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Rainbow Runners Craze...... & What Species of Cod/Grouper is this ?

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Mr. Long Post
Apr 22, 2002

Last weekend I went back to my 125 miles away rock pinacle and hoping for Dog Tooth Tuna action again. Action not as fun as expected, eventhough I patiently ignored all the Trevallies, groupers, snappers in hope to take 1 shot at either Spanish Mackerel or any sort of Tuna.

The first dive started well with a good sighting of 5 Spanish Mackerels, one of which must be at least 15kg. It is so wide top to bottom. I was already at about 70 feet when I spot them at 50 feet or so. I tried getting closer by ascending and took aim at the deeper depth smaller one, cause the distance was very far. How far I don't know. There were three of us and I always get nervous when my friends are close by, the greedy in me decided to shoot as far away as I imagine possible with my #4, even
while having to shoot at least some 10 feet up. I hit the fish I aimed but I didn't know which part of the body, it dragged me straight up for some 10 feet. My computer beeped like hell from too fast an ascent. The fish broke free, it all happened so fast. I regreted shooting it. It was the first dive of the trip of which I waited at least 6 weeks to go with one failed trip in between, I was acting like a kid at a toy store. I hate it that I lost my logic and my cool. If I can get closer, of which I could, some 4-5 feet, I would have landed that first shot.

I think my fault lies in the fact that I am afraid my friend will shoot the fish before me. It was passing me and going towards my friends....greedy greedy...greedy me. On that day last dive, I managed to be more cool headed and allow a Spanish Mackerel to be shot by my friend who later snapped his 5" bungie and lost the shaft to a mere 12kg Mackie. On the Wong Slip Tip thread is that broken bungie photo I attached.

To cut the story short, I got only two Mackie, one unique cod/grouper and the biggest Rainbow Runner I ever seen and shot. I totaly ignored other species. One of the Mackie was a total miss, I lost one 1kg lead weight and was having buoyancy problem because I only use 2.5kg total and was having difficulty maintaining my aim. I spent 5 minutes of that dive looking for rocks to keep in my pocket, what a waste of valuable time.

This is my second chanche I make shots with my Riffe #4 Baja , I am falling in love with it more. Out of total 10 shots I did in two trips, I miss only once on that Mackie and that Mackie which broke loose ( bad shot placement must be ), both on this trip.

The funy thing is the Rainbow Rubber shot. I can't recall how far it was when hit but I only remembered that my shaft did not exit on the other side more than 20% of its length. With a fish this small I would have at least shoot thru till the shooting line if the distance is only 6 meters. I did the plywood test, so I know.

I been having a pain on my right elbow joint since after my 1st trip here to the pinacle, almost 6 weeks ago. I could not even load my Mares pneu gun ever since the return from that 1st Pinacle trip. I was in pain everytime I load the #4 and been loading entirely 3 bands on the normal tabs and 4th band only on the rest tab. Can it be my elbow pain is from my shooting single hand shots my #4 Riffe on 4 bands all this time ? My friends, 2 guys, got a bit of swollen hand between the thumb and the index finger. I don't feel a thing on my hand. I thought I over exerted my right arm because I was transporting 10 tanks and a 144kg compressor to the boat last month on the 1st trip. My driver was busy so I had to do it myself. Since that first trip was the first time I needed to carry a compressor after so long it been sitting in my house this year. Man, some of my muscles must have been "rusty".

Can anyone from Australia or Hawaii identify the red cod/grouper as per second photo attached ? When alive this fish has a white body with vertical black and a bit of yellow stripes but with very obvious yellow tail. When dead, is what u see on photo. The shape and profile is the same as my favourite red cod I been shooting that is why I was assuming it is just as delicous. This is why I shot this never seen before cod.

I shot this fish exactly from the top from a good distance. I took off 1 band, so I was using 2 1/2 band (rest tab as 1/2 ). I fear my Ice Pick will disintergrate because this cod was hovering only 2-3 feet off a big rock.

