The California barracuda migrate between Baja California and Southern California, and begin showing up in Southern California waters in the spring and can remain into the fall. Most active when surface water temperatures range is between 62 and 70 degrees. The northern migration is pronounced while the southerly migration is less pronounced. Fishing reports can be spotty on California barracuda as other game fish, often yellowtail, exist in the same waters, which attract more attention.
They spawn during the summer months and management is done by having a minimum size that can be taken as two-year-old California barracuda are sexually mature and spawn. All 3-year-old barracuda are sexually mature, but only 75 percent of the 2-year-old fish are capable of reproduction. Females at this age may produce 50,000 eggs. Older females can produce 200,000 to 400,000 eggs. For commercial fishing the net's mesh size is controlled to let the small fish go. Today, the population has increased to near record levels; Management is paid for by fishing permits. A 28-inch barracuda weighs about 3 pounds, and is 4 to 5 years old. The current 28-inch California limitation, equivalent to 3 pounds, was imposed in 1949. The average 1-year-old barracuda is about 13.8 inches long and weighs one-third of a pound.
Baja regulations for sports fishermen is a bag limit for a single species to five, (see Mexico Fishing Permits) with some important exceptions.
They have sharp teeth which will cut nylon leaders, wire leaders are needed. They agressively take the bait and set the hook themselves. Note yellowtail are put off by wire leaders, and larger hooks result in catching larger yellowtail without smaller barracuda breaking the line.
They can be at depths of 60 feet but may reveal themselves on the surface. Tips for catching barracuda are online at newportlanding.com
2014 Location Reports
Third week of June, Barracuda remain catch of the day in Ensenada and are in the triple digits sergiosfishing.com. Tuna have arrived south of Ensenada, San Quintin, and into Ensenada, which are attracting more interest. San Diego waters are showing fairly consistant Barracuda.
Second Week of June, Barracuda are being reported in Southern California Waters, most of the attention is being given to yellowtail.
First week of June, Barracuda seem to have taken to Ensenada with catches ranging from double digits to triple digits for the fleet. They are reaching up to Southern California waters, ... bajafly.com June 6th update at the Coronado Islands just south of the US Mexico border ... "Barracuda are thick at South Kelp, Five-minute Kelp and at Ribbon Kelp. They are ranging from 'just legal' to close to 10 pounds. Anchovy’s and the Surface Iron are working great."
Memorial Day Weekend, sergiosfishing.com on the 24th reeled in 20 barracuda with 15 anglers, 25 and 26 saw none. 25th saw Yellowtail and 26th the catch was mostly rockcod.
Early May Ensenada daily catch reports has more barracuda than most other species.
Spring has seen barracuda scattered from baja north into southern california water but without any consistancy or schooling.
Via bigwatersedge.com forums is a first person report, (January, Guerro Negro), reporting yellowtail calicos, bonita, barracuda, sheephead, and sandbass were all caught
2013 Location Reports
September 2013 via The Fish Icon report on Rod and Reel Radio, (James runs charters out of San Diego and does lots of inshore fishing), the barracuda are biting on the troll out in San Diego waters. Barracude extent down through Baja California waters but they are not getting the headlines for fishing reports as other larger game fish are going nuts. Headlines are the bluefin and yellowfin tuna out of Ensenada waters, north and south for a hundred miles. Barracuda require steel leaders, which are not used for many other types of fish.
Out of Bahia Asuncion just south of the north south Baja Califronia bajafisherman.com reports on the barracuda when targeting mostly yellowtail.
From Phil Friedman (9-10-2013), "Inside the bay, [Ensenada] there continues to be yellowtail, barracuda, sand bass, calico bass and a few giant white seabass".
Out of San Quintin to San Martin Island barracuda were reported on a trip for yellowtail by K&M Sportfishing.
June 2013 Chubasco II Baracuda counts for the first few days of June out of Mission Bay San Diego are 6, zero, 64, 43, 2, 8, 45, 1 and 1. Mission Belle starting in the 2nd week of June is getting Baracuda nearly daily.
Out of Ensenada baracuda are being caught in the double digits for every boat in the fleet fish counts via ensenada.com with 346 for June 15th alone.
In May 2013 they are being found rather consistantly out of San Diego Hat Tip Sportfishingreport.com. Mid month seaforthlanding.com landed 42 California barracuda. From Point Loma Mission Bell called in 33 California barracuda May 22nd, and 22 California barracuda on May 23rd.