© St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2002
If you crave spirited jumps and drag-singing runs, look no further than the artificial reefs and nearshore wrecks dotting our coastline, where barracuda provide big-game action on light tackle.
Large, lively baits are key. Ladyfish, blue runners and big threadfins accounted for many hook-ups this week, and nothing beats a frisky Spanish mackerel for drawing the attention of a big barracuda.
Rig these baits on a wire leader with a trailing treble "stinger." Some longer baits may require two or more trebles to assure a 'cuda bite.
Light, 10- to 15-pound tackle is all you need to enjoy the savage hits, acrobatics, long runs and deep fights.
Several techniques work for catching barracuda, including slow-trolling, drifting, anchoring and sight-casting. Sometimes changing methods keeps them interested and prolongs the bite. If 'cudas follow your bait and turn off at the last second, they may be spooked by the wire leader, so try live chumming. Once they start chasing down freebies, they drop their guard.
Remember that barracuda have extraordinary teeth. Handle them with extreme care.
-- Capt. Brent Gaskill charters the Summer Vacation out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 343-1765 or by e-mail at email@example.com.