The last thing on our agenda after two and a half days in the paradise of Las Pampas was piranha fishing. Much like the alligators and anacondas that live here, piranha fish are proceeded by a fearsome reputation as man eaters – so it was quite a thrill to be turning the tables on them. Actually their reputation is exaggerated quite a bit, thanks in the main part to films like “James bond: You Only Live Twice” where they’re basically working as aquatic assassins. In actual fact it’s highly unlikely that a school of piranha could kill a healthy, uninjured human – but they could certainly do some damage if you didn’t get out of their way once they started biting.

I had a little phase as a young teenager where I got quite into fishing back in the UK. I had a couple of rods and used to fish in the Thames with maggots for bait – I never caught much but I quite enjoyed it. Fishing for piranha turned out to be pretty easy given the fact their mean, bitey little fuckers. Instead of the maggots I used to use to lure perch out the Thames, we were given little cuts of beef as bait. The red meat sent them crazy and within seconds we were all getting nibbles. We were fishing Robinson Crusoe style with just a line and a hook and it took a little while to work out the right technique – but once we got it down the snarling piranhas days were numbered.

There are three types, all coloured slightly differently – the red bellied piranhas being the most vicious. We managed to catch a range of them all – I landed two, one fairly big red bellied monster being my prize catch. Our guide was predictably the most competent fisherman and his haul made our catch much more impressive – but I think everyone managed to get at least one (Kari leading the way with 3). We stayed at the fishing spot for about an hour and by the time we left we had quite a healthy looking lunch ahead of us.

Back at the lodge, we handed the piranhas over to the cooks and patiently awaited the tasty reward for our efforts. When we were called for lunch we were met with a fairly impressive plate of fried fish. Completely ignoring the advice given to us as kids – the first thing most of us did was play with our food; pulling the mouths open to reveal the dangerous looking gnashers, positioning them for photos (and if you were me manipulating the mouths to make them talk). When we finally got around to eating them there was a disappointing amount of meat on them. The irony we were all trying to ignore being that the steak we used as bait would have provided a much heartier meal. That being said it was pretty cool to have caught our own lunch and even cooler looking down seeing the mythical man eater looking up from your plate.

Here’s the best of the piranha pics, click here to see the full Las Pampas gallery

Some of the other stuff I got up to in Las Pampas
Late night alligator hunting
The amazing wildlife of Las Pampas
Anaconda hunting
(Nearly) swimming with pink dolphins

Click here to see the full Las Pampas gallery