EUROPEAN SPEARFISHING RECORDS ASSOCIATION
Notable Catches (EU)
Notable Catches (WW)
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Species: Spondyliosoma cantharus
Diver: Antonios Perrakis
Source: Antonios Perrakis
The day, Saturday 15 March 2014. Location, Greece, Island of Serifos (South). Time, about 14:30.
Clear that winter was finally gone, the scent in the air was unmistakably spring-like despite the chill. The very early wake up torture paid off. Poseidon granted us with a smooth as silk sea allowing the boat an effortless glide accompanied solely by the high pitch wheezing of the twin 350’s verados and the relaxing melodies that caressed our ears keeping our heart rates low.
An hour latter and after a short but beautiful dolphin encounter off the shores of Kythnos (favourable omens), we reached the first intended diving spot. Everything looked promising. We took our time getting ready, absorbing the shrilling sun rays before plunging into the 15 degree Celsius sea. Visibility was quite tolerable but the benthos was missing… We fled. Next stop, half a mile further, same exact situation. Very cold water, no fish at all. A change of plan was absolutely necessary. We set course South towards a deep spot we know well. A secret spot that holds virtually every fish any respectful spear-fisher in the Mediterranean craves to catch. A magical spot full of surprises.
There we were. The mid day sun was pleasantly burning our faces for the first time this year. A quick scan of the area showed no significant life at shallow waters. Exception were a large school of mullets. With a bizarre behaviour as if they were almost hypnotised, the mullets swam away after each shot only to return moments latter to the exact place we initially saw them.
Enough with fooling around, time to examine the place deeper. The reason we were there in the first place. Prolonged surface relaxation and Christos makes first dive. He came back with a beautiful 1kgr sheepshead caught with ambush technique at -31meters. Small conversation followed. “Did you see anything else”, I asked. “Apart from another few decades of same sized sheepsheads I saw nothing else. But after this shot, my guess is that all fish should have gone” Christos replied. “You should probably move a bit further to attempt dive” Christos suggested. “Nah, the current is strong enough to have carried us away from were you dived” I said and started to relax.
My eyes half way open digressed into the cloudy blue water completely unable to determine the sea bed. My heart rate dropped and all ambient noises were muted. Absolute silence. Serenity. Counted three deep breathing cycles and a few more hollow heartbeats. Final inhalation. No packing. I wanted to remain very calm. Off I go. Some few powerful fin strokes and I was already in negative buoyancy. Initially weightless, I began to submerge like a leaf falling from a three. A couple of meters and my decent was accelerating as colours faded into saturated shades of blue. I could vaguely see the bottom. I navigated my motionless body towards a rectangular rock to set my ambush. Still in decent I spotted a fat Black Sea-Bream about 10meters away from me showing some reluctant curiosity. There must be dentex I though as I continued my way to the ambush spot. Touchdown. 32,5meters depth. Feeling cold but alerted. Placed my body at the position I thought was perfect for the ambush and started to observe the area in front of me for movement. The Black Sea-Bream was not there nor any other fish. “It cannot be” I said to my self. “There must be fish nearby”. I started to scratch the rock with my finger tips to create noise. An old trick imitating the sound of fish feeding from the rock-pasted micro organisms that creates curiosity at the fish around a vicinity. Instantly the Black Sea-Bream re-appeared. Still away from my speargun’s effective range, I could now see the fish great size but only for a few moments until it vanished in the blue again. I continued scratching this time with greater intensity. The fish to my surprise returned more aggressively followed by a large number of fellow Black Sea-Breams of much smaller size. Leading the herd, the larger fish entered my speargun’s effective range, only just. If I had no trust to this speargun’s potential I would have not attempted the shot. The fish was far and on the move not towards me anymore but away. I squeezed the trigger with determination. No recoil. My arm was completely extended with my elbow and wrist locked, completely aligned with the speargun and the target. 110cm of carbon fibre holding a set of two aggressively cut 16mm latex bands, ejected the 6,75mm 150cm shaft with lightning speed on the fish. Amazing. Before my eyes could tell my brain, the fish was fiercely trying to free it self from the shaft by hitting its sides on the see floor exactly as a big grouper would do. Adrenaline rushed through my veins. Heart beat at least 150bpm. Emersion, I can hardly remember it. The reel was free and I could already exchange my CO2 rich exhalation with fresh cold air. The watch stopped at 2min 17sec.
At the surface Christos was standby. Excited to see the speargun at my side unloaded, started to repeatedly ask “hey! What did you shoot?” “A huge Back Sea-Bream” I replied and started to pull the reel rope. “Wrap the reel” I asked Christos. The Fish was very much alive and I could feel its moves against the rope. “Very strong fish” I thought to my self. Exceptionally strong resistance for such kind. Moments latter the fish was in my hands. What a fish! I could not believe my eyes. It was only then I realised the unreal size of that fish. I have never seen in my life a Back Sea-Bream of such proportions. Not even near that. Not to mention the magnificent blue - purple colours. “This fish is definitely a trophy” I thought.
Off to the boat for scaling and photo shooting. “Enough with fishing for today” I said to Christos ignoring his entreaties to keep diving in the same place. “Don’t be ungrateful. The sea was very kind to us today. Let’s go home early and share this story with friends” I said. “No one is going to believe the fish we cough today”.
The scale stopped at 3.100grm. We had to stop taking pictures at some point and make our way back home. Even if this extraordinary Black Sea-Bream does not make it to the IUSA records, I am very happy and grateful I was blessed to make this catch.
Till next time,
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