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Doggies with Riffe #4 Baja

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Mr. Long Post
Apr 22, 2002
As I am done with the short MT#0 in the clear water of 50 feet viz or better. This second and third dive needed a bigger gun cause we need it to overcome our murky water distance perception. We wanted to use the Riffe float and 100' bungie on the scuba hunting but since the surface water is so confused, our floats might slow us down and probably will get torn a part by the slamming rocks on the wave. We never like reel and so we take the chance of "come-what-may".

This is a "de-virginized" trip for our #4 Baja, some plywood shooting was all we could do and yet our close by water could not give us enough visibility to test this gun properly.

So we were beyond happy to be back to this favourite rock on the Indian Ocean after more than a year ( me only ). I loaded my gun, 3 of the 5/8 bands on the common wishbone and last one on the custom ordered rest tab. I have tested 3 x 5/8 single handed shot and it was just sweet, I suppose 3.5 is just right cause 4 bands on single hand is quite hard on my wrist. My friends were loading theirs all the way to 4 bands.

I was on my own in the spot where I saw the Spanish Mackerel on the first dive. Then came a trevaly, yellow dots one, rare for me and this one is a good 5 kg size. Have not got this species on this trip, so I took aim in the middle cause I want insurance if I might shoot bad. The shaft entered half way into the fish, I thought it should go entirely till the shooting line...........damn the visibility realy screw up my distance perception. The Ice Pick disengage and it was a short fight. I hit where I aim, a happy guy I was there and then.

Then my prayer seems answered, the Spanish Mackerel I saw on 1st dive appeared from my left, two of them. I took aim at the further one and it was some 7-8 feet above me at about 5 meters, I thought. It was about to flee when I shot it at some distance behind the gill on the lateral line area. The shaft exited just nicely on the other side near the gill around the shoulder. It swam up, I gave a small tug to disengage the Ice Pick as the 8-10kg Spanish took off upwards. Confirm good grip of the Ice Pick and I was having a good ride from this fish. Two minutes into the fight, it got tired so I drill the head with my knife. The fish was so thick, I could not un-do my Ice Pick, it got stuck in the middle of the meat. OK, I'm done on this 2nd dive.

Both fish on my "special floating" stringer. The stuck 3/8 shaft caused both fish to sink to the bottom. So I ascend slowly and play jigging with my fish. To my surprise, giant trevaly came to my fish, first two and then a total of five. I was having the fun of my life playing with such a big "live flasher", then a big dark brown shape appeared lightning fast towards my Spanish.......DAMN, it was a shark, not white or black tip. It must be a bull cause it is so wide at the mouth and gills as I seen from 30 feet above it. It went zig zag for a few seconds and left. I could not see where it went, then my balls shrank...smaller...smaller and smaller. I surfaced immediately. The boat was on the other side of the rock, I could see it but I know it could not spot me. I was waving like crazy. The surface current was much stronger than at 70-90 feet where I was. I kept drifting into the foamy area where the rocks get whacked by the waves. Removed my BCD cause if I still drift into that fatal zone, I can make it out on freedive. BCD in one hand and stringer in the other. I swam on my back so that I could see the rocks. Kept looking for the bull.....I am scared of such shark...too many reading about it.

I think it was less than 5 minutes but felt so long. I got picked up and could laugh on board.

Others were getting big eye jacks and a 10kg Giant Trevaly.

Third dive at 4PM. The water was dark and viz drop to 40 feet or less. I already had 3 species, so I need to look for other species. I kept wondering, how come only today there are so many fishes of all kind. I been to this place for about 5 years but seldom dive this rock cause to me it is very sharky. I saw so many kind of jacks and big snappers, the barracudas are like everywhere u see. Since this is a last dive, I ignore all those fishes and head for the rock where my friend got a doggie last year. My 3 other friends were ahead of me. I look over the deeper waters and shapes started to appear, tuna shape but no yellow hue. Must be doggies I thought. There were so many around and they swam not in school but rather all over. If I got a doggie, it will be my third, so I aim for whatever is closest to me, can't go greedy on something I am not experienced with. My friends saw the shot and they got into position and smart dudes......... they went for bigger ones ( I only knew that when I surfaced ). When I am done stringing my doggie after a short fight, I then waited by a rock at 60 feet waiting for more doggies to come. What a wrong spot, I should have went left into deeper water instead of right to the rocks. The doggies were on the left near a ledge at 80-100 feet.

