Of all the actinopterygians our waters have to offer (and there are a bunch of them) there is only one that truly scares me — but not enough to stop me from fishing for them. The ray-finned fish that I’m going to teach you about this week can be found in pretty much all of the tropical and subtropical seas around the globe. Their fondness for warmer waters means that we Southwest Floridians are right in the middle of where they like to hang out — and that means that you stand a better-than-average chance of hooking up with one of these hard-fighting speedsters. I personally think they’re one of the most thrilling fish our area has to offer, and the fact that they are downright delicious makes them even more appealing to me (and hopefully to you also). Any fish that can inspire a couple of sisters to write a timeless rock ‘n’ roll classic is a fish worth catching, at least in my ”Heart.”
So, what’s so special about the great barracuda? Well, let’s see: They’re hard-fighting fish that are capable of screaming off 100 yards of line from your reel with awe-inspiring speed. They love to get vertical by repeatedly leaping wildly out of the water during a battle. They’re relatively easy to find yet can be extremely challenging to catch. They will take naturally presented and trolled live baits as well as an array of artificials — including top water plugs and flies, as long as you present them correctly. They are just really cool-looking fish both in and out of the water, with a streamlined physique and fearsome set of razor-sharp dentures. Another special thing about the great barracuda is that it tastes awesome. OK, I know it has been identified as a fish that can carry ciguatera poisoning, but we’ll put those concerns to rest in a moment.
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