How to catch a Barracouta?

Barracouta, a long slender scaly predatory fish often distinguished by their razor-sharp front teeth, steely blue and silver main body, black dorsal and pectoral fins.

These guys are often found swimming in schools around coastal waters, shallow reefs, headlands, and bays preying on baitfish or scavenging for food. Barracouta is also referred to as Couta, Snoek or Barracuda.

Barracouta is found in cooler waters of the southern parts of Australia including Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and New South Wales.

Folks from New South Wales often consider these guys as pests as Barracouta have been known to get hooked on rigs meant for Snapper, Tailor or Australian Salmon.

Generally, Barracouta isn’t the best-eating fish as they have been known to inhabit worms and parasites in their gut and skin. Cooking these fish will kill the unwanted worms and parasites but it’s highly advised not to eat these fish raw.

However, Barracouta does make good quality sport fish as they attack lures and baits voraciously.


What set-up should you use for Barracouta?

Fishing for barracouta requires a medium weight rod and reel combo similar setup used for Snapper fishing. Both baits and lures can be used when fishing for barracouta. If specifically targeting these guys set-up your rig with a heavy duty trace line to prevent bust offs.



Use a paternoster rig if setting up for abated rig. Ensure your dropper and trace line are both heavy duty wire lines as this will prevent the Couta from biting it off. Follow your dropper line with gang hooks and bait with small sized bait fish including Pilchard, Mullet or garfish.



If deciding to use lures to target Barracouta I highly advise you use metal lures as they will be durable and can withstand voracious bites. Similar to bait fishing use a heavy duty wire trace to ensure you won’t get bitten off.

Barracouta is known to attack anything shimmery and shiny and there have been reports on anglers losing sinkers due to Barracouta attacking these directly. Barracouta is a great sporting fish and can put up one hell of a fight and you’ll defiantly feel these guys attack the lure.

Work metal lures with various techniques that imitate an injured baitfish and you’ll have a hook up in no time. Various lures such as the ones below will work well.


Legal catch limit and size

Within Victorian waters no legal size limit for Barracouta is present but a bag limit of 20 per person is stated. When heading out on to the water please check your local regulations as some states may vary.

Please fish accordingly and practice safe fishing methods in particular with these fish. Barracouta does have very sharp teeth and spiny back. Handle them with care.

Image and Information referenced from VFA ‘Victorian Fisheries Authority’

One thought to “How to catch a Barracouta?”

  1. I am a fan of eating barracouta.
    Is it a threatened species in our waters of Victoria or rest of Australia.

    It seems to be a sustainable species in Victoria Tasmania and Western Australia including NSW according to my research

    Thank you.

    Owen Martin

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