Barracuda

Barracudas are some of the common fish that you can catch pretty much year round when you go fishing in the Dominican Republic. These are great fish to catch as they put up a really good fight, which may include jumping out of the water; especially if you get the Barracuda on light tackle. If you happen to catch a Barracuda on heavy tackle (e.g. on a deep sea fishing trip where you are fishing with heavy gear), the fish runs out of energy relatively quickly and does not put up much of a fight.

Barracuda Fishing in the DR with our buddy Pico

Barracuda Fishing in the DR with our buddy Pico

Habitat:

The Barracudas, that are found in the ocean around the Dominican Republic, are known as the Great Barracuda. This type of Barracuda is common in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Barracudas live in tropical and subtropical oceans around the world.

The young Barracudas mostly stay near coral reefs or mangroves; areas where they can hide away from other predatory fish. The adults, however, are mostly found in the open ocean near the surface of the water, although some have also been seen at depths of approximately 100 meters / 325 feet. In Punta Cana, divers have also spotted Barracudas hanging around the shipwrecks that are found e.g. in the area close to the airport.

Barracuda Fishing in the DR

Barracuda Fishing in the DR

General description:

The Barracuda is fairly easy to recognize from its long and slender body, its pointed head with underbite and many sharp and fang-like teeth. There is almost no mistaking this fearsome appearance! The Barracuda’s body has mostly dark blue, dark green and gray colors on the upper body, silver-colored sides and a white belly. It will typically have several dark spots on its sides. The young Barracuda can actually change its color pattern in order to blend in with its surroundings and hide from predators.

Size, weight and lifespan:

The record size for a Barracuda is said to be 1.70 meters / 5.5 feet long and 44 kilograms / 103 pounds. The Barracuda has been reported at up to 2.10 meters / 6.9 feet in length. Any Barracuda that is more than 1.50 meters / 4.8 feet long is generally considered a large fish – and something to be proud of when you catch it.

The Barracuda can reach at least 14 years of age and becomes sexually mature when it reaches around 60 centimeters / 23 inches long.

Barracuda Fishing in the DR - Anders Bogebjerg

Barracuda Fishing in the DR – Anders Bogebjerg

Behavior:

The Barracuda is a voracious predatory fish that eats other fish such as Jacks, Groupers, Snappers and Tunas. Its sharp teeth enable the Barracuda to tear other fish in pieces or in half and also tear off the flesh in order to eat it. The Barracuda is considered an opportunistic predator that surprises its prey and uses short bursts of speed in order to attack. It has been estimated that the Barracuda is able to reach top speeds of up to 58 kph / 36 mph.

The young Barracuda may travel in schools while the adults are generally solitary fish.

Eating Barracudas:

Barracudas are not considered commercially valuable, although here in the Dominican Republic the Dominicans generally have no problem eating them. The Barracudas are common carriers of ciguatoxins, which can cause ciguatera poisoning. This is typical for predatory reef fish that eat other fish and become reservoirs of toxins that accumulate and are stored in their bodies and flesh.

Source: Florida Museum of Natural History

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