Piranha Fishing in the Pantanal

Whenever I mention going fishing for Piranhas, people seem shocked.

I suppose they envision me fighting off a school of man-eating fish with my bare hands. It’s not quite like that, it’s really more of a laid-back afternoon in the sun, using long fishing poles while dangling morsels of meat in the water.

Fishing for Piranhas

Using long poles to fish for piranhas in the Pantanal wetlands, Brazil


It seems the Piranhas are smart little things too, as they don’t all go crazy at the first sight of flesh. Heck, when I was safely fishing from a top a bridge a local Pantanal fisherman was wading through waist high water nearby. So, really, how dangerous could they be?

What most people don’t know is that there are anywhere from 30-60 different types of Piranhas in the world!

Pantanal Wetlands

The Pantanal Wetlands – A Pretty Place even if you don’t catch Piranhas


One type, the Red-Bellied Piranha, is the one that is most aggressive and frequently resorts to cannibalism. As far as I could tell, the Pirhanas I was fishing for were one of the much lazier, less scary species. But – they still had damn sharp teeth!

It was a fun day, despite not really catching anything. A few people I was with had better success, so we were able to dine on some Piranha for dinner. What I enjoyed most was just being out in nature, in the world’s largest wetlands. Birds, fish, caiman and all sorts of wildlife live in the Pantanal in Brazil.

Sunset in the Pantanal

Sunset in the Pantanal Wetlands, Brazil


It’s a place I’d love to return to in search of more wildlife like otters, anteaters and jaguars. Perhaps I’ll fare a little better with my Pirhana fishing skills next time too. If you’re wondering where my photos of the actual Piranhas are…well,  the only photo of the too0thy little things I took came out blurry. Another reason to return…



About Red Hunt

A former journalist and business analyst that now works in the world of travel marketing. Based in Toronto, Red Hunt has travelled to more than 40 countries over the past 10 years. You can follow Red on Twitter @redhunttravel.