At Outdoors360, we’re excited to offer first-person perspectives on some incredible outdoor experiences. Whether it’s fish like this speared monster cubera snapper, an amazing hunt, or simply an unforgettable adventure, we’re all about the outdoors – and we’re all about changing the way you experience it online. This story is courtesy of Outdoors360 own Steel Rocket.
Steel Rocket is no stranger to incredible spearfishing accomplishments with an impressive trophy room and viral videos highlighted by the jaw-dropping story and video when he free-dove over 90-feet (at the time he was a still teenager), then shot around several goliath grouper, and connected with a 60-pound black grouper.
We’re excited to have Steel Rocket as part of Team Outdoors360, and we’re thrilled to bring you this first-hand account on Steel’s dream fish – an 87-pound cubera snapper! Sit back and enjoy the story from Steel’s perspective with how he made his spearfishing dreams come true.
It all started while I was loading the boat. I had been loading up for a 2.5 day commercial trip (just like normal) on my 29 sea vee when I overextended my arm & blew out my shoulder. After getting home from the E.R., I realized that I had already put all this time and money into loading up that I’d have to go just one day and at least try my luck at a trophy. So, I rested a day, then tucked my arm into the sling and headed out through the night about 120 miles west while just using my left arm to drive and maneuver around the boat.
Finally after about 3 hours and the sun on the horizon we arrived at the spot. I had a deepwater chum rig that I made using 230ft of rope, an anchor and chain, and chum bags every 60ft with a flasher towards the surface. As soon as that dropped, we started mixing up chum to drop from the boat as well. After letting the fish eat for some time, we headed in freediving. Within an hour we already had a few solid pelagics in the boat, and my sinuses were getting worse. After drifting off from the chum further than my previous dives I made a drop to about 65ft and looked around.
Off deeper & down current I could see shapes of much bigger fish than what was near the bags. Slowly, I crept over to get a better look. As I approached the shapes, I noticed they weren’t pelagics. Then I saw the white fangs came into view, and I knew I was looking at a group of big Cubera. The biggest one swam from the back of the school to the front facing me as I drifted over. I recognized this fish, its skin covered in scars and missing scales, many times this same one had eluded me. Slowly I continued to dive deeper towards the fish until my sinuses wouldn’t clear at all. At this point, I was just barely out of shooting range, so I had to resurface to my dislike.
A photo posted by Steel Rockett (@slinginsteel) on
At the surface, I had a reverse sinus blockage so I told myself I would only try one more freedive for the day since I planned on tanking soon and I didn’t want my sinuses to ruin the day. On the last dive, my sinuses only allowed me to 45ft, and it seemed that the cuberas had sounded back to 200ft from the 85ft I saw them at originally. Once back on the boat I took a quick break for my sinuses, rehydrated, ate and set my tank up. After struggling again just to load my two guns up, (60″ Impaler Speargun & 110 cm Hammerhead Speargun) I put my BCD on, readied my two guns and a stringer full of pilchards for my drop.
When we were in the position, I put the stringer around the lanyard of my little HH gun so that I could loop it around my left arm. Then I grabbed my big gun, backed off the boat and descended towards the wreck. Just as the structure came into view under me, I ripped the pilchards off and rained them down as a distraction for my descent. Then I sank more to see that same giant scarred up Cubera I had seen earlier coming up to the falling chum. Carefully I sank towards it, when I hit about 180ft the fish saw me at 200ft and started rushing away.
Quickly I started chasing the fish until I was barely in shooting range but the only shot it was giving me was the center of its body and tail. Big Cuberas are heavily armored to spear shafts so they must be hit just right with ranged shots. As I was just about to give up and take the shot (shooting arm was getting very weak since the fish was a bad angle for my shoulder) the fish turned its head sideways for one more glance at me. BOOM. I launched the 516 double barb shaft straight for the fishes head, but the range caused it to fall slightly and punch through the fishes chest near the gills. Not a second later all hell broke loose.
The fish pulled me like a rag doll through the shipwreck while I tried to avoid the metal beams and hanging metal that flew towards me. I had prepared for this, though; steel cable reinforced my shooting line making it abrasive resistant, and I had my 2nd gun hanging over my left arm still. As soon as another beam was flying towards me, I used just enough slack in the line to wrap the gun around it to anchor the fish and free my hands. Without wasting a second, I threw the small gun into my right hand, swam up to the beast and shot it through the head out the spinal chord. The fight was over I thought, just to be sure I used most the strength I had left in my right arm to shove the knife through a scar on top of its head into its brain.
Out of nowhere, 3 Jewfish one over 400lbs rush in so I held my fish to my body (keeping the teeth away from my face) and kicked away from the Jewfish and wreck at 200ft and began my ascent back to deco. I ended up shooting an amberjack while I decompressed, then I headed to the surface just in time for another sinus blockage… After making my way back to the boat we realized this was a prize cubera, I had no idea it was as big as it was. My guess was 75 lbs originally, but I was shocked when it weighed in at 87lbs at shore, nearly 90lbs!!! This fish put me through hell but especially after all the pain and almost calling the trip off this was the best fish I could ask for. Now I just have to beat my old man’s record at 122lbs! Ha!