Barracuda Tackle and Tactics
This article is about fishing fishing for barracuda from shore with lures. Trolling for large barracuda is another article in itself for another time. Our hope is that anglers can learn a little more about this wonderful fish and experience the thrill of catching them on lures! Enjoy!
Barracuda are a torpedo shaped saltwater fish that can be found all around the world. There a couple species of Barracuda that are found in the Philippines of which the Great Barracuda ( Sphyrena barracuda ) is the most notable. Barracuda feed on just about any fish that they can manage to strike. They have razor sharp teeth which are notorious for their slicing capabilities. If is not uncommon for a baitfish to be severed in half by a strike from a barracuda. Barracuda have a silvery color with a dark barred back. In shallow water they can change the color of their bars from a dark almost black color to a light brown color that helps them blend into the sea floor.
Barracuda can be caught in a variety of marine environments. Smaller barracuda, called Juveniles, are mainly caught around reefs, estuaries, and coastlines, while the larger barracuda are usually caught around deeper reefs and offshore. Juvenile Barracuda often form large schools while larger adults are more solitary.
A Medium to Medium/heavy lure casting setup will suffice for most barracuda and other coastal fish that can be caught around the Philippines on lures. Anglers here typically use 10 – 15lbs mono line or 12 – 30lbs braided line. More important than the size of main line used is the size of the leader line. A safe choice is a small section of solid or stranded trace wire. Fluoro and mono can be used and will be fine for most of the fish caught however occasionally cudas will strike a lure head on and slice neatly through even heavy mono and flouro.
Barracuda will strike almost any lure that is thrown at them. More important than the lure used is the type of retrieve used. Anglers usually have their preferred lures and colors which they feel work best. Some of the most commonly used lures include: soft plastic flukes, minnows and swimbaits; crankbaits, vibe lures, cuda tubes, spoons and jigs, feathers and flies, poppers and just about anything else :-). Catching barracuda on live and dead bait is an art that we will not discuss in this article.
The retrieve is one of the most important things when fishing for barracuda. It can make the difference between no fish and no stop action. Barracuda can’t resist an injured looking fish that is trying to get away. The trick for anglers is to make their lures imitate that frantic action. Despite the Cudas preference to fleeing baitfish their preference seems to vary quite a lot day to day. We recommend that you try a variety of retrieves until you figure out what their interested in. Try a fast retrieve with brief pauses, or a slow sweeping rod movement with longer pauses in between. Slow retrieves with short sharp movements is also good.
By far the best time to fish for Barracuda is right around high tide. Barracuda will often sit in one area and not so much as look at passing fish until the tide changes. High tide usually draws the fish closer to shore to feed on small baitfish that are moving about in the tidal areas.
Because of their teethy mouths Barracuda can be difficult to land. Often the barracuda’s thrashing will dislodge a lure from their mouth and allow them to escape. Anglers call this spitting the hook.
Barracuda are great fun to fish for a variety of reasons. They readily strike just about any lure when the tide is right and do not require much knowledge, skill or technique in that regard. The smaller barracuda also move about in school and can often be caught in numbers. The violent thrashing strikes of Cudas also never get old. They are incredibly fast in the water and their sudden strikes often catch angler by surprise. It is also not uncommon for barracuda to strike feet or inches from shore. Barracuda will often use structures in the water to help corner fish from escaping.
Barracuda are edible and are their flesh is considered fair though it is not encouraged they can be kept and eaten. There is a risk of Ciguatera Poisoning when eating this fish because they are at the top of the food chain around reefs and often consumer smaller reef fish that have Ciguatera.
Fishing for barracuda can be useful along with fun because barracuda make great bait for deep sea fishing. Smaller cudas can be sliced into steaks and used to catch grouper, snapper and other deep sea species. Larger cudas can be filleted which can be sliced into strips.
Care needs to be exercised when handling barracuda, even small ones, because of their razor sharp teeth. Barracuda are not known to be the best fighting fish in the sea however they do often thrash about when they are handled. Tools such as needle nose pliers, hook removers and lip grips are handy to have when fishing for barracuda to keep your fingers from harm.
By Benaiah J Fogle