Barracuda Fishing Overview

The barracuda is one of the gnarliest fish out there, sporting huge fangs and a slimy coat, and while some consider them a pest they can be fun to catch if you're looking for something different. Read on for some tips and tricks on where and how to catch.

Recent Reviews

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Great Trip! We enjoyed ourselves and are going home with LOTS of snapper. Reeled in my first shark. Thanks Captain !

Lisa B. with Joel Brandenburg of Marathon, Florida

★★★★★
My family and I had an awesome time with. Capt. Phil. The boat was clean and no fishy smell. He took us to a spot that has non stop action catching mahi mahi Dophin and a barracuda. He was friendly, super chill and an expert at sea. My kids love him. We definitely will ring him up next time we're in key west. Thank you! We had a blast at sea today.

Mimi L. with Mark Baumgarten of Key West, Florida

★★★★★
Our group of four had a blast fishing with Mexidivers! We caught three large Mahi Mahi and the guys were nice enough to fillet them for us to take home. After fishing, we stopped for a snorkel break where we swam with sting rays and sea turtles. I recommend Mexidivers to anyone looking for a quality, affordable fishing trip out of the heart of Tulum! I wish I had more time in Tulum to use them for other outings.

Eric H. with Carlos Solis of Tulum, Quintana Roo

Everything You Need to Know About Barracuda Fishing

What is a Barracuda?

The barracuda is one of the more recognizable fish out there and one of those fish that immediately brings a sparkle to a kid’s eye. They are known as one of the gnarliest most fearsome looking predator fish out there and their general attitude and demeanor only serve to reinforce these opinions.

A barracuda is a predatory, saltwater fish with ray fins, a pointed snout, and huge fangs usually sticking out of their underbite. While their long, tubular body can sometimes be confused with a mackerel or wahoo, a barracuda has much larger teeth, a different tail, ray fins (fins that are webbed held together by bony spikes), and if you look closely much larger scales. Barracuda are also known to exude a unique slime from their bodies that supposedly helps them glide through the water, but in reality just mucks up your boat.

There are a number of species of barracuda but the two main types of barracuda you will find in the US depend on where you’re fishing. The Pacific barracuda is the smaller of the two and as the name suggests will be caught frequently in Southern California or Baja. The great barracuda is the larger, meaner cousin of the two and is found on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, and is a big ambush hunter. These Atlantic barracuda can actually be dangerous sometimes, as they will mistake any movement or shiny objects for prey and lunge at them teeth-first at 35 mph.

How big do Barracuda get?

Different barracuda species can vary greatly in size, but they have the potential to become quite large. The great barracuda can range up to 65 inches long and up to 100 pounds in extreme cases. Pacific barracuda meanwhile grow to a more reasonable 3 feet and 10 pounds. Males and females are generally around the same size and not easily distinguishable. Great barracuda can live up to 14 years in the wild, and because of their size and speed do not have many predators.

What's the biggest Barracuda ever caught?

The largest barracuda caught on record is a massive 102 pound and 4 ounce fish caught in Barra du Kwanza in Angola by Thomas Gibson. The fish was a Guinean barracuda. The current all-tackle record great barracuda is 87 pounds 3 oz, and the pacific barracuda record is 9 lb 8 oz.

Where is the best place to catch Barracuda?


Barracudas are primarily a pure saltwater fish, although they have been known to swim in brackish waters from time to time (including the great barracuda especially as juvenile fish). It is a warm-water and tropical fish found in oceans worldwide, although depending on the location you may catch one or another of a number of barracuda species.

Barracuda typically reside near the surface of the water near reefs or sea grasses, although they can be found in the open ocean as well. If you are working some other fish and there are barracuda nearby, they will often become the scourge of your day and trying to steal your catch.

Great barracuda can be found anywhere from Massachusetts to Brazil and everywhere in between. Pacific barracuda are most common off Southern California and Baja California. 


When should I catch Barracuda?

Spring and summer are best for catching pacific barracuda, although they can be caught year-round as the season is always open. There is a 28 inch minimum in the US and a bag limit of 10. Great barracuda can be fished year-round as well and their season is generally best from September to October. South Florida will have the biggest fish around, and there is no size limit although there are bag limits depending on where you are. 
### How do you catch Barracuda?
 Great barracuda are generally solitary hunters while pacific barracuda are known to school. This means that obviously your strategy will vary quite a bit, but generally you just need to keep in mind their sharp teeth and willingness to feed throughout the water column and to jump on feeding opportunities quickly.

Pacific barracuda can be found in massive schools an acre large chasing bait as a group. Once you get on them, it’s hard not to get a bite. You can fish surface jigs or throw anchovies or sardines; generally you wouldn’t throw anything plastic because it will get torn up form their teeth. When they are feeding, they won’t be picky.

Great barracuda require a slightly heavier tackle just based on the size difference of the fish, but they don’t really take much specialized tackle other than a wire leader - similar to pacific barracuda they will eat most things presented to them. They will usually come explore anything that comes in their territory so they will often find you. The best thing is generally a shiny lure retrieved somewhat erratically. Great barracuda prefer a faster retrieve than pacific.

Are Barracuda good to eat? What are the best Barracuda recipes?

Barracuda are not known as a species that is great to eat and they are caught for sport rather than dinner in many parts of the world. If you do plan to eat them, its advised to eat smaller fish and to eat them fairly fresh, as barracuda are known to sometimes have ciguatera.