Stormy weather caught us on one of the remote Indian Ocean reefs. Waiting out the windy days, I still decided on a story about spear fishing, about what I see trophy hunting, about the equipment and techniques of hunting trophy saltwater fish. At times, his eyes caught the works underwater hunters, in which there are useful and valid arguments about trophy hunting.
Trophy hunting underwater in the ocean
I make up my mind on the basis of my, in general, considerable experience in maritime hunting in different regions, to share what has been achieved in the practice and learned to see underwater hunters in South Africa, New Zealand, California, Polynesia.
As I understand trophy hunting
If in addition to the gastronomic reasons (to shoot fish in the ear), or even more so I understand the desire to stand out with a bundle of colorful fish and coral groupers, you want to get a rare, strong and worthy opponent - it is trophy hunting. It will make you grow, keep fit, to experiment.
The main objects of trophy hunting is a large species of pelagic predators and all questions about the villains underwater hunters, exterminating the inhabitants of the coral reef, will be removed .... It often happens that in 5-10 days of hunting on the ocean, I was mined trophy 1-2, and within a few days and cannot make a shot - it is trophy hunting!
Where to begin?
The main mistake of all underwater hunters and beginners and experienced becomes impatient and desire to shoot anything, so as not to be left without fish, or the desire to take pleasure in hunting among the corals and rocks. Desire is quite natural, but if you aim at pelagic fish trophy or any rare and large specimens will have to tune in long enough and can dullish process of searching and waiting. But the result, rest assured, will reward you with a surge of adrenaline and vivid impressions!
You need to configure only a specific trophy and is not distracted by the enticing options for hunting groupers, snapper and perhaps quite worthy barracuda, trivially or Wahoo. Perhaps such hunting is not let you off in front of cameras with friend’s full colored stuff, and you'll look like a loser for a few days, but the day will come when the tuna, sailfish or marlin make others numb with surprise and lined up for the image!
How to prepare for trophy hunting?
In addition to patience, you will need good skills naturally and Technology dive. And the more complex will be hunting conditions - strong currents, big waves, the presence of sharks, the best physical form and perfect technique you need. I will not be here to talk about deep hunting for trophy when it is necessary to dive to depths of more than 25-30 meters. This is a separate issue, and the hunters, diving to such depths, very high requirements in terms of physical condition and reinforce adherence to security, unless of course they are going to live to old age.
But in most cases you are confident enough to dive to 10-15 meters and sometimes may reach 18-20, staying under water in the range of 1 to 2 minutes (optimally a half minutes). This will safely hunt for quite a long time - from 2 to 5 hours. It will also be helpful to talk with local fishermen or hunters of underwater habitats and fishing trophies alleged. Very important information about the time of tide and tidal currents, the time of year, in which the migration of a species. And of course we must take very seriously the preparation equipment.
Equipment for hunting trophy fish
If you want to appear with a trophy, which will help you to raise your pictures two most powerful friends, and not to feed the surrounding tales of huge tuna, cut off the spear, have to fork out for a serious outfit. I must say that no air rifles for hunting trophy fish are not suitable. I understand that the call displeasure a large army of fans of homemade and imported air guns, self-invincible power of their weapons. But all my attempts to get the trophy in the sea with different length and power pneumatic guns came to nothing. And the experience of hunters in many countries, speaks in favor of crossbows long.
We'll have to part with the popular notion of "best crossbow" produced by European companies, with slogans such as "Champion of the World ..." and a spectacular photo of a famous athlete on the glossy cover. I have nothing against hunting with crossbows and so very well understand their purpose, but in reality, these guns can handle weighty Mediterranean groupers and cannot meet the conditions, and the inhabitants of ocean space. From available in our country crossbows for hunting Trophy Ocean recommend starting with the South African crossbows Rob Allen length of 120 cm.
As an exception provided in our European guns can acquire Greek crossbow Demka, but after a certain refinement. To do this, you need to purchase a crossbow more powerful harpoons (Rob Allen) and put the rod diameter of 19 mm. RA 120 will require long rods with a diameter of 20mm, and for RA 140 will be sufficient 18mm. The length and diameter of the rods installed will depend on your experience in charge of long guns. With the acquisition of the skills you will be able to upgrade to a more powerful and short rods.
When the trophy hunting experience is put in front of you in the task of selecting the most powerful equipment to hunt for fish weighing more than 50-100 kg can consider buying a wooden gun. Buying wooden crossbows length of less than 140 cm, in my opinion, nonsensical emission of money - is puzzling tendency of some "hunters" to acquire the most expensive crossbows for hunting parrots and groupers.
We now have available a wooden American crossbows Reef. Choose the best gun with 4 or more rods. The most powerful wooden crossbows produce Andre in Bali, but it is custom-made guns and to us they do not deliver. Harpoons for these category crossbows are 8-9mm.
