Thursday June 29, 2017
Barracuda, Cuda, Bacarruda
Great barracudas are large fish. Mature specimens are usually around 60?100 cm (24?39 in) in length and weigh 2.5?9.0 kg (5.5?19.8 lb). Exceptionally large specimens can exceed 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and weigh over 23 kg (51 lb). The record-sized specimen caught on rod-and-reel weighed 46.72 kg (103.0 lb) and measured 1.7 m (5.6 ft), while an even bigger specimen measured 2 m (6.6 ft) .
In general, barracudas are elongated fish with powerful jaws. The lower jaw of the large mouth juts out beyond the upper. Barracudas possess strong, fang-like teeth that are unequal in size and set in sockets in the jaws and on the roof of the mouth. The head is quite large and is pointed and pike-like in appearance. The gill covers do not have spines and are covered with small scales. The two dorsal fins are widely separated, with the first having five spines and the second having one spine and 9 soft rays. The second dorsal fin equals the anal fin in size and is situated more or less above it. The lateral line is prominent and extends straight from head to tail. The spinous dorsal fin is situated above the pelvis. The hind end of the caudal fin is forked or concave, and it is set at the end of a stout peduncle. The pectoral fins are placed low down on the sides. The barracuda has a large swim bladder.
Juvenile great barracuda usually live among sea grasses and mangroves where they are hidden from predators. In their second year, they typically move to coral reefs. Sometimes found in the open sea, they often remain near the surface, though they may be found as deep as 325 feet.
Attacks on humans by great barracuda are rare. Inquisitive, sight-oriented fish, barracudas sometimes exhibit the unnerving habit of trailing snorkelers and divers. When attacks occur more often than not it is because a barracuda attempts to steal a fish from spearfishers or mistakenly interprets a shiny object, such as a diving knife, for the glint of a shiny fish. Such incidents usually consist of one very quick strike, the result of which may be a laceration and some loss of tissue. Fatalities from barracuda attacks are rare. In 1947, a death off Key West was attributed to a barracuda, followed by another case off the coast of North Carolina in 1957. A well-documented barracuda attack occurred on a free diver off Pompano Beach, Florida in 1960. The diver was bitten twice, and the resulting injuries required 31 stitches. However, such attacks are uncommon and more often than not easily preventable with a few simple precautions.
The FWC approved creating a slot limit of 15 to 36 inches allowing for one fish greater than 36 inches per person or per vessel, whichever is less in some S. Florida counties at the Nov. meeting in St. Petersburg. These changes will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017.
Published by: Captain Richard Bradley of Lagooner Fishing Guides© on 2017-02-08 15:09:17