I just finished watching the most terrifying and yet intriguing episode of “River Monsters.” If you’re not familiar with the show, basically this British guy goes around trying to catch large freshwater fish while simultaneously trying to convince the audience that these fish are as dangerous as a ‘roided out mako shark. Most episodes end with the host coming to the conclusion that the fish of the week has gotten a bad rap from freak chance encounters that ended badly.
The episode I watched today was different. This one was truly frightening. The host went to Papua New Guinea to investigate a fish, locally known as The Ball Cutter, rumored to mutilate men’s genitalia. THE BALL CUTTER?!?!?! It’s a better name than say the cock mangler, but not much.
After some investigation, it’s found out that the fish in question is an introduced, usually vegetarian, cousin of the piranha called the Pacu. Pacu have extremely strong jaws that they use to smash fruit and break open the nuts that they usually feed on. These are their teeth.
For some reason, after being introduced into this particular river system these fish, which, I will reiterate, usually eat plant matter, have become predators that have been reported to attack anything and everything that swims in their new waters, including exposed native junk.
Now what intrigues me is this what a pacu looks like.
That’s right, it’s basically a thirty pound bream (or bluegill for those of y’all not from the southeastern US). If you’ve ever caught a bluegill on a light fly rod or any other fish that happens to be shaped like a dinner plate you know how hard they fight.
Now, fly fishing for the pacu is not unheard of, but imagine fishing for a highly predatory population of these hard fighting fish in one of the most remote areas in the world…
Still though, I would hate to see the flies people would come up with to catch something known as The Ball Cutter.