My friend did get a +-12kg Doggie on the last dive, he was very happy. He saw a Rainbow Runner of at least double what he got, his is bigger than mine, see third photo. He was in panick trying to reload after the shot at the doggie and had no change to drill the estimated 4 kg Rainbow Runner. I told him, if a 10kg Mackie and a 4 kg Rainbow runner is seen by me, I will take the 4kg Rainbow Runner anyday............anyday.
My friend, I nick name him Mr Yellow Pants. He always dive with this so called "Lucky Yellow Pants". You guys believe such a charm ............pants :yack ???
Nice fishes dude.If that trout taste good, doesn't matter what it is. hehehe:p
Hi Iya , nice runner . I too think it's one of the tastiest fish.
Regarding your cod , take a look at plectropomus laevis (tiger) apparently the colour change after death is normal .
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Yeah that trout looks a lot like what we call a footballer trout or TIGER TROUT over here... it is very similar though a little heavier built then your average coral trout and equally good tasting. Well thats my thoughts.

Plectropomus melanoleucus (Lacepede)
If you would like to know more about it check out grants guide to fishes.... thats got to be the ultimate fish ID book.
Very nice, señor IYA! A pleasure to read your adventures, as always! :D

Thanks Gentlemen,

Love to hear sweet words from u all bonafide freedivers.
I will check the database for sure. Now is the Moslem fasting period in my country and since everyone is "slow-motion" mode in my country, they seems to surf the net a great deal. The civil servants in my country is like having a 1/2 day job for the entire fasting period and got nothing better to do. I am having at least 20 modem cut off and useless super slow connection on the dial up everytime I hook on the internet...what a luck !!!!!

I just tried the fish database twice and I could not even get anything for the first 5 minutes....damn. Thanks again for those who pointed out the species and giving me the link.

My buddy who owned the boat will not be out to sea till next year. So looks like I got to arrange my own charter boat with other friends. I know there will be at least another trip possible this year, the West Monsoon have not actualy set in. My area is still in east wind mode and my pinacle is getting Southern wind.

I tried freediving this pinacle on this trip cause a fellow friend is a freediver. The water on the surface was so confused, I kept getting flooded snorkel. I was bobbing like some floating dirt and my my, it gave me a headcahe. On the other hand I was avoiding the smashing white water of the surface rock. I even tried a new Technisub mask I bought, I think it was Farlon or something, very low volume and not as wide angle as the Sphera, just came to the shop. It was so strange using a mask that makes things look smaller and the confused water was giving me that motion headache. It was not a good fit for my face too, the middle part not comfy. I can not wear the Sphera more than 30 seconds, or else I will throw up. The view on that stupid plastic lens is just awful for me. This Farlon ( ???? ) was much more decent in terms of view and headache quality....he he he.

My regular high volume mask was a Tusa Imprex with a purge valve. I realy like the purge because I don't need my hand to pump water out. Somehow I have yet to find an ultra dry mask for my face shape. I sold my Scubrapro frameless, very light but leak for me. I have a Mares Target of which my freediver friend bought it off me in this trip, I have not even try it yet. He too used and dislike the Sphera. So 3 masked tested, none I like.

Now my question to you freedivers are :
If a freediving mask ( let's put low volume aside ) gives me a wider angle of view than my Tusa Imprex, it means I see things smaller than my usual mask. People say you can see more fish that way in one swipe. The visibility I had in this trip was bad, I think no better than 30 feet and getting worse, compare to the 1st trip which was at least 40 feet. The cloudy day was adding misery. Since I am a murky water diver, I prefer a normal mask with the inherent 25% magnification , like a zoom feature in a camera. I need more swipe to see the same area but I am able to see clearly the almost invisible tail of fishes at the edge of my visibility. If you guys were me, which would you choose ?

Anyone experiencing missed shots due to different mask being worn ? I am sure there must be some sort of adjustment one must live with if the field of view differs from each mask. For me I can't bear the disorientation and headache I get. Looks like I can never be a freediver with a proper freediving mask....sad sad sad.