When I surfaced, others were already on the boat. My catch was 3rd biggest or second smallest :waterwork. One of my friend who helped me undo my doggie did not get anything. The other two got a handsome one and the biggest doggie guy had a second shot of another smaller doggie while his +-30kg doggie was on his stringer and still swimming around pulling him. The two bigger doggies guy were lucky that they had the strength and a good enough shot to make the doggie less violent. With no reel and no float a 66 lbs and 51 lbs doggies are sure not fun to play with.

It was only the first day of the dive, last Friday that was. Our two 100 liters coolbox and the boat 100 quart cockpit freezer was already full. We decided to head home cause we have no more storage capacity for the fishes which are only about 12 of them.

Went to meet up with another group, my friends and told them where the party is. That Saturday morning we left home for the 125 miles journey home. The other group went over to the rock, by Sunday night they called me up. Divers on that group, 3 with a 124Cm #2 Riffe, 1 Riffe Hawaiian and 2 JBL. The rest 2 are non hunters. They did 3 dives, boated 7 doggies ( still waiting for the photos ), lost 2 to a few bulls. Not that the shark ate them but my friend simply tug the fish off his spearhead cause 3 bull were trying to "molest" his doggies. He left the fish :D :D

One photographer even managed to photo a swimming doggie....I'm waiting to see such photo.

One spectacular event was a lucky guy who shot his #2 Riffe with 4 bands and Ice Pick on 8mm shaft. The doggies came close to him about 3 meters, one from left the other from the right. Lucky Son of a Bitch.......... he shot both doggies. The closer one supposedly like 8kg was totaly penetrated, the shaft then hit the other doggie, said to be +- 12kg on a fatal zone. It died on the spot without the Ice Pick even exiting on the other side. The alive doggie got stuck and could not run cause it could not whip its tail, hampered by the other bigger doggie on the same shaft. I got snappers and grouper this way but never Tuna... :head. I am waiting for his photo to see realy how big this two KEBAB are... :D :D

It seems the other group was luckier than us, in three dives all of them have the doggies playing around. I check on the internet , and it mentioned October till January is their spawning season for the Indian Ocean. Many of the tuna carry eggs when we clean them.

My question to you fishery knowledgeable hunters. If the doggies come to this rock in such numbers when they are spawning, do you think it is wrong that we take a few ? By next month the west moonsoon will kick in and that rock will be off limits unless I am made of titanium and have 9 lives.How how how ???

Well, I am planing to go back in 2 weeks. Will take U/W video this time.... a must. I wonder who will be handling the camera underwater :confused: :confused:

Guess which is me on the top photo. I am holding a +- 8kg Doggie. Tell me if I am not conservative in my weight estimation.....:cool:

Spanish Mackerel photo soon...........

The spearo who is scared of sharks..........
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I been thinking, does buying a gun between US$700 - US$1000 for extra shooting range and high power delivery make sense ?

Why not improve skill instead, say learning how to freedive longer up to 2 minutes and deeper up to 100 feet. As for me a scuba dude lacking big pelagics ( 30+ kg ) experience, I think I need to learn to shoot like a sniper, fearless of sharks and how to act not like a child given an ice cream, if I see realy big fishes.

I been calculating. If this trip were not heavily subsidized by the courtesy of my friend the boat owner, how do I visit this beautiful 125 miles away rock and live on board for a day on the boat ? I maintain yachts and I realy know how much it cost to run a 53 footer with 1,640 total horse power and run her till the 3,250 liters fuel tank dry out just for the trip I did.

