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Rick Sisler’s Barracuda Rig

Posted on January 21 2010

Cuda + popper = fun.  Photo:
Cuda + popper = fun. Photo:

Rick Sisler is our man on the ground in the Bahamas – he runs the show at Andros South.  He’s also got a whole bunch of years of guiding and angling experience in places like Alaska and Chile, and every once in a while he sneaks out for a little fishing on South Andros.

Rick knows how much fun it is to chase barracudas on the flats around the island.  If you were to run into Rick on his way out for a little ‘cuda session, here’s the rig you’d find him carrying.

The Summary

  • Sage 1090-4 Xi2 (or if you’re really up on your saltwater rods, try the new Xi3). “Both of these rods can punch big flies out where you want them and when it comes to the fight they will stand with the best of them.”
  • Sage 6010 Reel.
  • Sage Equator Taper II WF10F line.

The Detail

  • 30 pound dacron backing, tied to the spool with an arbor knot.
  • Backing attached to the fly line using a double nail knot with a bit of Aquaseal on each knot. “The double nail knot gives you a small amount of shock absorption between the two knots.”
  • Pre-tied Rio Toothy Critter leader, with no less than 30 pound wire, looped to the end of the fly line using the factory loops and a loop-to-loop connection.
  • Big ‘cuda fly clipped into the end of the Toothy Critter’s bite guard.

The Commentary

  • “The 6010 reel has a great drag for slowing down big fish, and a large arbor to bring them back to you quick. ‘Cudas are very fast and erratic so you need a reel that can pick up the line quick, this one can do it!  The drag knob is large and easily accessible for those inevitable in-fight adjustments.”
  • “The Equator Taper line matches well to the Xi2 and Xi3. It will load the rod quickly and will let you make a bomb cast at a moment’s notice. No need for much false casting with this line – just get it moving and let it go.”
  • “To make things easy I have been using the Rio Toothy Critter with no less than the 30 pound wire, all the way up to 60 pound wire if needed. ‘Cudas are not generally leader shy, but they are not stupid either, so if you get some refusals you may want to mix it up a bit. Lighten the wire tippet a bit or even try shortening it up.”
  • “Many flies will do the job just fine for ‘cudas, though I would prefer to use a popper of some type if at all possible. ‘Cudas love a commotion and with a big popper you can really make some noise. What better way to catch a cuda than on top – they are like musky or pike on steroids so you can imagine the strike! Other flies that work include needle fish patterns with tandem hooks and general baitfish patterns.”
  • “Always remember with ‘cudas to keep the fly moving away from them and very quickly at that. Nothing within sight of a ‘cuda ever stops to hang out, so don’t let your fly do that either! They want and need to be enticed into thinking the fly is worth killing, so at times you have to work at getting the strike. When that strike comes though, you better be holding on!”

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