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Every once in a while...

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Just visiting...
Aug 26, 2001
Every once in a while there's a day that comes through that changes the way you look at things....

I was feeling awful. My head ached and my new apartment reeked of total emptiness. Work was not expecting me and I was starting to wonder if my doctor should do the same. The day was calling me out and soon the voice on the phone was too.

A quick 2+ hour ride led Aquiles and I to the beginning of the Florida Keys. Luckily this was our destination and the next step was only to head out in the boat towards the horizon.

A few dive boats peppered the patch reefs, but there was minimal recreational traffic relative to what one sees here on the weekends. We jumped in water where the coral and sand sat 80 feet below us. I was soon comfortable with the day and prepared to accept the difficulty of having to equalize. Thankfully, it wasn't bad. Just being in the salt water was clearing me up and I felt great.

After looking at a bunch of nothing for a while, we decided to move south. The ocean was deep blue and brilliantly calm. In about 180 feet, I watched my flasher unravel to about 50 while Aquiles drifted away with the boat. Only minutes after the flasher hit its target depth, a shark swam straight up out of the depths. Its shape was something that I was not used to. I figured its massive body would classify it as a Bull, but it wasn't giving me a clear profile other than what you see straight on. This thing was not altering its course but was heading straight for me! Its mouth stretched all the way across its broad head and its teeth lay visible behind its pursed lips. A small brigade of pilot fish darted around on all sides of it as it kept approaching. It was now obvious that I was about to be evaluated as possible table fare. As the animal was almost upon me, it seemed to sense the metal spear being aimed between his eyes. His head shook like he hit the spear tip, but I felt nothing. As it rolled out from under me and my speargun, it kept one of its dark, lifeless eyes in my direction and proceeded to swim around me.

I gave the “hand on top of the head” signal to Aquiles but didn’t have the guts to take my eyes off this thing in order to holler for him to notice. As all of this was taking place, I realized that this fish was not the pit-bull-like Bull shark we’re used to seeing. It was bit more slender, but had very mild gray markings on its sides. It soon hit me that I was in the water by myself with my first Tiger shark! I was thinking how cool this should be, but my heart was still up in my throat. It actually seemed like this shark was trying to get behind me. It was such and unnerving feeling!

After about 10 minutes (felt like hours) the Tiger shark had lost interest and retired back to the depths it rose from. Aquiles was a bit freaked out, but somehow we both convinced ourselves to stick to the game plan. And that was… to hunt in the Blue.

The first drift started us in about 160 feet and the current slowly brought us up onto the reef edge. A few king mackerel showed interest in our flashers, but nothing of considerable size made an appearance. We were soon in less than 70 feet and we moved back out. This time out to the 200 foot mark. As time passed on, the day grew older and the sun started spotlighting all the life in the large jellyfish that were floating by. As I have no attention span, I soon caught myself staring into these little planets and at all the life it houses. Tiny “discovery channel” –like fish played around inside its protective body. It was like there was an entire community here. Something I never really paid attention to. Anyways, some more kings moved through and I remembered that I needed to be on the lookout.

One dive took me to about 70 feet and I hovered there for a while. I slowly frog-kicked to keep from sinking any deeper. I was able to peer back up at flashers with my back in the direction of the waning sun so that my pupils could dilate and take in everything in front and above me. A dark but oh-so distinctive shadow approached from the deeper water to my right and meandered straight in for the flashers. It was a Wahoo. How big, I couldn’t tell. There was little in the water this deep to be able to judge its size. I slowly began to swim up and in a direction that would intercept its path. It showed no sign of being timid of me so I kept up my pace. I was still below it when it started to move in front of my path so I aimed and fired. The shockwave instantly rang pain into my shooting finger. My shooting line had gotten entangled on my finger (don’t know how, probably bad karma for skipping out on a perfectly good day at the office) and had kept the spear from reaching its target. The fish rocketed around to see what happened and quickly realized it was me that just shot at him. Luckily, his departure path had Aquiles sitting in it. As the Wahoo darted around him, Aquiles laid out and squeezed the trigger.

There was no way anyone could have shot this thing the way it was swimming, but somehow luck (as always) guided Aquiles’ shooting hand and the shaft was sent home into the “rudder” of this fish. The reel on the gun rolled off a hundred or so yards of line as the fish sped away. Aquiles fought it until his partner (moi) drove home the final securing shot (I had to pull the trigger with my middle finger). Back at the boat, we grinned to eachother about what had just taken place and we slowly got things ready for the ride home.

Every once in a while there's a day that comes through that changes the way you look at things.... this day was one of them. I see a new reason to be out in the water and to hunt a new fish that is less “resident” than the reef creatures I often targeted. It’s always a wonderful feeling to do what you love, but to love the idea behind the desires that drive you only to have them bundled up in a beautiful liquid package makes for wonderful way to live out your dreams.

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Lovely story man,

Made me dreaming! It was a pain to realise that it's actually snowing outside... :)

What a great story. Having scuba dived with Tigers in South Africa, I really never want to meet one of those magnificent monsters while freediving.

As for staying in the water and spearing with a Tiger around - well, what can I say? Kudos to you two.

On another topic - Anderson, I don't spear at all (and never will) but it's posts like yours that give me access to a different perspective and allow me to see how you guys feel about it.

It's a very different picture to the one I had of spearfishing before I started freediving and hanging around on DB.

Thanks for taking the time.

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Reactions: donmoore and rigdvr
a really nice sotry, you made my day! now I'll be dreaming in the lessons :)
Nice one Andrsn. Discribe spero feelings very well, i can see how happy you and Aquiles are while holding wahoo in your hands ! ! !

BTW all the day i dreamed about spearing. The weekend is coming.... Will try to get few fish for lunch:p
why do the fish always look HUGE when you are holding them Aquiles????:D

Great story Andrsn:yack
"It’s always a wonderful feeling to do what you love, but to love the idea behind the desires that drive you only to have them bundled up in a beautiful liquid package makes for wonderful way to live out your dreams."

This should be copied, blown-up and framed by everyone. Beautifully done. Thank you Anderson!
Rig, I think Aquiles needs a few servings of "frijoles negros con arroz blanco, vaca frita, tostones and dulce de guayaba con queso" Cuban steroids!
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Hey Anderson

Stunning stuff, very inspirational ! Hopefully I will one day be able to tell a Blue water hunting story.

Great post & Beautiful fish!

Gives me all the inspiration I need until I can go out again and experience something myself that's worth sharing here on the board.

Keep sharing & safe diving,

BTW Aquiles, Are you shooting a Rob Allen? If so how are you liking it for BWH? Just curious.

Nice fish guys. Seing an Ono underwater always gets my heartrate up but at 70 feet :hmm don't know if I could make it to the surface. Never took one with a reel but hanging onto your floats getting dragged away while waving goodbye to your envious dive partner(s) are one of the most awesome rushes while spearfishing. I think the tiger spurred more adrenaline though. Nothing like finding out that you are no longer at the top of the food chain then getting away with one of the best eating items on the menu. Nope, it doesn't get any better than this. Congats and great story.

everyone is praising Andrsn but I will add another point...Aquiles, that pic of Andy with the fish is sick! Good work. Can I pose with one of your fish and let you take a portrait of me like that?:D (wait a second...I have posed with your fish before...:hmm
great story!
i think i have worked out the incredible form that aquilies has when it comes to sticking fish. it must have something to do with the lumo green diveknife.
anderson, is that the second shot you placed, right through the gillplate?
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