Their habit is also their downfall as Arapaima are air-breathers. They can live in water with next to no oxygen and as they have to come to the surface to gulp air and fill their air bladders, they give their position away.
The Arapaima has a relatively small head and tiny tail for such massive body mass, with bright scarlet red tail and belly markings (more so in males). It’s easy to see where they get their immense fighting power from and when caught, many an unsuspecting angler has been knocked out with a smack from the hard, bony head of these colossal fish.
Fishing for Arapaima, when and where allowed, is not easy as they can be stubborn and lethargic. When on the move or hunting, they are easy to locate and must be followed quietly. One sound from an oar or rod against the boat and they’ll stay down on the bottom for half an hour or more. But if a carefully-placed bait or lure is put right in front of their noses, they will literally gulp it down and take off like a jet plane.