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How Big Do Barracudas Get? (Average and Maximum Sizes)

How Big Do Barracudas Get? (Average and Maximum Sizes)

Barracudas are fierce and awesome saltwater predators! Their fascinating appearance and brute force on the rod make them a popular game fish all around the world.

Saltwater anglers also like them due to their size, as cudas are massive fish! But just how big can this fish species actually get?

While barracudas have an approximate average size of 2 to 3 feet and 5 to 20lb, they can reach a maximum length of 6 to 7 feet and a maximum weight of about 90 to 100lb. The biggest barracuda ever caught is a fish that weighed just over 100lb. 

If you want to find out more about the size of this incredible ocean predator and which barracuda species is the biggest of them all, all you have to do is keep reading this article!

What Is the Maximum Size of Barracudas?

The barracuda genus (Sphyraenacontains 29 species, but for the sake of this article, we’ll focus on the two biggest types of them; the great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) and the Guinean barracuda (Sphyraena afra).

These tropical and sub-tropical apex predators can reach massive sizes and are priced game fish all over the world. 

The great barracuda, which is the more abundant and fished-for species of the two, is slightly smaller than the rarer Guinean barracuda. 

Great barracudas have an approximate maximum length of about 6 feet and can reach a maximum weight of around 90lb. 

Guinean barracudas, on the other hand, can measure up to 7 feet and weigh a little over 100lb. 

DID YOU KNOW: While great barracudas are found in all tropical and subtropical waters of the world, Guinean barracudas can only be found off the Western coast of Africa. 

What Is the Average Size of Barracudas?

a female saltwater angler holding a nice barracuda
Courtesy of Shasta Branson

The average size of great and Guinean barracuda is between 2 and 3 feet and 5 to 20lb. 

However, it is important to remember that their average size varies a lot from region to region and depends on many factors. Those can include:

  • water temperature
  • water depth
  • population size
  • population genetics
  • food abundance
  • presence of other predators
  • food competition
  • fishing pressure

In some areas, the average size of barracudas might only be 5 to 10lb, while other areas hold fish with an average size of 15 to 30lb.

PRO TIP: Here are a few additional interesting facts about barracudas that you can check out:

What Is the Largest Barracuda Ever Caught?

As we are talking about the two biggest types of barracudas, we’ll also have to look at both IGFA world records. 

Both fish are incredible catches that have been caught fairly recently. 

Let’s start with the smaller of the two all-tackle world records! The biggest great barracuda ever caught by an angler is a fish that weighed in at an incredible 87lb 3oz. 

It was caught in 2012 by angler Christian Loranger off Kiribati, a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

Unfortunately, this fish has no recorded length, but for a great barracuda of almost 90lb, I’d guess it must have measured between 4 and 5 feet.

The biggest Guinean barracuda ever caught is a massive fish of 102lb 4oz. It was caught near the mouth of the Kwanza River just off the coast of Angola (Africa) by angler Thomas Gibson in 2013. 

This behemoth measured an unbelievable 6 feet 11 inches and had a girth of 27 inches. What a fight it must have given the angler!

What Is the Largest Barracuda Ever Caught in Florida?

a Florida saltwater angler holding a giant great barracuda
Courtesy of Bill Gillespie

The waters around Florida are home to plenty of big cudas. They are a very popular game and food fish around here. 

The Florida Keys are especially known for harboring some huge barracudas, and sport anglers are catching quite a few of them.

Florida’s barracudas aren’t the biggest in the world, but fish beyond 60 pounds and 4 feet aren’t uncommon, which is pretty decent if you ask me!

Not much has been written about the heaviest barracuda in Florida. According to the official saltwater state records, the heaviest Florida cuda ever caught is a fish of 67lb that was caught back in 1949. 

On the contrary, there is a lot more information about the longest-ever caught barracuda in Florida, as they’re listed in the IGFA database.

Florida’s current All-Tackle length record is a barracuda of 3 feet 11 inches. It was caught in Fort Pierce by angler Adam Fisk in 2023. 

The junior All-Tackle record is a fish of 3 feet 7 inches, which was caught in Key West by angler Julia Mason Bernstein in 2023. 

However, there must be fish of 4 or more feet swimming around in the Keys! They’ve surely been caught, but perhaps the anglers who caught them didn’t register them with the IGFA, or anywhere else, for that matter.

Where Are the Biggest Barracudas Found?

It’s hard to tell where the biggest barracudas in the world hang around, as they are basically found in all tropical and sub-tropical waters. 

They also migrate a lot, so giant barracudas could theoretically show up anywhere in the world.

However, many really big specimens are being caught in specific locations. These include the following:’

  • The Indian Ocean (more specifically: the Maldives, Christmas Island, Seychelles, Madagascar, and Mauritius) 
  • The entire West coast of Africa
  • Hawaii
  • South America (more specifically: Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, and Brazil)

How Fast Do Barracudas Grow?

a school of juveline barracudas

As apex predators, barracudas have a relatively fast growth rate, although females typically grow slower than males.

On average, male barracudas grow about 10 inches per year during their first two years, while female barracudas grow approximately 5 inches annually until age 4, which is when they reach sexual maturity.

In other words, both males and females measure about 20 inches when they become sexually mature, males at age 2 and females at age 4.

After they reach that stage, their growth rate slows down to about 1.5 to 2.5 inches per year.

Consequently, a 10-year-old female barracuda will measure about 30 to 35 inches. A female that is 15 years old has an approximate length of 42 to 45 inches.

How Old Do Barracudas Get?

Based on the science available to us, barracudas have an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years and can reach a maximum age of 14 or 15 years.

There are reports of fish with an estimated age of 19 and even 20 years, but those are not officially confirmed cases. 

As always, when it comes to ocean predators, more research will be needed to learn more about their life and behavioral patterns. 

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Featured image courtesy of Chris Klepek