Barracuda – Key West Charter Fishing

The great barracuda is common to the Florida Keys and can be caught on a variety of baits and artificials. They live in the waters around the Keys, from the Everglades and Florida Bay to far out into the Atlantic. Anywhere there is a food supply they will be there.

They can be great fun to catch on light tackle, especially in shallow water; barracuda will make blistering runs and jumps and put up a great a fight. Once these fish are hooked it’s all action, and you’ll need to be on the ball if you want to in order to retrieve your catch. Probably the best gear to hook them on is a lighter action spinning rod with 12 pound test and about a foot or so of wire leader, and 7/0-8/0 circle hook. They will attack live bait extremely aggressively when feeding, and they wolf the bait down, so it unnecessary to let them carry the bait for very long before setting the hook. For all their aggressiveness and easy to catch reputation, the large barracudas are pretty smart and have great eyesight, so they will often just follow baits without striking. A bait fleeing rapidly from them seems to trigger their attack response so usually when fishing for barracudas with lures the retrieve has to be very fast.

Barracuda can be sight casted on the flats and are often caught when bonefish and permit are not being co-operative.

They are often considered a junk species because they are relatively easy to catch and are rarely eaten due to fears of ciguatera poisoning. Many large ones know all about fishing boats and will actually park themselves behind or under a fishing boat, and wait for someone to reel in a fish, like a yellowtail snapper. They’ll rush the fish and either cut it in half or take the whole fish. This sometimes can be frustrating when trying to catch snapper for dinner. Usually if you can hook the barracuda even for a minute it will spook them and make them go away. You can use this behavior to catch them also, by putting out a large bait like a grunt, they think it’s just another easy meal.