Sphyraena Picudilla

Sphyraenidae

Perciformes

Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck

1 - 2 pounds

18" - 24"

Southern Sennet Game Fish Quality Decent
Southern Sennet Meal Quality Decent
Southern Sennet Fly Fishing Quality Decent

Southern Sennet 

Southern Sennet 
Also Known As: Barracuda  

Southern Sennet (Sphyraena Picudilla) Fish Description

The southern sennet is a saltwater game fish that belongs to the Sphyraenidae family, closely related to the barracuda family. Some anglers see it as the Great Barracuda's smaller cousin. They are characterized by their long, slender bodies, sharp heads, large jaws with fang-like teeth, and exaggerated eyes. The lower jaw sticks out from the upper jaw. They have a white, silvery belly and a yellowish, almost gold, slank. The fish also has a forked tail. Two of the fish’s dorsal fins are widely separated. The front dorsal fin has 6 dorsal spines, while the dorsal fin towards the back has 9 rays. The southern sennet is a carnivorous fish that feeds on smaller fish, squid, and shrimp. 

Interesting Southern Sennet Facts

  • When keeping this species in tanks, it must be housed alone or in pairs. It cannot be housed with smaller fish because the southern sennet will feed on it. 
  • The southern sennet was first introduced by Felipe Poey, a Cuban zoologist. He published it in 1860 in his book called Historia Natural de la Isla de Cuba or Natural History of the Island of Cuba
  • Male and female southern sennet are virtually indistinguishable. 
  • Because of its carnivorous nature, the southern sennet is associated with ciguatera poisoning. 
  • As part of the barracuda family, southern sennets are prone to biting which makes them dangerous. 
  • Some of the known fishing spots for southern sennet are Middle Basin, Florida and Rio Sergipe, Brazil.

Fish Size

The southern sennet grows to an average length of 14 inches but it can grow up to a maximum length of 24 inches. This species has a maximum weight of 2.4 pounds. 

Fishing Habitat and Distribution

The southern sennet inhabits coastal waters in the western Atlantic Ocean, particularly from Bermuda, Florida, and the Bahamas to Uruguay. They can be found in rocky or coral reefs but they abound in muddy bottoms, with depths reaching from 3 feet to 213 feet below sea level. These species tend to appear in large schools, sometimes near the surface. 

Fishing Technique 

Anglers can fish for the southern sennet by using a surface plug along the reefs or muddy bottoms at the depth where they usually occur. Fishing for this species may not be as popular as other members of the barracuda family, but applying the same techniques may also work. Anglers can use spinning or trolling methods with live bait like small sardines or bright, shiny artificial lures.