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Perfect Day

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defofthecrown

Morone saxatilis
Mar 8, 2003
298
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Last friday i went out spearfishing in Delaware and had a great time. I enjoy reading everyone's threads about trips, so I thought I'd share one too.

I got a late start from home which is already 1.5 hours from the beach. I like to leave early b/c I kayak and don't want to get stuck in the Atlantic -in a shipping channel- after dark.

When I finnaly arrived I had resigned my self to go to the closer of the two breakwaters and save my self about two miles of paddling. But when I saw how flat the water was I decided I could make good time and would probably be rewarded w/ better than average vis.

And it was great. The visability was at least fifteen feet which is as good as it gets around here. I could actually surface hunt in some areas which never happens. The current was also pretty slack which was a nice change of pace.

So I'm on top of this huge granite breakwater and I'm as giddy as a little kid b/c I can see the bottom from where I'm standing. Strap on the gear and slide beneath the surface.

The tautogs are everywhere but I'm looking from stripers. I started about 1/4 of the way from the end and worked towards the middle of the breakwater. After about an hour and a half I still haven't seen a single one.

Thats when I decided to try and grab a little dinner. I droped down to about 25-30 feet and crept behing the huge granite slabs. Then as i was slowly climbing into shallower water I picked a nice silhoueted 'tog and squeezed of a nice shot. I strung the fish at the end of my floatlne (on a boat fender) and then started back towards the point.

Thats when I noticed a huge flounder that was hoping I wouldn't.
I removed one of the shortened 5/8th bands and droped down. For some reason I decided to wait until it took off and try to shoot it through the side and keep from mashing my tip. I say try b/c as soon as I pulled the trigger I wish i could do it over again. I watched in slow motion as the shaft flew two inches over the fish and kept going in the clear water. The floundfer non-chalantly made for deeper water as I sprinted behind it for 30' trying to see where it would settle back down, but she just kept on going down down down and I didn't want to go any deeper have wasted too much air lineing up the shot.

Back on the surface I was giving myself a hard time and trying to convince myself that it's just a good leson on what not to do next time. I don't think anyone misses a shot on these fish, but live and learn.

My very next dive down I saw my first striper, and it was huge. I had just turned up, leveling off a few feet above the bottom when I saw this georgeous silver silhoute glidding towards me. I raised my puny low-vis reefgun as the striper filled in w/ color. The problem was the lovely irredecent uniform silver. The the cat like eye and the deeply notched caudaul fin.

I quickly realized this was not a fish I wantd to shoot.It was surreal as we drifted past each other. My fins were frozen and the 7' lemon sharks tail hadn't moved as our momentum let us sail by ten feet apart in silence.

I quickly rotated my body and whatched as the shark made one distinct quick of it's tail and curled back towards me while disappearing back into the murk.

Now I've seen nurse sharks before when spearfishing in the Bahamas but this was my first 'incident' with a shark in a low-vis situation. Lemon sharks also have a reputation for being 'curious'. Although this one was very chill no arched back no low hanging pectoral fins no head thrahing side to side.

I hung to the rocks and climbed up on to the breakwater. I quickly pulled in my 60' floatline hand-over-hand, happy to see the tautog was still there bleeding and lightly kicking and wholly intact (maybe i should start 'finishing' fish).

I stood around for about 5 min. pondering if I should call an end to my day of diving. Instead I managed to make fun of myself enough to slide back in. I loaded my gun out of the water (which I never do) sat on a rock and stuck my mask under water. A cursory look around revealied shark free waters so I slide back beneth the smooth surface.

As i again leveled off at the bottom I noticed that tall hetercercal tail pumping back and forth, driving the fish back into the murk. I was like you've got to be kididng me. I again 'ran' for the saftey of dry land.

It took me about ten minutes this time before i dropped back in, but it was the last time on the dive that I saw the shark. I got back to 'spearfishing'; which now involved my sticking around the rocks like i was an abalone glued on.

The arrival of a few small stripers proved that my memory was short and i quickly started stalking again and not feeling like i was the one being stalked (ah unprovoked paranoia).

I noticed a school of small triggers and I decided to catch one b/c I've been wanting to make some ceviche. I slowly extended the gun while droping down 10' or so. I pulled down the saftey with my thumb...and then I felt a tug behind me that pulled me from a prone shooting position to vertical in the water. I quickly turned while again activating the safety. All i could see was a uniform bluish green and my kinky floatline. I saw the second tug before I felt it as my slack floatline went as staight as my spear shaft. I got pulled about three feet down and I shot off towards New Jersey (35 miles due North).

