Scientific name: Brycon melanopterus (Cope, 1872).
Other common names: jatuarana, matrincha (Brazil), sábalo amazónico or de cola negra (Perú), Kielstrichsalmler (Germany).
Ecology: This fish belongs to the Brycon genus, which includes 42 species and it is widely spread in South and Central America. Its name comes from the Greek ebrykon, which means “ that bites, that gnaws”. It is a migratory and of slow growth fish found in the Amazon basin of Bolivia, Perú , Brazil and Ecuador. It is extremely beautiful and recognizable by a black band in its caudal and anal fins.
The IGFA record of a yatorana is of 4,35 kg. (The Tambopata River, Perú, 1993). Tsimane offers sensational yatoranas, with average weights of almost 2 kg and trophies of 3 to 4 kg. Visual records of our guides indicate the presence of samples of 4 to 6 kg, capable of breaking the record again.
It is an omnivorous fish, an opportunist which is associated to the riverside vegetation, where it gets both food and shelter. Its varied diet includes fruits, seeds, small fish and land insects (beetles, bugs, cicadas, bumblebees, ants, etc.).
The best sites for catching yatoranas at Tsimane Lodge are the High Secure, its smalls tributaries, Agua Negra and High Pluma/Itirizama
Ways of fishing: pound by pound, the yatorana is the strongest fish at Tsimane Lodge. It is a sensational catch for light gear (Nº 5 or 6), with surface flies and small streamers. Its extremely quick precise bite and its small mouth, make it difficult to hook. Once connected, it fights like a dorado with double its weight, offering a tremendous resistance, with quick runs and sporadic jumps. The yatorana is a fish, which takes time to surrender, and it does not do so easily.
It avoids sites with a high concentration of dorados (its main predator) but it is associated to the pirapitinga, as they share habits and diet. While the pirapitingas enjoy the calmest and deepest parts of the pool, the yatoranas prefer sites where water speeds through branches. From there it rushes to the fly like a bolt, and if it misses or rejects the pattern, it will rarely take it again.
Being diurnal, it is caught best at warm times of the day. A breeze rustling through the branches and increasing the fall of fruits and insects increases the activity of the yatorana. Its electric nature makes it react best to short and fast recoveries near the surface. Regarding surface flies, the effect is boosted by rubber legs, which generate popping, and splashes. The takes with dry flies are sensational and explosive, that is why we recommend using this technique to enjoy its angling the most.
Rod: Nº 6 of 9 feet, medium/Fast action. Your favorite rod for trout in mid size freestones will suit you fine.
Reel, backing and line: reel with a good break with a capacity of a 100 yds. of 20-pound-backing. The recommended line is a WF-F tropical core, bonefish taper, which allows both delicate presentations and distant casts.
Leader: 8 or 9 feet, with a 20-pound- tippet, due to the closeness of a pirapitinga or a medium dorado.
Shock wire: a 6cm one of 20 pounds is enough but we recommend one of at least 12 cm and 30 pounds, as there are possibities of catching pirapitingas and small dorados. A loop knot is recommended for better mobility of the fly.
Flies: Poppers, Divers, Sliders and Foam Ants No. 2 to 1/0 (between 4 and 8 cm), on hooks of short feet, of the Gamakatsu Octopus kind, to guarantee hooking its small mouth. The black body ones are preferred, with yellow or orange rubber legs (preferably barred). EVA bodies 3 or 4mm thick are more resistant to bites than deer hair, and improve flotation with steel wire.
Streamers of craft fur, marabou, ostrich, Puglisi fibers or strung saddle between 7 and 10 cm long, number 1 and 2/0 are added. The most effective colors are black and red, orange, fluorescent green, fuchsia or pink. Ideal weight to be added is with small bronze eyes or 4 mm chain eyes.