Discover The Largest Barracuda Ever Caught in Alabama

Written by Heather Hall
Updated: July 27, 2023
© Focused Adventures/
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Key Points

  • Alabama boasts a diverse geography and industries ranging from agriculture to tourism.
  • Barracudas are predatory fish that can grow up to six feet in length and weigh up to 100 pounds.
  • The largest barracuda caught in Alabama weighed an impressive 52 pounds and 4 ounces.
  • The world record for the largest barracuda ever caught belongs to Thomas Gibson, who snagged a massive Guinean barracuda weighing 102.8 pounds and measuring over six feet ten inches in length.

While this blog post focuses on the largest barracuda ever caught in Alabama, it’s worth briefly discussing the state itself. Located in the southeastern region of the United States, Alabama is known for its rich history and diverse geography. It borders Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida to the south, and Mississippi to the west.

Alabama has a population of approximately 5 million people, and its capital city is Montgomery. The state was heavily involved in both slavery and civil rights movements throughout American history, including being home to major events such as Rosa Parks’ bus boycott and Martin Luther King Jr.’s march from Selma to Montgomery.

In terms of economy, Alabama has a mix of industries ranging from agriculture (including cotton and peanuts) to manufacturing (such as automobiles). Additionally, tourism plays a significant role in Alabama’s economy due to its beaches along the Gulf Coast and various historical landmarks.

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Overall, while it may be best known by some for its sports teams (such as the college football powerhouse, the University of Alabama), there is much more depth that can be explored when considering all that this southern state has to offer.

About Barracuda

Great barracuda showing off its teeth.
Great barracuda are predatory fish with sharp teeth.

©Focused Adventures/

The barracuda is a predatory fish found in warmer waters around the world, including in Alabama’s Gulf of Mexico. These sleek and powerful fish are known for their long, slender bodies and sharp teeth, enabling them to easily hunt down prey.

Barracudas can grow up to six feet in length and weigh up to 100 pounds, making them one of the largest species of predatory fish found in Alabama. They are often caught by anglers who enjoy the challenge of reeling in these elusive creatures, but it is important to handle them with care due to their razor-sharp teeth, which can cause serious injury if not handled properly.

Despite their fearsome reputation as aggressive hunters, barracudas play an important role in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems by controlling smaller fish populations. Barracuda larvae are a vital food source for small animals like crabs, barnacles, and small fish. Barracuda larvae live in seagrass beds, mangrove forests, and plant roots, so keeping these ecosystems healthy is critical to barracuda survival.

The Largest Barracuda Ever Caught in Alabama

A fisherman holds a barracuda that he caught. He is standing in a boat, holding the fish in front of his body for the photo.
Barracuda fish live in warm water.

© Burns

Mr. Steven Hawkins, an avid fisherman and resident of Mobile, Alabama, made history on July 15th, 2005, when he caught the largest barracuda ever recorded in the state’s history. The monstrous fish weighed an impressive 52 pounds and 4 ounces – a weight that shattered previous records by a significant margin.

The catch was made near Mobile Bay, one of Alabama’s most popular fishing destinations, due to its abundance of diverse species and picturesque views. Mr. Hawkins reportedly used a combination of live bait and artificial lures to attract the giant barracuda before reeling it in with sheer strength and determination.

Upon weighing his catch at a local fishing supply store, Mr. Hawkins awed fellow fishermen who had never seen such a large barracuda caught so close to shore. He graciously accepted congratulations from his peers while also expressing gratitude for being able to experience such an incredible moment in his life as an angler.

The record-breaking catch has since become part of Alabama’s proud fishing heritage, inspiring other anglers both locally and globally to seek out their own moments of glory on these fertile waters.

World-Record Barracuda

A large barracuda opens his mouth and is about to consume the other half of a small fish with no head.
Barracudas can get over 100 pounds.

©Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary – Public Domain

The world record for the largest barracuda ever caught belongs to Thomas Gibson, an American angler who snagged a massive Guinean barracuda weighing 102.8 pounds and measuring over six feet ten inches in length. This impressive catch was made possible through the use of light tackle spinning with a 10-pound braided line and Rapala lures. Despite its size, Gibson managed to reel in the fish within just ten minutes – a feat that speaks volumes about his skill as an angler.

Gibson’s record-breaking catch took place in the Kwanza River located in Angola, southern Africa, back in 2013. Prior to this momentous event, Dr. Cyril Fabre held the title for having hooked a 101.3-pounder from Gabon, Africa, way back in 2002.

When Gibson first felt something tugging on his line during his fishing trip on the Kwanza River, he had no idea what he was dealing with. He described it as resembling “a crocodile without any legs!” It wasn’t until he finally reeled it closer that he realized what he had caught – the largest barracuda ever recorded!

This remarkable achievement by Thomas Gibson is truly awe-inspiring and serves as inspiration for anglers everywhere who aspire to break records and make history with their catches.

How to Fish for Barracuda

Catching barracuda fish, fisherman in sport fishing boat holding big game fishing rod and reel 3d render
Barracuda fish are not for human consumption, so catch-and-release is best.


For those looking to catch a barracuda, there are several factors to consider in order to increase your chances of success. First and foremost, it’s important to know where these fish typically reside. Barracudas can be found in warm waters worldwide, but they prefer areas with coral reefs or rocky structures that provide ample hiding spots and potential prey.

When it comes to bait and tackle, barracudas are known for their sharp teeth and strong jaws, so it’s crucial to use sturdy equipment that can withstand their aggressive strikes. Using wire leaders is also recommended since barracudas have been known to bite through traditional fishing lines.

As for bait, live baitfish like mullet or sardines tend to work well when targeting barracuda. Some anglers also find success using lures that mimic small fish movements or flashy spoons that catch the attention of these predatory creatures.

In terms of technique, casting near structures or drop-offs where barracudas may be lurking is a good strategy. Retrieving your line quickly with short bursts can also entice them into striking since they are attracted by fast-moving prey.

Overall, catching a barracuda requires patience and persistence, as well as careful consideration of location, gear, bait, and technique. With some practice and luck on your side, you might reel in one of these impressive predators!

Conservation and Threats

The Great Barracuda swimming near a coral reef in bright blue clear water, surrounded by smaller fish.
Coral reefs and barracuda are both threatened by climate change.

©Itstvan Kovacs/

Barracuda play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems by preying on sick and vulnerable fish populations. As sport fish, they are not commonly consumed by humans, which helps maintain their population levels. Because they are not safe for human consumption, responsible anglers practice catch-and-release techniques. However, barracudas face various threats that could lead to a decline in numbers.

One of the major threats to barracudas is the destruction of coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests – all important habitats for these fish. Coastal development, ocean acidification caused by climate change, and marine debris pollution from human activities such as plastic waste disposal into oceans and waterways can also harm barracuda populations. Overfishing is another significant threat to their survival; it reduces their numbers and disrupts entire food webs.

Boating accidents may lead to injury or death for these creatures, while harmful algal blooms can be fatal too. It’s clear that we must take action now if we want to protect these essential members of our oceanic ecosystem.

In conclusion, protecting barracuda requires collective efforts from everyone. We should reduce our carbon footprints through energy conservation measures like using public transportation instead of private cars or reducing air travel where possible. Opting for sustainable seafood options while avoiding single-use plastics will go a long way towards preserving this species’ habitat along with other aquatic life forms dependent on them. Additionally, pressure on elected officials at all levels is necessary so they can adopt policies aimed at conserving our oceans’ health and well-being.

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About the Author

I am a freelance writer with 22 years of experience. I live in the Pacific Northwest and am surrounded by nature. When I go for my daily runs I often see herds of elk, deer, and bald eagles. I am owned by two dogs who take me on hikes in the mountains where we see coyotes, black bears, and wild turkeys.

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