8 Ferocious Fish with Teeth
By: Keith "Catfish" Sutton
Many freshwater fish we catch in North America are no problem to lip with our hand, but there are some terrible, toothy terrors you need to find an alternative method to land
On many occasions, I’ve gotten distracted while fighting a fish, and when I finally had my quarry close enough to land, I quickly reached down and grabbed it by the lip to bring it in the boat. If it’s a largemouth I’m landing, or a big crappie or striper, that’s not a problem. When fishing in some waters, however, the creature that gets grabbed may grab back. And if it’s one of the toothy terrors listed here, it could leave you with wounds that need stitching, or worse.
I therefore warn you to think twice before lipping the next fish you bring alongside your boat. In the Western Hemisphere, rivers, lakes and saltwater environs are home to many fish that have maws studded with rows of needle-sharp teeth. If you make a mistake and grab one of these bad boys by the lower jaw, you may find yourself heading to an emergency room.
Beware these bad-to-the-bone beasts that bite!
They don’t call it “Dracula fish” for nothing. This South American favorite has the countenance of a vampire, with two fangs as long as your little fingers erupting from its lower jaw – plus dozens of other sharp teeth. With needle-sharp tips and knifelike edges, these dentures are perfect for impaling the payara’s favorite dinner: live piranhas. And you know any fish that eats piranhas must be one tough customer.
While fishing for payara on the Rio Paragua in Venezuela, we often reeled in piranha baits so full of holes they looked like hamburger meat – the result of payara attacks. The fish’s long lower fangs fit nicely into sheaths in the upper jaw, but the payara’s strike is as swift as a cobra. It can open wide and impale you before you know it happened. The result is guaranteed to be extremely bloody and painful.
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