Harpoon For Taking Paiche Fish
I found these handsome harpoons along the Amazon River in eastern Peru.
They are working tools completely authentic and used to take
the giant Paiche fish, Arapaima gigas.
The shaft of this is over 2 meters long and is fashioned from a solid piece
of cumaseba, Swartzia Polyphylla.
The head is made of steel and fashioned in a makeshift forge. The head has two barbs and a cup-like arrangement that holds the shaft to the head.
A cord several meters long connects the harpoon to a balsa float. Small hooks hold the cord to the shaft before it is thrown. cumaseba is too heavy to float so with this harpoon the head permanently attached to the shaft and the whole arrangement is connected to the float via the cord.
The paiche, is the largest freshwater fish in the world often weighing several hundred kilograms. Paiche meat is delicious and is eaten in the villages with the excess transported to river towns and sold in the market places. Like fish everywhere, the piache is over fished so strict limits and a season is enforced in Eastern Peru.
With a fish this large, fishermen need a harpoon with substantial mass, so they make the shaft large and from heavy wood such as Swartzia. Cumaseba has a deep dark-red hue. and is often used for decorative pieces. To the fishermen, though, the beauty of cumaseba is of secondary importance to its weight.
This harpoon would make a fine addition to a rainforest display in a zoo or museum. It is large enough so audience can view its details from a distance.
I've purchased a few of these harpoons and are in storage in the US.
In the US I can ship these harpoons by Parcel Post or UPS.
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