Blue Water Hunting and Freediving - Digital Version 1 | Page 150

Bluewater Hunting and Freediving
heels , video camera in hand , documenting our attempts . We decided it was best to have one diver and one safety / cameraman . It would be foolish if we both shot a fish at the same time . We ’ d be dragged to opposite ends of the ocean ! Finally , a bluefin tuna appeared at the periphery ! We both had a gut feeling it would aim directly for the piece of bait in front of me . Sure enough , it turned quickly and came for the bait that was sinking seven meters below the surface . It all happened in an instant .
Steve viewed the fish head on and saw that its width was enormous . He recalls , “ Dean turned quickly and took a perfect shot through the top of the head . I couldn ’ t believe the placement — it was phenomenal ! After all of our preparation and anticipation , I mentally yelled , ‘ Yeehaaaa !’ I marveled at the size and grace of this fish coupled with the skill and precision of Dean ’ s shot . The giant didn ’ t take off as quickly as I thought it might , but it did stretch out Dean ’ s Riffe bungee to the maximum . Obviously hurt , it couldn ’ t pull the Rob Allen 35-liter float below the surface for very long . Now the real battle began . I had to swim a fast freestyle just to keep up with Dean as he held onto his outstretched bungee . It echoed through the water with a deep harmonic thrumming . I was trying to keep up while carrying the video camera . Attempting to document the ensuing battle proved not so good for the breath holding
I slowly gained some bungee by clipping it off and resting , before pulling again . Finally , after approximately 55 minutes , I managed to load my second gun and make another holding shot . Steve still couldn ’ t believe his eyes . “ It was a horse !” he ’ d later recall . Without a reference , we had no idea how big the fish truly was . We only gained perspective of its monumental size when we gaffed it and realized that it required five motivated men , struggling mightily , to pull it on board ! As you can imagine , there was a lot of yelling and excitement on the boat , whilst the skipper predicted it would weigh approximately 300 kgs . Nobody could believe their eyes . It was surreal ; never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined spearing a fish like this .
At 12:30 p . m ., it was getting late . According to our schedule , we had just three hours left to hunt . This was a self-imposed time limit that would allow up to two and a half hours to land a fish before dark . It took me an hour just to cut out both icepick
144 spearheads from the fish and re-rig the gun with 300-kg mono . We were now down to two hours left for Steve ’ s attempt . Three separate rounds of ground bait chumming yielded no results . The skipper declared that Steve was down to his final chance . It was 3:30 p . m ., and Steve was wondering who the idiot was who made such stupid rules ( oops , that was him ). Talk about pressure !
The crew found some fish with the sounder and began grinding bait . Steve assured the crew there was no way he would shoot a fish in the side — only a head shot for him . He rolled over the side of the boat and found a few bluefin cruising through the chum . As his heart raced , the skipper ’ s voice echoed in his head , “ Last chance .” Suddenly , he saw a fish come just within range and shot at its side , his spear going completely through two foot of flesh ! Later , the crew “ gave him heaps ” about his own videotaped declaration of never shooting a fish from the side .
Steve thought , “ Bad mistake !” He was just half way to the surface when his 30-meter float line , his 35-liter float , and his fully-stretched second float line shot by . Luckily , he skillfully grabbed the board before it too vanished into the gloom . Because of the fish ’ s massive lunges and the approaching darkness , Steve was worried he wouldn ’ t be able to land the fish by himself . He was determined to end the fight at nightfall , with or without the fish . Thinking , “ I ’ m no hero ,” he did not want to subject himself or me to the danger of getting tangled in the fishing line . The fight is dangerous enough during daylight .
Thankfully , the fish ’ s power and stamina slowly abated . The skipper ’ s depth finder indicated that it was 60 meters down . The next hour was the hardest Steve had ever experienced . He lunged with all his strength , making just millimeter gains between rests before another go . Steve recovered his fish around 5:30 p . m ., much to his relief . We were both proud and pleased to have landed our fish following IUAS word-record rules to the letter .
On board , the very happy crew shared many awesome stories during our journey back to shore . The following morning — 22 hours after I had landed my fish — both fish were officially weighed . Steve ’ s weighed 235 kgs and mine weighed a mindblowing 292 kgs . The weights were all the more impressive when taking into account that both fish lost a lot of blood and moisture from the time of capture until weighing .