How to Catch Barracuda from Shore: The Complete Guide

March 7, 2021

How to Catch Barracuda from Shore: The Complete Guide

Barracuda may not be the most loved fish by fishermen or anglers, but they don’t deserve the bad rap they get. Barracuda are an essential part of marine ecosystems. They frequent a variety of habitats, including coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and the open ocean. So do you know how to catch Barracuda from shore?

You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll go over our top techniques on how to catch Barracuda from shore.

Aside from being an essential part of ecosystems, Barracuda are also enjoyable fish to target. When targeting Barracuda in shallow water, then barracuda tubes will help you. If you are using a fly, then it is best to use a short wire leader as a trace and fly shaped like a needlefish. Barracuda are known to be aggressive strikers and can make rapid runs in surprisingly shallow water. 

Where to Find Barracuda

Barracuda love warm, temperate water. Smaller, juvenile Barracuda will make shallow water home. They can be found close to the shore and in shallow bays. As they grow, they will move to deeper water. Anglers can locate more mature Barracuda out at sea, at reefs, and structures such as wrecks. 

Barracudas often stay at the surface of the water, sitting like logs or crocodiles. The Barracuda is one of the fastest swimming fish and can clock high speeds over short distances. Their jaws are exceptionally strong and are filled with razor-sharp teeth. They are able to eat their prey with astounding ferocity.

Their strong jaws can snap their prey in two, and their sharp teeth make short work of their prey. A mature barracuda grows to about 100lbs, but don’t expect to land one this size. It is uncommon to catch a barracuda as big as this, as they average under 50lbs

How to Catch Barracuda from Shore

Barracuda is not a typical fish for anglers to target. They are generally reeled in by “accident” when fishermen are trying to catch a different species. In fact, they can be quite an annoying catch for unsuspecting (or rather, unprepared) fishermen. For example, if you don’t use wire, you’ll end up frustrated as their jagged teeth will cut straight through. 

Sports fishermen usually enjoy these fish as they give up a chase and are challenging fish to land. Although they will make a rapid run after being hooked, they will not put up a fight for very long. In a sense, they are sprinters and do not do well over a long distance. If you’ve hooked a sizable barracuda, be prepared for more of a fight, as they tend to be jumpers as well. 

Florida: A Hotspot for Barracuda

Floridian reefs are home to an abundance of barracudas. While the vicious Barracuda is a renowned predator, they are particular about their prey. Sometimes they will follow stealthily behind potential prey before deciding at the last moment to move away.

On days when the water is clear, and the visibility is ideal, it is not uncommon to see these slender predators following prey along the reefs. It is an all too common sight for many fishermen out on a boat to be reeling up a beautiful kingfish only to have it chewed straight in half by a barracuda’s jagged set of teeth. 

If you reel in a barracuda, you should be careful, or else you could risk getting bitten. They have slimy bodies and an overwhelming pungent smell when you lift them up out of the water. Most people will target barracudas for the thrill of the chase, and very few anglers end up keeping this species after reeling in and weighing. 

When targeting Great Barracuda, there are a few essentials to bear in mind. They are one of the fastest striking fish in the world. Do not expect the Great Barracuda to be an easy fish. They will give you a fight. And when they fight, they will most likely jump several times straight up into the air. But there is one thing in your corner.

The Barracuda is not geared for stamina. Instead, they will go hard and fast for a very short period. The Barracuda will fight like a sprinter and does not have the stamina to keep up the fight for long. 

Great Barracuda: Can You Eat Them?

There are few people that regularly eat Barracuda and even fewer who will say that the Barracuda makes for a tasty meal. What’s more, large Barracuda (over 30 inches long) typically have a dangerous toxin, ciguatera toxin. If you are looking at making a meal out of a barracuda, then you should aim for the smaller barracudas. 

Barracuda is not famous for its palatability. In fact, the larger ones could even be poisonous. If you do want to consume a barracuda, then never eat one that is approaching the 30-inch mark.  Cleaning a Barracuda is considered easy. The flesh is firm and does not have many bones. 

