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Offshore trip Sat. - Cuda City!

We headed offshore Saturday out of FM Beach about 15 miles to some public reefs.  Perfect conditions.  Called a local marina on the way and they said they had chum.  Showed up 30 minutes later and they had no chum.  Too late to go anywhere else so we were chumless.  We tried some closer spots for grins and just picked up bait but needed it anyway.  Got to our spot and proceeded to catch a lot of grunts with some good size, a few small yellowtails and some keeper mangroves to 14 inches.  We also caught some small lanes and 5 short red grouper.  Within 30 minutes we had at least 15 barracudas circling the boat. Some solid 4-5 footers!  Not sure if they were the problem but we got cut off at least a dozen times.  If we switched to wire the target fish would not bite!  We had the biggest cuda on I've ever seen, fought it for 20 minutes and it finally broke to 30 pound fluoro leader.  All in all we headed home with about 15 fish to clean and a needed trip to the tackle shop!

Any suggestions on how to stop the bite offs and still catch the target snapper/grouper, etc would be appreciated.  Thanks!


  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,148 Officer
    edited October 2021 #2
    Cudas can be a real issue. Unfortunately most of the ones that'll sit under your boat like that offshore are old and big, and that means they've likely seen hundreds of fishing rigs and taken hundreds of fish off the hook. I've only ever gotten a few of them to hit something that was actually meant for them, they've got a supernatural ability to see and avoid wire leaders. Heavy mono with circle hooks or super light wire with a stinger rigged live bait can work though, and the few times it's worked that seems to get the hooked cuda to leave you alone.

    As far as counter-strategies, using heavy gear and tight drags to get your fish up fast is about as much as I know you can do. Pulling anchor and doing a reset on the spot can help too, at least for a while. At some point it's best to move on if you can't get the target species and are solely killing fish and leaving tackle in the ocean, though I can very much sympathize with the desire to keep trying. Tough to tell when to leave sometimes. This problem is definitely seasonal though, they're most common during the summer and fall when bait is thick offshore in my experience.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
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