International Underwater Spearfishing Association
World Record  
11.4 kg. ,   25.1 lbs.
Tautog    Tautoga onitis
Record Category: Men Speargun

Diver: Brendan Dyer
Date: 8/18/2019

This fish was harvested from a shore dive in New London CT. I was approx 250 yards from shore on a reef that I have been diving for 20 years. I had been diving for about 2 hours and had seen a ton of fish, big schools of striped bass and probably upwards of 150 blackfish. I was looking for a larger fish, as we had just come off the full moon cycle, and generally I have always gotten my biggest fish during the August full moon. The visibility was poor but there were random spots which opened up a bit on the bottom. I was laying on the bottom at approx 20 feet when I saw a massive silhouette on the outer edges of my visibility. It was a very large dark mass, particularly from top to bottom. I thought it might be a large bass, until it quartered away and I saw the profile. For the next hour, I tracked this fish. Seeing it on maybe a third of my dives, always well out of reach. I never got a good look but I knew he was there. Finally, when I was getting to the point of exhaustion, I took one last dive. I laid up at a choke point in the reef on the bottom, and remained as still as possible, pinning my fins to the sea floor and trying to focus on relaxing. There were several small togs darting around over the top of me and a few out in front. Towards the end of my breath hold, the silloutte materialized again. This time, he gave me a better look and I was stunned. I diverted my eyes and tried to stay as still as possible. He came in to check me out tentatively, then quartered away. He was at the edge of my shooting range and visibility, but I knew the shot was make able. I extended my gun as slowly as I could and took the shot. It impacted in the head behind the eye. I was approx 1 inch too high and one inch too far forward, but I knew it would hold. The fish immediately sprinted for the rocks and I took off for surface. I kept tension on my shooting line, but he had wedged himself in a crack in the reef. I tried to get my heart rate down but was struggling due to the adrenaline. I took a good breath, went down into the reef and dislodged him from the crack, with my hand on the shaft in front of fish. This was no easy task. As soon as he was free he took off for the surface and then screamed towards the bottom again. I was able to pull him up via shooting line, then bear hug him. I was afraid at how high the shot was in the head, and thought the whole forehead could tear out, so I bear hugged the fish. I rolled onto my back with the fish on my torso, and my arms crossed over the fish. I kicked on my back to shore, approx 250 yards. When I finally hit shore I knew immediately it was a world record. We got in the truck, wet suit still on, and linked up with fellow tristate skin divers member Josh Brouwer who had a certified scale. It was a day I will never forget, and I am honored to have been able to harvest this fish.

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