Monday, March 4, 2013

Spearfishing a Lucky Yellowfin Tuna

My Lucky Yellowfin Tuna 27kg
When you think of spearfishing Yellowfin Tuna you generally think of Cape Town. Yes sure guys get the odd Tuna here on the North Coast, but it is the exception and not the rule.
For years I have always envied the guys who have gotten Yellowfin Tuna on spear here on our coast. It did not matter if it was a luck shot or skill, I still envied them.

It's not like I have not had some chances, but generally the tuna just don't hang around to get a shot in and you land up watching the tails swim away with out even getting a shot off. At best you prick the fish and they zoot off leaving your spear behind. The small ones in shoals are easier, but we seldom get shoals so shooting one is rare.

The most common place we see the bigger Tuna following the Dolphins. This does not make them easier to shoot, its just when I have seen them the most and gotten half a chance. Too often I have been watching the pod of Dolphin and suddenly noticed the Tuna and before I can get in hunt mode the fish is gone.

So for the last few years I  have tried to be more vigilant when seeing Dolpin knowing that in an instant I might get a smal window and an opportunity on a dream fish. So when coming off the bottom this morning and seeing some tuna swim over head my mind kicked into gear ..... I must admit I thought that this was going to be another fruitless chase.

About 5 or so Tuna of about 10kg, well so I though swam over me when I had just turned to return to the surface. I was thinking do I try chase them, them moved out of range very quickly.  'Oh well just another shoal of fleeting tuna I won't get a shot at' ... well so I thought. I carried on for the surface when I noticed a Dolphin, then another one. Dolphin + Tuna = Opportunity

So I turned my attention to the Dolphin changing direction towards them with speargun at the ready. They quickly darted off as they don't like to be confronted head on. Again I thought opportunity lost, then another Dolphin came in at speed. It turn way before reaching me and behind it where 2 Tuna. The Dolphins sudden turn blind sided the Tuna and before they realised it they were swimming past me.

I stepped on the gas and tried to close the gap but they were not getting any closer. I figured they were 10kg fish and with in range so before my eyes popped out my head from lack of air I would do the ol 'flyershot' and see where the cards fall. They were fairly far away so I aimed high and squeezed off a shot.

Joy!! The speed line disappearing into the murk is a great feeling. "Gee this reel is emptying fast." next the beltreel and that ran out just as fast. "Damn the Dolphin have the fish!" well a 10kg fish cant pull that hard! So tried to put on the breaks only to have my hands burn ...Damn Dolphins!!
Then it just stopped, there was still weight , but very little movement. I though the Dolphins had left it, but next thing it goes again.

Now normally my routine is shoot the fish with one gun, swim back to the float and get the other gun ... even if all let all my line out. This way I dont loose the fish while landing it if the shot was bad. In this case I didn't get that memo and before I knew it the current and fish had pulled me at least 50m from where I had reefed up.

Eventually I worked my way towards the fish and I could see the shooting line knot coming up followed by the fish. *^$@ its huge! Oh Crap ... and my shot bad! But it looks pretty poked, so I will just grab the tail. I tried to get the best grip possible on the tail but it just shook me off and bolted off again. This was when I realised I really could do with my other gun, but it was 50m away.

So I let the line back out and swam for the float, keeping an even tention on the fish. Long story short, I get the gun, get back to the fish and plant a solid second shot and secure the fish. Super stoked with the fish, I realise that it is 'sushi' time so I bleed the fish while swimming back to the float. The blood eventually slows and I dispatch the fish with a knife to the brain, and get the fish on my stringer.

Next thing the fish takes off, 2 guns and spears, float, 8 crayfish, and Snoek all straight to the bottom! Then back to the surface and then it throws in a couple twists, tuns and some chaos for good measure. Now I have 60m of reel line, about 70m of belt reel line and the second guns shooting line all in a knot .... epic!

Eventually I sort everything out and start to plot my long journey home .... but thats a long and boringly painful story. It dawns on me, this is a seriously 'lucky' fish. Yea sure there might have been some skill involved. But like most game fish there is a serious amount of luck involved.

I was 'lucky' :
  • The Dolphin blind sided the Tuna
  • My high shot was high (damn gun it too accurate and the spear did not drop as I thought) or I doubt the spear would have gone all the way trough as the fish was bigger than I thought.
  • The high shot got some good though tendons and skin to hold onto.
  • The Dolphins did not capitalise on an easy meal.
  • I was able to get my second gun ...
  • And of course right place at the right time.
So I finally get my Yellowfin Tuna off the tail of a Dolphin ... probably another ten years before I get this right again.

Coatesman


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