The Pacific Cubera Snapper are the largest Snapper species in the Pacific. It is an in shore Pacific species, frequenting reefs and caves from shallow waters to 100 ft (30 m) or more. Growing to at least 80 lb (36 kg), it is the largest of the nine species of snapper that occur in its range.
How To Identify:
As a juvenile, it is purplish brown with a light spot in the center of each scale, but adults and older fish become deep reddish in color. There is sometimes a blue streak under the eye, and about 9 dusky bars may or may not be evident to varying degrees on the flanks. The tail is almost truncate, usually being very slightly forked to crescent shaped. The dorsal fin has 10 spines followed by 14 soft rays, the anal fin rounded with 3 spines and 8 rays. The pectoral fins do not reach to the anal fin, nor do they reach as far as the vent in adults.
The Pacific Cubera Snapper looks quite like the cubera snapper of the western Atlantic.
How To Catch:
The Pacific Cubera Snapper is not a light tackle fish. These fish are extremely strong and always head for the rocks when hooked. You should use a braided line of at least 80lbs with a fluorocarbon leader of at least 80lbs. Wire would be nice to use but they won't bite it. Heavy conventional tackle is the way to go here. Personally you should use the same tackle that I use for marlin. Lock the drag down. Most of the time you will be able to turn the fish before anything breaks if you use good tackle and tie good knots.
Find rocky structure in 150ft or less of water and look on the fish finder to see if anyone is home. The biggest ones come on live bait so just drop a bait down on a likely spot. Fish right off the bottom. If you are fishing with a lure then set the hook immediately and pull like crazy. If fishing bait you have to let them eat it a little longer. However, if you wait too long they will already be in the rocks.
Large live fish make great baits. Live skipjack tuna are very good because when hooked they head straight down to were the snappers are. If you can't get live ones then you can use big chunks of fresh dead fish.
It is common throughout the Gulf of California from at least Laguna San Ignacio south to Panama and Peru.