VAMPIRE SNAPPER? Mother Lode wows Rodeo crowd with cubera (PHOTOS)

Tina Harbuck
Nick Snider wowed the crowd at the Destin Fishing Rodeo with an 83.4-pound cubera snapper he caught Wednesday while fishing aboard the Mother Lode with Capt. Brad Biggers.

Nick Snider went from feeling green to seeing red in just a matter of minutes on Wednesday when he landed himself a whopper of a cubera snapper.

"It was unreal," said the angler from Illinois who was rodeo fishing on the Mother Lode with Capt. Brad Biggers.

"We thought it was a shark at first … then it started running away from us," Snider said.


To see more catches of the day, click here for The Rodeo Rap,The Log's daily look at what's biting in the 65th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo!


It took Snider about 15 minutes to haul in the 83.4-pound snapper that wowed the crowd gathered on the docks behind AJ's Seafood & Oyster Bar for the 65th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.

With cell phones out snapping photos of the massive snapper hanging from the scales, Snider said, "that's awesome … did you see the teeth on that thing?"

 The cubera snapper resembles a black snapper, except it’s a lot bigger. According to the book "Sport Fish of the Gulf of Mexico,” the cubera is a giant among snappers and often reaches or exceeds 100 pounds. The average size is 30 to 50 pounds.

The one Snider hauled in using a 6 ought with 80 pound test and a 130-pound leader was well above average. Deckhand Aaron Smith said they used a 20-inch scamp for bait. When another deckhand heard about the size of the scamp, he commented, "we put a 20-inch scamp in the box."

Snider almost didn't catch the cubera, which resembled a snapper on steroids.

"I was sea sick all day," Snider admitted, noting he already caught a few fish but wasn't feeling well. "I felt green and didn't want to go out. But I wasn't after that."

Capt. Biggers said the cubera wasn't his first, but it was his first out of Destin.

Although there wasn't a spot for the cubera on the rodeo leaderboard, it left its mark on those in attendance.