cubera snapper

Jorge Mario Garcia,

5 times national cuban champion and founder of the spearfishing school MiamiBlueDiving will tell us how he spearfishes on deep wrecks off Miami coast...



It’s 7.30 am and with a pal of mine I leave the Mathesson Hammock Marina here in Miami. At east of Key Biscayne where there are more than 30 shipwrecks at several depths ranging from 15 to 45 metres the sea is calm. Since 1980, between 7km and 15km off the coast of Miami, several ships have been sunk on purpose in order to contribute to fishes life.

These natural barriers represent the ideal habitat for small and big fishes. Most of them lye on the sand and are a shelter not only for groupers, snappers and hog fishes but also an hunting field for wahoo, king fishes, tunas and a lot of yellow jacks.

wreckSpearfishing on the wrecks is really exciting and evocative but requires a perfect technique especially when it comes to shoot, it is plenty of scrap metal and holes the fish can hide in and then trying to take it out might be very difficult and dangerous. Even the pelagic fishes when they get shot they always try to hide into the wreck and when it is not a deep one it is not that difficult otherwise it might be tricky and risky taking it out especially if it is a big one.


The Doc de Mily wreck for example is constantly visited by big sharks an a lot of pelagic fishes are use to swim among them but if you shoot one and you don’t take it rapidly on board the sharks eat it right in front of you…nice to see but really impressive.

Let’s get back to us, I was heading to a wreck that I previously set on my GPS. I had already prepared a marking buoy with a 50mt cord to use in case of low visibility. Once I arrived there I saw the fishes on my “deep finder” monitor and I dropped the marking buoy. When I entered in the water I realized there was no current, a very rare circumstance here in Miami that is really good for spearfishing.

The water was clearer than usual; I could easily see the big shipwreck and since the bow is 30mt deep and the bottom is 40mt deep, there was a very good visibility!

I saw a school of barracudas next to the bow of the wreck and I caught one big enough. When I got to the surface I gut the fish and threw the entrails in the water to appeal the other fishes on the wreck, especially the big predators.

I dove down to 25mt twice to warm up and to see whether any grouper or other big predator was there. For the first time in my life I saw a Golia grouper looking at me from the bottom. These giant fishes, that is forbidden to hunt in USA, can grow up to over 300kg and might be more aggressive than sharks, not with humans but with the fishes caught and with their voracity they can destroy spears and guns.

I came up again and once I got on the surface, I started to breath deeply and slowly, exploiting all the power of my lungs in order to stay longer down waiting on the top of the wreck. I started then to go down right vertically to the bow where I saw a big school of little fishes…the perfect meal for predators.

My heartbeat was slow, the diving reflex worked perfectly on me…maybe I was related to a dolphin somehow and like them I can hold my breath for a long time!

yellowjack wahoo snapper king fish tuna

When I was 5mt away from the wreck, I looked right without moving my head to not scare any possible prey, and it was there, an enormous Cubera Snapper swimming quietly below me, perhaps attracted by my silohuette.

Then I slightly changed my direction to not end upon it and I landed on the wreck so that the forecastle was between me and the snapper. I caught its attention and in less than 20 seconds it came towards me. I aimed my 125cm speargun at it and pulled the trigger.

The spear hit the fish behind the gill and it remained perfectly still for a second, so I thought I killed it but soon it headed down to the wreck and I couldn’t do anything else but going up keeping the cord tight. Once on the surface I attached a buoy to the cord just two metres below the surface in order to keep the tension constant.


I took few minutes to rest and to let water get clearer in the wreck. I took another gun and a torch and by following the cord I dove toward the wreck.

When I entered into the hull I pointed the light to the spear and I realized the fish was dead as it was upside down in the hold. I shot it again to be sure and it didn’t move so I took it outside and I left it on the top of the wreck.I did not realize how big it was but when I started to take it up I saw it becoming bigger and bigger.

When I had it right next to me I soon realized it was just a few centimetres shorter than me! Taking it on board was very difficult but the joy and the emotion of the such a prey was even greater and we couldn’t stop watching it.

When we got back to the marina we couldn’t weight the fish but we estimated it was about 50kilos. Nobody was able to lift it up and to take a picture we needed to hook it on the roof.

A great reward for constancy and passion…


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