mainly interested by what happens close to the surface. So it will not be necessary to scrape the bed of the river.When targeting pacus, focus your attention on concave edges in the turnings of the rivers. It's in these sectors where the current carries amounts of fruits, seeds, vegetals fragments and food in general. And the fishes know it. So cast your fly slightly upstream of the hot spots ( turnings, under overhanging palm or fruit trees, down stream of falls,etc.), let sink and strip slowly your imitation. Beware of the tremendous shock...
Other way to proceed: sometimes, in the heart of the dry season, large schools of pacous are feeding with everything that looks like seeds, fruits or every vegetal seemlike. In this case, it's the moment to use tip nymphs lines, with imitations of fruits in resin or foam slightly weighted like trout nymphing ant to strike to the lighter movement of the tip of the line.
Durind the rainy season, the pacous stay under the trees, waiting for the seeds and fruits falling down the water to eat them. It's the good time to purchase this nice and super game fish.
seed-fly( dressed by L.F Pinheiro)
Tarpons patterns which colours and size evoke the fruits which constitue the main food of the pacus, work very well. Yellow, orange, black, purple seaducers are good models. But maybe, imitations of fruits and seeds dressed according to their real appearances and colours, with yarn or deer hair would be the panacea...Some south-american flyfishermen use this type of " fly" with regular results. And don't forget a hard mono or fluorocarbon shock-tippet, because if the teeth of the pacou are not as cutting as the ones of its relative the piranha, they are formidable millstones able to grind in a stroke, seeds whose kernel has the hardness of an olive's one.
pacu rising on a floating seed.
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