We love fly fishing for barracuda, and while we might be fortunate to be located right in the middle of one of the best bonefish fisheries on the planet, we still spend a lot of time targeting them..
Contrary to popular belief, long, flashy, needlefish imitations aren’t the only fly worth tossing at ‘cuda. In fact, one of our favorite ways to target ‘cuda on fly rods is with poppers, and today we’re going to tell you why.
- They’re fun. Surface takes are fun, and believe us when we say there isn’t a more violent take on top than a ‘cuda on a popper. It’s one you have to see to believe, and one that still shocks us each and every time. Think lightning speed followed by tarpon-like leaps. Yeah, its that good.
- They’re effective. Anyone who has tossed a fly at a ‘cuda knows they can be frustratingly indecisive. It’s not uncommon for a barracuda to track a well presented fly all the way back to the boat without ever committing. In fact, many anglers believe the longer a barracuda is able to track (and see) the fly, the less likely it will take the offering. Where does the popper come in to play? It’s hard to see! A well retrieved popper creates a mess of frothy water and noise on the surface, imitating struggling prey (much like a needle fish skipping across the surface we might add), without ever allowing the predator to get a good look at it. It plays well to a barracuda’s predatory nature and helps excite otherwise lethargic ‘cuda.
- You don’t have to strip as fast. Stripping the fly fast enough to elicit a response is one of the most challenging aspects of fly fishing for ‘cuda. However, poppers can create a huge amount of surface disturbance with relatively short, quick, strips, thus eliciting the same chase response with less work.
- They’re easier to cast. Really? Poppers? Sure, poppers have never been accused of being the easiest flies to cast. However, we’d argue that they’re easier to turn over than most 6-7 inch needlefish patterns, especially when wet.
- They’re more durable. Barracuda have teeth. Big teeth. They destroy flies. In fact, you’re lucky if you’re able to get more than one fish to hand before your fly looks like a yard sale christmas ornament. Hard-bodied poppers on the other hand can last much longer, and keep you in the game for the duration of the day.