The Flying Kayak

Hunting, Fishing, Rambling, and Complete Outdoor Hilarity

Category: Spearfishing (page 1 of 2)

Freediving Goal

I’m generally not one to toot my own horn, but I achieved a goal last week that I thought I’d share with everyone.

Freediving is something I’m very interested in. I see it primarily as an (relatively) inexpensive way to participate in spearfishing without having to own/rent all the SCUBA gear. Though I’m an angler at heart, spearfishing takes a bit of the best of both fishing and hunting and combines the two. Though I’d love to land a monster on rod and reel, sticking one with a spear would be just as satisfying for me.

With that said, I’ve been working on breathing techniques for holding my breath the past two months. I figure the longer I can hold my breath, the longer I can stay under/deeper I can go. I found the techniques via the all-knowing Youtube, and started practicing right away. When I first started, I was holding my breath just shy of 1:45, and it wasn’t long before I broke the 2 minute mark. I had hoped, by next summer, I could be close to the 3 minute range and set that as my future goal.

I’ve been doing the breathing exercises just before I go to sleep at night. It gives me a chance to completely relax and slow my heart rate as best I can. Well, last week, I finished my breathing exercises and decided to do another breath hold. “Who knows?” I thought to myself. “I might break 2:10”.

I then took a deep breath, relaxed, and held it.

Needless to say, I was shocked. Apparently the techniques and practicing have paid off. I certainly have to reason to lie about it. After all, it was a personal goal.

Now, this time was taken when I was laying in bed, about to fall asleep, and completely relaxed. NOT when I have my snorkel, mask, fins, spear gun, and weight belt on and am having to swim around and deal with diving pressure. Take all those things into account and I might be lucky to break 1 minute.

But hey…It’s a start

Pole Spear Spearfishing Take Two

Went spearfishing with my buddy Johnny again yesterday. This time we went to an actual snorkeling reef that the state has put near to shore in the bay. I had hoped that we could get into some sheepshead, spadefish, mullet, or maybe even black snapper.

Once there, however, we realized we were in for a tough time. Visibility was poor due to some recent rain and finding anything to shoot was difficult. I used my pole spear again while Johnny used an old speargun that his dad gave to him. One problem with the speargun that we hadn’t foreseen was that you have to shoot the speargun with it extended in front of you. Well, the water was so murky that Johnny couldn’t see the tip of his spear, much less a fish beyond that to shoot.

I was able to see several small sheepshead and even found one that I deemed big enough to shoot (even though barely legal). I had read somewhere that the reef was made with bridge rubble from the old I-10 bridge that was destroyed during hurricane Ivan. However, when we dove to the bottom, we couldn’t find anything but sand.

Once the we got home, we uploaded the videos and got a surprise. My HD GoPro Hero saw better than I could in murky water. Like 1.5x’s better. It was weird. There were numerous fish that I never saw with my snorkel and mask that actually showed up on the video. And the biggest surprise was that I found the reef in the video. You’ll see it at one point during the video. It’s a big reef ball silhouetted against the green murk. I certainly never saw it, but the camera did.

Overall, I had a great time. I got a chance to practice free diving in slightly deeper water than I’m used to (about 15 ft), and realized that I need more practice. I wish that it had been clearer, and after seeing the videos, I -really- want to go back. Hopefully next time I can actually see farther than 5 feet.

Pole Spear Spearfishing for Mullet

A few days back, I decided that it was time to test my new HD GoPro’s underwater video capabilities. What better place to test this out than during a spearfishing trip?

With my pole spears, snorkel gear, and camera in hand, I took my buddy Johnny down to a place where I’d seen a bunch of mullet a few weeks prior. I had hoped that we’d find several schools of big mullet and have a chance to stick a few with the spears.

Sadly, once we arrived on site, we noticed that heavy cloud cover had moved in. To make matters worse, the tide was running out and silty water from the Escambia and Yellow River made visibility quite poor. I was only able to see a few mullet and they either spooked when I went to load the spear, or simply took off before I had a chance to react. I -almost- shot a HUGE Sheepshead, but it was his lucky day and I couldn’t quite keep up with his swimming speed and load the spear at the same time. I did see 3 other sheepshead, but all of them were too small to keep. I suppose it’s just as well. Justin over at http://www.kayakfishingnut.com/ told me that big Sheepshead are actually really old, and I guess I’d think twice about stabbing something older than I am.

I was, however, pleased that my camera performed beautifully underwater. I even got the hang of Movie Maker. Check it out!:

This video was just a test. I think I’ll probably stick to music-less videos in the future (to avoid all the copyright bs), but it was nice to learn the ropes of Movie Maker. I still need to figure out why the quality is 380p in youtube, but I shot it in 720p…

And yes, I did manage to finally stick a mullet just before we left. The camera was (of course) off, and I didn’t have time to turn it on. I was snorkeling in about 1.5 ft of water (skinny people for the win) and turned to see three BIG mullet cruising right by me. I quickly loaded the spear, aimed for the closest one, and fired.

The spear slammed into the fish and sent it cartwheeling off into the murk. I chased the spear down (which was being dragged away by the fish) and pulled the fish in. I noticed that my shot wasn’t great. On a mullet, I usually try to aim for this area:

 

Instead, in my usual awesomeness, I hit here:

You might notice that the mullet pictured above is in perfect condition. This is because it isn’t my mullet. *Sigh* No, my mullet successfully slipped my death grip on it’s head, whipped itself back and forth, and managed to rip the spear from its belly. Then, in a feat of heroic bravery, swam away at light speed, never to be seen again.

It actually makes me kinda sick to my stomach and not because the fish’s stomach was literally ripped out…well…sorta. I know the fish died, 100%. But I wasn’t able to harvest it. Instead, I just simply killed it. I hate having it happen, but it’s just one of those things. Hopefully I can make up for it with some well placed shots in the future.

I was quite impressed with the new set up I was using. During my trip to Port St. Joe, I used a longer, heavier spear with a three prong gig to shoot mullet. This spear was shorter, lighter, and had a single point to it.

I was shocked at the penetration power and speed that I hit the mullet with. Rather than stick a few inches into the fish, the spear rocketed through it, well over a foot, and the handle was the only thing that slowed the penetration.

Back at shore, I found out that Johnny hadn’t had any luck all day either. He’d seen a few fish, but like myself, couldn’t get the spear loaded quickly enough. Next time we’ll try on an incoming tide and sunny day. Maybe our luck will turn out.

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