On July 1, 2010. Three friends Kelly Gilliette, Riccardo Cruelles, Capt. Jason Siaz and I set out of Groton Ct, on the 28 ft Grady White christened "Imagination", for a spearfishing day trip. We steamed out passed Fisher's Island, Sugar Reef and Watch Hill in water that was okay but would keep the fair weather Spear fishermen at the dock. Yet we steamed on to our intended fishing grounds, Block Island.
As we arrived at our fishing location, the water was less than perfect, but nobody gave a rat’s ass about the waves. Our first drops were into 45 to 50 feet and we didn't see much as far as Bass goes. I did see lots of other fish, Black Sea bass, Togs and some small Cod but nothing I could shoot with my big gun.
Our boat Capt. by this time had figured out the tide and the drift. After picking us up for our second drift he hit the correct spot perfectly. On our first drop on the second drift, the Bass were there. The smaller bass in the 15-25 range were swimming high in the water column at about 15-25 feet. The larger bass were closer to the bottom in 35 to 45 feet of water.
As I hit the bottom, I could see several bass swimming around me about 15 feet away. I looked at all of them a picked out one that was on the outside edge. This bass was bigger then the others and because it was on the outside, I figured it was a nice fish. This was the first time that I got into the water with my new Gil Gacula Tracker 47". It had never been shot before and I was now sure if I had my bands set up correctly. Now was the time to test it out. I took aim at the bass as it moved from my left to my right, aiming right behind the gill plate. I pulled the trigger and let the shaft go. The shaft exited that gun like a laser beam. It struck the bass exactly where I had aimed. The shaft ran straight through the bass' head and kept on going. The bass rolled on it's side and started to sink, stoned it. After a quick trip back to the boat, I could now see that this bass was in the 40-pound range. I was very happy with this bass and at this point the trip was a 100% success.
My dive partner Kelly and I jumped back in the boat for another run back up the hill. We both took bass on that last drift that were close to the same size and we were looking forward to the next drop. So over the side we go. I was a little fired up after the last dive and was taking a long time on my breath up's due to the pounding in my chest. So now I'm finally ready for my next dive, down I go. I started down and at about 15 feet; I could see good bass swimming by in all directions. I almost stopped mid-water to take a shot but decided to push for the bottom. As the bottom came into view, I saw about 8 to 10 really good size bass scattering as I approached, there on the bottom I settled in next to a huge boulder that was about twice the size of a full-sized pick-up. I was hoping that the bass that took off would come back to see what I was. Before that though could exit my mind, just to my right I catch movement. I turn and look and almost crapped my wetsuit. A monster cow was swimming around the big rock, right towards me. This bass was big; it was looking right at me with its huge right eye. It gave me the feeling that the bass was thinking, "What this thing, you ain't so bad, I'll kick your a$$"!.
I let the bass swim in closer as it passed from my left to my right. I never took my eyes off the bass, as it passed between the boulder and me. Once she cleared the rock, I let go the shaft. This fish was at the most 4 or 5 feet from the end of my speargun when the shot was taken. Once again the shaft rocked straight through this massive bass' head to the shooting line. Off she went like a Mo/Fo, with me being dragged behind.
I kept pressure on her as she ran but had to head to the surface for air. Once I got a breath, the fight was on. I would pull up on the fish, the bass would pull me under, I would pull on the fish, the bass would pull me under...... This went on for several minutes. Finally, I started to make some headway and got this bass to the surface. It was at this point, that things really became clear. I reached out to take the bass by the tail. As soon as I touched it, she flipped out. I got struck in the side of my face with the tail. This blow knocked my mask half off and felt like a linebacker punched me. Off she went again, headed for the bottom. After getting my $hit back together, the fight was on again. This time she came back up in half the time. This time I was much more careful, and was able to get my hand into it's gills and flip her over onto her back, the battle was over. I swam to that boat and both the bass and I got on board. Only after I saw the fish out of the water, had I realized how big this bass was.
Now to put this into perspective. I'm not a 2 min breath hold guy; I'm lucky if I get 1.20 on my very best day. This dive was a total of 48 seconds. I'm not going to tell you that I only took this bass because I train hard and I'm "the shit". That's not that case; I drink too much beer, and eat way too many chicken wings. What I will tell you is, if you do your homework and have a good boat Captain that can keep you on the fish, you have 75% of the work done. The other is 25% is just plain luck.
Yesterday, “The Luck of the Irish” was with me.