• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

Big Fish Battle Damage - Reel & Shooting Line

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


Mr. Long Post
Apr 22, 2002

As usual, I am sharing some info.
I was blessed with a new dive spot which my friend accidentally drifted to. It was only some 400 feet away from my shallow sea mount. The fishes were BIG !!!! and the water DEEP.

It took us almost 45 minutes to locate the place with my handheld number only sonar. The reading were erratic. The shallowest we got was 86 feet, then the reading jumped to 140ft and to 180ft and to 234ft just in less than 100 feet of boat movement. Some area I can not get a reading because this hand held sonar maybe limited to 300 feet reading, I don't know.

After dropping the marker twice and failed to reach bottom ( marker line is at 130 feet ) , the third try was a success. 3 of us went down and to my surprise the topography was very scarry. The top shallowest rock was 86 feet only some 3 feet (1 meter ) in diameter and it looks like more of a wall than a rock because the overall width was less than 21 feet ( 7 meters ) and it is only perhaps 100 feet long but not even depth. I scouted the deeper water. The water was bad viz from surface to about 90 feet. At 120 feet the water started to be clear but very dark because light was filtered by the cloudy water above. Next to it there was a deeper pinacle at 120 feet. The bottom is probably at 180 feet exactly under the rocks and much deeper there after. In between the deeper and shallower pinacle there was a deep region of at least 160 feet. It's like diving between a woman's two breast of uneven size. Sorry this is the best grahic interpretation I can give. I did not really study the area well. I have not been diving past 120 feet in a few months and I hate deep dive.

At the second dive on this place I heard my friend's reel screeching again. He was no where to be seen. Damn, he must have shot a big one. I saw another friend got a small doggie of +-4kg. I saw lots of 7-8kg Jacks and small doggies. Nothing special and at that stage I have not ventured to the deeper pinnacle.

I surfaced and saw my friend with the screeching reel surfaced. The boat picked him up but it took forever. This means his fish was still on the bottom somewhere. He uses a 500# Kevlar and has 250 feet of line. I waited for a few minutes until they boated the fish. It was a respectable size Giant Trevaly ( Ulua ). So the story goes that he shot the fish, got the reel almost spooled out and he got dragged all over the place. The good thing is that the GT did not make any knots out of his reel line on the rock but being dragged away from the pinnacle his fins could not fight the powerful fish. He was at 30 feet when he decided to inflate his BCD to the fullest and kept finning. The fight lasted for some 10 minutes. He was excited but scared at the same time, more of the scarry feeling he told me. He was about to cut the line and make the sacifice to save the gun when the fish was a little tired and he managed to surface himself. Later he pulled the fish up when he was on the boat. The 4-6kg positive floatation of his BCD was not good enough. He was happy because it was the biggest GT he ever caught (35kg /77 lbs ) and our group record too. I asked him will he shoot the fish again with a reel with this kind of topograpgy ? He said hell NO !!!! He will use a float next time on this specific dive site. The shot landed on the tumy, thus the fish was still powerful. There was no damage on his gear but not to my another friend MT3 with a reel.

The dude with the MT3 + reel shot a big doggie on the same dive I hit a big doggie. He was unlucky and I was luckier but scared too. The fish spooled his reel and he wanted to stop the reel but instead of fighting from the shooting line, he grabbed the spinning knob of the reel. As the reel was in high speed spin, his knuckle hit the knob and the knob broke, lucky not his finger broke. His reel is the new Riffe reel. I think by design the older reel is more robust & thicker but heavier. He was swearing like hell. I told him never to fight a fish from the reel ( have told him before ). I expected the reel to break at the main bolt but I never expected the spinning knob was the weaker link. I told him to let the gun float away while he hold on to the reel line.

