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conchxpress 11-04-2009 02:02 PM

I just caught a big barracuda off Key West last week. He was wearing a Kitehouse T-shirt for a trophy! Did a number of jumps.- a KGB and an F16, I think. Had to use one of those long handle de-hookers. I wasn't getting close to that mouth. The teeth look like a bad dental job from pictures, but up close they are razor sharp. I was on a dive trip out of Miami a few years back out to the Caysal(?) Banks. We had all finished diving for the day and were anchored on a sand flat in about 20 feet of crystal clear water. There was a solitary coral head about 20 yards from the boat and I decided to grab my sling and free dive the head and look for something for dinner. There was one very large yellow tail hanging around and didn't seem to be bothered by my presence. Before taking the shot I did a 360 to see if there were any toothy types around. The vis was greater than 100 feet. I nailed the snapper behind the gill and went over to retrieve my catch. I had no sooner picked up the spear, fortunately not close to the fish, than WHAM - a cuda appeared from out of nowhere and bit my future dinner clean in half. I removed the rest of the fish utilizing the coral head and swam back to the boat empty handed.

RickI 11-04-2009 03:43 PM

I had heard about those, new Kitehouse fish tee keepsakes, great marketing idea! Give 'em to the Grunts you know on your reef. Stories like that make you wonder why diver cuda attacks aren't more common? I used to play with them as a kid in the shallows off the beach. I would throw shells out of the water to where they would land over the cuda and do a falling leaf almost hitting them. The cuda would flash out and attack the shells fairly reliably. Cheap thrills for kids. Still, they do have a hair trigger when it comes to attacking yellowtail, mutton and apparently shells too.

conchxpress 11-04-2009 04:44 PM

I was doing one of my first Keys dives off of Pennecamp a number of years ago and upon entering the water, I found myself in a school of cudas. There must have been a hundred of them. Small ones at the top of the water column and bigger as you went down. I thought they were more of a solitary hunter. Near the bottom, cruising between the coral heads were a couple of seven footers. Of course I wasn't alarmed because the dive master told us that barracudas won't hurt you.!! As I descended, the whole school would orient themselves in my direction. Spooky having all those teeth staring at you. After that, tho, I swapped out my shiny stainless dive watch for a black one.

I was watching a fishing show a couple of nights ago, and Mark Sosin was fishing for sharks in Key West. As I watched, I figured out that they were fishing in the channels off the northwest flats. They would throw the bait onto the flats and retrieve them so they would pop into the channel. They landed a couple of good sized lemon sharks. 6 feet +. I've read on the fishing forums of fisherman catching bull sharks out there, also. Whenever I've done the flats, I've always tried to attempt any new things on the flats themselves, so I wouldn't crash in the channels and have to become a troll bait trying to retrieve my board. Haven't heard of any close encounters on Smathers though. There have been attacks closer to White Street and Higgs beach by bathers trying to feed the nice birdies diving into the water.

RickI 11-04-2009 07:54 PM

Gotten used to cudas they are so common and usually fairly harmless. Then again, I don't spearfish! I can recall some January and February dives during cold fronts. The cuda's were nuts and super agro too. Whipping all over the place doing their rattle snake strung out on angel dust impersonations. Tell you what though, during a dive recently on the Duane, was treated to some unusually aggressive cuda behavior. I was free diving, deep at times too down to 120 ft.. You can't afford to have a lot mess with your head during a serious breathhold. Still, some of the touchy aspect was caught on video, still more on the editing room floor.

You know all the conventional wisdom about avoiding negative shark encounters diving, avoid fish schools being worked, wearing shiny stuff, having blood in the water, oh, and making sure Paul isn't too close by! Not at least unless he is sporting some of those fish tees to hand out.

RickI 03-01-2011 09:21 PM

38,000 hits +?! Lots of interest in barracudas out there.

