The Acrobatic Bicuda
Sleek and streamlined, its wild aerial antics make it one of
the world’s most challenging and desirable freshwater sportfish !!!
Bicuda means “beaked” in Portuguese. Just look at that nose.
Several species of Boulengerella and Cytenolucius (a similar genus) are found in
the Amazon basin. Most are small and not pursued by sportfishermen, but B.
cuvieri is an altogether different beast. Attaining weights in excess of 15
pounds, these aggressive fast-start predators are a prized Amazon adversary.
Taking to the air instantly, they keep the fight right where the angler can see
it, above the water. Their bony mouths, repeated jumps and violent headshakes
make landing a big specimen an exceptional angling accomplishment.
Identification Keys. Elongate, pike-like silver body. Bony
beak-like mouth with sharp, fine, comb-like teeth. Distinctive red and black
Bars and Markings. None, body relatively uniform and free of
any clearly visible markings. Slight red
tinge in lower fins in some specimens. Red tail with black center stands out
Colors. Silver body, Red-tinged fins, Red and Black tail . Size.
Adults: can exceed 15 lbs. and 1 meter in length.
Key Characters. comb-like teeth, beak-like mouth, elongate
shape red tail.
Similar Species. Several similar, but smaller species of Boulengerella
are found throughout the Amazon basin. Generally brighter in color with greenish
backs, spots or stripes and a version of the distinctive red and black tail.
Known Range. Countries: Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, French
Behavior Notes. Often found in small groups in shallow water
against beaches at midday. Actively feed in fast water, especially around
Habitat. In high gradient rivers, they appear to occupy all
habitats, from rapids to quiet pools.
One of the Amazon's most spectacular and challenging game
fish, bicuda are a difficult species to target. Nonetheless anglers can improve
their chances of encountering bicuda by focusing on several techniques and
habitats. Since they are dwellers in high gradient rivers and distributed
throughout those river's habitats at different times, anglers can encounter
them in several manners;
When feeding, bicuda will actively pursue lures in
fast-water tailraces below waterfalls and in rocky areas or banks at the edges
of pools. In these habitats they are most easily caught with small to medium
subsurface swimming plugs, such as Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows, Rapala CD 11 and
bright streamer flies on a sinking line. Work close to rocks and retrieve baits
fairly slowly, swimming them around and through submerged rock structure.
Hookups in these conditions and with these types of bait are often surer than
in other circumstances, however, it is recommended that you try to set very
forcefully before they start jumping.
Once airborne, they are experts at sending your lure right
back to you via their own fish airmail.
During sunny midday and afternoon hours, small groups of
bicuda can be encountered laid up on beaches, literally at the shallowest
edges. A walking stick bait such as a Heddon Super Spook cast right next to the
shoreline will often elicit an immediate and violent surface strike. Who knows
why? Perhaps they're annoyed at being disturbed while sun bathing! Regardless
of what elicits this reaction, things happen fast now. The hookset must occur
immediately under difficult conditions since lines are rarely tight and rods
rarely well-positioned when an angler is taken by surprise (believe me you're
never ready for this even if you're planning it). The bicuda will immediately
begin tailwalking across the surface. If you survive the aerial reaction, you
have a good chance of landing the fish once he begins his series of short fast
runs. If not, and your lure came flying out, well, you just got one heck of a
Edited by Acute Angling - 06/Aug/2012 at 9:10pm