International Underwater Spearfishing Association
World Record  
7.8 kg. ,   17.1 lbs.
Catfish, Flathead    Plyodictis olivaris
Record Category: Men Sling / Polespear

Diver: Justin L. Barnhill
Date: 6/19/2014

Gun Type: JBL 6’8” breakdown pole spear with 3” slip tip and 14” injector rod Terminal Gear: None Depth of Water: Ten feet Depth of Fish Speared: Nine Feet Use of Chum: None Water Visibility: Five Feet Sea State: Calm (glassy) Distance from Shore: Ten Feet Current Conditions: Slack Time of Day: 08:15 a.m. (approx) Associated Fish: None On June 19th, 2014, Tyler Richardson (Captain and Owner of 16 foot aluminum welded flat boat named “Chum Shot”) and I launched the boat in Metairie, LA for the first dive day of the 2014 New Orleans Aqua Aces dive tournament. We were the only two people on the boat. Target species was Sheepshead, any species of catfish, and black drum (as per tournament categories). The body of water we were spearing in is called Lake Ponchartrain, and is a brackish body of water that connects with both freshwater and saltwater sources in Louisiana (not landlocked). I made my exit from the boat and dropped down to survey the rock system that lines almost the entire shore of the lake. On my first breath hold, I did not see any fish, so I retreated to the surface. I made a small breath up, loaded my pole spear (common practice as none of the targeted species give you time to load a pole spear in low visibility) and dropped along the same set of rocks farther up shore. Looking into various cracks and crevices in the rocks, I was immediately greeted by a flathead catfish. I released my pole spear at roughly nine feet deep (almost on the bottom) and began the fight with a very lively fish (not a stone shot, despite a head shot). Knowing I had a breakdown spear that would unscrew itself if I let the fish swim freely, I put hands on the fish almost instantly, sticking my hand into the gills of the fish. I swam the fish to the boat and put him on the deck. Once in the boat, both Tyler and I shared several high fives, as we knew I had just secured a great tournament fish for the first catch of the day. I also noticed my pole spear injector rod was bent almost to a 90 degree angle, but that wasn’t a concern after landing a fish like this. The fish weighed 17.1 lbs on the official certified scale, and took 1st place overall at the dive tournament. This was the only catfish we speared in the area this day.

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