But this is only the beginning. Even flags counterparty harpoons RA with the correct angle fixation are not always able to keep a strong fast ocean fish. So soon you have a need for tips "slip-type" and related refining harpoons: tapping, search of adapters, etc. The next important point - no coils!
Even home-made high-capacity coil is not able to help you cope with the high speed fish. Usually, it ends pretty quickly, as soon as the entire supply cord is unwound. The only reliable way to deal with a worthy trophy - the use of one or more buoys floating tether fastened to the gun or directly and harpoon.
Moreover, all connecting links must be very reliable. It helps the rubber rope-shock from the displacer to harpoon or between buoys. European buoys and floating halyards absolutely not suitable - everything is broken and crushed at depth. Only large capacity hard buoy or inflatable buoy on scuba of durable material.
By harpoon attached monofilament of at least 1.8-2.0 mm in diameter, it is better in Japan. Such outlines requirements for the main equipment. Because we can recommend additional flash phished, very well in the hunt for the Spanish mackerel, Wahoo, trevelli and sailboats with Marlin. Everything else can be adapted from an available: computer-depth, stiletto knife, etc.
The easiest and most common way - to hang at a depth of 7-10 meters. Most have to dive or on the "banks" - the rise of the bottom of the depths of the open ocean, which may be at a depth of 15-30 meters, or near the reef on a small plateau, or at some distance, when the reef is not visible. When active pelagic fish, is coming to the reef and runs along it, you can find a trophy from the surface and dive vertically in the way of its investigation. The most common error in this case becomes the desire to catch fish, trying to fall on it from above.
Unnaturally bent head, so as not to release the object from the field of view and a clear intention to reduce the distance only alert the fish and it will not work on the firing range. Therefore it is necessary to go down vertically, not looking down, and even more in the direction of the fish.
At that moment, when you stop and hover at a depth of about 10 meters, your next stop and the trophy itself will go to you directly or on an arc, showing characteristic curiosity predator. It will only make an accurate shot ... If you will be accurate -. There is no problem, but if the fish are not killed - they just begin. The first mistake made by novices - is a reflex attempt to keep the fish.
Rather than release the gun handle immediately after being hit, brush compresses it stronger and those 1-2 seconds is enough to tuna pulled the fishing line with a breaking test 200-250 kg ... If the harpoon is connected to the displacer, such a problem does not arise -. Fish swiftly goes down the rope with the noise cut water and your hands, if you decided to stop the first frantic leap.
Bui sharply dives and if it does not meet the reserve buoyancy trophy, dissolves in the darkening depths ... you may have luck if the first buoy is connected with the second duplicate tether or shock. In any case, after a shot, you should hurry up to the surface to intercept flying over the surface in a cloud of spray buoy.
On the way to the surface you will have time to throw the ring pulls the crossbow on his shoulder to free his hands to deal with the trophy. Of course the situation is highly dependent on the type of harpooned fish. This is perhaps the most difficult option. If the water goes away, and the second buoy, do not try to hold it - it can lead to breakage of line. But if the situation is in favor of fish and it can reach the coral grotto or a curtain rod, get stuck or break the line, damage to the rope - it is necessary to try to take her away from dangerous places.
Finding and attracting fish
If you do not know already tested exit place trophy fish, it is better to focus on the accumulation of small fish, for example, cesium. Near the dense shoals of bright blue and yellow fish often hold tuna and trevally. Wounded and flailing on the shaft often attracts fish of their relatives or other fish species. And this interest is sometimes accompanied by attempts to wrest kinsman piece of meat, and then drag a wounded prey on the bottom. ... In this behavior, predators based way to attract tuna’s small sardines or any other fish and meats.
Hanging (on displacer and where sharks do not bother) fish also can serve as a bait. In my experience, there have been episodes where marlin and sailfish approached the buoy with the fish. Similar cases have repeatedly described the familiar hunters. On the island of Tahiti my fellow Polynesians used the original way to attract large pelagic predators. They shot at the reef and small fish skewer it on a wire pin, fitted on muzzle crossbow.
Features hunt for trophy fish
Spanish mackerel and Wahoo
They prefer to stay away or at some distance from the reef, in the water or near the surface (0.5-5 meters) above the banks. The medium-sized fish form flocks of up to 5-20 goals. Large specimens often found alone. Well responsive to the phished flash. This is a very high-speed fish, especially the Wahoo that more and one of the most delicious booty.
If a dart strike through the back or head, the rapid spurt tear soft tissue and the fish will come down with a harpoon. Spanish mackerel, you will be more likely to be found in the water column at a depth of 7-15 meters in standby mode. Both types tend to leave, accelerating in a straight line and are not seeking in depth. As soon as the first frantic spurt will be stopped, the fish begin to give up pretty quickly.
