Barracuda (Great) Fishing
Barracuda (Great) Fishing
Barracuda (Great) (Sphyraena barracuda)
- Size 5 to 15lbs
- Food Value Low
- Game Qualities Average
- Habitats Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck
Fast and ferocious, the Great Barracuda is a true predator of the seas. With its huge gape and sharp teeth, it's able to feed on larger prey by chopping it in half. With low food value, 'cudas are normally caught for trophy purposes or as bycatch.
Younger and smaller specimens can sometimes be found in schools over nearshore coral reefs and mangroves, even in areas with high amounts of freshwater influx. They quickly mature and move away into the open ocean, where they are mostly solitary swimmers, predominantly close to the surface, but sometimes patroling depths of up to 325ft.
They are sometimes attracted to spearfishing prey and can attack it, or mistake the glint of equipment to be fish. This is behind the reports of Barracuda attacking humans (there are even a couple of deaths on record), but all of these are cases of confusion, as these fish don't see people as prey.
Three's a crowd? These anglers don't think so. All-around bites out of Placida, FL
Great Barracuda grow to fascinating lengths of up to 6ft, potentially weighing more than 100lbs. The average catch will be from 5 to 15lbs. They live short lives (around 15 years) and mature quickly (in 2-4 years).
When & Where
Great Barracuda saturate tropical and subtropical waters worldwide, except the eastern Pacific Ocean, where they're replaced by the smaller Pacific Barracuda. In the eastern Atlantic region, you can fish for them from Massachusetts to Brazil, anywhere in the Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean Sea.
Having the warmest waters, South Florida and the Keys host the largest fish. They are good to fish for year-round, with September and October being prime months. A general rule of thumb would be that cold fronts will push them in from the reefs to the flats.
Facial expression courtesy of Barracuda's distinct odour. Landed aboard Deep Blue Sea in Dubai, UAE
How to catch
Being omnivorous, fast and feeding throughout the water column, it doesn't take much to hook a Barracuda. Fast trolling with plugs, tube lures, spoons or live or cut small fish (ballyhoo, mullet or Bonito) is the most popular and efficient option.
If casting, the bait should not land very close to the fish, but should be retrieved at great speed, as they will chase it. Flies work nicely as well.
Good to eat?
Smaller Barracuda meat is edible, but larger specimens are leaders in the list of tropical fish thought to cause ciguatera (fish poisoning).
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