International Underwater Spearfishing Association
Meritorious Award  
294.8 kg. ,   649.8 lbs.
Marlin, Black    Makaira indica
Record Category: Meritorious

Diver: Simon Solomon
Date: 2/4/2018

On the 4th of February 2018, myself and three spearfishing friends of mine towed my 5.5m Gemini semi-rigid duck from Cape Town to the small village of Struisbaai, close to the Southern-most tip of Africa. The conditions were good with flat seas and very little wind, although there was a brisk easterly the day before. We made our way to the 5 Mile Bank, where the engine block of the wreck SS Wafra lies. This ship ran aground on 27 February 1971, while under tow, where about 200,000 barrels of crude oil spilled into the ocean. After this, most of the wreck was dismantled and taken out to the deep and sunk again, but its large engine block still remains as an artificial reef on a shallow part of the bank at about 13m, where the top of the block reads at about 10m. We were hunting Cape Yellowtail, which are prolific on this reef and can often be present in large numbers and sizes up to 20kg. The temperature was 21 degrees Celsius, perfect for yellowtail, but to our dismay the visibility was a hazy 6 metres, with a brownish thermocline extending about 2-3m off the bottom. I had already shot two small Cape Yellowtail and a Tropical Yellowtail (also known as sangora) and I jumped in for my fourth drift. My flasher was a bit tangled so I quickly proceeded to untangle it. Once I had finished, I suddenly noticed a greyish-black shape in my peripheral vision. It took me a few seconds to register what was slowly swimming away from me and then I proceeded to sprint towards the fish as fast as I could. I managed to get about 3m from the fish on its left flank, where I could plant a solid shot in its gill plate (I was on the surface). The spear went through the other side with the barb opening up just underneath the gill plate on the right flank of the fish. Instead of speeding away like a bullet, like I had expected it to, it maintained a slow and steady pace. After a few seconds the reel on my Johri gun had emptied and my gun flew out of my hand and I was into my belt reel. I managed to hang on to the line before too much was stripped from my belt and the fish towed me slowly and steadily for about 20 minutes. At this point it had slowed down a bit and I managed to retrieve a Rob Allen 1.1m Roller Gun from the boat. I loaded the gun and pulled my way towards the fish on the surface and gave it another shot. At this point, the fish regurgitated some half-digested yellowtail, one pretty sizeable specimen! It then lost equilibrium and could not right itself and started sinking, my fellow divers and myself managed to lift the fish to the surface slowly but surely. From the first shot, to getting the fish to the boat was about 45 minutes in total. The size of this behemoth was difficult to comprehend and one of the happiest moments of my life holding it on my arms on the surface as we celebrated together! Being too large to load on the boat, we towed the fish behind the boat to the harbour, about 6km away, where we proceeded to weigh it and compile all the n

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