I had an impish gring on my face and never thought I'd move this fast under water. My elation disapated when I realized I was getting pulled into 80' of water by a +100lb feeding shark. I quickly ran through the options. hand-over-hand on the floatline and shoot the shark, drop the gun and pick up the floatline w/ the kayak, or swim all out for the breakwater.

I decided on the later and kicked as hard as I could. The freediving fins bit crisply into the water and I managed to slide behind an awash rock. I climbed out of the water on my knees and held onto the gun like a waterskier holds the line. I was managing to not get pulled in and the lactic acid was just starting to build when every thing went slack. Then my boat fender came shooting 4' out of the water before settling back down. I pulled in the tackle expecting to see half a fish. Instead my 300lb mono stringer was neatly snipped 8" s.s. spike and all.

Devoid of fish I decided I wasn't as appealing anymore so ihoped back in. I quickly took two triggers and a nice 'tog. I tied them off on the float through an extra snap swivel. At this point the vis was dropping and I was nearing the point. Well past my original starting point.

The further down I went the bigger the stripers got. Thats when I saw a huge silhouette moving along my side in the now 5' vis. I slowly brought my gun up, slide down the trigger. I kept drifting motionless. The silhouette glidding just in the muck line turned in front of me and I squeezed the trigger. I felt a jolt as I got tugged under. Then the fish stopped I quickly moved in and after getting half the shooting line the fish ran again moving towards deeper water. I held on for the sleigh ride until the fish stopped and tried to throw the spear while thrashing in the water. I grabbed the spear on both sides of the body and pointed the 30lb striper to the surface. She kicked us both to the top and I quickly made for the breakwater not wanting to run into my friend, and not willing to give up white white knuckle grip in the fishes gill.

I made the long walk to the kayak atop the breakwater trying to digest all that had happened. Wondering why I hadn't brought the camera why I decided to go to the 'far' breakwater, and mostly just having that wonderful feeling that comes from something really satisfying.

I made the long trip back in with a thunderstorm behind me and the sun setting over the beach on the point where I left from. Neither would be a problem and I didn't hasten my pace. It was really a perfect ending to a perfect day.
===
Now if any one made it this far I'll try and post a picture but I've never made this work before.





I decided
 
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defofthecrown

Morone saxatilis
Mar 8, 2003
298
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photo...
 

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Bergo

New Member
Jul 29, 2003
10
0
0
Nice Rock. I live in DC and have been looking for someone to do some local shooting with. I do both tank and freediving and shoot with a Euro gun.

Let me know if you want a shootin partner sometime.
 

unirdna

tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
1,016
220
153
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Nice story defender (yes, I read the whole thing ;)). Good thing you weren't using an inflatable float.... Just out of curiosity, what kind of gun setup you using for those stripers? I've been thinkin long and hard about making a trip to the east coast to take a few plugs at those fish. I would think my 32 inch mid-handle would do just fine. Most importantly, how do they taste?

Ted
 

defofthecrown

Morone saxatilis
Mar 8, 2003
298
30
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41
Bergo,

There is a tourny this sunday(8/3) at the breakwater off Cape Henlopen Deleware. It's starts pretty early, but you should be able to get a ride out to the 'reef'. I believe it's freedive only. If you want info call matt at pirate scuba. He's not going to be in on friday or saturday so sorry for the late notice. I'll probably get the info from him too so if your interested send me a PM if you don't get him and maybe I'll see you there.

Unirdna,

I'm using an old jbl 38-special. The bands are shortend 5/8th (13 inchers I think). I also got rid of that rediculous poly shooting line and replaced it w/ 300lb mono crimped through the shaft (no slide ring). Hacked the muzzle a bit to reduce friction. I also added some silicone inserts to reduce trigger/line release noise, and beefed up the lanyard at the base of the handle. Attached to the gun I have a ~56', 1/2"diameter floatline and am currently making a new float from a knee board to keep fish out of the water :hmm

As far as your mini mid-handle goes it would be perfect for around here. Again, Mr. Pirate scuba shoots a mt-0 or mt-1 and he raves about it. The old timey guys use a lot of short pnumatics.

As far as the taste goes I'm a fan. It's a mild frim white flesh. A lot of the charter boat capt's I know won't eat a fish that's over 18" (Maryland's minimum), but I think that's snobbery more that anything. I haven't ever noticed an appreciable difference.
 

defofthecrown

Morone saxatilis
Mar 8, 2003
298
30
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...and sven, even used black electrical tape on the barrel (don't remember where I got that idea;) ).
 

Pekka

neoprene dreamer
Aug 22, 2001
790
60
118
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Very nice story.. although I don't like sharks while spearfishing... they don't respect the rule, "I worked for it, so it is mine!"

Pekka
 
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