View Full Version : 60 lb striper video

11-22-2005, 07:23 PM
Supposedly speared two weeks ago around Block Island.

I'd like to know peoples thoughts on this. It looks like a direct harvest type of hunt. Don't see the sport of it but thats just my opinion.

Let's hear em


11-22-2005, 07:57 PM
Interesting. Was that really 60 lbs? Right or wrong I am not sure, on a whim I would have to lean to wrong. However, I think that is pretty bad ass. Hop in the water with a camo websuit, and what looked like a snorkel and harpon a big bass, get footage of it, in butt cold water. Interesting.

I think more fish legal or not had simillar fates, but their hunters took a different approach. Instead of taking a dip in the midatlantic on November morning they pulled up to public access spot on sunny June aftrnoon with a pack of herring, 1 treble hook, and a spool of 100lb test and a case beer. when they left all was left behind besides one 28.2 inch fish.

11-22-2005, 08:35 PM
Don't see the sport? As both an avid angler and spearfisherman, I can assure you that there's plenty of "sport" to spearfishing - I would argue more so than flyfishing.

Think about it - first of all you have to be in pretty good shape. I'm not that good, I dive 10, 15 feet tops and have a bottom time of maybe 30 seconds. Most of the hardcore guys dive 30 feet plus and hold their breath for over a minute. Incredible! Remember, scuba gear bubbles spook fish...!!!

Second, you are in the fish's element. As an old friend of mine says "everytime you enter the water you compromise your position on the food chain". Remember the white shark in Woods Hole last year? Well, you're swimming around dressed in black neoprene - basically you look like a seal and you're towing around bloody fish. 'Nuff said.

Third, you get skunked a LOT. Sorry, you are just not going to be diving in that favorite rip with the 2.5 knot current (at least I'm not!). Most of the fish you see are schoolies. Can't shoot em. The ones that look huge are probably schoolies too, because everything looks big under water! Then when you do see a legal fish, you usually don't have a shot.....or you miss.

Fourth, although there is no "catch and release" to spear fishing, you end up killing a LOT less fish (see "you get skunked a LOT" above). Once in a while you spear a fish in the gut and he escapes only to become crab food. That is a waste. However, I gut and gill hook MANY more fish each year. Also, think about all the herring, eels, scup and pogies you are NOT livelining.

Fifth, you spear the fish. It's a big fish. Great. Now you literally got a tiger by the tail if you didn't bean him sensless. Now what do you do? You hang on for dear life and go on a Nantucket sleigh ride, or hopefully your dive flag and float is teathered to your gun. That way the fish will eventually get tired dragging that float and you'll have to swim after him.

Sixth, you know how those nice, calm boating days seem like they are few and far between? Well, try getting over 10 feet visibility in New England waters. Most of the time you can't see ANYTHING from May to September. Yeah. May to September. When the WATER IS WARM AND SOMEWHAT COMFORTABLE YOU CAN'T SEE!!!!!

Seventh, it is early September and you are on the bottom hoping that curious tog comes to investigate you when it suddenly gets darker. You look up, and you are under a school of peanut bunker. You would typically lose it with excitement, but you are too mesmerized by these gleaming little jewels. You start to follow them, and you see the schoolies following them too. Not attacking, just lazily swimming with you. All is peaceful and right in the world. Then you see the first bluefish. Then the second. Then you remember the first time you got bit by a bluefish in 6th grade. How it wouldn't stop bleeding. Then you get the hell out of there.

I'm not kidding when I say the kill isn't always the thrill. On the days when there is fish around and the viz is good you don't care if you pop anything - seeing our native sport fish in it's own habitat is reward enough. Besides, in Massachusetts you can't spear a bass anyway. I'm just a novice, a hack. These guys who freedive 35 feet in November with a 90 second bottom time are not only incredible athletes, but are true sportsmen in every sense of the word.

11-22-2005, 08:52 PM
That rocked!