Why Don’t People Typically Eat Barracuda? 

As we already mentioned, the Barracuda is a slimy fish and has a horrendous odor once it is pulled out of the sea. This smell and slime alone can put almost anyone off of fish for a good while. Many people have also heard of the Barracuda being toxic, so they tend to stay away from eating them.

A general rule is to avoid eating a barracuda that is longer than 30 inches or even 3.5 feet. The ciguatera toxin is a naturally occurring toxin and accumulates in lethal doses in larger, more mature barracudas. 

Barracudas are a predatory species and hunt on other smaller fish. Their prey are often the bottom feeders or small fish that eat algae off the reefs. This algae can cause toxins. Floridian reefs do not often have this type of toxin. But migratory species such as the Barracuda travel far distances, potentially bring the toxin with them. 

Fishing for Great Barracuda

For tackle and rigs, use the following tips.

  • Medium weight setup for 20-30lbs.
  • Saltwater spinning gear.
  • Use a long rod (7+) when using lures.
  • You can use a shorter rod if using bait or trolling.
  • You can have great success using a regular, more conventional setup. 
  • Always use a wire leader. A barracuda’s teeth are jagged and will slice through any leader that is not wire. 
  • Topwater or plug lures.

Great Barracuda Fishing Techniques

Whether you use bait or lures is a matter of preference. Both lures and bait can be effective. The Barracuda has a curious nature and will investigate almost any foreign or new thing that comes into their vicinity. They are not shy fish.

It seems as if they know they have a mouth full of jagged weapons and the speed to get away if they need. If you cast and the Barracuda doesn’t go for it on the first cast, then you should try in a different location. It is not common for them to bite if they see it and aren’t immediately interested. The Barracuda is a swift swimmer and rarely stays in one place. They may sometimes gather for spawning purposes, but this gathering will typically be short and sweet. 

Best Lures for Barracuda

There are a few different types of lures that will work well with the Barracuda. With this species, the technique is more important than the tools themselves (except for the wire leaders). Your technique should be erratic to grasp their attention. You can use jerk baits, trolled plugs, or even rubber skirts. The most important thing is that they are hardy and won’t break easily. A barracuda’s teeth will rip through anything that is not up to standard. 

When casting from the shore, use a plug or Rapala with an attractive shimmer. Cast and retrieve it in areas where you know there are reefs or structures. Aim to cast off the shore close to areas that have tropical reefs close to shore. 

Great Barracuda Baits

The usual bait suspects like mulletmackerelbonito, etc., will work. If you do get a bite, remember that the Barracuda is renowned for biting off the tail first before coming back to finish it off. So, don’t pull too early. When you feel the bite, wait a split second until you feel that the ‘cuda is truly on. 

When using baitfish, you might want to avoid having too much bitten off before the ‘cuda is hooked. A handy tip is to use two hooks/ One through the tail and one through the nose. But, it is important that your hooks are small enough not to be identified by the ‘cuda’s keen eyesight. A treble hook in the tail and a single hook through the nose should work well. 

How to Catch Big Barracuda

If you’re aiming for the largest possible Barracuda, then a healthy reef system is your best bet. When casting from the shore, you’ll want to pick your fishing spot that has a reef system close enough to the shore. Always use short and erratic movements. The bigger barracudas will not usually be close to the shore. If you want to reel in a large barracuda, you are going to have to head out into the deep blue. Only the smaller barracudas and the juveniles will remain close enough to the shore for you to reach them. 

There is an abundance of barracudas in the tropics. They can be found throughout the warm Caribbean sea and the Southern Pacific. But some of the largest Barracudas have been caught off the coast of Africa.

Conclusion

The Barracuda is a great fish to target for sport fishermen. They give an excellent thrill and demand some knowledge and skill. Although not the most ideal species to target from the shore, you might have some luck catching a juvenile. 

We hope you enjoyed this article on how to catch Barracuda from shore.

Happy Hunting!

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