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October 25, 2001

Shoulda Woulda 'Cuda

Here's a cheap alternative to the standard Barracuda lure.

Sometimes there's nothing like catching a barracuda to jump-start a slow day. But bagging these razor-mawed speedsters can put tremendous wear and tear on your lures. Here's a cheap alternative lure design that's proven to be more effective and durable than the traditional 'cuda tube.
Bend the eye of one of your 6/0 hooks back away from the point so that it will lie closer to the wire. Now attach the swivel to the 20-inch piece of wire with a haywire twist and break the tag off clean. Slide 6 inches of tri-beads onto the wire and up to the swivel. (I often use four clear beads and two black ones up near the front to simulate eyes.) Slip the hook with the bent eye onto the wire. Add the remaining 8 inches of tri-beads and end with the sinker. Now attach the rear hook with a haywire twist. You can also attach a spinner blade or vinyl skirt to the trailing hook for added attraction.
In clear water or for 'cudas that have seen a lot of lures, I use clear or light-blue beads. For open-water trolling, use brighter colors and let your imagination run wild. Also, make multicolored or wild single-color lures. You can buy huge packages of tri-beads in assorted colors for about $3 at your local craft store. These are the same beads for which you pay premium prices at the tackle store.
To fish this lure, cast long and reel fast. I usually use a 1/4- to 3/8-ounce egg sinker on those I cast. Try to keep the front of the lure out of the water by holding your rod tip high. When trolling, fish it on a long rod or from a rigger at 6 to 10 knots. These lures really leave a good smoke trail, and wahoo and kingfish fall for them too.
Capt. Ken Roy
Whopper Stopper
Crystal River, Florida