Payara are a ferocious migratory gamefish from the family Cynodontidae. Payara are among the gamest of South Americas freshwater fishes, leaping when hooked and making long fast runs. They are picivorous predators that attack upward, stabbing prey with the large canine teeth and then swallowing them whole and head first.
The Payara's most noticeable feature is the two long fangs protruding from its lower jaw. These fangs can be 4 to 6 inches long. They have a salmon-like body, complete with an adipose fin. Parayas grow to be around 3 feet long with an average length of 1.5 ft. Payaras sport a uniform, bright silver colour along their flanks with an olive back and an orange and black tail.
Payara are much appreciated sport fish due to the impressive fights they put up. Payara fish is usually considered to be one of the fiercest struggling freshwater fishes, offering a larger fight then other popular fishes from the area such as Peacock Bass. They also add to the sport of catching them by jumping up and down out of the water in a similar way to Salmon.
Payara fish usually hunts in open water rather then at the surface so sinking fish lures such as spoon and jigs are the best choice. Make sure that you have enough line on your reel when fishing this fish since a Payara easily can peel of up to 150 yards of line in the first few seconds of the fight. Payara prefer to reside in extremely fast water and take both lures and flies with such savage force that one can easily rip the rod from your grasp if you are not paying close attention. Conventional gear for Payara is virtually the same as for peacock bass and dorado. Payara are usually fished on a catch and release basic since larger specimens today are becoming quite rare in many waters.
Payara inhabit freshwater rivers and lakes in South America from the Orinoco to Paraguay River basins. The distribution of large payara is limited to a few places in Columbia, Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana, Peru and probably Ecuador.