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Can't seem to hold big white seabass

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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stealing the seals' catch
Jul 4, 2004
Today I put a spear into the back of an enormous white seabass from only a few feet range. The shaft stuck there for half a second as the fish glided along, and then he just seemed to casually shrug it off. I withdrew the spear after it had popped out to see that the retaining collar had actually slid over the barbs while in the fish, probably having left only a clean little hole. On the past two times I’ve been out, I have lost two other wsb when they twist and wedge the speartip out. It seems the only angle I can approach close to them is from directly above, so I end up hitting them in the thick of the shoulder from a high angle. This may be part of the problem, because I’ve had good penetration on a few side shots. I suppose more power should solve this, but adding a third band to my AB Biller 42" produced the same results, the wide double-barb tip simply won’t penetrate the fish completely and the barbs will not catch and hold. It is the type with a bit of rubber that is supposed to spring out the barbs.
I cannot stand to merely wound another one of these beautiful fish. I know that a bigger gun with more power would do the trick, but I don’t have much money, and I’m often hunting shallow and around rocks. What I’d like to ask is if anyone has experienced this problem and fixed it with a particular spear tip. Since I can’t seem to get my conventional barbs to hold, I was considering getting a slip tip because they’re supposed to hold well while inside the fish. Would this be the way to go?
what kind of gun are you using? and what kind of set up...e.g. hawaiian flopper, breakaway tip etc.
Try an AB Biller breakaway knife point tip.
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hey! another la jollan

hey whats up...for WSB a biller wont cut it...hate to break it to you

i used to have a 36 and even after modding it with a longer shaft and 3 shortened bands, it cant do the job...they work alright on halibut though

for WSB you NEED a slip tip or a very good gill plate shot with a hawaiian shaft - the reason for this being is that they have very soft flesh - exactly why they taste so good. Biller does make some decent slip tips but you can modify it a bit so that it works like a Riffe Ice pick, which is dakine for this kind of hunting...if you havent already, talk to Mark at James Joseph dive shop down in shelter island - this guy is a great hunter and operates the only reputable riffe dealership in san diego - he also carries OMER gear and just got in many rob allen guns, which are affordable and powerful...good luck!
Were you on a Kayak?

I was out at LJ with two buddies diving from shore and saw two kayak divers out there in the afternoon (bet. 2-4pm).

Your gun sounds underpowered. One of the buddies I was diving with had the same problem last year (his first year). I believe he had the same gun too. He shot six fish and only landed one. We started calling him the "mangler" as the fish invariably died. He bought a Riffe off Ebay and has landed all (one so far) his fish since.

Not an expert on ab biller guns but just a thought.
Maybe you should put just a bit more distance between the target and you. This because it is possible that your bands had not yet accelerated the shaft to the top speed.
did the shaft fully leave the gun when it hit the wsb?
three bands sounds like it should have lots of power to me.

How big is an enourmous White Sea Bass?

With three bands you could have gone through a 100kilo fish easy.

Get a eurogun. It will solve all your problems :D

Here we go again. Euro Vs US debate ;)
I hate those double barb tips, they make for difficult penetration, then fail to keep the fish on. They also make the spear front heavy which affects accuracy and power. A Hawaiian style flopper seems to work well, especially if tuned to be loose on initial opening, then stay locked when fully open. A heavy duty barb can hold big strong fish on a 9/32" shaft.
Hmmmm . . . as a guy starting out in WSB country, 'cause that's where I live, this discussion is veerrryyyy innnnnnteresting! Obviously when I go gun shopping I'll have to keep this kind of thing in mind. Maybe I'll just run down to Riffe's and talk to the manufacturer.
I've seen about an hundred WSB shot. A slip tip is best. Trust me.
Thanks for the responses.

In response to LaJollaFreedvr:
Thanks, I kind of knew I just plain needed a bigger gun. I just needed someone to say it. I'll check out that shop.

In response to Spinal Tap:
No, wasn't on a kayak. Swam from shore. I saw some other spearos getting ready on the beach. I was the guy with the black picasso suit and the frustrated expression. By the way my buddy and I saw a dead seal floating out there that may have been hit by a you-know-what. We decided to cower in the kelp the rest of the day.

In response to tuomo:
The spear had definitely reached the end of the muzzle and was going full speed when it struck.

In response to shaneshac:
The tip I'm using has a really wide front profile. I think when it hits any tough part of the fish it just gets slowed down too much. I have penetrated and landed a good sized wsb with this setup, but from a side shot that went through the gut cavity.
The one I describe as enormous, from the pictures I've seen, was over 50lbs, probably 60 at least. It appeared as long as me (6'), but I've got to account for distortion both by optical physics and my own giddy hysteria. I'm new at hunting wsb, but I've seen and taken 20-30 pounders, this was a whole different class. Not used to seeing fish that big. I'm used to being thrilled by halibut and calicos. I could feel the water move as it bolted away. That was a new feeling for someone like me who just months ago was jabbing at perch with a polespear. yahoo.
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:waterwork Why did I have to live in Northern California. Hey Uncle Sven, Are there any WSB around this area?

