International Underwater Spearfishing Association
Beginning in august 2016, I embarked on a quest, which I had been dreaming of taking for years now. I had been watching the IUSA world records for the fish in my region and felt that a number of them were within my reach. Unfortunately, underwater spearfishing is a sport that is relatively unknown in Michigan. In an attempt to change this, some friends and I had recently started the Michigan Spearfishing Association; Michigan’s first and only nonprofit underwater spearfishing group. We were badly in need of members and some means of generating local interest. I had long ago recognized the potential value of IUSA World Records and the interest in the sport and publicity that they were capable of generating. With this in mind, I began putting in the hours scouting, fishing and constructing my first homemade pole spear. It wasn’t long before I was able to secure my first IUSA World Record for common carp in the men’s pole spear category with the spear I had built. I was thrilled and vindicated. This was extremely encouraging and provided me the motivation and energy that I needed to continue fishing day after day. Striking out with dive partner Andy Woodman, we arrived at a new area and found 1-2’ of chop and only 8-10’ of visibility in the best spots. After getting in the water we began to encounter fish almost immediately, shooting suckers, Freshwater drum and mid sized carp. Putting aside the frustration of having to pass on opportunity after opportunity as fish presented perfect shots to me, I resolved not to fire again unless it was at a record. I was investigating underneath a dock with poor lighting and visibility and had not seen a fish. Getting ready to move on, I turned to leave and caught a glimpse of a dark shape suspended above some heavy weeds, just off the bottom. I could immediately tell it was a bowfin and a record one at that. I was already almost on top of the fish and had to do a 180 in order to line up the shot. Moving painstakingly slowly, in very close quarters I was very nervous, expecting the fish to spook at any second. I did not take time to aim but simply pulled the trigger, the very instant the spear was pointed at the fish. It was a close shot and the spear struck the fish just behind the gills, pinning it to the bottom. Right after this Andy swam into view and saw the fish. We both surfaced, high fived and started cheering. Quickly dispatching the fish, I hurried back to shore and immediately put it on my Mako certified scale. It weighed 5.1 pounds and was 24” long. It was exactly what I needed to put the first fish of this species in the IUSA record books. I believe it is safe to say that any week in which you set multiple world records is better than average. It has been an eventful start to my quest so far, but I still have a long way to go. I can only hope that my luck continues!
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