Capt. Joel’s Fishin Holes

By: Capt. Joel Brandenburg 

Hardly anyone writes about Barracuda fishing. Gray Taxidermy is one of the world’s largest taxidermy companies, they’ve told me that the most popular fish that people mount is barracuda. Barracuda isn’t considered a true gamefish by most in the angling community, most look at it as more of a trash fish. You shouldn’t eat barracuda due to the risk of contracting Ciguatera which is a blood borne illness from eating poisoned fish who eat certain reef fish. Scientists say if you get Ciguatera, it’s like having Muscular Dystrophy for life with no real cure. Thanks, I’ll pass on eating barracuda! Many Caribbean islanders, South and Central Americans love to eat barracuda even though they are aware of the risk. The way they minimize the risk is they lay the barracuda out on the filet table, if flies come to it they’ll eat it, if the flies don’t come to it they don’t eat it. They are sure that flies can detect Ciguatera. So, if a barracuda is a “trash fish” and dangerous to eat, why is it the most popular fish to mount? I think I have the answer.

*Barracuda fight as hard and fast as a wahoo or kingfish. It can dig like an amber jack or cobia. It can jump like a tarpon or snook and when it strikes it smashes its prey/bait as hard as a mahi or tuna. So basically, what I’m trying to express is that a barracuda can put on one heck of a show. After an angler experiences a long fight with a big barracuda, they feel a sense of accomplishment.

*Barracuda is beautiful and scary specimen. The markings and colorful hues of a barracuda are one Mother Nature’s most beautiful works of art. On the other hand, a barracuda is a natural born killer. Built for speed and power with a mouth only a mother could love. Scraggly long sharp serrated teeth. Whether you see the barracuda under water with a mask or in your boat up close and personal especially for the first time it’s an impressive creature.

*Barracuda will hit artificial, live and dead bait. My favorite artificial bait is a green cuda tube. My favorite live bait is mullet. My favorite dead bait is the other half of the gamefish the cuda just slashed in half on my hook. They are very plentiful and fairly easy to trick into biting your bait.

*Barracuda season is open year-round and in Florida you can harvest 2 per person and up to 6 per boat per day with a slot size of 15 inches min and 36 inches max with only one that can exceed 36 inches. We typically find them over wrecks, reefs, bridges ledges, flats, offshore weed lines and just randomly.

*Barracuda are such a celebrated fish, not only is it the most mounted fish, for years sport teams are named barracuda, sports cars, and even famous songs about barracuda my favorite by Heart.

If you’ve never hooked and landed a big barracuda take the barracuda challenge and go hook one!!

— For a charter with Captain Joel or Jojo Brandenburg of Ana Banana Fishing Company in Marathon Florida Keys call cell 813-267-4401 or office 305-395-4212 or visit or visit us in person at Ana Banana Marina located at 11699 Overseas Hwy Marathon Florida Keys. Look for the big yellow Ana Banana sign with antlers around it.