Here is the reel damage :
It has a crack. I use a torch to make it more visible because scanning a black colour item is difficult for good resolution. I'm going to make a complaint to Riffe. If my friend's knuckle broke instead, that's a fair game. This new reel material is not as hard and thick as the old one I am using.....:waterwork
The 1000# Kevlar have been proven over and over again good for rocks and wrecks. The nylon coated 500# cable is even better. I am only having the coating failure. Not a single strand yet damaged. Also the knot & crimp I used on the Kevlar is holding well. Kevlar is a bitch to crimp. Double crimps are minimum if without a knot. This Kevlar reel line and cable was stuck on rocks when the big 40kg (88 pounds ) Dog Tooth Tuna speed away. If the line did not get stuck, I might have to throw away my gun. The roller coaster was too much and at 140 feet deep, I fear for my well being. I thought the Doggie was 20kg (44 pounds ) and it was at least 10 feet deeper than me. It was a real long shot I guess. I thought Doggie always looks bigger underwater but not this far away one, I guess I was nitrogen narc a little...:head
Hey Iya...got an idea for ya. In my experience with hunting on scuba here (DEEP h2o and BIG fish) heres what we do. From my spear I have coated cable but at the bungie I have a brass release clip. When I shoot a big AJ or cobia, ect. I do not put any pressure on the fish, I find they usually spin or flail around until they feel you pull. So I swim TOWARD the fish. Knife out ready for battle, asses the situation and secure the fish in the best possible manner, dispatching it as quickly as possible. If things get to hairy I unclip my shooting line and wrap it around a rig leg, that fish aint going NOWHERE! Then I take my time approaching the fish and usually grab it like you would ride a horse. I have done this wrap off on rocks, wrecks, rigs...it works wonders. I have even had to leave my fish "clipped off" and retrieve them on the next dive for air, depth, decompression, or various other safety reasons.

Just sounds like things are getting sketchy...be careful. This technique may not work for you. but if you are near the pinnacle it should. Even in open water, I try to go toward the fish, never pulling him to me. Some fish, most cobia for example, can be led like a dog on a leash, SO LONG AS YOU DO NOT PULL. Not sure about your fish but you might be surprised.

Good luck
Last edited:
Yep, but it sounds like he doesn't have the ready structure there, Mike. I think that theres a case here for using a cable to a breakaway/float. Give the fish 30 feet or so of line, fight it if you can or want to and then pull the plug if it gets a tad iffy. Follow the bouy on the the sled and dive down, knife firmly clenched in your teeth and dispatch the dinner.

You can call Jay, Iya but I wouldn't want to be the one explaining how the knob broke :duh There's a point where the manufacturer is only responsible for so much and the act of God thing/ stupid blind luck thing takes over. Your pal lucked out.

There's also the point where you have to make sure you take the best shot you can. I've made many "Hail Mary" shots too but in certain situations you've got to say, "is this worth it?" A good head or spine shot usually takes alot of fight out of most fish. Just a thought.
I'm not a SCUBA or reel spearfisher but it sounds like you're starting to push the edge of safety. I am a PADI certified diver so that being said, I would really start worrying about getting bent or even worse. Have you ever tried using a really long float line attached to your gun? Seems like you don't like diving past 120 feet so what about attaching a 150 foot float line to the back of your gun. This would give you a combination of both reel and float. You could fight the fish from the reel but if it sounds really deep, you could still maintain your depth or even ascend a little then fight it from the float line until you reach the gun then fight it from the reel line. I have seen footage of Ausie divers shooting large dogies and with reels. They had to clip off their gun to a float line as the fish took off and spooled the reel. The tactic worked and they managed to land a really nice doggie. I think it was in Spearfishing the Coral Sea. Just a thought.

Brad :martial

Follow the bouy on the the sled and dive down, knife firmly clenched in your teeth and dispatch the dinner.
:duh You are old school aren't you??? woo hoo:D
Thanks all of u fine Db'ers Gentlemen,

This is what I love about DB, lots of input and brainstorming.
Let me reply in an orderly fashion.....:eek: :D

Kapiten Rig,
I must try what you advice if the fish "doesn't sense the pressure". I recall it happened only once to a doggie but it was shaking the head trying to remove the spearshaft. My Ice Pick did not toggle yet so I yank hard, that's when it start to take off. Make sense...... The rest of the Doggies I shot took off the moment they felt the shaft impact. This pinnacle doesn't seem to have edges that I can hold comfortably. The Doggie was about 30-40 feet away from the pinnacle out at the open water.
One of my friend is trying to rig that quick disconnect u mentioned as he does not use a reel.

Uncle Sven,
The reel thing is sad but at least we know what can break unexpected..... he he he ;) . I want to hear what Daddy Riffe will say.

I tried my best to shoot the spine or shoulder area but have not stoned any Doggie to date. Doggies never seems to stop or at least stall to see something or check something out (so far in my limited experience ), it is always swimming. The bigger one looks like it swim slow, maybe because of the size but the smaller one are like raibow runners swimming speed. I read in a science journal that Tuna, I don't know if this applies to all tuna, has to move one body length per second to have enough oxygen for the gills. The shot I did miss the spine only by 3/4". Since it was deeper than me, the exiting point of the shaft was near the belly on the other side (starboard). I was lucky that the fish has a few tough tendons that hold the ice pick slip tip, or else it will be lost. It was dead when pulled up..... belly up. Look at the damage the slip tip did to the flesh on the photo below. That big torn flesh was the entry point. Since my reel line was stuck at some rocks below, judging from the damage flesh, the Doggie was trying to escape by swimming up, thus the cut of the flesh was downwards from point of entry near that small side fin. I have underestimated the size of this Doggie, I thought it was half smaller.

