By Capt Peacock
Also known as Lau-Lau, Giant Catfish, and Amazon Catfish, the Piraiba (Brachyplatystoma filamentosum) is the largest catfish species in all of Brazil’s Amazon and one frequently targeted by guests of Capt Peacock Yachts & Expeditions. The Piraiba is a true monster capable of reaching lengths of almost 12 feet and weights of more than 400 pounds. Despite this leviathan size, the Piraiba is extremely agile and fiercely fast and has been known to leap from the water after prey.
Piraiba are silvery-gray in color with a white colored abdomen. Lips are occasionally reddish. It possess a smooth, scale-free skin and carries long maxillary barbels that extend well past the dorsal fin and occasionally almost to the caudal fin. The caudal fin of adults is deeply forked. Piraiba also poses a “milk gland” at the anterior upper part of its pectoral fins. The function of this gland is unknown but gives it the unique moniker of lechero in Colombia, which means “milkman.” It is a first rate predator yet, like most catfish, is an opportunistic carnivore and will eat pretty much anything be it living or dead. It is often found in deep holes in lotic (fast moving) water.
Given its size and strength, only the strongest and most determined of anglers target Piraiba and those that do opt for heavy saltwater fishing rigs. Once hooked, Piraiba bolt for underwater cover. Because of this they must be reeled in as quickly as possible to avoid line breakage. Targeting Piraiba is not a sport for the weak or faint of heart!