National Geographic : 1957 Jun
869 + Mouth Agape, an Arapaima Concedes the Battle Relative of the salmon and herring, the arapaima, or pirarucu, is the largest known fresh-water fish in South America. Giants 15 feet long and weighing as much as 400 pounds have been reported in the Ama zon Basin. Indians seek the ara paima with baited lines and harpoons or in mass attacks with bows and arrows. The fish's strength is prodigious. Hunters tell of anglers dragged from the riverbank by medium-sized catches. British Guiana's natives value the arapaima despite its tastelessness. In parts of South America, drying and salting of the flesh is an important industry. + Jack Lester, expedition leader (left), and Tiny MacTurk, a rancher, measure their prize. They harpooned this 7-foot, 200-pound titan on the Rupununi River.