If I charter a simple 33 footer bare boat with 200HP x 2 outboards ( no beds, no Air Cond, no cooking, no luxury of bathing and no Babes want to be in one for the entire afternoon :D :D ) it will cost me US$600-US$700 for Saturday and Sunday. Drive 3 hours from my city to this pier cause the boat is based only 50 miles from that rock, save boat fuel and time. Get a hotel room on Friday night so I can leave at 6 AM sharp, Saturday's lodging is available 10 miles from the rock but only accesible by boat. All other logistic bull shit combined, a 4 divers team will need to pay at least US$350 a person. The other option is to go cheaper by using simple slow wooden boat. Some 6-7 hours just to reach the rocks, dangerous for us divers because they are slow and sluggish when it comes to pick us up in such a confused water in big swell. With 10 hours extra time on the travel journey up/down lost just by being on a slow boat, cheaper is not actualy cheaper if u consider the lost of the dives.

If say I can afford to go 10 times a year, US$350 x 10 = US$ 3,500. If I shoot those fish with a lower power gun that is only 4 meter effective for a 20kg fish, wouldn't I be stupid not to buy a bigger gun to make the trip more worthwhile by being able to shoot those fish from a more comfortable distance of 6-7 meters effective ? When practice is required to be able to stalk closer to the fish, I am sure I would loose more fish as training begin. I am not sure if a trip with only a maximum of 150 minutes underwater per trip or US$350 per trip is to be wasted on stalking technique practice just because I need to save US$400-600 of extra price of a bigger gun. Two wasted trips of using shorter range gun, technicaly will get me a US$700 gun in terms of losses I suffer due to not getting any fish worth shooting.

On the other hand, if I have a longer range gun, I can always practice stalking to my best and still shoot the fishes when they try to flee and thus further away. U can always make an easy shot more difficult but you can't make difficult shot easy. Like my pro land based hunter friends, some carry big guns but they do not shoot easy close by target. Some carry small guns and try getting closer to the prey.

I realy envy anyone who can just drive a car to a beach in an hour and get a small 5 meter boat with 40HP outboard, sail another hour and boom........40 feet viz and lots of fish on their favourite reefs. There is so much convienience & rich fish area for skill improvement with this kind of proximity and least cost.
Skill don't improve without actual hunting trips, trips need money, so again in the end it all come down to money for those living in lousy fish area to be a good spearo...ironic...but it is true...he he he.

If there is a light weight 10 meter gun, fast swinging and with a recoil an average person can handle with a single hand and cost up to US$2,000 it might be actualy "cheaper" for that person to buy that gun for a proper fish, given his far away hunting area and the low frequency opportunity he gets.

I am beginning to understand why some hard core US spearos running to extreme fishy ( and sharky too ) Mexican waters and armed themselves with the very best guns, either custom or self built. Good guns improve confidence level, far away trip means lots of money wasted. I think these guys are well prepared and not some fancy gear seeker. I also think their targeted 200 lbs tuna upwards deserve such attention... :D :D

So u want to move to Mexico Murat and get an Alexander ??
:eek: :eek:
As i said before if i see a some fish worth Riffe Bluewater Gun; i never ever doupt to buy it.

Mexico-Alexander??? No plz. I preffer Florida with Riffe Bluwater.Can you imagine these chicks that roller blading around the beach and all the other things such as Ferrari, Diablo......or did i watch the movies a lot?:cool:

I am planing to buy new shotgun before the speargun coz the winter came and land hunting sesion will start soon.
Congratulations Iya . Good story/fish/pics...:cool:
BTW our winter monsoon is just starting . Wind swung around two days ago , raining every day .
West Monsoon...my prime fear...:confused: :confused: Just when I thought I just had the best fish aquarium season of my life.....:waterwork :waterwork.

I'm still dry now with very very few rains in between.

So ur dive area will be quite off limits soon Abri ?

