This past week out of Englewood, FL

  • Englewood is on the gulf side of the state over an hour south of Tampa. Ed Walker, who I dive quite often with and is perhaps the best Tarpon fishing guide in the state, invited me on what he promised would be an "epic" trip, he was not mistaken. He did not schedule any customers for this past Tuesday, which coincided with season opener of Red Snapper.


    I'll let Ed's story from another forum describe the day as he put it fairly succinctly and made me laugh as well. Story, pictures and video to follow...

  • From Ed:


    Ran out to a popular spot that we have been fishing in deep water where the ARS have just been silly. Seas were running 0 to 0 feet with winds from no direction. Vis was probably 50-60 feet, blue with a slight tint of blue down deeper. The current was a bit of a problem. It was so slack that our anchor line hung in an S shape making positioning a little tough.


    Got the chum going and up come the mangos and then down a little deeper the red snappers start working their way up. Had a hard time keeping the crew in the boat until the fish were right. Josh gets tired of waiting and decides to free-gaff a passing almaco jack. Which pomptly schools him on why you shouldnt freegaff fish that are more than a foot below the water. Luckily my gaff floated back up after the jack took it.


    Hopped in and shot mangoes first as they are the first ones to retreat to the blue abyss once the shooting starts. Shot a couple 5 -6 pounders then turned to the ARS which now were coming in from every direction and as far down as you could see or dive. Shot our limit of all 10 plus pounders and some almaco jacks, rainbow runners, and misc stuff pretty quickly. My best ARS was a skull shot that didnt even go thru to the flopper but stayed wedged on even with heavy pressure to keep it away from the bad guys. There were no dead discard red snapper on this trip.


    Turning to the yellowtail snappers I start dropping to 40 feet or so and hovering waiting for them to rise up to check me out. On the second such dive, up comes a swarm of small ajs and yellowtail snapper....and 2 big cubera snapper. The slightest move in their direction turns the big square tail toward me and down they go. Saw them a few more times, once there were 3 of them, but never did get a shot. Rolo pops up one time an annouces that he has speared a bonito. Woo hoo! I told him "thats a bad idea". He says "Why?" "Just watch" I replied. That was the last time he ever saw that shaft-the barracudas and sharks piled on that thing and left him with nothing more than a cut-off line. It was kinda funny.


    Next stop
    Ran South to another spot and hit it with the chum. Up comes 50 cudas, a pile of sharks, and a herd of giant jack cravelles (shark food). Hooked up one pesky shark on a fishing rod just to get rid of him. Hopped in and a 300 pound bull is circling rapidly on the surface with us and theres lots more small and medium sharks below. Not much for good fish showing but I admit I didnt drop that deep due to the solid bull being up in my grill every time I came up. Deckhand Josh drops to 50 feet with my 110 Rabitech and strokes a 50 pound jack. About that time his small buoy comes off the 50 foot float line I loaned him (200 feet of water). He became a human buoy with the fish pulling him way down several times. He held on though and Sneaky Pete came in to back him up and they finally got the fish to the boat where Dave and I struggled to gaff it. Sharks cranked it up a bit and we werent seeing what we wanted so off we went. Ran north to another number I got from a friend that turned out to be non-existent. Ran West to another and it too was a dud. From there we headed East for home.


    Ah, what the heck
    Along the way I noticed one more spot on the plotter that I had never been too. Ran by it and it lit up big. Dropped the anchor and hit it with what was left of the chum, a half bag of dead threadfins. Up come the sharks and cudas. It is now after 6 PM, we are more than 50 miles out, and we're just about to bag it when Sneaky Pete sees something big in the chum. Kinda reddish but very dark. Chunk, chunk, chunk....and there they are: 2 big cuberas...and 50 yellowtails, and 25 mangoes. And then we see the white lips coming in from the east. A wall of permit. In 2 minutes the entire team has deployed and it is game on. There are fish everywhere. We take a couple permit then start seeing the pompano. Thru all the permit and jacks I see a small pack of APs and give chase down deep. The deeper I go the more fish there are around me. Looking down even deeper it is solid fish, hundreds of fish. I cant catch the APs so I whack a 45-50 pound jack as a consolation prize for the drop. I ask for a little back up with it at the surface only to see that all 4 other divers have fish on. More fish follow ours up and the spot is simply on fire. Smaller sharks come in waves of 20 or more and theres a few bigger ones out back but nobody is paying any attention to them as the sound of guns going off continues. Josh shoots a monster pompano followed by sneaky pete with another one. Josh even comes back to the boat with a stoned mahi at one point. With no bonito in sight Rolo gets on with shooting the good stuff-a 3 pound barracuda, then gets in on the real action. As it begins to get dark Dave W. encounters a cubera at 25 feet....but has a jack on his spear. A brief recon shows no cubera and its time to go. Final score-you dont even want to know. Limit of nice ARS and lots of bonus fish.


    Find out when we get home that this amazing area now has oil just 50 miles away. Please god keep it out of here.


    Was really nice to be able to take a few red snapper for a change.

