water before it got away. At first he
thought it was a young salton, but then
changed his mind to manitoa, which
seems to be the general opinion of
several witnesses.  Three days before
catching the manitoa, he caught a giant
sting ray from the same location with
the same gear. In both cases a live fish
6 to 8 inches long was the bait. I did
not see the sting ray but it was
reported to be larger in circumference by
2 feet than his arms could hug. He
screamed for someone to bring the
machete before it killed him. He cut off
its tail in self defense. It fed 16 people.
To be truthful, I must say that I did not catch this catfish. The
gentleman pictured is Luzmildos, and he caught the fish with the gear
he is holding, from the back of my boat, while it was tied a few
hundred yards downstream from the confluence of the Nanay and the
Amazon Rivers, over the channel. He had a larger one to the top of the
I did some research on the internet with these results:
Catfish (Siluriformes)
Brachyplatystoma vaillantii
This fish is known as the piramutaba, pira-botão, and mulher ingrata
in Brazil, pirabutón in Colombia and manitoa in Peru. It was described
by Eigenmann and Eigenmann (1890) and commented on by Britsky

B. vaillantii occurs mainly along the mainstem of the Amazon River
and its Andean and sub-Andean white water tributaries in the
Brazilian, Peruvian and Colombian Amazon, as well as in the Orinoco
and Maroni rivers (French Guiana). It is rarely found above rapids,
except in the Madeira River, and above the Middle Tocantins River.

The fish is a medium sized riverine piscivore (max. 100 cm). It rarely
visits the floodplain, preferring to inhabit the mainstem of the rivers.
Its migration has been investigated by tagging, field observation and
fishery studies. Tagging conducted during the late seventies failed to
produce any useful results, probably due to the large distances

Fishery reports and field observations suggest that this species
migrates 3,500 km upriver from the mouth of the Amazon River to
spawn in Andean tributaries (400 m altitude), such as the Ucayali and
Japurá rivers.

Upstream migration occurs between May and October. During all life
stages piramutaba lives primarily near the river bed.

Amazon River Catfishing

fishing from Dawn on the Amazon I
Luzmildos with catfish
Luzmildos with Manitoa catfish
The fish pictured was caught Sept. 17th, I assume on it's migratory
route upstream. Timing is crucial to catching them close to Iquitos.
Otherwise we have to chase them upstream, or meet them downstream.

Amazon River Catfishing
I did some further research by eating a big catfish fillet fried in palm oil
with aji and lime and yellow potatoes from the Andes on the side. Oh
yes, Amazon River catfish is delicious. Come and catch some with us.

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