Sphyraena Argentea



Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck

10 - 18 pounds

40" - 60"

Pacific Barracuda Game Fish Quality Very Good
Pacific Barracuda Meal Quality Poor
Pacific Barracuda Fly Fishing Quality Very Good

Pacific Barracuda

Pacific Barracuda
Also Known As: California Barracuda  

Guides Who Fish This Species


San Diego, CA

23ft - 4 guests



Starting as low as


Pacific Barracuda  (Sphyraena argentea ) Description

The Pacific Barracuda is a popular saltwater gamefish with an elongated, streamlined body. It’s silver in color and has a shiny backside. It has a pointy snout, and its lower jaw is slightly protruded. It has 2 widely separated dorsal fins and an anal fin with 2 spines. Its pectoral fins are short and its pelvic fin has 1 spine. Unlike other barracuda species, it doesn’t have spots.


Diet and Size

The Pacific barracuda is a medium to large fish. The biggest Pacific barracuda ever caught was 18 lbs and was 4 feet long (but some have been reported to be 5 feet long). On average they are 35 inches in length and weigh only 10 lbs. This fish matures quickly, just only with the span of 2 years. They are known as characteristically quick fish, but their speed has not been measured unlike their relative, the giant barracuda, with speeds up to 38 mph.

They are aggressive predators and eats a variety of fish such as anchovies, mackerel, and groupers. They also feed on invertebrates such as squids.


Interesting Facts About the Pacific Barracuda

  • This fish practice cannibalism, if given the opportunity, they would eat younger barracudas.
  • They are known to form schools to hunt other schools of fish. Herding the baitfish near the surface and then attacking them from different angles.
  • The Pacific barracuda are known to have excellent eyesight. They can follow their prey with the slightest of movements.
  • Pacific Barracudas only appear violent. When in reality, they're big cowards.
  • They're only mean towards small fishes.
  • Pacific Barracudas are only known to live up to 12 years.


How to Fish the Pacific Barracuda

As a game fish, the Pacific barracuda are known to be aggressive fighters that anglers love. You would sometimes see them thrashing out of the water when you catch them. Not a popular choice but there have been instances where anglers would catch Pacific barracuda via fly fishing. To catch one, make long casts and let your line lie in a horizontal structure. Reel in a slow and steady to imitate a bit of a chase. As predators with great speed, barracudas love chasing their prey. Make sure to tease them this way and you’ll get a catch in no time.

The recommended gear for fly fishing the Pacific barracuda is a 7-foot rod with a 7-8 weight. Use lines between 15-40 pounds braided line. for hook sizes, use hook sizes of 3/0 to 4/0 since their mouths are pretty big.

Recommended lures are surface iron. Good color combinations for this barracuda are purple white, black white. Good lures for the Pacific Barracuda are sempers, poppers, and deceiver flies. The best baits to use are live baits such as anchovies and sardines. Anglers claim that an apex predator like the Pacific barracuda doesn’t like baits that are mauled or dead. As much as possible, use live baits. 


Habitat and Distribution of the Pacific Barracuda

They are mainly found in the Northeast Pacific Ocean but sometimes can also be seen in some parts of the Atlantic Ocean. The most popular spots for fishing a Pacific barracuda are in California. They migrate northwards from Baja California they then swim to the southern parts of California during late spring to early summer.

They are mostly surface swimmers of coastal areas that reside near kelp forests or reefs but they can go as deep as 120 feet. You can fish them nearshore with a boat or just cast by the bays or pier. Great fishing spots for the Pacific barracuda are said to be in Catalina Islands, Point Conception, and Marina del Rey. The best time to fish for Pacific barracuda is during spring and fall. During these seasons, you can find bigger adults.