Yes I think you might have me their... that fish of the link does indeed look a lot like it... the speckling on the footballer appears to be a little different...
I use a Lirica Tech Black from Mares. I love it for hunting. the increased down-and-out view is great for scanning the bottom while looking ahead. the strap connection is positioned Hi, instead of centered so when my mask gets bumped by a big fish when I finnishing it, I don;'t need my hands or a purge to clear, I just tip my head back and exale through my nose. "look ma - no hands!"

not a cheap mask - but have been very inpressed with it, I like the black skirt (SOOOO Soft) because it helps you focus and not get annoyed by the sunlight.

One lense gives simplicity and good vision. low-ish volume too. (130cu.cm 8cu.in)

I'm very eager to try the X-Confort too.

Did you test out the Cressi Big-eyes?

the Sphera is a great mask for freediving, but the optics drove me crazy when I was trying to hunt. Plastic lenses didn't take much abuse.

check out the Lirica Black - well worth the $$$

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Hey Iya,

I own that same TUSA mask that you mentioned. It was my first quality piece of dive gear and I loved it.....until I decided to go deeper than 15 feet ;). I can now use equilization techniques that do not require me to pinch my nose, but at the time the pinch-and-blow method was the only way I knew, and it was a real pain in the butt to try to get my index finger and thumb under the frame (damn purge guard :head ). As for the image differences, I noticed the same thing you did. That TUSA seemed to make fish look bigger. When I first started spearing, I was disappointed by the size of my fish many times once I got them to the surface. I once read/learned that the [25%] magnification is caused by the air in the mask. It is created by the different ways (speed?) that light travels through the two (water vs. air). What I don't know is if the amount of air [in the mask] has an impact on the magnification. Intuition tells me it shouldn't, but experience suggests otherwise because my low-volume freediving masks seems to magnify less. This could also be due to the fact that my experience has taught my brain to compensate for the image difference automatically, and since I haven't used my TUSA mask in years, I can't make the comparison. Maybe I'll take it to the pool this week and compare the two. I'm not going to get into the physics of visible light any further because I know little about this subject and there is a good chance that what I do remember is skewed. This subject would be better left to the engineers/physicists in the forum.

Other masks that I've used for spearing are the Sporasub Samurai (there are many clones of this mask, such as the Cressi Superochio), Cressi Horizon, Cressi Minima, Cressi Focus and Mares Opera. The only one I had accuracy problems with is the Cressi Horizon. This mask has downward-angled glass. Although this is great for Scuba and snorkeling (since you are usually looking downward during these activities), I didn't find it very good for hunting since you usually have your target at eye level. Now I don't know if this downward glass was the direct cause of my inaccuracy. Maybe it was just a distraction. Either way, I missed more fish :(.

Finally, if you are having problems with the center piece in the freediving masks, you are normal. After using my TUSA for years, I hated going to low volume. Almost all are two-lens masks. What can I tell ya....you'll get past it. In time you won't notice it anymore. For what it's worth, for me, the Minima has been the best overall fit (comfort, seal, and no black line in between my eyes), but the minima lacks in peripheral vision. If you have "mask-claustrophobia" I would not recommend using this one. If you have a large face, the Focus and Samurai (Superochio) might not fit comfortably or seal well. That Mares mask that Amphibious recommends actually looks like a pretty good compromise. Lower volume than the TUSA, but stills has only one piece of glass, and (seemingly) good down-ward and peripheral vision. Hmmmmmm, maybe I'll look into trying one of those out too. Might be a nice change of pace for the shallow hunting.

After all that typing, you may very well be just as confused (if not more) than before you started reading :D . Maybe Jon will give you more constructive advice. He's tried many many masks. I don't think he'll be satisfied until he finds one that gives him 360 degree vision :hmm .

