Cubera Snapper in Costa Rica
There are many types of snapper, but nothing like Costa Rica’s cubera and red snapper.
Once hooked, they almost immediately try to return to the rocks and caves. They spread their fins and lock themselves in from being pulled out.
Cubera snapper, also referred to as dogtooth snapper, are recognizable by their four large canine teeth. Like almost all snapper, they have a spherical shape and broad tails.
Red snapper, as the name implies, are pinkish to red in color and have a very pointed anal fin.
Snapper feed on crustaceans, squid, and smaller reef fish. They're caught through bottom fishing or jigging. During the right time of day and in certain seasons, they can become aggressive and hit lures at the surface.
Cubera snapper are the largest of the species and can grow up to 80 pounds. Most are in the 25-40 pound range, although 50-60 pounders do exist.
Red snapper in Costa Rica are typically smaller than cuberas, in the 10-30 pound range.
How to Catch Cubera Snapper
Anglers have different ways of catching snapper, but in Costa Rica, there's always one that does well.
Bump trolling a live bait around the reefs and outer islands is the single best way to catch the bigger cubera snapper.
These fish are scavengers, and will also feed on a large butterflied dead bait. They're also caught using poppers and jigs.
Some guides have even figured out how to catch them with fly fishing equipment. It’s not the easiest technique, but when snapper are on the surface or feeding in the river mouths, the chances increase.
Where to Catch Cubera Snapper?
Snapper are found in the Pacific Ocean from Southern California to Peru. They're also found in tropical and temperate waters in the Atlantic Ocean.
In Costa Rica, snapper are caught on both Pacific and Caribbean side of the country. Varied in their habitats, you can catch them in estuaries as well as several hundred feet of water.
The biggest snapper are typically patrolling deepwater reefs and wrecks. This is when bottom fishing with cut up bonito or fresh squid is highly successful.
Even though most are caught bottom fishing, a surface strike is not uncommon. Finding a local guide that knows these fish is the key so you can target snapper and other species.
When's the Best Time to Catch Cubera Snapper?
Snapper are caught year-round in Costa Rica, so they truly have no season.
Like all fish, they are affected by water temperature and currents, which is part of the excitement.
A great fish for any angler, there's never a bad time to come to Costa Rica and hunt for snapper. If you want to catch this species on your fishing vacation, let us know and we’ll gladly help.