I always love a good fighting fish when not fishing off a hand line and I’ve had my share of memorable moments but this next catch that I am going to talk about here is one of the few moments that I will remember not because of the fight in the fish but because
I wont be able to get a bite off this beautiful specimen. In a way, it was a wasted resource, at least not for science anyway.
So a few days after my glorious double wahoo day I was out on the water again with my lines in the water and my eyes into the horizon of this beautiful spot. The day was hot and the sun was out but the cool ocean breeze was just enough to keep us on deck looking out onto the water and waiting for that magical sound from the reels when a fish was on the line. It had been some time since the lures went into the water and everyone was slowly losing focus on the reels and moving about doing their duties for the afternoon. All of a sudden, that famous crunching sound was in the air and the reel was paying out, “fish on!”
It was a good fight and it was worth it when the fish was landed on deck as on the other end of the line was a Great Barracuda (Sphyranea barracuda), an animal that inhabits coastal waters and offshore reefs, feeds on other fishes and is distinguished by faint oblique bars on its back and usually has scattered black blotches on its side. Its a good feed too and reminded me of those days when a barracuda at this time of the day was the perfect excuse for a 6-pack some salad and a front row seat to the sun disappearing in the horizon pulling back its rays like and octopus going back into its crevice.
What was disappointing was that at my feet was a magnificent animal, one of the top predators of the oceans but also one that currently has a ban on eating (link to ban in Australia). Barracuda is a great fish but is also the main carrier of Ciguatera, a neurotoxin that is caused by a dinoflagellate that occurs in algae. When the algae are stressed either by human or natural activities, they react by increasing the amount of this toxin in them. Other herbivorous fishes eat these algae
and ciguatera makes its way into the food chain and eventually into the bodies of these beautiful animals where is accumulates and can then be passed onto humans.
There is currently a ban on eating Barracuda in Australia and I have decided that this one is not going on my dinner plate. On any other day, this would go back to the sea but right now, I will sacrifice this animal for science will be collecting some flesh and liver tissues from this animal for science.