International Underwater Spearfishing Association
World Record  
33.3 kg. ,   73.4 lbs.
Seabass, White    Atractoscion nobilis
Record Category: Women Speargun

Diver: mitsuki hara
Date: 4/7/2022

The day started with poor vis and unusually high soupfin shark activity, a type of common reef shark in SoCal that feeds on fish. I began the hunt by searching for signs of life and favorable water currents/temperature. Eventually, I found a spot I thought was ideal for White Seabass. Once in the zone, I did a couple of dives as quietly as possible, noticing some sign. At that moment, I knew it could be any second now. Breathing up, I made sure to keep my eyes alert. Just before diving, I spotted a big shadow moving. I swung my gun as smoothly as I could onto its predicted path. It probably took about 2 seconds to get the gun lined up and a confirmation of it as White Seabass. As I pulled the trigger, I saw the shaft penetrate deep into the fish. It then took off, hard! The reel was screaming, and the fish took a hard turn, jamming the reel. The fish kept on, and its power dragged both me and my gun under the water and deeper into the kelp. I tried to stop it, but no luck. Eventually the kelp tangled against me, tearing my snorkel off its mouthpiece and my mask along with it. I was able to catch the mask as it fell off, but lost the snorkel. Realizing the danger, I decided to let go of my gun, but not before wrapping some kelp around the gun and reel to keep it from being towed too far away from me. After surfacing, I made the decision that I needed another snorkel to safely recover the fish. I then hurried ashore, ran to my car, and grabbed my backup snorkel. Upon re-entry, I noticed many sharks headed in the same direction; it definitely seemed to be towards my fish. I made my way back, following the sharks until I found my speargun. I was worried the fish was already eaten up, but I still had hope. To my surprise, I saw the fish fully intact and tangled at the bottom! I hurried to it as the sharks were circling, and I even had to poke a couple of them away with my knife. In about four more dives, the fish was untangled and brought to the surface, where I placed it on my stringer. Bringing it back to shore wasn’t easy. The air bladder had been punctured, making it very heavy in the water. I was worried about the sharks, so I decided to avoid swimming under the kelp. Instead, I placed the fish on my back and crawled over the top of the kelp bed to shore. It was super heavy!Once ashore, I laid next to it. Its total length was almost the same as my height! I was sure this fish was over 70lbs! It felt so unreal at first, but slowly a feeling of accomplishment swelled in me. I always dreamed about this fish after hearing so many stories, so I kept trying to learn from other divers and even my own mistakes. All the hard work finally paid off! More importantly though, many people have helped me, mentored me, and taught me many skills. Without the help, this achievement could not have happened. I would like to say thank you to all of you for being part of my spearfishing adventures!
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