According to Fishing the Pacific Coast the white seabass, though most common off Southern California and Northern Baja California does range as far north as Alaska. Keep the faith, brother, we may both get one in the next year or so.
Hey KM, I live just "down the street" from you and LJFreediver. My gun is a 48 biller, with three bands. Two are 20 inchers, and the band for the close slot is an 18. I use a biller sliptip, and my gun is setup on a breakaway rig. I second what LJ said about James and Joseph. Stuff costs a little more there, but the owner knows his stuff, and Is more than happy to take the time to share knowlege and listen to fish storries. I beleive he is the only dedicated freedive shop in the area. not a tank in sight. .I have taken two WSB this year so far, a twenty pounder and one I am guessing was thirty five or so. I have taken shots at two more that were a lot bigger and had them break off. I get pretty disgusted with myself when that happens. I have goten a lot more conservative with my shot selection after the breakoffs-I REALLY hate pulling the trigger on a fish and not landing it, anyway in my newly found WSB wisdom, I bassically dont shoot unless the fish is well in range, and I have a good view of the area just behind the gill plates, and a good angle. I am also trying to hide some meoney under the mattres every month, in the hopes of picking up a decent No Kai Ohi, (spelling), or a wong hybrid. I do feel a bit underpowered with my biller.
For those of you that havent had the chance to hunt a white seabass, it is a very speciual experience. these fish slide through the kelpbeds like 50 pound chameleons. Most people that have hunted them usally end up using the words "ghostlike" to describe their initial encounter...nothing there one second, big maginicent iradescent fish the second. Well that probably answered no questions about anything, but I do enjoy rambling on about WSB. Good Hunting,
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Reactions: Cingene
Kelp Monkey wrote: "I saw some other spearos getting ready on the beach. "

You saw me and my buddy the Mangler. I'm the Asian guy.

Man! We were in the same spot but you shot at a big ol' WSB and I just had a nice swim.

We saw the seal carcass too, it was bloated and had bird turd all over the top which helped ease our concern. I started to get that sickly feeling because I swallowed a big gulp of water down current from that thing before I saw it.

I went out today from 11am-7pm and didn't see anyting over 5lbs. I'd like to get one more WSB before the water gets really warm.

P.S I sent you an email.

a 54 biller will have alot more power than a 42. but depending on viz the 54 might not be practical. Again a 120 or 110 rail gun is also a good choice depending on your local viz and weathe ror not you close quarter hunt. but a rabbi or RA in the 1m+ range is capable of taking the largest of fish with one band if the shot is selected well..... But a shot from above is ggod in my opion just try to put a good angle on it Ie not just straight down but angled forward and downward to the broadside. A thicker longer shaft with a slim tip will solve your problems. Using a gun thats too small is the #1 mistake made by bigginer hunters.. .
GOod luck..and be safe
Id love to land a WSB some day
I was reading up on the WSB thing and them's are coming northward up to Monterey. Maybe I'll see one of these beauties one of these days.
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I went to James Joseph dive shop yesterday for the first time. I’m so glad a place like that exists in San Diego, I could finally see and touch at all the stuff I’ve only seen on the internet before. Mark, the resident spearo was apparently off in Mexico, but his mother was there was very friendly and helpful. I will definitely be returning ...Preferably with a wheelbarrow full of cash.
I think I will end up building my own aluminum railgun to save money. I have one friend who's a machinist and another who can weld.
The rest of the day my dive buddy and I spent at Birch aquarium in La Jolla, or as we came to think of it, “the strip club for spearfishermen”. Look but don’t touch, boys.


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Yep, the 'Boydster is correct.

The thing with WSB is that once you see them which is an art unto itself, the real work begins. They're a very, very soft fleshed fish, so unless you tap them in the gills, you need to have your shaft go all the way through to the point that your slip tip will seperate and leave the fish to either fight against the wire holding the tip to the shaft and/or it wraps itself in the kelp and then you only have to worry that the thing will be able to leverage itself against the kelp and tear off, or you'll be so friggin' tired with going all over Hell and breakfast cutting it free that you take a puke.

Your situation is screaming for a purpose built gun. A Biller or a JBL or another generic gun will be able to bring these things back to the beach but you'll most often just ding 'em and off they go to die. Not smooth.

If you decide not to go and drop the ducats for a Riffe No Kai Oi or an Island, at least do this- add a band and get a slip tip for your Biller and I'm talking one with a single barb that will allow the thing to pierce the fish clear to the other side, and then deploy. The Riffe Ice Pick is a proven though heavy tool that repeatedly gets the job done. If you really wanna show 'em, get an Alexander or a Wong, or a Kitto. These things are pieces of brutal art and well worth the cost, especially in terms of fish kept.

No Cingene, the furthest North I've seen WSB is in Santa Cruz and then you have to be really good, really local and really lucky. They show occasionally in Monterey but by and large, the West end of San Miguel Island off Pt Conception is about it as far as I've seen them with any degree of habit. I have it on my best info that they are both above Refugio and off Catalina right now.

And as to a euro gun, yeah. You could use a Euro and a few real good/successful guys do.
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