A group of young barracuda swims together in a pack, responding to any movement they see. These are great barracuda (Sphraena barracuda), found around the world in temperate and tropical seas. With their fang-like teeth, protruding, bulldog-like lower jaws, and short bursts of great speed, barracudas are voracious predators on other fish. Although they are somewhat gregarious and live in shallow nearshore areas when young, large great barracuda are usually solitary and live in deeper waters offshore.
This gyotaku piece was made from fish I caught on the bay side of the Florida Keys. As I paddled the canoe, I encountered a small pack of young barracuda that followed the boat. They attacked the rapidly retrieved silver spoon with fierce abandon and catapulted from the water when hooked. Even though the fish were small (“hammer handles,” as this size is commonly called), next to my feet in the narrow canoe, the thrashing barracuda with snapping, toothy jaws seemed much larger than they really were! Though small, the fish were the perfect size for a composition inspired by the pack’s gregarious behavior.
Size: 34 x 22 inches (2007)
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