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Originally posted by Dogmatrix
Yes I think you might have me their... that fish of the link does indeed look a lot like it... the speckling on the footballer appears to be a little different...
That would be a first.. me getting one over Dogmatrix..:D :king

I think the footballer and saddleback are very closely related species, perhaps even subspecies? Fish ID is an imprecise art at best.. :hmm
Thanks guys,

I will try to ID the fish, my friend have Aussie fish guide book. Aussie shares our Indian Ocean, so I realy think it will be the best book to look at. My modem now being slow, I might as well drive to his house and get the book. I must know the species I shoot. This is my first time seeing such sub-species of the cod/trout, the yellow tail is what made me curious. If that sub-species is rare, I will stop shooting it.

UNI / Amp,
That Tusa Imprex is my second mask. I wore that for 8 years now. Changed one every 4 years. I just loved it. There was another Tusa, can't remember which but it is very high volume and single lens. No more import by the dealer, that was very-very suitable for me even though no purge valve. I broke it when trying to jump in the water saving a cheapo snorkel mouth piece. I don't know how water can smash the glass upon my entry. I thought the lens was dirty cause the image was so messed up with the shattered tampered glass....what a joke, I keep cleaning the mask underwater and wondered what happened...wha ha ha.
Now the dealer stops importing the Imprex cause they said too expensive. All my friends too love this mask and they buy spares to keep. There is only one unit left at the store but it is pink...Jesus...look so sissy like...:yack.

You are right, I can not live with twin lens mask. I sense the middle solid frame as a disturbance, I am very sensitive with mask after all these years with the Imprex. There is no twin lens mask that I can like, not even the Tusa Liberator. They all leak for me and gave me that stupid middle blocking view.

If the Scubapro Frameless did not leak on my cheek, I really like that mask. Not so low volume but it feel naked, so light, so sweet.
I sold it after 2 hours of freediving. The Sphera I keep on my friend's boat for the crew, even them do not want to wear it, they said "Sir, I feel stone looking underwater with it". Can't blame them, if non divers can say that...something is very wrong with the mask.

Lucky I am not a freediver yet or else, I will spend ages looking just for mask. Now I have excuse not to freedive.... he he he.
Anyway my pinacle is realy productive at 80 feet and deeper. If I were to freedive to 80 feet (dream on Iya, dream on ), I probably only able to hunt when all the fishes been bombed or cynide-ded by the local idiotic, irresponsible, SOB traditional fishermen.

In my city/country freediving masks are rare cause Technisub and Cressi are the only brands which the dealers are available but they do not stock full range . I'll look at the Cressi guys but their shop is located in one of the worst traffic jam area of the city. Other dive shops I can just make calls and they deliver to my house...I know almost all of them.

One thing about masks with extra side lens or bottom lens, I will never wear them. The extra view distract me a lot, I don't know why. I tried a few times and a big no-no for me. It is difficult for me to swap for new gear, I had more than 2000 scuba dives and somehow I become very traditional and specific in my choice. I don't follow trend. I buy what worked for me in my hunting mode. I am into my 4th regulator, 7th wet suit, 4th BCD and countless fins. Just give me a Mares full foot fin, I'll be happy. Reg is easy, I just buy the top of the line but not the titanium ones. About every two years, I sell them cause I don't believe 100% maintenance can provide 100% new performance. Mainly my reg get cosmetic abused too. My longest owned reg was the US Diver SEA2 Micra. I had two for 5 years. I just retired my Scubapro Ultra Light MK20, the aluminum swivel port is a litle corroded...ugly too look at, work great though. Only last me a year. I now bought 1st stage only the new MK25, heavy like shit.

My choice of BCD is another traditional choice. I worned out two of SeaQuest Spectrum 4, my all time favourite. I hate those tech BCDs with back baloon, will never wear it even if it is for free. Now I am using Beauchat Powerlift, I guess that's the model. My first was classic Scubapro jacket BCD, I hate it too.

