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Barracuda - African Game Fish

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Giant barracudas are large, strong fish. Mature specimens usually get to about 60–100cm and weigh 10-20lb. Exceptionally large specimens can exceed 1.5m (5 ft) and weigh over 50lb. The record-sized specimen caught on rod-and-reel weighed 103lb and measured 1.7m (5.6ft) while an even bigger specimen was caught that measured 2 m (6.6 ft) and weighed 50kg (110lb).

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Barracudas are elongated fish with powerful jaws. The lower jaw of its huge mouth protrudes beyond the upper jaw and is full of strong, fang-like teeth that are all unequal in size and set in sockets in the jaws as well as on the roof of the mouth. The head is very large, pointed and pike-like. The two dorsal fins are widely apart, with the first having five spines and the second having one spine and nine soft rays. The lateral line is prominent and extends straight from head to tail.

In general, the barracuda's coloration is anywhere from silver body with a dark green, blue or grey hue above white/chalky belly. Sometimes it can sport a row of darker cross-bars or black spots on each flank. The fins may be yellowish or dark.

Barracudas are found in open seas and near reefs. They are incredibly voracious predators and hunt using ambush tactics. They rely on surprise and short bursts of speed (up to 27 mph; 43 km/h) to spring on their prey.

Barracudas are more or less solitary in their habits although younger and half-grown fish often congregate in shoals. Their diet is made up almost totally of fish of all kinds. Typically, giant barracudas, having already fed, attempt to herd a school of prey fish into shallow water, where they will guard them until ready for another easy picking!

Strong gear is needed to catch a giant barracuda. They will take flies, jigs, diving lures, poppers, bait, in fact nearly anything that passes their noses. They are incredibly acrobatic and being so aquadynamic, make screaming runs. Great fun in open water on medium-strength gear where there are no reefs or rocks to break on.

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