Certainly more sporting than the fish traps we have in Rhody.

11-22-2005, 08:58 PM
I'd have to vote on the side of "pretty sporting".

I don't have a ton of experience, Pogie157 sounds like he's got plenty more than I, but I have tried it a bit in Abacos this summer. It was a lot harder than I expected. The hardest part was staying down there. We were snorkeling, so trying to stay where you want, and get a good shot off once you see the fish is much harder said than done. Not to mention holding your breath long enough to make it happen.

So, while I'm jealous that he got it, and not me, I still think that's pretty cool.

11-22-2005, 09:00 PM
Doesn't look like a 60 lb. plus bass to me. Maybe if there was a shot of him hauling it into the boat for scale, but I would say, NO.

11-23-2005, 08:59 AM
I have to reiterate what Pogie said and add some more.

As an avid fisherman and spearfisherman there is way more sport, effort, skill, strength required than hook and line fishing.

There has been a big controversy down here in Key West between the protectionist Marine Sanctuary groups and spearfishermen. The bottom line is and (the marine snactuary groups now agree) is that spearfishing on a total and per sportsman basis has about 1/100 the damage to fish populations and the environment as hook and line. No lost lead on the bottom, no tangled line cut off, no hook left in the gut, no snags ripping out coral, 99.99999% of fish shot are of legal size to be kept for table. No releases with unknown mortality.

On the sporting side the average joe looks at a speargun and says to himself. WTF.....just hop in and blast all the fish you want.....Not even close. Most guns have an effective range of about 10 feet or less. Combine that with having to hold your breath, be an ACCURATE SHOT, be silent and stealthy and you will find that you get skunked most of the time. When you do find fish it is difficult to get into position for a shot and getting to that 10 feet or less position at the right angle before the fish darts away is much more difficult than you would imagine. Reiterate that most days you will shoot at a few fish and hit 1. Down here we have more of a shark problem than the northeast but we have 100 foot visibility as opposed to 10 or so in the NE and out water runs 75 degrees lowest to 88 or so high while the NE may not even reach 74 some years.

For the hook and line fisherman it would be to your advantage to try spearfishing. You will find your H&L fishing improves 100% and you will probably wipe out 1/2 the waypoints on your GPS and add new ones when you see what is down below and where the fish are actually congregating. I have found spearfishing to be the most important step in improving H&L fishing. You will find out for real what the picture on your FF is actually reproducing. Many times what looks good is not and what looks bad is good. It is a little investment to gear up full out, but at the least every H&L fisherman should pick up a mask & Snorkel and hop in next summer on a few of your spots to see what is really down there.

Check out Daryl's site for more info. I highly recommend his guns and if you are ever in Key West let me know and I will let you try one out.

11-23-2005, 09:02 AM
athletic yes, sporting not so much

edit - macho yes


Bob Parsons
11-23-2005, 09:23 AM
Six guys looks like two fish each. Just the photo and no details is like taking a quote out of context. How long were they fishing? Where were they fishing? and so on. As far as sporting if there was a picture of 6 guys with rod & reel with a dozen fish would that be considered non sporting? How about a picture of two rod & reel guys with 20 bluefish... non sporting? Kind of reminds me of archery hunting for deer.

11-23-2005, 10:07 AM
Giant trevally and yellowtail? Australia?

11-23-2005, 10:28 AM
I go to Nassau a couple times a year and bought a Hawaiian sling to use down there (spear guns are not allowed). Tried it once and I will say it is very, very difficult. I would imagine that using a spear gun would be easier but I don't have the experience to really say that.

Bruce H
11-23-2005, 10:32 AM
Definitely sporting and pretty hard core Back to a more traditonal approach sans boats etc The Saturday shows that have spear fishing for yellowfin around 50-100lbs now that is something Aqueous version of a New England sleigh ride perhaps?