Perhaps the most awkward and frantic fighter of all the trophies that I have been able to produce. Hunting for "dogs" requires especially careful treatment of all links of equipment. To be ready for a meeting with tuna over 30 kg, it is desirable to have two buoys and a powerful shock absorber (preferably Reef). Hunting technique is very simple and generally is hangs at a depth of 7-15 meters, followed by a slow drop to 16-25 meters. The main thing to determine the places of tuna for feeding. Sometimes they come in a pack of 5-7 fishes and even several tens or hunt alone.
Hold at the outputs of the reef channel or channels themselves; pass along the vertical reef walls (drop-off). Appear on the plateau near the reef or the banks surrounded by depths. It is also important to choose the right time - this is a tidal flow, or early morning and evening hours. Probability meeting will be higher near the large flocks of cesium - they are very attracted to the currently active all that glitters in the water column.
Therefore, it may be the way flash Fisher and chopped pieces of fish. The tuna of this type very well react to movement and are actively interested in slowly falling object - in this case the hunter. Often had to watch as a pack of tuna inseparably accompany tearing on the shaft fellow is clearly not out of compassion for a relative.
And in this case there can be a successful hunt with your mate. Do not show your intentions and try to chase tuna, we just have to wait a little and big fish itself will begin to approach an arc. Torpedo body scarred and snarling jaws impress ... But you cannot hurry -. To break through the thick, consisting of a body is not so simple some muscle. Effective distance for a shot of 2-3 meters.
If there is any doubt, that the distance is not quite suitable, it makes sense to shoot in the stem of the caudal fin. Paradoxically, but these shots proved to be more effective than headshots. Make "Kill Shot" hit the nail on the spine connect to the skull, it is not always possible, and to break through the narrow part of the tail is easier, and also tuna movements are related, and he gets tired quickly. But, of course, everything is done on the situation.
If you use a harpoon tip no "slip - type", then get ready to replace bent in an arc arrows ... And a special focus "dogs." - I have often watched a large tuna quickly go to the bottom and ongoing absolutely incredible. Plowed sideways along the bottom with a protruding on the flight to the massive body of the harpoon, this free ... freed and leaves the memory of the bent picturesque boom! This is just one of the tricks. The repertoire more: cut the line on the coral reef, a harpoon or rope jammed in the inaccessible depths for you, etc. Be assured - it is a real fighter and you need a lot of fight, before the trophy will be yours.
On the beauty of this magnificent inhabitant of the open ocean, you cannot say - enough to see a sailboat in his native element. Quite a bit of sailing becomes a trophy underwater hunter worldwide. For a long time sailing it has been a dream for me - maybe achievable, but not quite real. Sometimes it happens by chance meeting with this fish, my friends and I had once seen it in Mozambique. And yet one could find sailing and be ready for it.
After that, more than seriously examining the character and habits of the fish, I began deliberately to hunt them. We have been known interest in sailing to the fish hanging on the displacer. There were a lot of them; sailboats pass themselves sometimes jumps magnificent series of jumps. Repeatedly watching behaves sailboat caught trolling lure, I had no doubt that it's a strong fighter.
A flock of 7 sailing ships appeared suddenly, as if from a dream, and it was time to think not. They move somehow in a special smooth, slightly curving, and similar, rather, on what that unusual animals than fish. Pausing at a depth of 5 meters, I made the shot. Harpoon struck a nearby fish and she promptly tore, leaving small bubbles in the water column. Buoy with a hiss swept past, and I barely had time to intercept the shock absorber of the second displacer.
Skating with pounding heart for the surface of the ocean lasted about 20 minutes. When I cautiously approached the tired big fish - the first time is not very confident feeling with being more of their growth and with a sharp sword on his nose. Grasp the nose rough sailing; I was surprised how soft skull of this fish - knife easily without effort got into his head. Perfect trophy changed color and became the band is more distinct on the body, almost disappeared, and the sail - fin radiated waves of deep blue...
Despite the stubborn character and speed of the enemy, with the sailing a lot easier to handle than smaller tuna. Big fish always striving to escape along the surface and it is enough for one small buoy to tame it. But soft tissues often do not hold the spear and annoying gatherings occur. Therefore, in order not to injure needlessly beautiful fish, it is always better to use a "slip-type."
More often find sailing from the surface and diving to a depth of no more than 4-10 meters; can bring their flash-Fisher. Sailboats move slowly and with dignity, apparently without considering the awkward creature with fins as a source of danger. Therefore, in some cases it is possible to make a breakthrough and by reducing the distance to shoot.
