The Payara is a predatory species of Dogtooth Tetra found in the Amazon Basin in tropical South America. There are two species within the family, and although the Silver Payara is far more abundant than its smaller cousin, the Pink-tailed Payara, it grows larger and is the most sought after by travelling freshwater fly fishing anglers.
Known as the ‘Vampire Fish’, the species is known for its remarkable orthodonture; even though it doesn’t suck the blood of its prey, its six-inch-long fangs protrude from an undershot jaw, resulting in a face only a (Payara) mother could love. Using these razor-sharp fangs to impale their prey, mostly smaller baitfish, they grow between 1.5ft to 3ft in length and average between 5lb and 20lb in weight. They are considered the ultimate jungle predators and are famed for their highly aggressive behaviour, savage nature and are considered the hardest-hitting and strongest fighting fish in the Amazon Basin and South America. Its silver flanks are streamlined for power and built for speed, and their fan-shaped caudal fins help them swim in the choppy currents and rapids of the Amazonian rivers they inhabit.
For years they have been one of the most challenging fish for fly anglers to target, as there were very few safe regions where they could get caught. However, with the recent developments of a select few Lodges in South America and Brazil, the playing field has changed, and intrepid anglers have the opportunity to target these savage predators.
Across this spectacular wilderness territory, the protected, mythological Xingu River, flows over granite bedrock, running clear and allowing for sight-fishing opportunities for a wide variety of species. But what sets Xingu apart from anywhere else in the Amazon are the impressive numbers of large Payara - one of the hardest-hitting and strongest fighting fish in the Amazon.
Kendjam Lodge in the Xingu basin, which the Iriri River is part of, is now the first official sport fishing operation in Brazil, located inside an Indigenous Territory. It offers the most intense jungle fishing experience found anywhere in South America and the World, giving freshwater fly anglers the chance to enjoy some truly wild, explosive mixed fishing.
Average Customer Satisfaction Score 96%
"I'd fished a few times in neighbouring Bolivia for the Golden Dorado, but fancied something even more tropical and remote to really test me and my angling ability. I wasn't disappointed, I don't think there can be too many more remote fishing spots in the world! The Amazon River, well its tributary, the Xingu River was very kind to me - I was lucky enough to land the biggest Payara of the week, at a few ounces over 10lb. Would I return? Absolutely!"
"I'm not going to lie it took me a little while to acclimatise to my surroundings and the fishing, but after spending a solid day with my guide he really helped me and I was soon into the swing of things. I really apologise as I cannot remember his name (it must be old age!), but I'd just like to thank him. Come to think of it I'd like to thank everyone at Kendjam Lodge and everyone in the office at home who made my trip happen."