Thanks for the concern;). I understand the DCS problem and so on. In my JBL days at deep wrecks, I do 175 feet trying to nail Snappers and Jacks with 20 minute deco. At least two dive a day.
Those days are over and I try to be as shallow as possible for maximum bottom time. I wasn't prepared well for this new found spot. A float with 200 feet float line will be the tools this coming Saturday. My reel will take a long rest. It is the size of the fish that overwhelm me and lacking grounds for a hand hold. By the way it spooled my 150 feet line in a blink and drag me until the line got stuck at the rock, I have to use a float line. Give me another 2 fishes of this size, I should get my excitement level in lower gear.....:D

PICTURE OF THE WOUND DETAILS : Entry point 3/4" below the spinal cord.
Last edited:
This is the fish in discussion.
Notice exit damage wound at lower belly.

At this size the power is amazing, I have never been dragged underwater this fast before.

It is just so sad that their playground is rather deep. If they hang around at 100' and with 120 feet flat bottom....it's a real party time.
Congratulations , Boet ; that's a beaut !!!
Hell , with the tourism dropoff due to the war and the SARS virus I think I should come pay a visit ...:head
Lovely stuff Iya ; good move on getting a floatline .
No kiddin' beaut fish!! :p

I'm half hoping that the current situations with the war, SARS, and 13 yr old trimix cert'd divers, that I might forget about coming home after the next week, find a stretch of sand and prop up a palm frond...

Sa-weeeeet fish, Iya! :D

Congrats and glad you're still with us. :)

:D :D

Let the SARS virus be over, in my country is not a problem yet...I hope never will be.

Let me study the new found location again this weekend and I will give you guys a full blown report. Looks like I do not need to go to Manado ( 2.5 hours away by flight ), I am having a sweet spot in my own back yard.

The graphic of landed catch is always improving even for the shallow sea mount but this new found deep water pinnacle is just so productive.

If you guys wanna come just let me know. We can do tank dive first for closer inspection of the terrain. Place stategic marker where is good and u guys can freedive all you like, if you can do better than 100 feet it will be a blast.

This is the Giant Trevaly landed on the new found deep pinnacle 2 hours before my Doggie :

35kg / 77 pounds. I have fished this area long time ago, this is not an uncommon size.
  • Like
Reactions: w3ac
Nice fish! Glad to hear that you are converting to a floatline on your next trip. How do those doggies taste? I noticed that their flesh is paler than that of other tuna species. Does it taste any better ie more fat/oil content? Yeah, as you can tell I love to eat fish.

Brad :martial

The Dog Tooth tuna is super yummy.....:p :p . This is also one species you hardly ever get on the market/supermarket. I notice that the bigger the Doggie get, the redder meat. When I used to sell Shashimi grade Yellowfin tuna to Japanese Restaurant , the cherry red meat is the most expensive for YF Tuna. Of course BlueFin tuna is the Cadillac of the tuna family.... tripple yummy :p :p :p .

Here is something to finger lick.
This is the Narrow Banded Spanish Mackerel ready to eat......are you hungry ? He he he. Even the Chef could not believe the meat quality. My friend got this +-25kg Mack and next day we have dinner with friends for 40 people...still lots of left over.

This is the 25kg Mack from the shallow sea mount, not the deep pinnacle If you can freedive this spot and spent say 6 hours a day, I am sure you will nail one of these if not bigger. It hangs out at 80-90 feet, well within range of most DB'ers skill. No Jhony or grey suit man to bother.............WHAT A PLACE !!!!!!!

It only took two weeks for my group previous 20kg record to be broken......my my.
Nice Ulua!!! That would be a prize catch here in the islands. Like the others said, a good shot would avoid the dangers of losing gear or getting entangled in your reel line. For a freediver, that could be tragic. Check out Hawaiiskindiver.net photo gallery for more pics of GT's (uluas) shot by local freedivers. Here in Hawaii we love catching them on rod and reel too, a better fight then when speared, and can be released for another fight on another day.
I might have a new wish list dive destination. There are no Spanish Mackerel or large doggies here in Hawaii. They are on the hit list and one day will be notched on my gun.

Brad :martial
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing


ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2024 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.