Definitely can save a heck of alot of $$$ on fuel and gear

11-23-2005, 10:35 AM
sport ( P ) Pronunciation Key (spôrt, sprt)

Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.
A particular form of this activity.
An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.

Spearfishing looks like sport to me and probably more so than using a rod and reel. :)

11-23-2005, 10:54 AM
Take a look at JohnnyR's photo again. Don't take this the wrong way, but those guys, other than the fellow way left, are pretty cut up. If they had fishing rods in their hand's you know the guts on the fisherman would be bigger than any fish that swims. Agree this is sport as long as they shoot what they will eat. Anybody ever taste giant trevally?

11-23-2005, 11:05 AM
It is sort of like Longbow (not compound) hunting for deer... except try it so that you have to hold your breath from the time you see the deer until you take the shot.

The last spearfish tournament down here had 75 boats over 2 days and 40 fish were weighed in. I am sure a few more fish were shot for food but that hardly touches any bag limits. Some of the boats had 3 or 4 spearfishermen on it.

You will notice very few of the type of photos above with a pile of fish in spearfishing (even though that looks like 2 fish per person).

As far as time goes you can spend all day H&L fishing but breathhold fishing wears the body down and you are skilled if you can last over a few hours. One of the guys I spear with can dive to about 75 feet and hold there for a minute. It took him 20 years to get to that point. I myself can last maybe 30 seconds at 25 feet. The more you have to work and swim to find fish the less depth and bottom time the body can deliver.

11-23-2005, 11:47 AM
that looked pretty cool, but its hard to tell if that fish is 60 pounds. no doubt a nice fish, but i'd have to say far less than 60 pounds, but it's hard without something for scale.

I'll say this is pretty sporting, the odds seem to favor the fish and some skill is involved. ask your self this: whats more sporting? what we saw in the video or throwing your favorite fly or lure into a bluefish blitz? no contest. anyone with half a brain can manage to hook up in a bluefish blitz, including me ;)

reminds me of archery for deer, which is pretty godarn tough, and fun.

now I am dying to do it next year to see just what I'm fishing over. guess its time to quit smoking and start jogging!

11-23-2005, 12:19 PM
re: that fish's size: how long is the average spear? Seems to me the bass is about as long as the spear...?

11-23-2005, 01:12 PM
Most spearguns used in the northeast are 44"-48" shafts.

That is for quick manueverability in the tight reefs. In bluewater you would use from 50" and I have seen a 72" shaft.

11-23-2005, 01:27 PM
How far away can you be and still get a lethal shot? I saw something on Mythbusters on Discovery the other day and they basically came to the conclusion that within a few feet (I think it was about 4-5) of water a bullet would no longer be lethal. Seems to me it would be tough to get within that kind of range making this all the more sporting.


vineyard fisher
11-23-2005, 02:04 PM
Looks pretty sporting to me, but no way that bass goes 60. Difficult to tell with little frame of reference, but I'd say it is in the 30's, mid-40's tops.

11-23-2005, 02:21 PM
Legal in RI but not in MA but how about NH? I think not IIRC.

Is it legal in other states in NE?

Mark Cahill
11-23-2005, 03:18 PM
I say sporting. In the late seventies I mated on a boat that took the Italian National Dive Team out. One of the guys speared a 200 lb fish (looked kind of like a sturgeon...) and got a serious sleigh ride...

11-23-2005, 03:23 PM
Those crazy Europeans. They have national teams for everything! ;)

11-23-2005, 04:10 PM
Sporting, yes (certainly more than golf or bowling)! But, 60#, no way. Great video!

Go Fish
11-23-2005, 04:14 PM
That was one big fish!


here is the link:


11-23-2005, 04:37 PM
Unless this is not the video...Pete Papathanasiou did spear the world record fish this year. 60.5 pounds.

Here is a link to spearfishing world records.


I believe he is using a 120cm Euro gun which would be around 48 inches. The fish looks pretty fat but his camera lens may also be messing it up.

