EUROPEAN SPEARFISHING RECORDS ASSOCIATION
Scientific name: Seriola dumerili
Diver: Tomás Freitas
My name is Tomás João Sousa Freitas,aged 28 years old I live in Madeira Island and I am a Merchant Maritime Pilot Officer. On August 7th 2010 I went hunting with my father in Madeira island,despite being very tired and not feeling like it, I had been diving,fishing all that week. After some trouble to bring the boat to the sea,due to the many boats at that time ,12o´clock,on the ramp doing the same , we headed to some well-known shoals,a bit far from the shore, though. Already in the water by myself with my father on the boat ,as a skipper,I noticed that the current was very strong and the water not very clean on the surface,but still with good enough visibility up to about 18m.When I was charging my 120cm Roballen with two 16mm elastics and with roballen rell, wondering whether I was too far from the rocks I Checked it with my father ,since I was not being able to see the sea bottom. My father verified with the chartplotter which said that we were a bit far from those rocks. I asked for a lift to the shoal . There, looking down I saw three Amberjacks in middle waters,one of them being very big,huge,and the other two weighing about 25 kgs each. The sea current was very strong and the fishes were swimming against it. WhileI was preparing my dive the amberjacks went deeper and I stopped seeing them. I went down without much preparation as there we must dive while near the rocks and not when we are prepared. At about 18m I started letting me down slowly, trying to understand where the amberjacks had gone. At about 26m I looked ahead and saw many amberjacks all weighing between 10 and 20 kgs Swimming towards me, being the first a real «beast». I tried to keep calm waiting a bit more, he came nearer but then started to turn back and when he started to swim away I pointed the Roballen and shot targetting the pectoral fin, I think this as a good shot when in doubt of a well- aimed shot, as it reaches a vital area,weakening the fish a bit, what is of great importance ,as known, in the catching of the fish.I shot from far but I felt he was well reached. He reacted typically as an amberjack slow at the beginning with great vigour though. In the first meters I tried with great effort to bring him to as near the possible the surface I could ,as this area is full of high rocks on the sea bottom between 30 and 45 meters. Arriving to the surface I felt exhausted after the painful «climbing»,as I had to make sure the fish would not reach the rocks as he was trying to. He tried to swim to the open sea and I knew the line could be broken if passed near the rocks.The fight was getting more and more difficult as his strength was still the same and I was there holding him as fast as I could coming to the surface to recover a bit. After 20 minutes I was exhausted,almost without energy since the very beginning I was using all my strength to hold him,otherwise I wouldn´t have been able to capture him.Suddenly he started to fail and I recovered 10m of line ,very convenient at that time as I only had 5m of line left in my roballen reel, and for the first time I believed that amberjack was about to be « mine».However, he swam down again and by trying to hold him I got more and more tired and my pulse was getting too quick. I was feeling almost unable to hold him any longer and that´s when the fish gave in and I made an attempt to pull him ceaselessly to the surface. Only then I started to distinguish his outline. He stopped fighting,30 minutes had passed from the shot.I felt it was the biggest physical struggle I had ever had with a fish. I stopped after pulling him up to the 15m and asked my father to give me the 110cm roballen scorpia,with a 20mm elastic and a roballen reel. I charged the roballen and rest for a brief moment,went down to double the shot,but only after 7m I had to come up because I was too tired and my pulse was still too fast, I decided to rest a bit more.After a while I went down to double the shot, and then,yes, the fish was mine.
At the sight of that big amberjack , and after I had brought him onto the boat, my father who is 61 years old and 40 years of hunting, hardly believed it and said : this weighs at least 70kgs .I laughed and thought he was exaggerating. Only when I tried to hold him for the photograph I realized how heavy he was.It was only with my father´s help that I could hold him a bit for the photos. When the scales showed 75,4 I got very happy, because ever since the year 2003 when I started using the Roballen equipment ,I´ve been after this fish ,spending many days and hours around these shoals for this magnificent fishing.
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