The Great Barracuda is one of 26 species in the Sphyraenidae family. These fearsome looking creatures can grow to 8ft in length. They are swift and powerful, small scaled, slender in form, with two well-separated dorsal fins, a jutting lower jaw and a large mouth full of fang-like and cutting teeth.
Barracuda are primarily fish eaters but have been seen eating crabs. When hunting, these voracious predators rely on a classic tactic of lie-in-wait or ambush. Once they have surprised their prey a short, deadly burst of speed is used to make the kill. The larger Barracuda are more or less solitary in their habits but the young and half-grown fish frequently congregate in shoals.
Barracuda are able to change colour and often do so for camouflage when hunting. When seen in the open ocean they normally have dark green-grey backs, a chalky-white below broken by a series of grey bars and black spots on ether side. When excited and in the shallows they have been seen changing colour from their normal light appearance to a darker variation or almost black colour to suite their surroundings.
Barracuda are known to become impregnated with a toxic substance that produces a form of poisoning known as ciguatera.
To be successful at catching Barracuda you have to be quick on the cast, strip and strike. They have a tendency to appear when you least expect them, take the fly with lightning fast speed and if you don’t continue stripping to set the hook, they can bite you off above the steel. They are a sucker for flash in a fly but will eat most fish imitations and big crab patterns. When fishing for these toothy, explosive critters on the flats you have a number of choices. You can carry a rod rigged with steel and a suitable fly specifically for barracuda OR have a ready rigged piano wire trace and fly in your top pocket so you can snip off and change when a fish has been sighted OR simply take a chance with your current mono setup.
- Fly Rod: Quick action 9 foot 12 weight fly rod.
- Reel & Backing: Saltwater series reel that can hold 400 or more meters of 50 – 80lbs braid. A Bimini Twist to Double Surgions should be tied into the braid, following which the fly line and backing should be joined using the loop to loop method.
- Fly Lines: Weight Forward 12 weight floating line with 50lbs braided loops nail knotted on both ends.
- Leaders: No 5 – 50lbs single strand wire or 40lbs Berkley seven strand steel. When using No 5 – 50lbs single strand wire we always match the diameter of the mono to the diameter of the steel.
- Knots: No 5 – 50lbs strand wire: Fly to leader – Haywire Twist; Wire to Leader improved leftys non slip; Leader to Braided loop Perfection Loop. Or 40lbs Berkley seven strand steel: Fly to Leader – Barrel knot with two rotations; Steel to Mono Two Barrel knots back to back with the mono having three rotations and the steel two; Leader to Braided loop Perfection Loop.NB mono has a stretch factor and a tendency to slip before seating, when tying your knots make sure you leave a tag and seat them property with the use of pliers. But in saying this be extremely careful not to stress the knot.
- Flies: Brush flies, Flashy Profiles and Poodles tied on a Gamakatsu SL12S or SC152H in 6/0 8/0 (Link to fly patterns)
- Boots: A good quality thick rubber soled boot with ankle support.
- Gravel guards: A good idea to prevent sand penetrating your boots.
- Sunglasses: Dark amber or mirror blue grey lenses.
Before leaving on your trip you will be briefed in detail by the FlyCastaway guides as to exactly what fly patterns you are going to need and how you should prepare your tackle. For all our destinations we have compiled a comprehensive tackle list.