Fancy A Go At Pike On Steroids?

Thursday, 11 August 2022  |  Sarah

A fish that patrols tropical flats picking off innocent fish...
Barracuda have a mouthful of teeth that make pike look positively tame.  What’s more they have a turn of speed that would leave a formula 1 car in its wake from a standing start

They will readily accept a fly fashioned to look like a small fish, put them high on the list for those fishing in warmer waters.
Now, unfortunately they aren’t present around the UK coastline, but for those holidaying in warmer climes, chances are that barracuda won’t be far away. 

The best bit too is they’re happy to hunt in shallow water, close to the coast, so we don’t even have to charter a boat to go in search of them. 
 

Long and slender, barracuda are not dissimilar in shape to pike.  They have a long jaw line too that is armed to the nines with teeth. 


It goes without saying a wire trace is paramount as otherwise their razor sharp gnashers will sheer monofilament within the blink of an eye.
The new Big Mama leader family is made for active predator fly fishermen.

You can choose your favourite from three different options: Classic, Stealth and Wire.

All models include a robust Mustad’s FastachTM clip for quick and easy fly change.
 
As our flies need to be large to tempt barracuda, you’ll need a least a 10-weight rod to fling these large creations. 

A nine foot rod is best because of the often breezy conditions experienced along coastlines. 

Longer rods mean you’re turning more carbon in the air and therefore less likely to ‘buckle’ if you over-gun the forward cast, which let’s face it, we’re all prone to do when battling a headwind.

Reels need to have a disc-drag, which have adequate stopping power as barracuda have extremely powerful runs when hooked. 
 

This should be loaded with 50lb breaking strain backing and a weight forward floating line. 

There’s really no need for a sinking line as barracuda often hunt fish by corralling them in shallow water, often only a few feet deep.
 
In essence, it’s best to try and locate barracuda using polariods and then presenting a fly in front of them.  However, given cloudy days, or murky water we have to search likely areas instead.
With that, look for places where structure exists both above and below the surface
Protruding mangrove roots are a favourite haunt of barracuda as this is where baitfish seek shelter. 

Rocky outcrops too should never be overlooked.
Naturally, we tend to rip baitfish imitation back at speed to copy a fleeing fish and whilst this retrieve tempts its fair share of barracuda, often a more jerky retrieve with plenty of pauses works best as it’s more akin to the behaviour of a sick, or injured fish and therefore suggests easy pickings for a hungry barracuda. 
Due to their hard, bony mouths, it’s imperative to strip-strike when a barracuda takes your fly, rather than lifting the rod.
The reason being there is less stretch in the system when you strike by pulling hard on the fly line and you therefore bury the hook better into their hard mouths.

As barracuda take off at a rate of knots when hooked, we advise just letting them run with using a sufficient reel drag.  Only make contact with your reel handle when the fish ends its run.

When it comes to landing and handling barracuda, a gardening glove can be useful, as are a pair of long nosed forceps for unhooking fish.
Although  barracuda look menacing, if handled properly they are relatively placid. 

It goes without saying to respect your catch and handle the fish as carefully as possible.

 
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