Above is my friend Rob Dankowsky, from Waterloo, Ontario, with a trophy-sized Pacific cubera snapper, a highly prized, and quite plentiful species on the Wild Coast. Rob is a very skilled angler—a muskie man and big-fish specialist. And from literally the day I met him, about six years ago, Rob’s been talking about his dream of landing one of these fish. So it was an amazing moment. By the way, to give you some idea of scale, the boat is 34 inches wide (and Rob is a weightlifter, and generally huge dude.)
Cuberas (also sometimes called dog snappers) are the largest snapper species in the Pacific, and they are ferocious, with a massive head, terrifying teeth, and the approximate pulling power of a Belgian draught horse. Rob caught his by casting a five-inch long popper into a little swirling eddy among shoreline rocks—one of the most productive tactics.
Poppers are one of the best lures for all fish species along this coast, but especially for cubera. Though with their huge, jagged teeth (above left), cubera are not exactly kind to the baits (above right).
By the way, live bait fares even worse with cuberas. They tend to attack their prey from the back, and chomp with those great jaws, missing the single circle hook, but still getting a nice snack. Above is Sam showing off what cubera do to a live bait—my bait in fact. (And yes, when looking for the big fish, especially roosters, we trolled baits of that size.)