Fly Fishing the Flats for Barracuda
Barracudas are found on the flats in the Florida Keys the entire year. They can be taken
on the fly year-round from the flats. They can caught during the winter months on a fly
even in cold weather when most other gamefish have fled to deeper water. They will often
lie along the edge of a clear spot in the grass and watch for anything to eat to come by.
Barracuda can watch a large area of water because they have excellent eye sight,
however, that turns out to be a disadvantage to the angler. They may not spook and flee
like many fish, but they may very well be aware of your presence. Catching them on the
fly isn't all that easy to do.
There have been many occasions when I have slowly moved a boat up near such a
place, allowed everything to calm down, and cast a lure across the clear sand bottom
only to see several barracuda follow the lure and not take it. They are not easily fooled
with an artificial. Doing that with a fly is even more difficult simply because I can cast
much farther with a bait casting or spinning rod than I can with a fly rod.
Barracuda can spot a boat easily and even though they don't always leave, they become
very cautious. I have anchored the boat in shallow water, waded up to such places and
still not managed to catch one, although the barracuda are there. They are a very
strange fish in that regard.
The key is to find them before they spot you and that isn't easy. You have to know where
the fish are before you get there or otherwise you don't stand a chance. That way you
have a shot at slipping up on them without them becoming aware of you.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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