Starting with the cuda

I’m starting off posts about my recent trip to Abaco with a barracuda I caught on a spinning rod. Maybe that’s an odd choice, but that’s what I’m doing.

This was the second day in Abaco and our last day at Abaco Lodge. My fishing partner Aaron and I were fishing with Trevor and the morning was proving tough. Wind (at one point blowing maybe 25 mph). Clouds. Cooler temps on the flats. There are a million reasons why the beautiful flats we were looking at didn’t seem to have any bonefish on them and what few chances we were getting in the AM we were not making the most of. The fish seemed morally opposed to flies.

We weren’t down, just eager and a bit frustrated that what light we had didn’t include the illumination of the bones we were looking for.

Then we saw the cuda.

It was a nice cuda, for sure, but not a record breaker. We saw a lot of cuda on our trip, both in the Marls and where we fished later. They were everywhere, including many places bonefish were not… like this flat, at this moment.

I grabbed the spinning rod with the well-worn cuda plug and launched it fish-ward. It really is amazing how far those things cast. I had just replaced my spinning rod and this was the first cuda the rod would see.

The cuda at first seemed startled, then it seemed pissed as it ran down the plug as I reeled it in as fast as I could. It lunged and missed and lunged and missed again and was nearing the boat when it slashed again, this time grabbing one of the two treble hooks, the water exploding followed an instant later by that brand new spinning rod snapping in (more or less) half.

Things can go two ways at this point. You can either be mad/angry/upset about it, or you can think this turn of events is awesome. We went with the latter option. There I was fighting a 25 pound cuda with half a rod and Aaron and I both started laughing. Smiles, all around. As Aaron said later, “There is just something cool about breaking a rod on a fish.”

A big fish and a broken rod.

A big fish and a broken rod.

That’s striking the right tone. It was a trip highlight, among many. It was a ray of light on a mostly cloudy and very windy day.

Travis went on to find us fish… a lot of them, more than we saw the rest of the trip. We even managed to catch a few, but the day was mostly made with that cuda.

It was a story for the dock when we got back, where we learned we weren’t the only one to break a rod on the day. Another angler broke his 11 weight on a tarpon (yes, a tarpon in the Marls).

Bonefishing is fun. Fly fishing is the way I want to catch them. However, barracuda are also fun and watching one try to murder a 7″ plug is downright exhilarating. I love bonefishing, or course, but I love the whole package with its ups and down and expansiveness.

I’ll be thinking of this trip for a long time.

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  1. Nice cuda! Did your guide eat it? What line weight was your spinning rod?

  2. The guide took it home. The spinning rod was rated to 20# line, I think. It was a Browning from Bass Pro Shop. I was given a gift cert there and used it on that rod. I’ll be checking on their return policy.

  3. Nice! Look into the TFO Travel 3 piece 7′ spinning rod. I love mine. About $150, but has the TFO lifetime warranty and is a very good rod. Most importantly, it breaks into 3 pieces and is the same length as a 9′ 4 piece fly rod when broken down.

  4. Those cuda are also a blast on the fly – try a switch with a Rio leviathan line – love my Meiser 11′ #9 for this purpose – throws a big streamer well in the wind!!!!

  5. ” (yes, a tarpon in the Marls)”
    I have been there several times & never heard of this??

  6. Not even all the guides know where it is. Pretty tightly held secret. Seems it was rediscovered almost on accident by one of the anglers who had been there previously. Not baby tarpon.

  7. I had a 10 along for cudas as well. They are a blast no matter what you catch them on.

  8. I’ll look into it for sure.

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