Wetsuit is a 14 months item. I must only wear Polartec, no other. Neoprene kills me, clausterphobic. This is why I dare not do any water cooler than 25 degrees celcius, I shiver to the point I get bad headache. I also hate the extra 2 kg weight for a mere 2mm Neo. I stop experimenting with dive gear. Now I just want to find the best freediving mask to fit my face....toughest job I ever encounter. Most need to be personaly imported..... what a lousy luck.

Next job is to buy two RA guns, 1 Omer and one of the famous Alexander if I can ever afford it. Collecting spearguns seems fun, it is the only gear for me which the wear and tear on it, is a sign of good times. However, one of these days, I will replace my Riffe trigger unit with a new one. I believe as with all things mechanical, there is a service limit if 300+ pounds of pressure consistently being applied.

I have always wanted underwater video but the price is just too god damn expensive for the model I want. Too much to desire, too little buying power of my currency........:waterwork

I have some mask questions as well.I think its the time to ask now.

I will buy my second freediving mask.I will use it for spearing.Available brands are Cressi and OMER.For volume issue its not much important for me.I am planing to dive max 25 meters with it.Probably it will take SOME time for me to dive 25 meter:duh .So any low voulume mask will do the job.I am thinking between OMER Abyss Mimetic (Camofulage) and Cressi big eye.I think about OMER coz it has comofulage pattern and most importantly, reflective lenses which will automaticly block eye contact with the fish.For cressi big eye, i like its wide angle vision but its colors are a bit scarring for the fish i think.I just saw the black slicon model on the net but i am not sure if its available here.What is this tinted business with the mask, can you explain it to me?. So if you were me which one you will choose for spearing?
Hey Murat,

Here's my 2 cents. The mask you are looking at is yet another clone of the Samurai/Superochio style mask. I own the Samurai Elite, which is probably the exact same thing as the Omer Abyss Mimetec (it is even available in camo like the abyss). The Elite has the tinted/mirrored glass. This is created by [seemingly] a combination of two things. First the lens is tinted, making the light inside the mask slightly darker than the light outside. This is effective for hiding the eyes because it works on essentially the same principle that makes it difficult to see outside at night when you are in a brightly lit house. Or to see inside a house when you are outside [during a bright day]. In either case, you would need to press your face to the window to see in/out. It would be nice if the fish did this as well :D. The second factor is the "mirror" coating. This is harder to explain. It seems to only be on the outside of the glass, and does not appear to be anything that could ever wear off (like paint). So I don't know if it is a coating, or if that is the actual property of the glass. Finally, my opinion of the big eyes is the same as the horizon I previously mentioned (they are similar in design, except the horizon has side glass and a bit higher volume).....great for sight-seeing - bad for hunting. There are many that disagree with me.....you may find yourself to be one of them ;). One last thing about the tinted glass. I have had more problems defogging this tinted/mirrored glass than normal [clear] glass. I finally got past the problem, not using spit or any of the defoggers on the market, but with plain old liquid hand soap. Also, soak it in soapy water for a night before you try to use it or you will go crazy :duh. I dumped out one of my containers of Sea Drops, just so I could fill it with the soap, so I didn't have to carry the big container (that was prone to leaking) in my bag.

Here are the mask clones.

top left - Omer abyss
top right - Aqualung luna
bottom left - Sporasub Samurai Elite
bottom right - Cressi Superochio.
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Hi Iya.

My experience with masks has settled me into a Cressi focus, Cressi Minima and technisub Sphera.

I use the Minima for Comp freediving. It has a narrow field of vision and large enough nose pocket ( not that would be of concern to you Mr short nose :) and very low volume. It has a very soft skirt, so soft that i catch myself forgetting to equalise it sometimes.
Its a bit flimsy and i expect to find it in two, broken across the bridge someday.

I use the Cressi Focus for spearing. Its more robust, has a better field of vision and is equally comfortable. Neither of these masks leaks a drop. Honestly though, i cannot tell the difference in volume between the Minima and the Focus at - 45m.