Last photo of the Spanish Mackerel....
Nice stuff Iya.
Your second post wondering about gear vs. developing skills is a good sign you're getting the program.

I think the answer is both, though I'll edge towards developing the skills... I've brained fish with my abalone iron by knowing their habits and getting good with the stalking thing. But when it comes to not getting any closer than 15 feet, you gotta bring out the lumber and then the time practicing comes into play with knowing where the tip is in relation to the fish and then only with the knowledge that your shit is together and it's safe. I'm always amazed at divers new and with some time under their belts that are so amped that they just "go stupid" and thats when things go wrong.

And anybody tells you that they're not afraid of sharks is fulla crap, so don't go getting a complex... just give them their space, give a fish if they want it and count your fingers. ;)

How in the heck did you brain a fish with an ab bar?
Thanks guys, sure nice to hear encouragement from a more seasoned guys....Senor Sven and Senor Abri.

What I was happy about that trip is not only about getting my 3rd doggies and my 3rd Spanish. Since there are so much fishes, I can actualy ignore so many and choose the size and species I want like a supermarket. Never has this kind of luxury before.

When they are so many fishes there, I have the advantage to choose quality over quantity which I think is part of conservation. Since I am more calm and not shoot anyhow, I get to see more of other fishes, this is amazing. Being from a murky and fishesless origin, I feel like a "shocked" Fred Flinstone in year 2002 in this fish heaven. The shock of so many fishes when I go to oil rigs have actualy caused me many bad shots, on this trip I actualy enjoy looking at all the fishes swimming around and never miss any shot on my #4 gun, only 3 shots taken though.

It also got me thingking, if I use exclusively my smaller MT Zero, I might have nailed a few with it but if total penetration is not guaranteed and ripped off flesh occur often, don't u think it is cruel knowing I have a bigger gun I can choose ? Sure sound macho to use smaller gun on big fish if landed, but eating them is my primary intention , not only the thrill of getting drag around.

I notice the doggie is much easier to approach than the Spanish but it has the speed while swimming and swimming is all they do all the time. The schooling yellow fin tuna are the fastest on this trip. I recall seeing solo yellow fin tuna swim much more relaxed.
Realy need more exposure to this kind of place. I know well enough how trevalies behave but not other pelagics.

My friends in the other group, one of them saw a Sail fish of +-40kg and in shooting distance of his # Hawaiian but he has no float and no reel and hovering at 40 feet while the bottom was 120 sloping to 300 feet. I guess he made a right decision of not shooting it...he might end up gunless or worse entangled and towed into the abyys.

However, my target board shooting did pay off. My two other friends missed that Spanish I shot. They spend less time getting used to the gun on the target board.:D :D
Congrats Iya , the situation you described is pelagic hunting as it's meant to be ; enjoying yourself and picking the fish you want .Pity your spot is so remote , all the more reason to have a good time ...:D
IMHO there is more satisfaction in getting one or two "good" fish than going for the numbers .
By all means use the gun that ensures you will land the fish , nothing I hate more than a badly wounded fish limping away :(
BTW if there is a spearo out there who claims not to be afraid of sharks ... well , Sven summed it up smoothly :D
Nice fish Iya. Nice to dive in clear water w/ lots of fish isn't it. Really makes you appreciate those times after putting in so many dives in bad viz. Congratulations again.
Originally posted by Iyadiver
Since I am more calm and not shoot anyhow, I get to see more of other fishes, this is amazing.
Realy need more exposure to this kind of place.

There you go. ;)


Looks like you are on the way of blue water hunter.......

What was the size of that bull you mentioned...Was it you first encounter?:D :D
Thanks again everyone.

