For the second summer in a row, a cubera snapper has been caught in Rhode Island waters. Last year, a 70-pounder was taken in a fish trap off Point Judith, and this year, a 28-pounder was taken by a spearfisherman off Block Island.
Here’s the story of the catch, told by Whitey Baun:
“My youngest son, Willie, is getting married in September, so I planned a spear fishing trip for him, his brother Max and myself. We headed out to Block Island on the Spear-It Charters with Captain David Hochman, a world renowned spearfishing expert. We had a very successful day with each of us landing a nice size striper along with some tautog and triggerfish. As we were finishing up the day my son Willie spotted an orange/red colored fish. His first thought was a Grouper. As the fish turned to swim into a crevice for safety my son shot and hit. As the fish started to pull and swim deeper into the hole Willie gave a strong pull to keep him from getting buried inside the opening. There was a struggle to get the fish to the surface and under control.
After an extended battle, he got the fish under control and back to the boat. The Captain couldn’t believe his eyes. It was a cubera snapper. He had never seen one up here but had heard of rare instances of them showing up in fishnets. To our knowledge this is the first one ever speared in Rhode Island waters. If that’s correct my son Willie holds the record for the largest Cubera snapper, 28 pounds, ever speared in Rhode Island waters!”
Cubera snapper are extremely rare in Northeast waters, but this is the third we’ve heard of in the past several seasons. The first, was caught by a surfcaster off Island Beach State Park.