I use the technisub Sphera for Underwater hockey. I can see you wondering how i can see the puck with that distorted vision ?
Well it took 25 minutes and i have never experienced the distortion again. You get used to it, compensate for it or get over it, but you cannot find distortion ever again even if you look for it.
Just fight through it and you will beat it :)

Its a very light, finnicky mask though. It leaked like hell at first. I blamed the lower skirt shape and its relative skirt hardness and those two concave bulges either side of the nose pocket. They were blamed for holding the skirt off my face and making it leak badly. Someone suggested i wear the mask under my hockey cap instead of over and its never leaked again!! ( i had even dolloped silicone inside the lower skirt and pressed it to my face for 20 minutes to try make it seal.) Nearly samba'ed from the fumes... next!...

TIP: I imagine each person with a leaky sphera should try wearing it inside their hood just once. ( i know you have chucked it into the corner in disgust ) but it may well work wonders. I couldnt believe it.

I won't wear this mask for deep diving. I dont like too much vision distracting me from the shot line and i feel like a bit of a snow skiier in it too.
I also cannot remove it from under my hood upon surfacing as required.
TIP: Work more on your 'wax on and wax off' zen stuff, This way you can see fish behind you even and wont need such good viz out of your mask anyhow. :t

personal opinion...eye contact is not the worst problem while hunting. Body language is. I wear a Sporabub samuri w/ tinted lenses and noticed no effect on fish fleeing until I learned to control my body language. Fish know when they are being actively persued...they can "feel" you in the water even if they are not looking at you and you are not looking at them.(lateral line) So I wouldnt count on any mask to improve my success.

That being said the next point would be every little bit helps...

As a mask overall I do like my samuri and would recommend it, if it fits you properly...that would be the paramount issue(not camo or lenses)
Thank you so much gentlemen.....And very nice of you Skin to drop in:D :D.

Since I still have the Spera and that newer Technisub Farlo something, I'll try to experiment and live with them. Amp idea of Lirica of Mares been taken care of. I just called the Mares dealer and they have one, so they will try to look for a black skirt model and deliver one to my house...he he he...what a lovely connection. My friend uses the Mares Target I sold without trying and he gets pain in the middle above the nose. His face and mine probably different but I am one of the choosiest when it come to a mask.

I think mask prices are OK to have a few. In fact I will have spare masks for the girls if they decide to come a long for a dip...:eek:

Since I can not yet break 30 feet barrier on freedive, mask importance not very significant yet to me. However I will be happy if I can find a second scuba mask of lower volume. Somehow I can not stop enjoying a mask with purge valve to compensate mild leak on my face. Will plastic surgery help..... he he he he :duh.

Mask fogging is never a problem with me. New masks I scrubbed with tooth paste. Since I am a smoker, my tooth paste is kind of harsh....anyone need engine valve re-grinding jobs ??? The rest of the dives are taken care by my spit......must be very acidic, always work. I can even spit on a mask underwater at depth if I ever get desperate fog, actualy I lick the mask not spit on it...try it boys...he he he he.

Rig is correct, body language is one of the most important skill to master when we want to avoid fish running away from us. Since I am blowing bubbles, I am a first class noise maker...blup...blup....blup.

I seen fish react to twin propellers spinning on opposite, boat trolling on top of my head and so on. Bad rhythm is what I see drive fish away. If noise is that distracting, no boats on trolling will ever get the lure or bait bitten. Man, props can be heard 1000s of meters away. If we spend some quite moments underwater, we can hear many kind of sounds. Corals or rocks during fast current do make a kind of gassing ( like a can of coca cola just being opened ). Parrot fish make those crunching sound too.

Lastly it is true IMHO that fishes can sense the killer attitute or some sort of aura from us shooters. I have a very calm friend underwater and he is always producing better and shy fishes on scuba. As they say , fishes are curious of us. If they resent us, none of us can even come close 10 meters to them.

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