11-23-2005, 04:48 PM
I personnaly know Rene and have done spearfishing with him. You can trust what he says. Here is another picture of what he can do. Pete is on the left, middle is Rene and right is Olivier. Believe me they are VERY good freedivers (non tanks).

Big bass taken while freediving (NO TANKS) (http://www.renepotvin.com/bff.htm)

Is this sporting? As I am a freediver too let me give you a prospective. To catch fish that big on a consistent basis (no luck involved) you need to be able to go 60 feet deep and stay 2 to 3min down and all that without an air tank. I can tell you that it is dark, cold and yes spooky down there. I let you decide but that meets my requirement for being "sporting".

Now if your question is should big fish like that be harvested? well it is a different question that I prefer not to discuss.

It is legal to spearfish for bass in RI and NH but not MA.

11-23-2005, 07:27 PM

I really liked hearing everyones opinion and I am glad to see that there is some truth to this which others have verified.

It was one of those things where I was interested to get feedback from what I thought were hook and line guys. It turns out everyone had an opinion and some great info.

I really was of no opinion but initially figured to comment from the hook and line side of the discussion.

Fact is your feedback has peaked my interest and made me think. Its true, whats so sporting about blitzing fish. I was only thinking about the hunt from above which before all the info I thought was more of a challenge but now I am not so sure.


Mike M.
11-23-2005, 10:58 PM
Wow! That was pretty amazing video. You guys that spear fish have got my respect, looks very sporting to me.

11-23-2005, 11:24 PM
Maybe it demands a rigorous physical challenge but this video is exhibit A of the difference between hunting and fishing. Hunting is always killing. I'm not against hunting - I used to hunt a bit myself.

Fishing is very different. Hunting is a matter of harvesting. if you don't eat them or give them to people who will, you're only making fertilizer to satisfy your urge for sport. Many people fish for the same reasons, but the folks that inhabit a space like this know what divides harvesting and fishing.

Anything that simply kills stripers isn't something I'd engage in. Oh yeah, the mortality folks will mock me here but the difference is that I'm not intending to kill with every fishing effort. It is different, not just on the fish population but also on the fisherman.

While we need deer hunters to balance the lack of predators, no such minus equation exists in the oceans. To me, such a video has no place on this 'flyfishing' site - let alone a 'fishing' site.

11-24-2005, 09:36 AM
Hunting is always killing. ...
Fishing is very different. Hunting is a matter of harvesting.

I think you are confusing hunting with killing. While hunting you have the opportunity to pass up what you do not wish to kill. There is no danger or harm to the animals passed up. Unlike fishing, their mortality rate is zero. If an animal does not present itself that fits the hunter's criteria of harvest and the opportunity, there was still a hunt.

Just like fishing, satisfaction while hunting (spearfishing) does not require "harvesting"

That's just my perspective from having hunted on land, spearfished scuba and freediving, and hook and line fishing.

Of the different types, in my experience, spearfishing while freediving is the most challenging, spearfishing with scuba is less so, flyfishing is easier, then plugging and the easiest by a long shot is bait fishing.

These are generalities, and frankly I still enjoy all of those methods of hunting. :)

11-24-2005, 10:40 AM

Anything that simply kills stripers isn't something I'd engage in. Oh yeah, the mortality folks will mock me here but the difference is that I'm not intending to kill with every fishing effort. It is different, not just on the fish population but also on the fisherman.

While we need deer hunters to balance the lack of predators, no such minus equation exists in the oceans. To me, such a video has no place on this 'flyfishing' site - let alone a 'fishing' site.

Catch & release mortality is not a theory, it's a fact, the only question is how high is your percentage is going to be. Face it if you catching and releasing regularly you are killing fish for pleasure, (Sorry to put it so bluntly). :confused:
You could take it a step further and point out we (H&L's) torture every fish before disgarding them. (this is what the PETA' agrument would be). --124-3

I too have taken part in both types spearfishing (free dive & SCUBA), there are some illegal abuses, but for the most part IMHO spearfishing is more sporting AND enviromentally friendly. Also there are just so few people fit enough and motivated to do it in the northeast. I thought that link was a great thread starter, though it might be disturbing to some.

