Barracuda (Pacific) Fishing (Sphyraena argentea)

All Tackle Record
9lbs, 8oz

Barracuda (Pacific) Fishing (Sphyraena argentea)

The Pacific Barracuda is a meagre cousin of its Atlantic counterpart, the Great Barracuda. Although smaller, they are equally as voracious and dangerous to handle, but also as fun to catch.

This migrating and schooling species can be found searching for food nearshore around reefs and kelp. When they're feeding actively, they will attack anything that crosses their way and will often gang up to surround a school of small fish and force them towards shallow water. If the water is murky, any moving or flashing object will be attacked immediately by these vicious fish.

How big

Pacific Barracuda live up to 12 years, grow up to about 50'' and very rarely over 9lbs. Larger fish caught in the same waters will most likely be Mexican 'cudas (Sphyraena ensis).

When & Where

The species is most abundant off Southern California, as north as Point Conception and south to the tip of the Baja Sur. If the waters are very warm, they can sometimes be found all the way up to Alaska. They can be caught year-round, but spring and summer are best.

How to catch

Most baits will do for these voracious fish. The prefered option is going with natural - large anchovies or small sardines. Iron jigs or spoons, or trolling plugs, have been proven effective as well.

The proper way to get a Barracuda to strike is by casting the bait as far out as possible and then slowly retrieving it. The Pacific kind can be taken on light tackle, as they won't normally wrap the line around rocks/kelp.

Good to eat?

Only when very fresh, as they don't keep well frozen. Rare cases of ciguatera (fish poisoning) have been reported.


  • Season - always open;
  • Size limit - 28'' minimum;
  • Bag limit (per angler per day) - 10;

         Mexico allows up to 10 fish, up to 5 of which may be the same species;

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