Fish For Piranha on the Amazon River

Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest is among the most isolated and wild places on earth. The lush confines of the jungle hide thousands of undiscovered archeological treasures, and keep dozens of stone-age tribes from realizing modern civilization. Few command the adventurous spirit to venture into this world of hanging moss, screeching birds and constant dripping water. However, if you do muster the resolve to charge into the Amazon, you will be rewarded with timeless memories and a new perspective of the natural world.

“Yeow!” My boat mate yelped, scrambling in our dugout canoe to find something to staunch the blood gushing from his thumb. “Those little fish really bite!”

Fishing for Piranha in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest
Fishing for Piranha in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest

Our guides on the tour of the Amazon River in northern Brazil somehow overlooked emphasizing caution when handling the piranha – thus the first victim. We fished simply: bamboo poles, line, a hook, and a chunk of raw meat as bait. There’s no fancy reel or net – just our hands to unhook the little monsters.

On the Amazon, our destination was the Anavilhas Islands, known for its birdlife and wild beauty. The trip proved magical from the start – we spotted two pink dolphins (“boi de rosa” or “pink cow”) cavorting in the harbor water, coming up for air and flashing their bright pink sides. On the river, we passed palafitos — houses on stilts, guarding against the river’s rise and fall, a three-meter range during rainy season.

Our guide, Anandi, provided more facts: the Amazon stretches over 6,000 kilometers (3,278 miles) from Peruvian Andes to the Atlantic. One-fifth of all fresh water on earth runs through the region. At its mouth, the river’s width equals the distance between Paris and London.”

By Jason Gardner, travel writer for