International Underwater Spearfishing Association
World Record  
9.5 kg. ,   21.0 lbs.
Salmon, Chinook    Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Record Category: Men Speargun

Diver: Chandler Scott Moomaw
Date: 7/5/2022

It was a cloudy day here in Sitka Alaska and I managed to take the day off of work to adventure. I mountain biked with my buddy Cam for roughly 4-5 miles with all my dive gear and found a good spot to start shore diving in Silver Bay. The water in this bay is fed from the nearby glaciers and icy peaks which made the water here a bit colder (roughly 43-45 degrees F.) compared to 50-55 out past Cape Edgecumbe. I was in the water for roughly 3 hours and had very little luck sneaking up on the few kings that I saw. The Kings here are intelligent and seemed to have sensed my stress from being cold for so long, so the school disappeared. I was borderline hypothermic when I decided to take a break so I spent the next hour warming up by a fire I made on the beach. Once my fingers started working again, I geared up and went back diving. I’d dive to about 25-30 ft and would follow the contours of the sea bottom with my head on a swivel. The brackish water was a bit murky and appeared almost gas-like as being very blurry, so the vis was very poor. I’d continue this technique for roughly 30 minutes before I saw a skittish school cruise by. I followed with a quick breath up and dove back down. I saw the school of Kings and swam in a direction to cut them off without them sensing my presence. I took cover behind a large rock at a depth of roughly 25ft and there they were, heading straight at me like a few torpedoes launched out of a sub. I only had a couple of seconds to take a clear enough shot without spooking them. As the fish were quartering away, I squeezed the trigger and landed a shot on the largest king in the school. I shot about mid-body and the tip of the spear came out a few inches back from the gill plate hitting the heart and securing a decent hold on the fish. The fish screamed away pulling out 30 meters of line and exploded off the surface several times. I gently fought the fish while floating on the surface, hoping the spear tip would hold. Once the fish got close enough I grabbed it like a Sea Lion and was headbutted a few times. My mask was just about knocked off and was filled with water but I held on, slipped my hand under its gill-plate, and secured it. With all the commotion in the water, several Stellar sea lions came in close and seemed to have tried to scare me off the fish I had speared. A few pokes later, I made it to shore without any real problems. I packed my gear and the fish in my trusty mountaineering pack, hopped on the mountain bike, and peddled my way back to the truck with a nice glowing sunset falling below the horizon.

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