Barracuda, Great


Scientific Name:
Sphyraena barracuda
Fight Rating:
Hard Pointer

An excellent gamefish, the great barracuda leads a list of marine fish that cause ciguatera when eaten, although small fish are apparently not poisonous. Not every barracuda
causes ciguatera, but there is no safe or reliable way of recognizing toxic fish.

’cuda, sea pike, giant sea pike; French: barracuda, brochet de mer; Hawaiian: kaku, kupala; Japanese: onikamasu; Portuguese: barracuda, bicuda; Spanish: barracuda, picuda.

Identification. The great barracuda is long and slender, with a large, pointed head and large eyes. The dorsal fins are widely separated, and the first dorsal fin has five spines, whereas the second has 10 soft rays. In a large underslung jaw, the great barracuda has large, pointed canine teeth. It also possesses a bluish-gray or greenish-gray body coloration above the lateral line and a silvery-white belly. A few irregular black blotches are usually scattered on the sides of the body, especially toward the tail. The young have one dark stripe down each side, which mutates to become blotches as the fish grow. The great barracuda also occasionally has 18 to 22 diagonal dark bars above the lateral line. It grows much larger, in general, than its relative the Pacific barracuda.

Size. Known to reach a weight of 106 pounds and a length of 61⁄2 feet, the great barracuda averages 5 to 20 pounds in weight; larger specimens are rare. The all-tackle world record is an 85-pounder.

Life history/Behavior. Young barracuda under 3 pounds usually inhabit shallow waters, such as harbors and coastal lagoons, until they become adults and live farther offshore, sometimes far out to sea. Smaller barracuda will occasionally school, but the large ones are typically solitary. Curiosity is a trait of all barracuda, and they will follow waders or divers as a result.

Food and feeding habits. The great barracuda eats whatever is available in its habitat; needlefish, small jacks, and mullet are among the mainstays. They are attracted by shininess or flashes and movement, feeding by sight, rather than by smell.

Distribution. Great barracuda range from Massachusetts to Brazil, although not in abundance from the Carolinas northward. They are caught mainly around Florida, in the Florida Keys,
in the Bahamas, and throughout the West Indies.

Habitat. Young barracuda live in inshore seagrass beds, whereas adults range from inshore channels to the open ocean. They are also found in bays, inlets, lagoons, and the shallows of mangrove islands, as well as around reefs, wrecks, piers, sandy or grassy flats, and coastal rivers where saltwater and freshwater mingle. They prefer shallow areas and appear to move
inshore in the summer, and offshore in the fall and the winter.

Fishing Spots


Agawa River -- Unknown --

Wawa, ON
Canada Canada
6 1 2

Atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean

Boynton Beach, FL
United States United States
34 65 9 6

Atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean

Ocean Isle Beach, NC
United States United States

Atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean

Bimini, Bimini Islands
Bahamas Bahamas
14 40 6 18

Atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean

Puerto Morelos, QROO
Mexico Mexico
239 40 2 4

Atlantic Ocean Ocean

Stuart, FL
United States United States

Atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean

Charleston, SC
United States United States
9 60 7 10

Atlantic Ocean Ocean

Charleston, SC
United States United States
22 80 11 4

Atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean

Georgetown, SC
United States United States
8 89 1 4

Atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic City, NJ
United States United States
9 43 1 6

Atlantic Ocean (FL) Atlantic Ocean

Islamorada, FL
United States United States

Atlantic Ocean (FL) Atlantic Ocean

Fort Lauderdale, FL
United States United States

Atlantic Ocean (FL) Atlantic Ocean

Fort Pierce, FL
United States United States

Atlantic Ocean (FL) Atlantic Ocean

West Palm Beach, FL
United States United States
28 38 1 16 8

Atlantic Ocean (FL) Atlantic Ocean

Miami, FL
United States United States

Atlantic Ocean (FL) Atlantic Ocean

St. Augustine, FL
United States United States
3 64 11 4 4

Atlantic Ocean (FL) Atlantic Ocean

Jacksonville, FL
United States United States
69 70 3 10 28

Atlantic Ocean (FL) Atlantic Ocean

Daytona Beach, FL
United States United States
17 59 3 14 4

Atlantic Ocean (GA) Atlantic Ocean

Savannah, GA
United States United States

Ballston Lake Lake (Freshwater)

Ballston, NY
United States United States
26 6

Barnes Sound Sound (Saltwater)

Key Largo, FL
United States United States
50 12 4

Beaufort Inlet Inlet (Saltwater)

Beaufort, NC
United States United States
14 30 1 5 4

Bedok Jetty Sea

Bedok, Singapore
Singapore Singapore
34 8

Biscayne Bay Bay (Saltwater)

Key Biscayne, FL
United States United States

Boot Key Harbor Harbor (Saltwater)

Marathon Key, FL
United States United States
2 70 1 5 4

Buttonwood Sound Sound (Saltwater)

Key Largo, FL
United States United States
2 29 3 27 2

Caribbean Sea Sea

Virgin Gorda, Virgin Gorda
British Virgin Islands British Virgin Islands
1 16 1 5

Carpenter Lake Lake (Freshwater)

Wasilla, AK
United States United States
6 11 1

Caxambus Bay Bay (Saltwater)

Marco Island, FL
United States United States
44 5 2

Channel Islands Harbor Harbor (Saltwater)

Oxnard, CA
United States United States
2 18 1 4



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There are no tournaments specified for this fish.