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Great Barracuda

Fishing in Aruba

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Barracuda (Great)
(Sphyraena Barracuda)

According to the International Game Fish Association, the largest Barracuda ever caught weighed 39.55 kg (87 lb 3 oz) on Christmas Island, Kiribati using all-tackle. The fish was caught by the Angler named Christian Loranger on September 23, 2012.

Known to be aggressive in nature, the Great Barracuda has quite an interesting personality. Read on to know more!

Great Barracuda
Habitat and Behavior

Barracudas can be easily found in open seas. They are known to be voracious predators that hunt using a classic example of lie-in-wait or ambush. The Barracuda rely on surprise and short bursts of speed (up to 27 mph (43 km/h) to overrun their prey, sacrificing maneuverability.

The Barracuda live for at least 14 years of age. The Barracuda spawning season begins in the month of April and lasts till October. During this period, they release about 5,000 to 30,000 eggs. The diet of this species is composed almost totally of fish of all kinds of cephalopods, and occasionally of shrimps. On gorging, Large barracudas, attempt to herd a school of prey fish in shallow water where they guard over them until they are ready for another hunt.

Great Barracuda -
Physical Description

  • Size: – Great barracudas are large in size. Mature specimens of the Great Barracuda are usually around 60–100 cm (24–39 in) in length and 2.5–9.0 kg (5.5–19.8 lb) in weight. However, the exceptionally large specimens of the fish can exceed 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and weigh over 23 kg (51 lb). The heaviest fish of this specimen caught using rod and reel weighed 72 kg (103.0 lb) and measured 1.7 m (5.6 ft) in length. An even bigger specimen measured 2 m (6.6 ft) in length.
  • Appearance: – The Great barracuda’s body is blue-gray in color from the top, fading to silvery and chalky-white underneath. The long, slender body of a Barracuda is tapered at the ends and thicker in the middle, with a head that is flattened on the top and pointed in the front forward. In a few cases, a row of darker cross-bars occurs on the upper side of the fish, with black blotches on each lower side. The second dorsal fin, the anal and caudal fins range from dark violet to black in color, having white tips.
  • Organs: – The Great Barracuda is an elongated fish with powerful jaws. The lower jaw of its large mouth juts out beyond the upper. Barracuda has strong, fang-like uneven teeth that set in sockets in the jaws and on the roof of the mouth. The gills are covered with small scales, instead of spines. The two dorsal fins are widely separated, with the first one having five spines and the second one with one spine, along with 9 soft rays. The second dorsal fin is equal in size with the anal fin, positioned more or less above it. The prominent lateral line extends straight from head to tail. The spinous dorsal fin of the Great Barracuda is situated above its pelvis. The pectoral fins lie low down on both sides. The barracuda is known to have a large swim bladder.

Great Barracuda
Conditions for Survival

Geographically, the Great Barracuda can be found in tropical to warm temperate waters, in subtropical parts of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans, from mangrove areas to deep reef, at a depth limit of around 110 meters. Sadly, the Great Barracuda is reported to be declining in Florida; due to which the Florida fish and wildlife conservation commission is considering to impose catch limits on the fish.

Great Barracuda
Relation with the Humans

Similar to the Sharks in the Sea, some species of Barracuda are known to be quite dangerous to human swimmers. The Barracuda are scavengers, and quite often mistake snorkelers for large predators, following them in hopes of eating the remains of their prey. Human swimmers have been bitten by barracuda; however, only in rare cases. Poor visibility has been found to be the cause behind the occurrence of such events deep under the sea. The attacks reported during the surf are more likely to be attempted by small sharks because the Barracuda avoid muddy shallows and hence would not attempt to make such attacks. Barracudas, in most cases, mistake objects that glint and shine for their prey.

Handfeeding or touching large barracuda, in general, must be avoided. Spearfishing around the Barracudas can be dangerous, as they are quite capable of ripping a chunk from a wounded fish thrashing on a spear.

Shiny and luminous objects such as diamond rings, etc. have been known to catch Barracuda’s attention as they resemble their prey with them. Human swimmers should be quite cautious when being near mangrove coastlines by covering or removing such items.

While barracudas possess a disconcerting habit of curiously following the divers and swimmers, attacks on humans are rare. More often, a Barracuda attack consists of a single strike in which the fish attempts to steal its prey from a spear, or else mistakes a shiny object for a fish. While serious attacks are almost never lethal; bites can result in lacerations and the loss of some tissue in the human body.