Not heard from South Africans, which is enough to take just a single sailboat in his life, I think I agree with them. Looking at this beautiful creature with unrealistic sail-fin and huge eyes, I thought I did not feel a burning desire to hunt them...
No wonder they are called flexors harpoons. ... But they can go into the lagoon, and often rob in shallow water near the shore. Appear singly, in pairs or occasionally huge flocks. During the hunt for other fish can be found at depths of 10-25 meters, and near the surface. At various times behave absolutely unpredictable - could rise from the depths, or turn from the surface and go just a frontal attack ... Or just seeing you disappear in the depths and just pass by ...
If this stupid beast did not kill, have long engaged in.. Tug of war, and after the successful extraction of fish, editing harpoon. Harpooned trivially, as well as tuna tends to the bottom and close to the coral, which clogged and when convenient. In some regions - Polynesia, Fiji - after the big fish in a coral cave jammed, volunteers appear to extract production - sharks. As a rule, these "services" they take the better part of the trophy, and you will leave your head. By the way, nothing interesting trivially is not in gastronomic terms.
Well, a large barracuda. ... Behave differently in different regions. Where they gather in large flocks, barracuda is not shy, even somewhat aggressive curious. Where they are kept alone, fish care and strictly maintained a safe distance, though, and are curious. If it so happened that you did not notice the first barracuda, she can approach the back or side to a distance of only 2-4 meters and curiously looking at the strange creature, yet you will not notice it.
If barracuda was taken from the flock, the whole flock will accompany long harpooned girlfriend. But if you missed, then with each subsequent attempt chance that the distance is sufficient for the shot almost does not remain. Most particularly distrustful, but curious sea pike manage to take, by making a sudden sharp jerk, and, closing the distance, to make the shot. Barracuda even weighing 20-25 kg is not a fighter - to be taken very quickly. Just do not put her finger in her mouth...
Over prefers regions with cold water. One of the main objects of underwater hunting in New Zealand and California. Like all typical pelagic predators kept in packs or alone near the pinnacles (cliffs) and the farther in the ocean such elevations, the larger trophies. If you hunt near the kelp (seaweed thickets very long), be prepared for the unexpected appearance of a playful mood fur seals, which scared all the fish and might try to take away the already extracted. But you get a lot of pleasure from communicating with them. Hunting is not much different from hunting for Spanish mackerel.
Trophies, which have not yet been...
Of course, it would be possible to tell what he had learned from experienced hunters from different countries or read in literature. ... Well, I do not. ... Yes, met marlin and yellow fin tuna, and koby Coryphaeus. Even I shot, but did not take. And, then, as long as there is no experience and who could share.
For many years, spear fishing, often in very difficult conditions, and the invaluable experience gained on the competition in free diving and in communion with the famous divers and underwater hunters as Pelizzari, Kastineyra, Little John, taught me self-control and the constant anticipation of dangerous situations.
Here are some rules that will help in spear fishing and possibly keep you health and life.
- Never dive alone to depths in excess of half of your maximum limit of depth.
- If the depth of the hunt are assumed close to the limit, and the hunting conditions are severe (large waves, strong currents, the presence of dangerous sharks), you must hunt with an experienced partner and constantly try to control each other.
- For hunting for strong currents, especially in the open ocean, it is necessary to have an experienced and specially instructed skipper on the boat, which after your drift dives and multiple takes you back to the starting point. And so as not to smash your head with a boat and wind the rope way on the screw.
- Carry out on the surface in preparation for the dive, at least twice as much time than you spent during the breath-holding. To control the time a good use of the computer for free diving. This will help you to save power for the entire period of hunting.
- If you intend to hunt at night and away from the point of home base, grab a small flashlight - so it will be easier to find you in a rapidly advancing into the sea dusk.
- Do not drag on itself cook with fish? Where there is no large number of sharks, the cookie can be hung on a buoy. If shark hunting in places your numerous and are interested in a wounded fish - immediately trophy to give to the boat.
- During the hunt for strong fast fish, be doubly careful when you are in the water and ready to fire. Make sure that the rope connecting the gun to the displacer not overflowed on your body or equipment - after being hit by a big fish, you do not have time to even get a knife to cut them off from flying down the "locomotive»...
- Using powerful crossbows with rods or a large number of them, fix the brush and wrist, elbow joints, and large wooden guns hold the other hand the butt. Otherwise, your face or joints can be affected by the impact.
- Do not panic unnecessarily at the sight of sharks, but will try to get out on a boat, if your hunting location, the appearance of a certain dangerous species were too intrusive and large specimens, especially towards dusk.
In conclusion. Remember, no trophy, even the most coveted and prestigious, is not worth your life! It's just a fish ... Good hunting and trophies in the coming year!