We’ve probably all seen pictures of giant, trophy pike and musky.
Maybe you’ve gone after tarpon on the fly looking for that one-of-a-kind big fish thrill.
While those should definitely be on every angler’s bucket list, today I want to introduce you to a few species of fish you might not have heard of before.
Most of these monsters require a passport and more than a few planes to get to them, but hooking into one could be well worth it.
It’s sometimes called a living fossil, because it remains largely unchanged from the way it has always been.
Though it is protected by the Brazilian government from commercial fishing, there are remote areas of the Amazon basin where fishing is allowed on a catch-and-release basis.
The fish can grow to a colossal 61/2 feet, and weigh over 400 pounds.
In the most recent issue of The Drake magazine, there is a fantastic article about fishing expeditions for arapaima in Guyana.
For more information about fishing there, visit www.rewaguyana.com.
2. Mekong Catfish
The first we will look at is the Mekong.
Native to the Mekong basin in Southeast Asia, this monster owns the distinction of holding the Guinness World Record for being the largest known freshwater fish.
Fish have been recorded measuring over 10 feet in length, and over 650 pounds!
Believe it or not, people actually go after these guys with fly tackle. The preferred method is casting goat blood soaked streamers at them!
While it would certainly take most of us a bit of effort to be able to fish for one, you would be giving yourself the opportunity to potentially catch the largest freshwater fish on record.
3. Goliath Tigerfish
Growing to sizes of 110 pounds or more, and sporting a mouth full of teeth that would make a piranha jealous, this native of the African Congo has actually been known to attack humans.
Small children wading in shallow waters are at particular risk, and there have even been fatalities reported in a few countries.
Perhaps this is why this monster is so prized as a game fish—nothing like hunting something that can also hunt you!
4. Wels Catfish
Like many other catfish, these can be found in large warm lakes and deep, slow moving rivers hiding in holes.
Their diet is not unlike blue or channel cats—though the big ones also eat mice, rats, frogs and even ducks. This diet helps the Wels grow to just under 10 feet and weigh up to 330 pounds—though fish of that size are extremely rare.
You are likely to be able to hook into one weighing over 200 pounds though, as these types of catches are much more common.
Whatever size you go after, I definitely do not recommend noodling for one of these monsters!
5. Alligator Gar
Found in the lower Mississippi River Valley, the Gulf States, as well as many other Southeastern States, there are plenty of opportunities to hook into a big one close to home.
At the time of this writing, the world record for an alligator gar on fishing tackle is 279 pounds, while the bowfishing record is 365 pounds.
One popular way to catch these monsters is with “rope baits.” They are essentially streamers that look like frayed rope. When the fish bites, the rope gets tangled in the teeth, and you can reel them in.
However you go after these five monsters, they are sure to present a unique challenge for the fisherman. Hey, we all love bass and trout, but going after something like this will be a memory that lasts a lifetime.
See ya on the water…