In the world of saltwater fishing, there are very few places where the worlds of fly fishing (or at least my world of fly fishing) and big game offshore fishing can come together and find common ground. I mean, look at these big game guys. Million-dollar, huge sport fishing boats with egos to match, gold chains, and techno music. Well, I’m not sure about the techno music, but that’s what I hear in my head every time I see them cruising by, sipping cappuccino, and watching satellite TV while running out in the mornings. Not that I care, do your thing man, it’s just that guys like us and guys like them don’t often agree on things… like life in general for instance. But one topic on which we can all come together, hold hands and sing Kumbaya, is our all-consuming hatred for barracuda.
That’s right, that silvery bag of teeth found in every subtropical waterway in the world. They smell like something you scrape off of a hobo’s taint, and have the uncanny ability to show up out of nowhere, right when you spot that 50-pound cobia, or when you’re about to land that nice bonefish you spent all your vacation time, and money to go and catch. From six inches to 300 feet of water, these bastards have no shame or fear. They will charge in headlong without looking back. They care not for your tippet, or your fingers for that matter. They want what you have, and they’re gonna take it. Fuck you.
I mean, how can we civilized anglers abide such a disgrace to the piscatorial honor that we cherish so much? No other fish roams such a large range of habitat, ruining people’s days quite like the ‘cuda. Sure, they’re hard fighters. They get up to 20-30 pounds, can jump as high as a tarpon, and run down a bonefish at top speed and cut him in half with one bite.
They will willingly (most of the time) eat flies, or lures. And like I previously noted, they are everywhere so you rarely have a problem finding them if you really want to. But what kind of shit is that? Give me my seasonal, tidal, mood dependent fish. There is no honor in catching a fish unless you spend thousands of dollars, pole for miles, and look for days only to get one shot at a fish that really could give two shits about eating your fly. That’s what this sport is all about, right? Pain, suffering, the search for the unattainable. Show up at a bar with a pic of you holding up a 10-lb permit caught on the fly, and if you have friends worth their salt, you will drink free all night. Show up with a pic of a 30-lb ‘cuda, and you’ll be asked to put your camera away and take a shower before you’re allowed to sit at the bar.
Nothing pisses me off more than casting to a fish, watching it streak to the fly at supersonic speeds, swallow the fly to its asshole, and run away so fast that your reel begins begging for mercy. I especially hate it when it starts greyhounding and airing out ridiculous jumps. I mean they’re so damn strong that you’re gonna be on that fish for a bit before you land it. And assuming you have a steel leader on, and are able to bring it to the boat, or to hand, now you have to deal with a mouth full of teeth. Not just normal sharp fish teeth. Oh hell no, this mother has daggers up front and serrated offset meat slicers in the back. One slip and you’re down a digit or two. Who the hell has time for that? Nobody… nobody got time for that. God, I hate barracuda.