Posts by Oscar

    My avatar is an old photo that an old spearo I dove with in Panama in the 50's-70's posted on my Facebook last year. He still lives in Panama and still very active spearo. The photo is me with 352 pound Jew Fish (weight written on back of original photo) freediving in Panama sometime in the late 50's. I recall that fish, wasn't my largest, but taken with Arbollete tied to a yellow nylon ski rope with an empty Clorox bottle on the end for a flat. This was our big fish rig in the early days.

    One day I speared a HUGE Jewfish in deep water, maybe 700 + pounds, and the ski rope got caught on my weight belt. I was going down fast until I finally pulled rope off the belt and made it to the surface. Fish took everything.

    Me and two diving buddies won three International Spearfishing tournaments held in Panama in the 60's with a boat full of BIG jewfish, large Broomtail groupers and Big Dog Tooth Pargos. Boat gun well was so low we could only go slow to keep from swamping. All fish went to orphanages so no waste!

    Another time I speared a 15-18 foot Sawfish in about 80 feet of water (we always had a pool for largest fish taken) that took me for a long ride before disappearing with my gun, ski rope and Clorox bottle never to be seen again.

    Not sure if this still occurs, but up through the time I left Panama in 1978, a steady off shore breeze in the Dry Season (November/December -April or May) would push out the surface water in the Bay of Panama (Pacific) and allow the very COLD upwelling from the Humbol current move in with very neutrinos water and the fish. Jew Fish by the hundreds, Red Snappers to turn the water Red, and everything else including huge Amberjacks. Oh yes, lots of aggressive sharks too - lost many fish and gear to sharks back then. Best part was the cold water made the spiny lobster lethargic and i could catch many on a single dive, coming up with them under my arms, inside my bathing suit, and one in each hand - no one said being young was smart. Catching a hundred pounds of lobsters was not unusual - we would sell them to the American Legion Resturant on Amador for $.50 a pound and they only bought fresh live ones.

    Red Snapper we sold for $.20 cents a pound and jewfish for $.10 if under 100 pounds. Corvina and Snook went for a little more as I recall. This is how I made money in High School. Lobsters were easy money, I could pick up enough for a date after school diving along the causeway in Amador at the entrance to the Canal on the Pacific side.

    Those were the days for sure. Remember the old Skin Diver magazine? I recall the early spearo's club out in California - The Bottom Scatchers. Still around Bill? The equipment we used back in those days, small black full foot Cressida fins (still have them) oval mask, French double and four band spearguns (4 separate bands each with threads for wishbones and front of spearguns that would easily corrode and freeze. Lousy bands too. But we free dived to a hundred feet and speared fish with that equipment. I also used two Italian Spring guns in the early 70's - pain to load, had to get on shore or boat to load by pushing down with spear on boat deck or rocks on shore.

    Oh sorry - didn't mean to get carried away but getting the "bug" again and reading all of your stories starts me down memory lane and the "good old days".

    Following the forum rules and introducing myself. I was born and raised in the former Canal Zone in Panama and started spearfishing in the 50's with the French Arbolet spearguns. I essentially grew up on the ocean and spearfished in Panama until I left in late 1978 to live in the U.S. (Montana, Seattle, Washington, D.C.) and did occasional scuba diving trip until I moved to South Florida in mid 90's when I started spearfishing and lobstering again (freediving). Moved to Singapore and took all of my spearfishing gear, Riffe Mid handle spearguns plus all the accoutrements but never got to use them. Did a fair amount of scuba diving but no spearfishing. Returned to U.S. in 2004 to north Texas and have not been spearfishing since a short trip to Panama in 2003.

    Retired in December 2011 here in North Texas, started late and have 13 year old twins, Had a birthday last December that ended with a big zero (those are tough especially the 7th one). Started chasing kids , soccer, piano, etc., and felt like I was getting old - SO, pulled out all of my spearo gear, bought new bands for my 50 & 55 inch Riffe spearguns, cleaned up my Omer mask & snorkel, looking for open cell freediving wetsuit (Speardiver or xxxxx ok Speardiver :) ), and made plans for family vacation (their first) to Panama next month and I'm getting back in the water, and now talking with James Curtis at Cortez Club in La Paz and planning a Spring Spearfishing trip (me alone - kids in school) to hunt big cold water Yellowtail in Sea of Cortez in April or May. Also planning to return end of next year to La Paz so twins can swim with Whale Sharks and I get to try for Tuna or Wahoo/Ono next Fall.

    Feel lost landlocked in North Texas far from divable ocean - but family is settled so hope to make a trip or two a year to spearfish. got the bug again and trying to get back in freediving shape.

    Sorry for being long winded - so hi! Nice to be here. Will find an avatar to post soon. Thanks!