Blue Water Hunting and Freediving - Digital Version 1 - Page 109
survival surface before going back down and freeing the shooting line .
This was pretty early in my spearfishing career . After much introspection and after consultation with experienced spearfishermen , I learned a few valuable lessons : Never attack a fish when it ’ s hot — swim away and regroup , make sure you take time for an adequate surface interval before diving , have a knife readily accessible , and always be wary of where your shooting line is . In addition I feel in this situation having access to a FRV could have made what was potentially a lethal situation much safer .
While 1 / 16-inch cable is the best line for the first 20 feet of your spearline , be wary because it cuts . Joe Felicione , or “ Jewfish Joe ” as he is known on the west coast of Florida , lost a finger to his cable line . Joe liked to hunt large jewfish near the pilings that make up the channel markers off Tarpon Springs , Florida . One day he was diving next to a five-pole marker in visibility less than one foot . Hunting only by sound , he made two unsuccessful shots out into the gloom at large fish . His third shot earned him a ride . When
the fish tired , Joe returned to the pilings , as was his custom , and started to the surface with the 150-pound fish . The fish made one last run , pulling the cable tightly against Joe ’ s little finger and the wooden piling .
The cable instantly cut through his glove and finger . Raising his gloved hand inches before his face and seeing his missing finger , Joe became even more determined to land that fish . He succeeded , and his finger stub has long since healed . “ I sometimes wonder what would have happened if the cable had wrapped my head instead of my finger ,” Joe said . “ You know , we were just kids then , not really looking ahead for danger .”
Veteran bluewater hunter Doug Ulmer has legs that tell stories . His left leg has multiple punctate scars where a “ dead ” yellowtail came alive at his side . Its wild thrashing drove Doug ’ s spearhead into his thigh several times in rapid succession before he could subdue the wild fish .
Doug ’ s right thigh sports a thin circular scar completely around it . Doug , others and I were diving San Benedicto Island , Mexico , for yellowfin tuna . I shot a monster and yelled for the chase-boat . Doug , a deckhand , and Doug ’ s friend Steve Smith raced the small panga ( a narrow 12-foot Mexican skiff ) to my aid . Our adrenaline flowed as the four of us pulled the big