Great Barracuda
Other Names

The Great Barracuda is known by the following names-

  • Scientific Name – Sphyraena barracuda
  • Carolinian Name – Alu
  • Miskito Name – Barkura
  • Portuguese Name – Barracuda Bicuda
  • French Name – Barrcouda
  • Spanish Name – Picuda
  • Dutch Name – Snoek
  • Hawaiian Name – Kupala
  • Portuguese Name – Gaviana
  • German Name – Amerikanischer Pfeilhecht
  • Paluan Name – Chai
  • Arabic Name – Kadd
  • Malay Name – Kucul
  • Tahitian Name – Ono

Aruba Fishing Seasons and
Availability of Barracuda (Great)

In the Aruba waters, you can land your hands on a Barracuda in the months of January, February, and March when the fish is available in abundance. However, later during the year, in the months of May, June, July, and August, the availability of the fish in the Sea reduces to moderate in quantity.

WhenJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
AvailabilityExcellentExcellentExcellentGoodFairFairFairFairGoodExcellentExcellentExcellent

  • Your chances of landing a Barracuda (Great) is excellent from January to March and October to December.
  • Barracuda (Great) in Aruba enters its low season from May to August.
  • There is no closed season for Barracuda (Great) fishing in Aruba.

Great Barracuda
How to make the Catch?

The Great Barracuda can be caught using both the bait and the lures. They often bite their bait and come back for more. However, in such cases, you must highly prohibit yourself from pulling away the bait too soon. To increase your chances of catching the fish, it is highly recommended that you use a treble hook on the trail and a single hook through the nose of your bait. You can also use wire for your fishing lines.

Great Barracuda
Eating for Humans

As stated on Wikipedia, the smaller Barracuda are mostly consumed as Steaks or Fillets and are delicious to eat. However, the larger specimens of the species tend to accumulate a naturally occurring toxin called Ciguatera that results in Fish Poisoning. It is hence, not advised that you consume the larger specimens.

Great Barracuda -
Unknown Facts

  • There are at least 27 kinds of Barracuda – The name Barracuda does not apply to only one fish but a family of fish.
  • Barracuda inhabit Tropical and Subtropical waters throughout the world- Barracuda inhabit the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Indian oceans, and are also commonly found in the Caribbean and the Red seas.
  • Barracuda are drawn to shiny objects- Barracuda hunt mainly by sight while scanning the water mainly for signs of prey as they swim.
  • Barracuda can swim up to 35 Mph – The long, lean, and muscular fish, Barracuda is known to be one of the fastest creatures in the sea, capable of swimming up to 35 Mph.
  • Barracuda have terrifying teeth- Barracuda have a big mouth with long jaws and a characteristic underbite. A barracuda can open its mouth wide enough to snatch just about it fish it encounters.
  • Barracuda isn’t as dangerous as it appears. Barracuda attacks are rare, and almost never fatal. Generally, is has been observed that the Barracuda attacks only in cases when it mistakes a metallic object for a fish in an attempt to snatch it.
  • Barracudas can be delicious and toxic at the same time- While smaller Barracudas are generally safe to eat, larger Barracuda can be toxic because they consume larger fish with higher toxin loads.
  • The Great Barracuda is a common species of barracuda also known as the giant barracuda they are a fast and vicarious predator.
  • Unlike most fish that hunt by smell, the great Barracuda hunts with its acute eyesight and is attracted towards shiny luminous objects.

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FAQ

Have a Question?
Find the Answer Here

Are Barracudas dangerous to humans?

No. Barracuda rarely attacks humans. It does so only in cases when it takes the swimmer for its prey. However, it is advised to not intentionally be around the fish.

Can you eat a Barracuda?

Yes. A Barracuda is a delicious fish to eat. However, the larger specimens should not be consumed as they cause fish poisoning.

How many teeth does a Barracuda have?

When you go on a Deep Sea Fishing trip with us, you can choose among our different packages. We do not charge per head, but for the whole group, which can include up to 6 people. Here is what we offer in each of the fishing trips.

Where are Barracudas found?

Barracudas are majorly found in waters as deep as 110 meters. They reside in tropical to warm temperate waters, in subtropical parts of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans, from mangrove areas to deep reef.

Why do Barracudas stink?

A Barracuda stinks because of the presence of slime on its body. Due to this, the fish tends to accumulate a naturally occurring toxin known as the ciguatera. It is, hence, also not advised to eat larger specimens as it might lead to food poisoning.

Are Barracudas attracted to shiny objects?

Yes. Barracudas get easily attracted to objects that shine. It is, hence, advised that you avoid carrying shiny or luminous clothes or objects when you are in the water.

How big do Barracudas get?

Great barracudas are large in size. The size of a Barracuda is usually around 60–100 cm (24–39 in) in length and 2.5–9.0 kg (5.5–19.8 lb) in weight. However, the biggest specimen of a Barracuda measured 2 m (6.6 ft) in length.

How does a Barracuda catch its prey?

Ferocious and opportunistic predators, Barracudas rely on surprise and short bursts of speed to overtake their prey. They swim faster to kill and consume the fish. Barracudas prey primarily on larger flesh and eat them by tearing chunks of flesh.

Do Barracudas hunt in packs?

A Barracuda is known to swim alone or in pairs. It is not necessary that it would hunt for its prey in packs.

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