Saltwater Fishing For The Barracuda: Underrated Toothy Trophy

The barracuda is one of the world’s most widely dispersed saltwater species, yet often overlooked by the majority of sportsmen. Many anglers consider this toothy silver torpedo a nuisance rather than a potential trophy, but I am willing to wager that is because they simply do not know what they are missing.

I was first introduced to the barracuda while stationed in Key West Florida. Like many others I viewed it as an unwanted trash fish which was prone to steal other more desirable catch from my line or harass me while diving. If I saw one in the area I usually looked for a quick retreat or considered where else I could cast my line.  It wasn’t until a year or so later, while temporarily assigned to Guantanamo Bay Cuba that I learned how wrong I was.

While in Cuba I was introduced to targeted barracuda fishing. At first I really didn’t know what to think about trying to catch what I viewed as a trash fish, but by lunch time that first day I was already planning my second trip.  In truth very little had changed in regards to the fish itself – it was still too oily for my taste and likely to take other trophies as a snack, but now I had experienced how much fun they could be to hook on purpose. While the lack the stamina necessary for hour long battles from a fighting chair they were still capable of providing a short but exciting challenge. Hooked barracudas are known for their short, fast runs and will often leap from the water while attempting to escape, both exciting and sought after aspects of any fishing day.

Another reason the barracuda makes an excellent game fish is what drew us to them years ago in Gitmo, the fact that very little specialized gear is needed to be successful.  In fact, the only special gear you need is a wire leader, gloves for handling and pliers for hook removal. Everything else is probably already in your garage:

  1. Medium action salt water rod, 7’ or more in length depending on whether using bait or lures;
  2. Live local bait with means of keeping it that way for the entire trip OR
  3. A variety of bright, flashy lure – poppers, spoons, divers and even large plastics all have the potential of landing a ‘cuda. The more it looks and acts like a wounded fish the better.

Finally, barracudas were what was available in the local harbor and chances are they can be found where you fish as well. The only special requirements the species needs is tropical or sub-tropical temperatures, once you have that chances are you have barracudas. Smaller barracudas can be found in many shallow water areas, bays or close to shore. Larger specimens, Giant Barracudas, will be farther offshore and can generally be found near reefs or wreck sites.

All in all the barracuda meets my definition of games fish and I bet it will meet yours as well.

Good luck, good fishing!

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