Key Barracuda Facts: The barracuda is a ray-finned, predatory fish known for its large size and fearsome appearance. Its body is long, fairly compressed and covered with small, smooth scales. Barracudas are elongated fish, pike-like in appearance, with prominent sharp-edged fang-like teeth. They have large pointed heads with an under bite in many species. The posterior dorsal fin is similar in size to the anal fin and is situated above it. The pectoral fins are placed low on the sides. In most cases, they are dark green, dark blue, or gray on their upper body with silvery sides and chalky-white belly. Coloration varies somewhat between species.
Most great barracuda are caught in Florida and the Bahamas, often as an attempt to “mix it up” while flats fishing for bonefish, tarpon and permit. Since the fish will only strike at an extremely fast moving fly, a two-handed retrieve is recommended. Due to their sharp teeth, a wire bite leader is a requirement. Barracuda chase long flies and make spectacular runs and leaps when hooked. They’re a wildly underrated game fish.
Adult barracuda range from inshore flats and channels to the open ocean. They can also be found in bays, inlets and mangrove lagoons and around reefs and wrecks. They tend to be present inshore in summer and move offshore to deeper water in the winter.
Barracudas are found in the Mediterranean, western Atlantic, subtropical and tropical waters. They are very common in the Caribbean and can be located in submerged reefs and coral heads.