Skip to content

Arapaima Fishing Holidays Largest Scaled Freshwater Fish

Customer Rating 93%

The Most Sought After Species In The Amazon

The awe-inspiring Pirarucu, or Arapaima as it’s known, is the largest scaled freshwater fish globally and can reach weights approaching 400lb and lengths of almost three metres. As well as being one of the largest, it’s also one of the oldest and Arapaima fossils scanning back over ten million years have been found around the world.

Originally indigenous to Brazil, Peru, Colombia and several other countries in the Amazon basin, the fish is now also present in Thailand after being stocked by enterprising fish farmers. The giant apex predator is genuinely unique, and after an astonishing evolutionary process, it has the incredible ability to breathe oxygen, allowing it to survive in oxygen-depleted pools.

All these weird and wonderful facts, combined with being extremely challenging and hard fighting fish to catch, have made the Arapaima one of the most sought-after in the world. Usually fighting in short, fast runs with explosive jumps, they’re incredible leapers and can propel themselves way above the surface of the water once hooked. Fly fishing is a favoured method of targeting these fish, but tackle must be up to the job; heavy rods, lines and big flies are necessary to tame these monsters. A Fresh dead bait suspended below a float is also another popular method of fishing for Arapaima.

Below are the top destinations in the world for Arapaima Fishing.

Gillhams Fishing Resort Thailand  

The beautiful Gillhams fishing lake resort is located in the stunning area of Krabi Southern Thailand and is surrounded by limescale Karsts which are covered in a protected tropical rain forest. The resort can cater for single anglers, pairs, groups and we can also arrange full lake exclusivity.

Hosted Pirarucu Lodge Brazil

Join us on an amazing Amazon adventure where just 6 lucky guests each week will have the daily opportunity to catch Arapaima all exclusively on the fly. With 6.5 days of pure magic ahead of each group, this will be an adventure you will remember for a very long time. This holiday is fully hosted based around single anglers to join like-minded anglers.

Multi Lake Fishing Adventures Thailand

Exclusive to Sportquest Holidays, we have teamed up with our guides in Thailand. We are very pleased to offer you this unique chance of fishing for lots of different species from different lakes around the magnificent city of Bangkok. One day you could be fishing for 140kg Arapaima, the next Alligator Gar to 30kg.

Pirarucu Lodge Brazil

Visit the best destination in the world to catch Arapaima all exclusively on the fly. Enjoy 6.5 days fishing at Pirarucu Lodge, the largest Arapaima fishing reserve on this planet, all set in the stunning Amazon rainforest. Also, how about, on average, catching 3.5 Arapaima each day, plus many other species all on your fly rod.

Make an Enquiry

To speak to an expert or receive more information about when is the best time to travel? What can you expect from your holiday? Who are the tour guides? Will someone be there to meet me? Plus, many more questions. Either call our offices, e-mail us or fill in the form, and we will get back to you asap.
+44 (0)1603 407596
16 Alston Road
Hellesdon Park

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Satisfaction Score 93%

Frequently Asked Questions

Arapaima Species Spotlight

Name: Arapaima

Also known as: Pirarucu or Paiche

Scientific name: Sudis Gigas

Arapaima Characteristics

The Arapaima is torpedo-shaped with large blackish-green scales and red markings. It is streamlined and sleek, with its dorsal and anal fin set near its tail. Their bodies are covered in hard mineralised scales, providing strength and protection, meaning they are heavily armoured while remaining mobile. They are a unique species as they depend on surface air to breathe. In addition to gills, they have a modified and enlarged swim bladder composed of lung-like tissue, which enables it to extract oxygen from the air.

Where To Catch Arapaima?

This prehistoric leviathan can be found in numerous waterways worldwide, but it’s primarily famed as a giant of the lagoons and river systems of the Amazona. It was initially indigenous to Brazil, Peru, and Colombia but is also found in Bolivia and Guyana. For anglers fishing for them, Brazil is probably the most famous country, and Pirarucu Lodge in the world-famous Mamirauá Reserve is one of the best locations on the planet.

Over the last few decades, these magnificent specimens have also found their way into man-made lakes in Asia after being stocked by enterprising fish farmers. The most famous and popular of these is Gillhams Lake in Thailand, which contains fish of over 500lb.

Our top three Arapaima fishing tours:
Pirarucu Lodge Brazil
Gillhams Resort Thailand
Multi Lake Fishing Thailand

How To Catch Arapaima?

In the Amazon jungle, the favoured way of fishing for Arapaima is on the fly, and the style of fishing and tackle needed isn’t too dissimilar to that you would use Tarpon fishing. Heavy-duty 12-weight rods that feature a proper taper to cast big streamers and battle super-strong fish are essential, and so is a reel with a rock-solid drag. Aggressively tapered fly lines, purposely built for the jungle, are what you want, along with good quality backing and leaders. Large streamers tied on 4/0-6/0 heavy-duty hooks are what you want on the business end.

Fly fishing for Arapaima can be mentally taxing and requires a solid mindset to catch one. As they can only stay underwater for up to 20 minutes, it’s not unusual to see vast numbers of fish roll and splash throughout your session, and they can trick you into thinking it will be easy. However, they aren’t super aggressive feeders and prefer to wait and ambush their prey; this means blind casting with a slow retrieve is the order of the day. It’s essential to keep concentration at all times.

When fishing for them on conventional tackle, float fishing or ledgering a dead bait is probably the best method, but pellets and boilies also get used on some of the man-made lakes in Asia. Once again, as with fly fishing, your tackle must be up to the job, although on most lakes, all the correct tackle gets supplied.

To learn more about the Arapaima, visit our YouTube channel.

How Big Do Arapaima Grow?

Arapaima can grow to exceptional sizes and is considered one of the largest freshwater fish on the planet; specimens over 3m in length, weighing hundreds of pounds, are not unusual. At Gillhams Resort in Thailand, the lake record is 560lb, whilst the largest fish caught on the fly, verified by the IGFA, is a beast of 339lb (154kg) landed by Jakub Vágner in the Amazon Jungle. At Pirarucu Lodge, our destination in Brazil, 10lb to 80lb fish are common, and you can expect several bites daily.

The Arapaima at Pirarucu made it into our list of top freshwater fly fishing holidays, want to know what else did? Read our blog: Top Freshwater Fly Fishing Holidays. 

Book with confidence

We have worked hard to be able to provide you with the best prices possible. If you are quoted a lower price we will endeavour to beat it.
We take the stress out of the holiday planning process. All of our holidays include flights, transfer and accommodation making booking a holiday simple.
All our destinations our meticulously researched by our expert team, who take pride in planning and tailoring your holiday to your exact needs.
We are ATOL protected. This means you have the financial security on your holiday when booking through Sportquest Holidays.
When your trip benefits others, you gain too. All our trips support communities and preserve nature - which helps you get closer to both. So when you travel with us, everyone wins.
Covid-19 Promise
We recognise that flexibility is important when booking a holiday. Our Covid-19 promise provides an unprecedented level of flexibility.

Contact Us