International Underwater Spearfishing Association
World Record  
4.6 kg. ,   10.2 lbs.
Salmon, Coho    Oncorhynchus kisutch
Record Category: Women Sling / Polespear

Diver: Yekaterina (Katya) Karankevich
Date: 9/6/2022

I flew into stormy Yakutat to find my fishing partner quite ill, unable to keep down water, let alone get in his wetsuit. The day I arrived, it had rained 4 inches in 24 hours. Visibility was under a foot from surface. Rod fisherman were striking out. Another bad sign. My 2022 spear goal was to try a dozen new dive sites in the state. Even if there was no sign and no viz, I would have to get miserably cold to put another tally in my dive site box. One of my many faults is a doggedly goal oriented nature and the interest in sports that are miserable. Sometimes you truly must hate yourself to do this sport in cold climates. On the fourth day of searching via skiff and on foot for dive sites that looked promising, we reached an area known for the run to pass through. I saw some fins at surface and slipped on my wetsuit as fast as I could, lest the school decide to boogie. My swimsuit top was crumpled down to my belly button under hastily applied neoprene. Women divers know the struggle. I tried to unfurl it back over my kiwis to ease my discomfort, but gave up the Sisyphean task. Can someone invent a swimsuit already that doesn't bunch up? I am not one to promote the fashion trend of wearing your swimsuit bottom on your lower back. I dove down and found them within a few minutes. They were schooling within 15 feet of the surface. I got 10 feet behind them, just barely seeing their tail outlines in the algae bloom. I had to keep up with their 2 knot forward swim pace which was quickly tiring me out. I lined up a shot with my 11.3 foot Red Tide custom polespear with a slip tip that G.R. Tarr out of Florida made. As soon as I pulled the band tight and started pointing, the school became wise to my game and scattered. I locked onto a big one with a fully extended arm. He bee lined out of the shot revealing a slightly smaller male behind him that didn't seem to notice all of his friends had packed their bags. I made an unattractive broadside hit, playing it safe. Right in the middle of the body like a noob. He fought, but was stuck on the slip tip. I brought him to surface and was so scared he would slip off that I wrestled and pinned his body to mine so that I could get under the gill plate with my hand. Salmon are soft fleshed fish, which can wiggle a hole through their bodies during their struggle, risking escape and a sad slow death. There is nothing more thrilling than hugging a squirming salmon. Everyone should try it.

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