Fishing for Piranhas in the Amazon in Peru
Those are awfully big teeth for such a small fish, I thought. I was on an oxbow lake in the Peruvian Amazon fishing for piranhas. The fishing expedition was part of a tour to the Amazon and Machu Picchu.
The adventure had begun earlier that morning. My group had gamely risen at 4:00 a.m., the cries of the howler monkeys serving as our wake-up call.
The excursion to the oxbow lake involved a motorized canoe ride up the Madre de Dios River followed by a hike along a narrow path through the still dark rainforest. A flat-bottomed boat awaited us on the shores of the lake.
Once on the lake, we saw caimans lurking in the reeds and a family a playful river otters frolicking in the still water. Then, our tour guide patiently baited our hooks with bloody red meat. We dangled our lines in the water.
Suddenly, Peter, another member of our group, felt a distinct tug on his line. The guide helped him reel in the piranha. It was about the size of a sand dollar.
When she gently removed the hook from the piranha’s mouth, I got a good look at its teeth. They looked like the edge of a very sharp serrated knife, perfectly suited for devouring raw meat.
From that day on I stopped trailing my hand in the water when I canoed in the Amazon.