11-24-2005, 11:11 AM
You know, when I first replied to this thread, I was on dial up and didn't actually see the video (I've seen Rene's pictures before, so I knew it was about spearfishing....)

I can see how someone who doesn't spearfish can think it is not that sporting from that video. That dude just swam down to the bottom and had a huge cow lazily swim right in front of his gun. When my friends and I saw that video we all had the same thought: that fish committed suicide!!!!

Trust me folks, it is not always that easy - sorry, you just don't plop yourself in the water, shoot a cow, and come back up. Like PAX said, you usually have to hunker down in an ambush spot and hope one emerges from the murky depths. And let me re-iterate, I dive no deeper than 15 feet. Those guys who dive over 30 and stay down for over a minute are seriously BAD ASS....!!!!

And mummichog, I have to totally agree with Manomet. Every time you go flyfishing you are making a concious decision to kill fish.

11-24-2005, 11:34 AM
Or how about when you dive down to a shallow patch reef with very limited vis and sit on the bottom for 25 seconds waiting for something to swim by and a 9 foot Bull Shark suddenly appears in front of you with a mouth as big as a car grill and then stares at you while you are running out of air......He just bolted off as fast as he showed up......and I never dove in the Gulf again...or anywhere where the vis is less than about 25 feet or so.

11-24-2005, 06:29 PM
Spear fishing is a sweet sport and hard to do anywhere. I leave in a week to go to Florida to start chartering and I hope to do some bluewater spearfishing at some point while I am there.

11-25-2005, 12:43 AM
While that is a nice striper, there's NO WAY it's 60 lbs! Not even close. It may be about half that.

11-25-2005, 11:17 AM
Let me tell ya Munch that I am a bleading heart. I rescue skunks if they need it so I was taken aback when I saw the video, but then I read the replies from people who wore those all the shoes and its given me much to think about.

As far as the post belonging here it was just a post to pass a few moments out of the months we really can't fish for our beloved stripers, and I thoroughly enjoying reading everyones coments and I did not mean to offend you or anyone else. Discussion and disagreement are very healthy and educational.

Listen, The fact of the matter is they hurt fishing populations less than the rest of us. It is all a matter of opinion and I respect yours.

Hope you had a great turkey day!


11-25-2005, 02:36 PM
I love the winter, it always brings these types of discussions on the cold dreary winter months. As for the video I enjoyed watching it and immediately went to the site to see if there was more to look at. Everyone should go to the website and checkout all the pics on the site. Whether or not the fish is 60 or not is irrelevent as this guy has proven he has taken BIG fish in the past and there is mention of him breaking the world record this fall. Everyone here should think for a minute about when you were younger and stronger and in much better shape than you are now. To do what these guy's do is no different than being a marathon runner they must be in tip top physical condition to be able to free dive to the depths they go. Once there they must have the ability to hold thier breath for an extended period of time all the while keeping a close eye on their quarry. The amount of physical stamina needed to do this type of fishing is mind boggling. No argument this is sport! Not to mention it takes as much skill and knowledge as H&L fishing probably more as you don't just pull up to a spot and dive down to catch a big fish every time. You have to know the waters, the fish, the tides, the bait, etc. without all of this knowledge you may as well cast a line because you will have just as much chance of catching anything that way. It is also 100% more conservation minded than any other type of fishing, most of these guy's pass up more fish than H&L guy's ever even hook, than can pick and choose what to harvest and what to leave. I have always wanted to start diving in the areas I fish to help me understand better those areas and Capt. Lembo is absolutely correct if we as H&L fishermen did this we would easily increase our success immeasurably. Definitely a sport and definitely have my respect.