International Underwater Spearfishing Association
World Record  
7.7 kg. ,   17.0 lbs.
Grouper, Scamp    Myceteroperca phenax
Record Category: Men Sling / Polespear

Diver: Coleman Allen
Date: 6/9/2023

The day started off great on the shoals. We arrived at the area we wanted to dive after sunrise and were greeted with winds less than 5 knots, minimal current, and incredible viz. Looking over the side of the boat we could see bottom at spots as deep as 75ft, ideal conditions for the North Carolina coast. The first half of the day saw a lot of fish landed on the boat. My buddies Justin Parr, Chris Covington, Shane Wall, and EJ Baracco started cleaning up the Gag grouper, Hogfish, and big spiny lobsters. My day started off slow, however. I just couldn't get comfortable diving. I had pulled a muscle in my neck in the last day and the pain was really making it difficult to turn my head and scan for fish. After a while I decided to put away the gun and grab my camera rig to take some photos and be perpetual safety diver. After about an hour Shane and I were at the surface swimming over a ledge in 75ft of water. Below us were 20 or more American Red Snapper darting all over the water column mocking us like the knew they were out of season (it's only a two day season in the South Atlantic fishery so they knew they were set) Suddenly the shape of a big Scamp tail flickered close to the bottom. Shane and I simultaneously yelled through our snorkels. Shane picked his head out of the water told me to put up the camera and grab my polespear. I quickly agreed and we called Chris over with the boat. I handed him my camera and he tossed me my polespear. I hooked it up to my belt reel, looked back down at the bottom to make sure I was over the same ledge, and started to do my breath up. I couldn't see the fish anymore but I was pretty sure it was under that ledge. I made my dive and started swimming down towards the ledge, getting swirled by American Reds on the way down. I stopped just above the ledge at around 70ft and decided I was gonna pull my polespear band into place and approach the ledge ready to roll. I turned back to look for my band, grabbed it, and pulled it forward. As I reached my shooting position I looked forward and sitting at eye level maybe 6ft directly ahead of me was the Scamp, staring right at me. I was so surprised I just sat there frozen for a few seconds. I slowly brought my arm forward to line up my shot. I expected the fish to dart for the ledge at any moment. As I approached him he started to slowly swim away from me, slow enough that I was able to close the last few feet without having to really swim hard. I made a quick decision and aimed center mass. I released the spear from my hand and hit the Scamp dead center. The slip tip engaged, the fish ran for the ledge. I started feeding line out of my belt reel as I headed for the surface. The fish rocked up but after a few minutes I was able to pull it out of the ledge and to the surface. A day I will never forget!

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