As we speak, the IGFA is reviewing a new submission for a pending all-tackle, world-record barracuda — but it’s not the great barracuda (or the Pacific variety) you might be familiar with.
Meet the Guinean barracuda (Sphyraena afra), a ferocious species found along the Atlantic coast of West Africa, from Mauritania to Namibia.
This particular specimen was caught in mid-February by Thomas Gibson, of Houston, Texas. Gibson was fishing for tarpon with Cam Nicolson around Rio Cuanza in Angola, when the beast hit a Rapala. It weighed a whopping 102 pounds on the scales and, if approved, would just supplant the current record of 101 pounds, 3 ounces, caught in Gabon in 2002 by Dr. Cyril Fabre.
“I have never seen anything like it,” Iain Nicolson, Cam’s brother, tells Sport Fishing of the catch. “It was 210 cm long – that’s just under 6’11”!”
That’s about as big as they get, according to the IGFA’s species page for the Guinean.
Similar to the very popular great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda), the Guinean is generally found around continental shelves and inside lagoons and estuaries. But interestingly, there are no documented reports of ciguatera related to this species of barracuda – or any Sphyraena species from the eastern Central Atlantic, for that matter.
One more interesting fact about barracudas in general: Did you know there are 27 species of cudas throughout the world? I honestly never knew that before researching it a bit. Pretty amazing, I thought.