The Red Piranha is a species of piranha native to South America. They are omnivorous foragers and feed on insects, worms, crustaceans and fish. They are not a migratory species, but do travel to seek out conditions conducive to breeding and spawning during periods of increased rainfall. Red Piranhas often travel in shoals as a predatory defense, but rarely exhibit group hunting behavior. Acoustic communication is common, and is sometimes exhibited along with aggressive behaviors. At this time, the Red Piranha is not considered to be a threatened species by the IUCN, and therefore, there are no conservation strategies in place to target this species. Through media influence, the Red Piranha has developed a reputation as a ferocious predator, though this is not actually the case. They are a popular aquarium fish.
The Red Piranha has a popular reputation as a ferocious predator, despite being primarily a scavenger. As their name suggests, Red Piranha have a reddish tinge to the belly when fully grown, although juveniles are a silver colour with darker spots. They grow to a maximum length of 33 cm (13 in) and a weight of 3.5 kg (7.7 lb). The rest of the body is often gray with silver-flecked scales. Sometimes, blackish spots appear behind the gills and the anal fin is usually black at the base. The pectoral and pelvic fins may vary from red to orange. Females can be distinguished from males by the slightly deeper red color of their bellies.
Any size tackle should be sufficient as these things don’t really fight too hard. However, make sure you use a wire leader to avoid bite offs. They have an incredibly strong bite for their size and obviously sharp teeth. Red Piranha obviously prefer bait but will hit lures as well. They are not usually specifically targeted by serious sport fishermen. Many lures work well for Red Piranha, especially if they have some flash. Krocadile spoons are a good choice. Don’t use soft plastics or bucktail jigs as these will get completely shredded very quickly. If you really want to catch Red Piranha you should use bait. No need for anything fancy here, just a hook on a wire leader with whatever fresh meat you can find.
The Red Piranha is distributed widely throughout the South American continent and is found in the Neotropical freshwater rivers of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. They live in the warm freshwater drainages of several major rivers including the Amazon, Rio Paraguay, Rio Paraná and Rio Essequibo, as well as numerous smaller systems. It is acclimated to waters that are between 15 and 35 °C(59-95 °F) and have a pH of 6 to 7 and is typically found in white water rivers and some freshwater streams and lakes. In the Brazilian Amazon, the red-bellied piranha may sometimes inhabit flooded forests.