Atlantic Sailfish

Atlantic Sailfish
Atlantic Sailfish
Reference : 2005.07.19
Previous World Record
Atlantic Sailfish
Sal Island
Cape Verde Islands

I used a standard Steve Alexander Tuna Gun of 178 cm length. The spear, also standard Steve Alexander, is almost 1 cm thick, 185 cm of length, with a standard Steve Alexander slip-tip, tricut. The spear is connected to the gun with 1,5 mm stainless steel cable, plastic coated, standard Steve Alexander. Four Steve Alexander standard elastic bands.

The floating line - float system is as follows.
From the gun:

8 meters of double 1.8 mm thick, 400 lbs, loosely braided nylon line, to avoid the problem of the high visibility of the floating line or the bungee near the spearfisher: it’s almost invisible in the water and in my experience does not disturb if not minimally the fish.
20 m of 300 kg nylon floating line
a standard 8 liters rigid Rob Allen float
2 meters of standard Rob Allen bungee, stretch 5
a standard 35 liters inflatable Rob Allen float
I used a wetsuit of 3 mm thick, VERY old by now. Fins: the C4 FLAP carbon fiber.


It was around 10.45 am. There was a strong wind from the north, and in the ocean there were big waves with breakers almost on all of them. The route that morning brought us from the coastline was extremely wet and we were inside the wetsuits before almost to leave it. The water conditions were not optimal, even if the place is more than three miles from the mainland, with a depth given by the sea map of more than 250 m. The viso was around a 15-17 m, with a lot of plankton floating around, thicker near the surface. The flasher, a standard Rob Allen three-propellers type, with 8-10 m of nylon line, was not very clear, down. No sun to speak about.

I like to dive almost by myself and as usual I had my own flasher and fished some way from the others. The current had anyway already moved us from the optimal point and we were all slowly approaching the boat to jump in and move on. Suddenly, a dark shape, big, with a huge tail, arrives, fast, on the flasher, on a route descending from an upper level of water: Sailfish! Unmistakable! My reaction is instantaneous, big breath, without all the nice little refinements one does with more time, and I dive. The gun is already extended in vertical below me and I have only to angle it slightly. With a dimly perceived peripheral vision I see on my left the shape of another diver going for the fish but it’s already too late for him, the fast moving fish has already left him behind. I’m in a good position, I remember I thought. Then I remember nothing else if not a tunneling of the world itself on the right pectoral fin of the fish with the exclusion of anything else.

At full speed I swim to the fish, I arrive in the firing zone, the right arm full extended, the left hand keeping the gun butt firmly away from my face. I wait some more fractions of second, just to be sure, with THIS fish above all, of the aiming. The sailfish is already turning away and he’s accelerating, his body starting to angle away from me. I pull the trigger. The gun convulses against my arms but the aim is true, I see the spear slamming against his side, a little high but the shot is aimed slightly in a down direction and the shot is not a killing one but a good one.

Then the fish disappears, with a speed that leaves nothing in the memory between the fish, there with the spear in his side, and no fish at all. I resurface and I’m almost run over by the little yellow 8 liters Rob Allen float. I try to grab the bungee between the two floats but the speed of the fish is so great, and the ocean so rough, that the big float stops an instant only against another breaker behind me, only to being pulled so hard that it stretches the bungee almost to the limit and then literally fly over me in a burst of foam. And so the chase started.

And a long chase really it was. For the first couple of minutes I keep in sight the big red float but after that it simply disappears between the waves. I start swimming after the receding floats, arms extended before me. I swim hard, like in a test in a swimming pool. After some minutes I’m forced to stop and to look around, in search of the floats. There they are. I restart swimming. After every four-five minutes I have to stop, search for the floats and restart swimming. Fortunately, after some time, I’m sure: I’m constantly gaining. And then the time comes when I see them on the top of the next wave. With a burst of speed I know I can’t maintain I succeed in grabbing them. The chase lasted at least a good fifteen minutes, with the maximum speed my powerful fins and my legs permitted me.

After a couple of minutes I feel almost recovered and I can start to approach the fish. I realize that he’s not exerting his full swimming capacity, luckily for me, because the rearmost end of the spear is banging against the upper lobe of his huge tail every time he swings it, chafing it raw. The fish is tired by now and I’m able to arrive just behind him and try to grab the tail. I’m waiting for every kind of explosion but he simply put on a burst of speed that just but dislodges my hand.

After that it’s easy. I grab the spear, I pull till I can direct the head toward the surface, I insert my hand inside the gills avoiding the bill and I swim, helped by the fish, to the surface. There, I swiftly kill the fish. And then, finally, I stop. Only breathing, listening to my heart slowly reducing its pounding, with the huge fish in my hands, his color already turning slowly to gray, the everlasting waves washing over me like it happened when all this was yet to occur.
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