That bull ( in my assumption ) is about 3-4 times longer than my Spanish cause it was side by side with my Spanish. My Spanish is about 3 feet or 90 cm, that means the bull is at least about 9 feet......HOLY COW !! I hope I saw wrong, maybe the fear in me make it look bigger but I been quite good at size estimation underwater. I was looking at it from 30 feet above it.
I think it came because of the shiny flash of the Spanish skin and the excitement the giant trevaly had circling the Spanish, I am not sure. I was shocked. This is my second encounter and the first one is smaller. If I see white or black tip, they look slender and elegantly shape, like Cindy Crawford. This bull looks like Mike Tyson from top.

What worry me was not only the size but the way it moved. It swim it's body so fast, left right. All other white tips & black I saw even when I am handling fish, doesn't act like that. I remember some info on grey reef which tells how their body language when they make certain body style, it is a warning of attack coming soon. At moment it came to my fish and another second it tailed flipped quick and it dissapear. How come it did not eat my fish? Maybe it like vibrating fishes cause mine both are already dead.

When the Ice Pick got stuck in the middle of the body of the Spanish, I did wanted to cut the fish to remove the Ice Pick but I decided not cause more blood will flow and also the fish might break into two cause I need to cut a lot to access the Ice Pick.
To think about it, I think I was lucky that I decided not too cut the Spanish or else the bull might come close to me and at my depth.

I get scared MOST when removing spearhead in a fish because that is when my fish is closest to me. If a bull take it, it might take my hand along.......scarry. This is why I always undo a fish by being close to the rock, at least I do not need to watch my back.

If that bull say come within 5 meters and do that tail wiggle on me, I am sure I will faint. Me being 10 meter above it is what made me more comfortable. It probably did not know I was hovering above it.

I developed a special depth adjustable stringer for my group the scuba dudes. It is like a normal 30 cm x 8mm shaft and 500 lbs cable but I do not tie it on my body. I fix 2 small 0.5 liter float on it and use a handline fishing spool of 15 meters. I put the spool on my hand and can be removed in just two seconds. The idea is to keep/adjust the fish on top of me as far as I am scared. The only problem with this stringer, it can only take 5kg fish. Anything bigger, the stringer will sink ( some fish are very negative buoyant like big grouper ) cause the float can't float big fishes. Still it is a useful tool cause even if it sinks, it keep the fish some distance away from me. Not a good tool for rigs and wrecks, often get caught, but sure safer than keeping a fish next to me on my waist.

If I do my regular close by area there is ALMOST 99% no shark, I even dare to hold a fish with my hand the entire dive, moray eel is the problem but I don't fear them at all, unless they are coconut tree size. My other trick when I do wreck is to place all my fishes in secure area of the wreck and collect them later when I surface. There is always some fishing line which got stuck on wrecks, I tie my fish with it.

The very first sighting of white tip is like when I saw that bull, scary but I think after more sightings ( I pray no more bull..... please ) I hope I can supress my fear better. Fear can make us do stupid things, this is what I worry most.

The video I saw of Diving the Riveligedados ( spelling ?? ) of sharks coming close to the spearos, is not something I will ever want to be in ...hell no way....I don't think I can ever be that calm like them.

Wheewww, let me not think of that bull again. Was is Jay who mentioned that a Glock pistol has a special model that can be used for diving. I think the sound of bullet explosion might drive it away.

I am not the only one diving the rocks. The Collins speargun designer do this rock too on freedive and they been robbed by the tax collector too but they are used to it cause they kept diving there over and over again, that means the sharks are not "Mexican" grade.....:D :D.....not so Gringo ?
Originally posted by Iyadiver
It probably did not know I was hovering above it.

