Blue Water Hunting and Freediving - Digital Version 1 - Page 19

hunting past you , only comes through time in the water and trial and error .
I used the “ pinch ” on my first yellowfin world record , taken in 1982 , at Clarion Island , Mexico . My buddy spotted a large tuna swimming between us and an underwater pinnacle . The fish was leaving his effective range and headed for me when he signaled . Spotting the tuna , I dove as it tried to squeeze between me and the rock . Recoginizing my advantage , I picked up my pace , nearly lunging at the fish . I fired and the fish promptly disappeared with my two lifeguard floats into the depths , my gun in tow . Luckily , 20 minutes later one of the floats popped up a quarter mile out to sea . I was happy to retrieve my gear and even happier to find the fish still attached .
Think about your profile and reduce it during your final approach to the fish . Imagine the picture you present to a fish viewing you from the side . Your gun , fully extended six feet ahead , and your fins trailing another two feet behind makes you a 15-foot monster . Retracting your gun will help , but there is not too much you can do with the appearance of your fins . The sooner you can present a straight-on profile , the better . This circular profile , perhaps two feet in diameter , is much less imposing and allows you to get closer to your game .
Surface approaches are very difficult , if not impossible , with some species . Solitary gamefish are even more difficult to approach from the surface than schooled fish . One technique usually doomed to failure is diving directly to your prey . ( Spanish mackerel and large tuna are exceptions .) Fish are very sensitive to anything approaching them directly . Instead of diving toward the fish , take a deep breath and dive vertically at the first sight of fish . Make little attempt to keep them in sight , as you will tend to angle toward them , spooking them . Many divers say direct eye contact will spook them as well . Calculate where they will be when you level off , and look in that direction . Generally , the lead fish of a school will not present the best shot because he will have already passed out of range . As you see the first fish and head towards him you
are looking behind for other fish in the school , while still closing the distance on the first . Try for another member following the leader . Once you are under , it may be more advantageous to swim away from the lead fish . Often , the group following the leader will circle behind you and then pass around in front of you .
AIMING — The most important part of the hunt . It seems obvious that aiming your gun is critical to success , yet this is where most new divers have problems , even divers who have practiced their aim in a pool . When they see fish , they swing their gun too fast , aim at the wrong fish , and generally succumb to buck fever . Their excitement is so high , and their heart rate is so fast , all of their aiming skills evaporate .
For a single fish , try to intercept its path , and thats why sighting your quarry early is so valuableit allows you to line up your shot ahead of the fish coming into range . Rarely is it productive to chase a fish already going away . Even if you get closer , the going-away shot will have less power and the shaft will enter from an undesirable backward direction . By not pursuing departing fish you are less likely to scare the school , which might just return , and you won ’ t disturb other fish out of sight but still coming your direction .
With schooling fish , try to avoid being schooled , which is the confusion hunters experience when facing multiple fish is swimming fast in many directions . Try to lock on to an individual coming toward you early . Ignore fish already passing by and generally go for the closest . By focusing on an individual , and sticking to that fish , you will avoid the schooling illusion and the confusion of re-aiming at multiple fish . Sometimes you first target veers away . At that point , unlock your concentration on that fish and quickly re-lock onto another .
While you first instinct is to aim for center mass and fire , try to learn to take the additional second for an accurate kill shot . Taking the extra time to perfect you shot shows respect for your game because you will have less fish injured and tearing off your shaft . Making a stone shot where the shaft penetrates the spine and where the fish is paralyzed is the mark of a good hunter ,
13