How to Fish for Piranhas

In all honesty, I have fished for piranhas only twice, so I don’t speak to you from much experience. Although, I must say, between the two outings I probably took home 7-8 of those little guys. This is to say I have, at least, experienced success.

The first step to fishing for piranhas is getting to the Amazon river. We recommend flying from Lima, Peru to Iquitos, Peru (2-hour flight) which will set you back about $250. Upon arrival in Iquitos you need to get from the airport to the Riverwalk, which is usually done by taking a moto-taxi or a previously arranged shuttle. The alternative option is to book a stay with an all-inclusive jungle lodge; they will usually take care of all logistics.

CatchingPiranha

Once you’re out on a boat in piranha-infested waters, you can get to work. Your guide (and her/his local assistant) will give you a stick with string tied to it. That, along with bait, is all you need. “What is the bait?” you might ask. Raw meat, usually from a chicken, but any animal will do; yes you can even use other piranhas as they are not picky eaters.

Once the raw meat is attached, you simply lower your reel into the water. You will feel a lot of nibbles. In my experience, you just randomly jerk the hook out of the water and see if you have a fish on the other end (a lot of times you do!). Since you are not a native and probably won’t be doing this again, the technique of random fishing will be sufficient.

That said, I observed the techniques of the natives and they seem to have a knack for knowing when to set the hook – they could’ve caught 30-40 fish if they wanted to.

If you aren’t getting any bites, you have 2 options: first, go to a different fishing hole/lake/river, second, slam the boat paddle in the water as piranhas are attracted to noise and movement. This is pretty simple, folks.

CaughtPiranha

You may be wondering: Is this for real? The answer is a simple “yes.” If you book with an all-inclusive jungle lodge, you will observe the flora and fauna of the rainforest AND have have the opportunity to fish for (and eat!) piranhas. It doesn’t get better than this!

If you’re lucky, you will have 5-6 piranhas ready for your evening meal. If you’re not so lucky … well, someone else might be having a feast.

Happy Travels…

Jared Snow on Twitter
Jared Snow
Peru Travel Expert at Destination Peru
I lived in Peru for 3 years between 2010 - 2014. During that time I researched and wrote full-time about traveling and living in Peru. I've owned and operated Destination Peru since 2012. I've always had a special interest in the Peruvian Amazon, not only because I think it has so much to offer, but because my wife's family is from the Loreto area. My favorite food of all-time is Peruvian Ceviche. Please feel free to reach out anytime: jared@treehouselodge.com.

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