Species: Piaractus mesopotamicus
Thai Name: Pla Jalamet
Grows to weight/length: 20kg+/60cm+
Stocked at Hookers: to 60cm/4kg, caught at 5.6kg
The Pacu is a common sight across the fishing lakes of Thailand but is also commonly mis-identified as the term “pacu” is often used to describe fish of several different genera. The similar looking but obviously coloured tambaqui for example is also known as a Black Pacu, while the red bellied pacu’s common name is Pirapitinga. As the Pirapitinga loses its red belly marking as it grows it is distinguished from the small-scaled pacu by fewer and larger scales along its lateral line. The common pacu or small-scaled pacu is silvery-grey with a whitish/yellowish belly and large oval shape with bigger specimens growing to more than 20kg in weight.
The pacu is a voracious omnivore eating almost anything it can find. As a relative of the piranha it has some amazing dentistry that closely resembles that of human molars which allow it to consume nuts and crustaceans in the wild. This can make it a frustrating fish to target as it will happily take a carp bait but often bite through the hook link; similarly it will often take pieces of fish or chicken intended for other predators. One thing is for sure, they fight very hard with short sharp bursts turning sharply left and right and digging the bottom.
They can be caught anywhere in the lake but generally seem to prefer more open, deeper water and as for bait…well, anything seems to go!