Cubera Snapper

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Looking back on the last day of spearfishing the blue water off of North Carolina I remember the school of Cubera Snapper we hunted for hours until finally putting one in the boat.  The Cubera is not only a good eating fish it’s also a trophy fish for us here in the Mid Atlantic.  It rarely ventures above 60ft and is so powerful that it usually rips through the gear and leaves you scratching your head.  The fire red scales, angry yellow eyes and inch long razor teeth looks like something that swam out of hell rather than a wreck in the gulf stream.

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We left out of the inlet around 7AM on a warm mid – August morning.  The wind was out of the south at around 10-15 mph with clear skies.  There were no fish on the first wreck we checked so we went to another wreck in 130ft of water with about 60ft visibility.  We saw a few small Wahoos cruising at about 30ft right away so we started using CDs as flashers to draw them in.  I watched one CD slowly sink to about 40 ft and out of no where a 200lb+ Cubera came out of the blue depths and inhaled the CD whole with a striking swat of it’s massive head rolling in a slow turn.  We all watched it in awe as the fish spit out the CD and swam back down to the depths.

It was time to start chumming for the Cubera.  We shot an Amberjack and started cutting chunks.  One diver would watch a handful of chunks sink behind the boat and I set up down current with the camera ready.  When the chunks got to about 30ft a school of small 20 -30lb Cuberas would appear out of the dark blue and feed on the pieces of Amberjack.  The larger ones in the 50-100lb range would follow and pick off the last scraps and then fade off into the deep.

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When the fish came up I’d follow the diver down with camera on and gun ready.  We kicked down to 30 ft and sank the rest to be stealthy.  It took a while to get the timing right so that the fish were still feeding on the chum by the time we got in range.  Each time we dove it pushed the fish down a little farther.  After a few times the fish weren’t coming up until the chum got to about 60ft.

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We were down to the last handful of chunks and the Wahoo were getting curious swimming the perimeter to see what all the commotion was about.  Trying to line up on a Wahoo I looked down and saw a diver closing the distance between him and a nice 60lb Cubera at about 60ft.  I dove to follow him in and film it but wasn’t able to get down in time for the kill shot.  Cubera Snapper are a strong, powerful fish and notorious for wrecking gear and sinking floats into the darkness never to be seen again.  The shot he took was long and the break away tip didn’t punch all the way through so I put a second shot behind the gill plate.  The second shot paralyzed the fish and sent blood and air bubbles shooting out of the wound.  The fish was swam in about 75 yards back to the boat and put in the box.  It was a good end to the 2013 season.cubera5

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