ARCSrule 03-02-2011 12:06 PM

We ate at the grand cafe in january. that may not be the name of it now, but I recognized the pics. it had a very good buffet--not something spectacular like paul would do, so I guess he's not there now. I also 'ate' at the square taco place after reading you post with pics of it. I particularly did not like the marguerita---made with wine! who does that! haha

admin 03-23-2011 08:56 PM

I think Paul moved on from The Grand. It was great while he was there to be sure. You have me at a disadvantage, I never liked tequila anyway. It reminded me too much of drinking perfume. Also, I think they use it as worm killer in Mex. At least a worm I saw in a bottle of tequila once was done for or pretty tired at best.

MrBill 10-11-2013 12:26 PM

IMHO, if you are not spearing, you are not of interest.

I've been diving since age 13, and still spear (but its not like it use to be).

my theory is sharks and cudas don't really like the taste of humans, since its mostly shark Biting, not Eating.

if they wanted to, most likely they could finish off what they bit... but don't.

most attacks are in shallow waters where parts of people are seen as food, not when the whole person is in the water (like diving).

The exception is spearing. when people get in the way of a meal.

for the kiting crowd, I'd say up the coast is higher risk than say south of WPB. Because you have reefs to the south. further north the shore is the barrier bait fish use to hide. and the shallower the water the higher the risk.

bright clothing, would probably be a good idea too.

-I'm sure no expert, but I did stay at a holiday Inn once or twice..... & just my opinion, based on 40 years diving.

RickI 10-11-2013 01:15 PM

Fortunately, shark attacks on kiters are very rare, fatal ones even more so. They are far more common on bathers, surfers and even divers. I looked into barracuda attacks before writing this post. Reported barracuda attacks are far more rare than shark attacks. Looking at how common cudas are and routinely aggressive they can be, that never made a lot of sense to me. Since I wrote this I have heard about three other cuda attacks on humans not in the databases. Still, they are quite rare.

We started diving around the same time, 1971 for me. I quit spearfishing in 1972 due to what seemed to me to be the unsustainability of the practice in SE Florida. Fish were becoming smaller and less common when compared to years past at that time. All these decades later, things haven't improved.

RickI 11-19-2013 09:37 AM

I just saw an account of a nasty barracuda attack yesterday on a spearfisherman off Humpy Island in Keppel Bay, off the northeast coast of Australia in Queensland. His friend had already put a shaft into it but apparently it had enough capacity left to make a fast attack on the unlucky spearfisherman. Without the intercession of his friends the diver might not have made it with the potential severe blood loss. There is a potential downside with shooting any fish in terms of sustainability but also with something potentially taking an unhealthy interest in you. This spearfisherman blog in Australia strongly advises against shooting any barracuda which I don't recall having seen before but it makes sense on the odd real bad day.

Adreno has received this news story from a Yeppoon, Queensland customer. They have asked that names not be included. We have posted before about the dangers associated with spearing Barracuda, but we hope these pictures and the experience of these spearos over the weekend prevents further similar incidences from occurring. We advise that divers DO NOT spear Barracuda of any size. If you need to spear a Barracuda that attacks you, you should cut the shooting line immediately and get out of the water.

On Saturday myself and a couple of friends went on what we thought was going to be just another spearing trip. All three of us had been in the water for about 10 minutes when, out of nowhere, a medium sized Barracuda of about 10-12kg rushed at me so quickly that I freaked out and just pulled the trigger on it. It took off peeling line from my reel. It went straight past one of my dive buddies who was just out in front of us. After a minute or 2 of fighting, the Barracuda came back up around us and my dive buddy went down to put another shot in it. The fish was about 10 meters away, but as he stretched his arm out it raced up on him in the blink of an eye and latched onto his arm.

Instantly the water turned red. My dive buddy who was attacked was screaming and yelling, “What do I do?” I told him to get to the boat now and I called the other diver over as well. By the time we got to the boat it seemed the whole ocean was red from blood. We cut the line on the spear and got in the boat to see what the severity of the situation was."

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WARNING: There is a gory photo of the injury below, not for light viewing or for children.

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