Oh yes it did ...rofl
Listen Iya , whilst a healthy respect towards sharks is only common sense you should not let it get carried away . I think sharks are like dogs in that they can sense your attitude . If hunting on scuba I doubt that a bull will get overly aggressive toward you , but your reaction will also influence its behaviour .
We have LOTS of bulls back home and have found that swimming towards them usually turns them . If , on the other hand you back off you concede dominance to the shark and it will immediately become more self- assured .
As yet I have not felt the need to test this scientific research on tigers et al :eek:
Iya, Abri is right on the dominance thing. I fish for those suckers for fun and they can really be a handful. I have always been told that it is not the shark that you see the one that will get you rather the one that you never see. Sharks have some really advanced sensory systems and that shark knew that you were there probably from a couple of hundred yards away or more. The thing to remember is not to lose your cool. Sharks can even detect changes in your heart rate or fear and that can very well trigger an attack. The three sharks that I would concern myself with would be great whites, bulls, and tigers. Out of the three I believe that the most dangerous are the bulls followed by the tigers and then the whites. Remember that each shark is different and each has it's own personality. Most are very timid towards divers always staying way beyond visual but also always checking you out with there other senses, and some others are very bold and aren't at all afraid of divers. But remember that regardless what you think sharks don't want to munch on us or else we would not be able to set foot in the water. Staying calm though is much easier said than done but remember that it is your life on the line. Can you tell that I am a shark fanatic? Check out the pic of this 7100 pound white caught in Cuba. It is a very rare picture; only a couple of pictures were taken.


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massive white


That is a monster shark say no more

Iya nice doggies. I think soon i will swim across the channel to your country with my railgun and whack some doggies at that spot. geeze how deep were they again 100ft plus, then again I might leave those for Abri.

You said that spanish seem harder to approach. Ive always found Spanish one of the easier pelagics to approach they usually swim straight in front of me then turn giving me a broadside for 1 sec then whack. this is for fish up to 30lbs, the bigger solitary ones are a little harder to approach.

Doggies for me are generally to deep I don't know how smart they are. On one of my spearin movies Andy ruddock is spearing them doggies pretty damn deep down. Jobfish on the other hand are for me found in shallower water so I can get to them though they are pretty cunning. when I can dive as deep as Abri I might have a better chance at whacking a 30kg plus doggie. I don't spear Giant trevally because they are poorer eating though I have seen some at a conseravtive estimate of 80-100lbs, I can approach these fish always within range but never shoot.

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The three sharks that I would concern myself with would be great whites, bulls, and tigers. Out of the three I believe that the most dangerous are the bulls followed..............

HOLY SHIT !!!!!!! :waterwork :waterwork

Damn my balls went one size smaller....:confused:

It is so unfair, a fish heaven = shark heaven.

Just like clubs, nice babes = plenty of other "doggies" around

Maybe I should pray more often.....

I just heard a story of a local traditional hooka Lobster diver who was found with his belly & thigh torn ( dead ). I bet he uses nets and these lobsters were vibrating like crazy. That net must be on his waist... :confused: :confused:. His location is about 30 miles to my rock. I dove there once, it was a wall.

Do you think that since I scuba and spend only 25 minutes per dive and only 3-4 dives a day, is technicaly safer cause I am overall spending time less in the water compared to freediver who may stick 6 hours a day on the same area ??

I feel kind of stupid even to have a 10 meter-above-me stringed fishes. I need to surface after each fish then ???

What an unfair world....found a fishy spot and see things I never even want to think of ( bull )..........sad sad sad.
I think that scuba is technically safer because if you do have a shark prob you can stay down and (in shallow water) you could probly hide in whatever you have available... the problem is as a skin diver you got to go up sometime and if a 7100 pound shark is looking you in the eye i am thinking I will run out of air about .1 of a second later not to mention the berley that would enter the water... So yeah on the whole if there was a big shark about and I had to be in the water... It would probly be safer with scuba.

Just my 2 cents.
Iya , is there someone on the boat while you spear ? Why dont you use an inflatable float with your stringer , send your fish to the surface and get boatman to load it onboard , then deflate your float till you spear the next fish .
As for sharks , the reason tigers worry me more ( apart from size) is that I find it harder to "read" them .
Have two resident tigers on the Canyon of around 5 m. They often cruise up for a look-see with no sign of aggressiveness . Other times they will storm you before your suit is fully wet . When this happens I usually wet the bits that were still dry ...:eek:
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