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Fighting fish on scuba

Max geller

New Member
Aug 12, 2017
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Florida
Experienced my first underwater tussle a few weeks ago. Shot an AJ with one band cus I got lazy and it decided to take me for a little Cruise around the wrecks. Was actually quite dangerous and had to hold onto the structure to prevent it from pulling me to the mid column and beyond. Spear eventually pulled out and had to have my partner untangle me. Not the big of a deal but could have escalated. What can I do besides stoning the fish to be the most efficient and as safe as possible. Please don't just say "get close and knife it", not easy to do on a charging reef donkey
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
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If you think it was dangerous on scuba, think
how it would have been holding your breath.

Sorry if I'm not sympathetic but it's not as if I haven't been there. In the early 1950s I was fighting jewfish (aka Goliath grouper) on scuba. You just hang on and try to avoid being pulled through places that you shouldn't go. You have Air to breath while you work it out.

About 21 years ago I went back to freedive Spearfishing now and then I recall how easy it was to fight fish in scuba.
 

Mr. X

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Break-away rig with big float(s)* or reel?

*Optionally with bungees and/or breakaway line pouches and/or drogue (although the last speargun I saw equipped with a drogue dated from around c. 1950s!).
 
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Max geller

Max geller

New Member
Aug 12, 2017
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Florida
If you think it was dangerous on scuba, think
how it would have been holding your breath.

Sorry if I'm not sympathetic but it's not as if I haven't been there. In the early 1950s I was fighting jewfish (aka Goliath grouper) on scuba. You just hang on and try to avoid being pulled through places that you shouldn't go. You have Air to breath while you work it out.

About 21 years ago I went back to freedive Spearfishing now and then I recall how easy it was to fight fish in scuba.
 
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Max geller

Max geller

New Member
Aug 12, 2017
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Florida
If you think it was dangerous on scuba, think
how it would have been holding your breath.

Sorry if I'm not sympathetic but it's not as if I haven't been there. In the early 1950s I was fighting jewfish (aka Goliath grouper) on scuba. You just hang on and try to avoid being pulled through places that you shouldn't go. You have Air to breath while you work it out.

About 21 years ago I went back to freedive Spearfishing now and then I recall how easy it was to fight fish in scuba.
Don't completely agree with you, but as you have much more freediving experience I'm sure you know what your talking about. But I'm sure you know about decompression sickness which is a very real possibility when your talking about a fish that can pull something 3 times it's weight. It's also not just being pulled up to the surface it's a tangle problem that can get bad quick. Heard to many horror stories of wrecks collapsing after fish tangled itself etc..
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
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I guess we can think of all kinds of scenarios where either way is dangerous but let me give just one example. I shot a yellowtail (sort of like an amberjack with a slightly lower dose of steroids) and it wrapped around some kelp and rock at 70 feet. That's too deep for me so I went to the boat and got a pony bottle. When I got down there the fish was motionless in the kelp. When I touched it took three laps around me and tied me up. I had enough air so that I didn't have to cut the shooting line so I was able to get untangled, brain the fish and bring it up. But what if the fish had been at just 50 feet and I decided I didn't need the tank? I might have been able to cut the shooting line in time but I doubt it. I would most likely be dead.
 
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Max geller

Max geller

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Aug 12, 2017
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I guess we can think of all kinds of scenarios where either way is dangerous but let me give just one example. I shot a yellowtail (sort of like an amberjack with a slightly lower dose of steroids) and it wrapped around some kelp and rock at 70 feet. That's too deep for me so I went to the boat and got a pony bottle. When I got down there the fish was motionless in the kelp. When I touched it took three laps around me and tied me up. I had enough air so that I didn't have to cut the shooting line so I was able to get untangled, brain the fish and bring it up. But what if the fish had been at just 50 feet and I decided I didn't need the tank? I might have been able to cut the shooting line in time but I doubt it. I would most likely be dead.
Very interesting story, when your talking about structure like that your completely right. I was thinking more blue water but in your case that could have gone sour. Appreciate the input
 

Mr. X

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Interesting story Bill and a useful illustration.
I'd at least keep some side cutters or knife somewhere handy, just in case.
I expect Bill carried a knife. But thinking and getting it out takes time and requires a free arm that can reach the knife and then you need to cut the line(s) and you'll likely loose the fish and/or speargun and/or spear, etc.
 
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Andrew the fish

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Oct 17, 2010
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I say, best advise would be not to shoot something you are not set up for. We have all been there. Apart from the danger, there is also hunting ethics, hurt fish that gets away. There is always another day, and bigger fish, let this one go. Come back tomorrow with buoy attached to the gun, put two bands on etc.
 
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Max geller

Max geller

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Aug 12, 2017
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I say, best advise would be not to shoot something you are not set up for. We have all been there. Apart from the danger, there is also hunting ethics, hurt fish that gets away. There is always another day, and bigger fish, let this one go. Come back tomorrow with buoy attached to the gun, put two bands on etc.
Fantastic quote, will take that to heart.
 

mrfish87

Well-Known Member
Mar 29, 2005
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New Orleans
AJ's can be quite the challenge. I'd rather shoot a 70# plus one than a 30 to 40 pound one. Those are a bundle of pure energy and never quit. Before you shoot have a plan, look at where it can run and what you can use to stop it and let the fish fight the structure and not you, and be ready for a whipping. Like Andrew said there's always another day and another fish. I got a bad shot on a 40 pounder at 170 feet deep outside the rig we were on and it took me straight down. Luckily the bottom was 215 feet or I might still be out there. Also if you are using a slip tip beware the "stoned" fish that comes back to life when the shaft that was pressing on the spine or brain pulls out and only the cable is in there and is no longer disturbing the central nervous system of the fish. They wake up really mad.
 
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Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
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Also if you are using a slip tip beware the "stoned" fish that comes back to life when the shaft that was pressing on the spine or brain pulls out and only the cable is in there and is no longer disturbing the central nervous system of the fish. They wake up really mad.
Interesting observation. I've used slip tips for 20 years. When I shoot a yellowtail in open water with good visibility, I often notice that it isn't fighting all that hard until the shaft finally slides out and its on the slip tip Spectra. Then it wakes up and goes nuts. For that reason I've decided to try flopper shafts when I'm sure I won't see a white sea bass.

I'm still hesitant to use floppers for white sea bass since they are so much softer.
 
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Mr. X

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I'm still hesitant to use floppers for white sea bass since they are so much softer.
Some floppers work better than others. I speared a large mullet this summer and, as I held tension on the line, the spear just slid out! I couldn't believe it, the flopper had not opened, never happened before. The floppers on my thin Omersub 6.3mm spears are very light and are countersunk into the top of the spear - streamline but less positive in engaging and easier to pull out. Not suitable for very large, aggressive fish but should have been more than adequate for the mullet.

My old Rob Allen railgun had a much longer, heavier, stronger flopper hanging underneath - making it more likely to engage and significantly more difficult to pull-out (deliberately or accidentally). OTT for UK fish but, of course, I now prefer the SA flopper-down configuration over the flopper-on-top European configuration! :D
 
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