  • Video from the first spot only.
    http://vimeo.com/12301685


    I did not film on the second spot as it was late in the day and had already took off my wetsuit. Ended up diving shirtless and with my tertiary gun (A reel gun). Little did I know, this spot turned out to be insane and everyone landed monster fish to run out of cooler space and make our ice situation dire.


    Enjoy, let me know what you all think of the video, it was my first time putting one together.

  • very nice...damn thats a lot of fish down there...nice song...even better the spearfishing..thanx for sharing with us...:thumbsup2:...keep the good work coming

  • thats some serious fish. aprecciate always when people going to dive, carry and use their camera. specially if they do some underwaterfilming. its a great way to share the impressions of the environment you dive and hunt in, with others. nice pics and vid man !
    but i personally not such a big fan of cam mount on gun.
    i find it much more interesting filming other divers stalking and shooting fish. or just leave the gun in the boat for once and just film the fish and environment without having a gunpoint in the vid. also interesting to see that the fishes sometimes behave much different towards you if you gliding down with just a cam and no gun. or have you ever tried to put your cam in one hand and gun in the other? that style definetely gives you the most creative opportunities in underwaterfilming/hunting by yourself. of course its a bit tricky to handle the multitasking, and you have to be able to equalize without use of hands.
    keep it up

  • I think it was just a plain old bandana to keep his surfer doo away from his eyes.


    Thanks guys.


    Regarding the camera work, I agree, you get much better footage with someone else filming. However, the coordination of breathing up for two people can sometimes upset the cadence of diving and lead to miss opportunities. It works better when both divers know each other well and have a rapport in the water.


    I co-hosted a show several years ago and our goal was always to have at least three "kill shots" per episode. We basically were able to meet this mark, but missed out on alot of opportunities having strictly one videographer. At least with the gun cam you get those shots, which is what many people rather see. This is just gravy for me to film with the gun cam, I really would much rather go fishing without it and just concentrate on hunting. I think it takes away from the experience doing both. Personally, I just rather go down and shoot a fish as opposed to filming someone else. All that being said, I'll take it with me more often now and try to compile a few shots from multiple trips to put something together that is worth the time to watch. Thanks again.

  • Goo Job Rolo.. Is better to see the hunters view with the gun cam. I like when they turn fast and woot there is the fish cruising not knowing death is about to strike. it feels like a 3D adventure. :thumbsup2:

  • thats some serious fish. aprecciate always when people going to dive, carry and use their camera. specially if they do some underwaterfilming. its a great way to share the impressions of the environment you dive and hunt in, with others. nice pics and vid man !
    but i personally not such a big fan of cam mount on gun.
    i find it much more interesting filming other divers stalking and shooting fish. or just leave the gun in the boat for once and just film the fish and environment without having a gunpoint in the vid. also interesting to see that the fishes sometimes behave much different towards you if you gliding down with just a cam and no gun. or have you ever tried to put your cam in one hand and gun in the other? that style definetely gives you the most creative opportunities in underwaterfilming/hunting by yourself. of course its a bit tricky to handle the multitasking, and you have to be able to equalize without use of hands.
    keep it up


    Tinu, I agree with your sentiment 100% BUT, you have to realize that your perspective is different for two reasons...one you dive a lot more than most of us (except Hau) and you shoot a lot more fish than I do.


    If i only get to dive once a week of often once every 14 days, it is hard to leave the gun clipped to the float of kayak just because I dont see or shoot enough fish to not regret it when i miss a good one.


    I certainly do agree that it is a lot cooler to see a diver as he/she engages a fish rather than just a spear getting fired and then a spinning fish.
    I will try to mix up the style of shooting video once i get my camera setup back in action


    i still give rolo:thumbsup2: on his video

    i like to spear fish

  • i think i will start a new thread one of these days about underwaterfilming.
    since last week i spending a lot of time on the computer(wich is not my favorite thing) editing my filmingmaterial from summer 2008 when i ve been few weeks to santa maria, azores islands. the goal is to fit everthing into a 60-90 min. movie.
    so watching all this material again and again, my eyes getting more critical. and i wish i would have a few more quality,sensational shots rather then all that "ok"stuff.
    i observed the same effect on underwaterfilming as on underwaterhunting. the more i do it, the higher i want to push the level. the big monsterfish i got under hardest conditions will stay in my memorys forever.
    and i could tell anyone the story. but having the opportunity to share that great expirience with others in a movie is a fantastic thing. i love watching underwatervideos, so i will always encourage evrydiver to do some great filming. how nice would it be today to watch some movies of jack prodanovich, the pinders, or some tahitiens 50-60 yers ago spearfishing. they didnt had the opportunity we have today.
    anyhow, rolo, the problem in a boat with other exited divers is not new. who want to take the damn cam ??
    you did it, and did a great job! again, thanks for sharing, and bring more.:thumbsup2:

  • Man o man, how did you get Sea World to let you dive in their aquarium?


    That's alot of fish and good vis, must've been a great experience.

    Davie Peguero

  • Dan,


    I forgot to mention, you should add a gulf coast section to the Florida list. I dive there a few times a year as does GR who dives all the time. Didn't see one when posting this thread.

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